Curtains Up For Kids




Over 10,000 students visit the Basie every year as part of its Curtains Up for Kids school performances 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.


The Basie knows that COVID-19 has made it difficult for schools to attending live performances. For the 2020-2021 school year all Curtains Up for Kids performances will be offered for you via virtual package.

Given the uncertainty of this school year, all reservations and requests can be changed up to three weeks prior to the start of access.

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


  • Pre-recorded performances available through secure and password protected links *Recordings and steaming performances are only available for a limited time surrounding the performance dates as per the artist.
  • Virtual Pre and Post show Workshops *Max of 30 students per workshop
  • Teacher study guide and educational materials


  • $25 – Individual / Homeschool (performance only)
  • $85 – School Classrooms of 10 or more students
  • $150 – Schoolwide access
  • Support a classroom or school and gift them access to a virtual performance

IN PERSON ATTENDANCE *Calpulli Mexican Dance Company performance only

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


  • $12 each – Individual Sales
  • $10 each – Education Groups of 10 or more students


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

The Basie is very grateful to the Mary Owen Borden Foundation, Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders, and Horizon Foundation for New Jersey for their support of Curtains Up for Kids.

For tickets or more information, call 732-224-8778 x 124 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 view virtual performances before showing them to students to ensure content is age appropriate.


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



Sonia de los Santos

PRE-RECORDED CONTENT AVAILABLE: September 15 – October 15, 2021
Recommended for grades: PK-2

Music is a medium that knows no borders. Sonia de los Santos will share how the songs of her native Mexico have enriched her life in the United States, and vice versa. Sing along to her beloved songs, learn about the stories that inspire her music, and get to know the work of some of her favorite artists.


Global Literacy/Awareness
Roots and Heritage
Social/Emotional Learning




PRE-RECORDED CONTENT AVAILABLE: January 24 – February 4, 2022
Recommended for grades: K-6

Told through a blend of storytelling, toy theatre, collage, and video projections, the bilingual story moves back and forth between the world of the artist and the world of her story as she reveals and recalls how she (and her baby!) gained a foothold in a new country through a love of reading and established her voice as a storyteller.


Social/Emotional Learning
Roots and Heritage



Adapting History

Recommended for grades: 6-12

Adapting History is an oral telling of American music through history and American history through music. From gospel to blues, jazz to R&B, America has produced some of the most innovative music of the 20th century. Although the songs are easy on the ears, their inception occurred in cultural climates that were often discordant. In Adapting History, musical artist Dahlak uses spoken word poetry to narrate the complex history of our nation. His musical chronicle shows that despite conflict and misunderstanding, we can still be brilliantly creative.


Roots and Heritage



Calpulli Mexican Dance Company: Puebla: The Story of Cinco de Mayo

IN-PERSON PERFORMANCE: May 5, 2022 at 10:30AM
Recommended for grades: K-12

Explore the native and traditional cultures of the Mexican state of Puebla, where on May 5, 1862 a small Mexican army scored a seemingly impossible victory over the French. Through dance and live music, this new production celebrates the story of the historical significance of May 5th, shares the culture of Mexican immigrants from the state of Puebla—lesser known even among Mexicans in the U.S.—and presents the historical characters that influenced the Battle of Puebla.


Global Literacy/Awareness
Roots and Heritage


*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
Phone: 732-224-8778 x124
99 Monmouth Street,Red Bank, NJ 07701