Curtains Up For Kids




Over 10,000 students visit the Basie Center 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 Center inspires students to dream forward through culture and artistic expression.


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


  • A live performance at the Count Basie Center for the Arts in one of our venues: The Hackensack Meridian Health Theatre or The Vogel.
  • Teacher study guides with pre and post-show activities are provided before the performance to maximize learning in the classroom and gain a deeper appreciation for the school show itself.
  • Limited pre and post show workshops are available upon request.


  • $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 [email protected]

 Applicants will receive an email confirmation within one week of your reservation. In the event you do not receive a confirmation, email [email protected].


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.)




IN-PERSON PERFORMANCE: April 29th, 2024 at 10:30AM – SOLD OUT!
Recommended for grades: 4-12 LOCATION: Hackensack Meridian Health Theatre

Founded in 1994 by C. Brian Williams, Step Afrika! is the first professional company dedicated to the tradition of stepping. Under Mr. Williams’ leadership, stepping has evolved into one of America’s cultural exports, touring more than 60 countries across the globe, and the company now ranks as one of the top ten African-American dance companies in the United States. Step Afrika! blends percussive dance styles practiced by historically African American fraternities and sororities; traditional African dances; and an array of contemporary dance and art forms into a cohesive, compelling artistic experience. Performances are much more than dance shows: they integrate songs, storytelling, humor and audience participation. The blend of technique, agility and pure energy makes each performance unique, and leaves the audience with their hearts pounding.


Historical & Cultural Connections



LOST ANGELS by Ralph Colombino
Presented by Playground Theatre Project

IN-PERSON PERFORMANCE: April 30th, 2024 at 10:30AM – LESS THAN 20 TICKETS REMAIN! and May 1st, 2024 at 10:30AM – SOLD OUT!
Recommended for grades: 7-12 LOCATION: The Vogel

During a lockdown, 12 high school students are stuck in a classroom without a teacher. With only texts and the PA system to let them know what is happening in the rest of the school, these students will learn a great deal about each other amidst the panic and confusion. Stereotypes will be broken down, secrets will be revealed, and unique friendships will be forged. Lost Angels brings up issues current in society with today’s young people and challenges them to have a better understanding of themselves and each other; compassion and tolerance are taught through truthful acting, realistic writing, and young people relating to their peers.


Anti-Bullying Education
Social/Emotional Learning



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
[email protected]