Curtains Up For Kids




Over 10,000 students visit the Basie every year as part of its Curtains Up for Kids school show program — and for many, it’s their only opportunity to experience live performing arts. From classical music with modern twists, to the diversity of Asian and African artistry or historical plays like I Have a Dream, the Basie inspires students to dream forward through culture and artistic expression.


Interested in seeing a performance in person? Click here for a reservation form.


  • Live performance at Count Basie Center for the Arts
    • Reservations will be honored first come, first served.
  • Teacher study guide and materials
  • Optional Pre and Post show workshops


  • $12 each – Individual Sales
  • $10 each – Education Groups of 10 or more students
  • One complimentary chaperone ticket for each 10 student tickets purchased.

Financial assistance is available. Please fill out our reservation form for more information.

The Basie is very grateful to the Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, Monmouth County Board of County Commissioners, New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and Roma Bank Community Foundation for their support of Curtains Up for Kids.

For tickets or more information, call 732-224-8778 x 151 or email

 Applicants will receive an email confirmation within one week of your reservation. In the event you do not receive a confirmation, email
Download the guide and FAQ. (PDF)



Performances have grade recommendations listed beneath each title, however teachers and administrators are encouraged to research and ask questions before booking to ensure content is age appropriate. School shows are designed to be approximately one hour long (*some exceptions apply.)


The Adventures of Tortoise and Hare: The Next Gen (Lightwire Theater)

IN-PERSON PERFORMANCE: January 24th, 2023 at 10:30AM
Recommended for grades: K-6

We begin with Aesop’s classic fable of The Tortoise and the Hare but continue the story which finds them 10 years down the road, now with children of their own and exploring modern day distractions. Smart phones and video games create a new landscape of lost connections to life experiences. The Next Gen features Tortoise Junior and Lil’ Hare in a whole new kind of race; where their adventures lead them into unexpected territory. Old man Tortoise and Big Daddy Hare must come together despite their differences to find and save their children. What hurdles will they have to overcome to make it to the finish line? With dazzling visuals, poignant storytelling and the creative use of music from classical to pop, this production brings this tale into a new brilliant light.


Cognitive Reasoning



Phoenix Productions presents:
Once on This Island

LESS THAN 75 TICKETS REMAIN! IN-PERSON PERFORMANCE: February 17th, 2023 at 10:30AM* (Please note this performance is approximately 90 minutes long.)
Recommended for grades: 3-12

This highly original and theatrical Caribbean adaptation of the popular fairy tale, The Little Mermaid, garnered eight Tony nominations for its Broadway run, including Best Musical, Book and Score. With a lush and vibrant score, this love story captures the imagination with a tale of gods and humans, the high society and lowly born, and a competition to see what is stronger, love or death.


Global Literacy/Awareness



Kingdom Choir

IN-PERSON PERFORMANCE: March 13th, 2023 at 10:30AM
Recommended for grades: 3-12

Founded in 1994 by award-winning conductor Karen Gibson, the choir is dedicated to creating a sound that reflects the community they share through their warm energy and enthusiastic performances. Proclaimed “Britain’s Godmother of Gospel” by The Guardian, Karen has been privileged to witness the joy of gospel via the many community gospel choirs she has worked with across England, including the choir she established in her own local community – Gospel on The Rise. Her passion for the genre has seen her delivering sessions in schools, teaching singing and training future leaders in the art of singing and leading gospel music.


Roots and Heritage



Winnie the Pooh

IN-PERSON PERFORMANCE: April 3rd, 2023 at 10:30AM
Recommended for grades: K-4

Disney’s iconic Winnie the Pooh, Christopher Robin and their best friends Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, Rabbit, and Owl (oh… and don’t forget Tigger too!) in a beautifully crafted musical stage adaptation.
Featuring the Sherman Brothers’ classic Grammy-award winning music with further songs by A.A. Milne, this beautiful fresh stage adaptation is told with stunning life-sized puppetry through the eyes of the characters we all know and love, in a new story from the Hundred Acre Wood.


Cognitive Reasoning



Mayhem Poets

IN-PERSON PERFORMANCE: May 3rd, 2023 at 10:30AM, and May 4th, 2023 at 10AM & 12:30PM
Recommended for grades: 6-12

These theatre-trained, comedically-gifted, lyrical virtuosos seamlessly blend raw elements of hip hop, theatre, improv, and stand-up comedy to tell gut-wrenching truths that leave audiences forever changed. “Let’s go see a poetry show,” is a sentence rarely proclaimed and usually responded to with cringes and excuses. The Mayhem Poets are on a mission to change that.





David Gonzalez – Aesop Bops!

IN-PERSON PERFORMANCE: May 17th, 2023 at 10:30AM
Recommended for grades: K-5

Fast-paced, funny, and packed with audience participation, Aesop Bops! features a potpourri of Aesop’s classic stories including The Lion and the Mouse, The Fisherman and His Wife, and The Turtle’s Shell. This feast of funky, physical storytelling leaves young audiences feeling like they had just performed the show too! Aesop Bops! rocks and rolls out the red carpet – inviting kids to join in the fun.


Social/Emotional Learning
Global Literacy/Awareness
Roots and Heritage



The Gaggle: An interactive theatre & education Podcast by Actors Playground Mini Misfits troupe

Recommended for grades: 4-7

The Gaggle is a one-act play transformed into a podcast to provide an arts experience from the safety of your classroom. Following a group of middle schoolers, The Gaggle is about a clique’s rein over the school and how their bullying effects the students and themselves. This episodic podcast focuses on anti-bullying, social-emotional learning skills, and relevant relatable topics for you and your students to explore. A teacher study guide with prompts for lessons and activities to follow each episode is included. Workshop experiences (virtual or in-person) are available for an additional cost.


Media Arts
Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Connections


*Seeing live theater offers a range of academic, social, and emotional benefits to children. This includes:

  • A greater ability to accept people with different opinions from their own and understand the diversity of ways others experience the world
  • An increased hope for their own future, with the ability to imagine attending college and envisioning success
  • A greater recognition that the arts can have a place in their lives in the present and future
  • Improved engagement and behavior in school environments, which can impact success
  • Increased success on standardized tests; higher writing scores; and a stronger command of narrative devices

*Read more about the impact of viewing performing arts on students.



In-School Arts Classes

We believe participation in the arts:

  • is essential to a well-rounded education and motivates lifelong learning
  • fosters creativity, self-esteem, teamwork, and problem solving skills
  • develops a strong work ethic and the ability to focus
  • advances community connections and promotes inclusivity and diversity
  • inspires empathy, compassion and tolerance
  • enriches life and generates joy

During this time it’s more important than ever that we all learn creative solutions that inspire, educate, and entertain.

Through a variety of  arts-based activities students will build their social-emotional learning and 21st Century learning skills. These are increasingly important given the current level of challenges both in and out of the classroom.

These engaging workshops and residencies are designed to build upon your current classroom strategies while layering curriculum with fun.

Please click here for more information or to request a residency 


Our Outreach program began as a collaboration with the Red Bank Borough School District in 2005. Today, we serve over 550 students annually with in-school, after-school, and summer performing arts classes in the Primary and Middle schools in Red Bank and the Joseph R. Bolger Middle School in Keansburg.

Our goal as educators is to instill a passion, appreciation and love of the arts. Besides enhancing one’s perspective and interpersonal skills such as communication, cooperation and creative problem solving, arts education is truly a magical elixir that raises one’s self–esteem, self-efficacy and confidence.



Need Help? Have Questions?
Contact the Education Department
Anthony Greco
Arts Education and Outreach Manager
732-224-8778 x 151