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Parental Guidance

We understand that many different factors go into a parent's decision-making process for determining whether a show is appropriate for their specific child. We want families to have a positive experience at the Olney Theatre Center and so rather than make blanket age recommendations for our shows, we have created this guide which in addition to general age recommendations, considers some of the relevant content that parents may be most concerned about. 

2016-17 Presentations (click on a title to skip down):

ANGELS IN AMERICA THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK  MARY POPPINS  A CHRISTMAS CAROL SWEENEY TODD FICKLE: A FANCY FRENCH FARCE THE MAGIC PLAY PROOF MY FAIR LADY THURGOOD 

 

2016-17 Presentations

 

Angels in America

Synopsis: Prior Walter is diagnosed with AIDS and enters a rocky patch with his boyfriend Louis Ironson, who finds it difficult to watch his partner’s health deteriorate. Joe Pitt, a closeted gay Republican, debates moving his career to Washington while trying to mend his marriage to his agoraphobic wife Harper. Joe’s boss Roy, also a closeted gay man, is diagnosed with AIDS but continues to keep up the front that he is a successful straight man who simply has liver cancer. The first part of the Pulitzer-Prize winning play about the 1980s AIDS crisis in New York City.

Language:
 Two of the main themes in this play are homosexuality and death. The concepts of death, dying, and illness are discussed in a wide myriad of fashions. There is heavy cursing and language that may be offensive to people of faith. The word and phrases “schizophrenic” and “mentally deranged” are used in derogatory ways. The words and phrases “suck my cock,” “dyke,” “butch,” “bastards,” “thug,” “pissy,” “Polack,” and “homo” are used. The word “voodoo” is used in a stereotypical and racist way. The word “gay” is used to indicate both homosexuality and happiness. Bodily functions and HIV/AIDS are discussed at length. Racism is discussed and one character calls himself “Sid the Yid” after another man calls himself “Lou the Jew.” Insanity is mentioned.

Smoking, Drinking, and Drugs:
Many characters take pills, and one character has a pill-induced hallucination. Drug addicts are referred to as “junkies” and “drug fiends.” Many characters drink profusely onstage and/or get drunk. Two characters smoke together onstage.

Sex:
Sex, including oral sex, homosexual relations, and infidelity, is discussed at length. Sexually transmitted diseases, menstruation, and a miscarried pregnancy are mentioned. Two men have sexual relations onstage and discuss the use of a condom. There is some sexual innuendo in the dialogue. One character talks about and dresses as a drag queen.

Violence:
There is blood onstage. One man slaps another. One man threatens to kill another. Mass murder is mentioned in jest.

For Which Audiences?
Ages 16+.

Rating:
If this was a movie, it would be rated R.

The Diary of Anne Frank

Synopsis: When the Nazi party endangers Jewish residents of Amsterdam, the Frank family goes into hiding. Anne relays her experiences to her diary as the seasons turn and she comes of age in a secret attic. Based on the classic memoir.

Language:
 The word “goddamned” is used.

Smoking and Drinking:
Most of the characters make a toast with cognac. Anne makes a cigarette offstage and another character smokes it onstage.

Sex:
Menstruation and other elements of female puberty are discussed, and there are some slight references to premarital sex. Anne relays sexual feelings for a female friend and female nudes she has seen in artwork.

Violence:
The physical and mental horrors inflicted on victims of the Holocaust are referenced and described. Sometimes death is casually referenced, and Anne imagines killing her parents at one point. Bombs and gunfire occur right outside of the family’s annex. The Nazi officers carry guns and hold the other characters at gunpoint.

For Which Audiences?
Ages 11+.

Rating:
If this was a movie, it would be rated PG for some adult subject matter.

Mary Poppins

Synopsis: The Banks family cannot keep a nanny, until the wind blows Mary Poppins their way. Through a series of magical adventures, Mary and her friends help the family and their servants find their way. A Disney musical based on the classic musical film and bestselling children’s books.

Language:
The ways in which Mr. Banks treats his children and wife echo sexism and verbal abuse. A child uses the word “bloody” as slang.

Smoking and Drinking:
Smoking and rum are mentioned but not seen onstage.

Violence:
Physical child abuse, killing, and impaling people are all briefly mentioned, generally in a lighthearted manner.

For Which Audiences?
Recommended for families with children of all ages.

Rating:
If this was a movie, it would be rated G.

A Christmas Carol

Synopsis: Ebenezer Scrooge lives a dismal life without family, friends, or a love for anything but money. One Christmas Eve, he is visited by the ghost of his former business partner and then three spirits urging him to examine the state of his past, present, and future life. Based on the classic story by Charles Dickens.

Language: This production is a one-man show using the original text of Dickens' short story. The Victorian-era language may take some getting-used-to for younger audience members. The word “ass” is used in reference to a donkey. There is a lot of discussion surrounding death, including the death of the protagonist and a child.

 

Smoking, Drinking, and Gambling: Mention of beer, punch, and wine.

 

Sex: None.

 

Violence: None.

 

For Which Audiences? Families looking to celebrate the Christmas holiday or anyone who appreciates the writing of Charles Dickens.

 

Rating: If this was a movie, it would be rated G, although because of the format and Victorian language we recommend it for ages 10 and up. View more Frequently Asked Questions about this production.

Sweeney Todd

Synopsis: Sweeney Todd thirsts to avenge the hellish lives he, his wife, and his child had to endure at the hands of Judge Turpin and the Beadle. He is helped by Mrs. Lovett, the proprietor of a failing pie shop who has feelings for him. Meanwhile, a sailor he met on the way back to London from Australia reveals his growing love for Johanna, Judge Turpin’s ward and coincidentally Sweeney’s daughter. They conspire to retrieve Johanna, but as Sweeney’s journey is impeded, he becomes more and more murderous. A Tony-Award winning musical.



Language:
The words “shit,” “piss,” “arse,” “hell,” “bloody,” and “slut” are used. Mrs. Lovett refers to the Beggar Woman as a “loony” and “beery.”


Drinking:
One character sings about how another drinks at a party. Beer is mentioned by multiple characters and most of the cast drinks ale in the opening of act II. One person gets very drunk. Sweeney suggests that an adolescent boy has some gin and Mrs. Lovett gets him drunk deliberately onstage.



Sex:
The Beggar Woman makes many vulgar references to sex using slang and pushes herself onto men in the street. One character rapes another; this will be referenced in the choreography. That same character lusts after the victim’s daughter once she is of teen age and refers to her palms as “virgin.” Sex, including pre-marital sex, is lightly referred to in the dialogue and lyrics. Molestation is mentioned.



Violence:
The musical centers around a murderer and his quest to murder the man who ruined his life. He murders many other people along the way with his razors, so there is a good deal of bloody deaths and bodies onstage, and some of the songs glorify and promote murder, blood, and violence. One character dies from being set on fire. Bodies are baked into pastries, which the main characters joke about at length, and the pies are eaten onstage. One character threatens another with a large knife, and a pistol is brandished and used to kill somebody. Two characters lightheartedly discuss an offstage character who kills animals to bake them into pies. One character rapes another and this will be referenced in the choreography. A bird seller discusses how birds are blinded so that they think it’s always daytime and will always sing. Murder is often the main topic in the dialogue and lyrics. Tobias has two teeth pulled onstage. The Judge whips himself onstage in punishment for having sexual feelings and sentences an offstage character to death. Johanna suggests that she kill herself rather than marry the Judge, and is unjustly imprisoned in a mental asylum. Policemen violently attack Anthony and begin chasing him. Suicide and scalping are both briefly mentioned. Anthony and Tobias threaten to kill to protect the respective women they care about. Human meat is ground up onstage.



For Which Audiences?
Ages 13+.



Rating:
If this was a movie, it would be rated PG-13 for violent content.

Fickle: A Fancy French Farce

Synopsis: Silvia is kidnapped by the Prince who has fallen in love with her and wants to propose, however he hides his true identity from her in the guide of of a palace guard. The Prince's servants, Trivelin and Flaminia, summon Silvia's fiancée Harlequin to the castle and plot to break the couple apart by having Flaminia's sister, Lisette, seduce Harlequin. However, Harlequin is more enamored of the abundant food at the castle than he is of Lisette. In the meantime, Silvia swears she will never marry the Prince and confesses that she has in-fact, fallen in love with the palace guard (who is actually the Prince). Harlequin similarly finds himself falling in love with Flaminia. In the end, the Prince reveals his true identity to Silvia, and Harlequin releases her from her voq to him so she can pursue love with the Prince. He confesses his love for Flaminia and the couples rejoice -- even Lisette is paired off with a rich, if elderly and frail, Lord. Only Trivelin is left alone.

Language:
Profane language including "bitch" and "shit". Some cursing in French, including "merde".

Smoking and Drinking:
References to drugs and drinking alcohol. Some wine and champagne is consumed.

Sex:
One character attempts to seduce another. Oblique references to domination fetishes. Other references to sex and sexual positions.

Violence:
Slapstick humor which is sometimes violent, as well as some comedic sword play.


For Which Audiences?
Ages 13+.

Rating:
If this was a movie, it would be rated PG-13 for sexual references and adult humor.

 

The Magic Play

Synopsis: As a noted magician proceeds with his magic show, he reveals the men in his past who have deeply affected how he thinks about his profession and his need to control his environment. A new play co-produced by The Goodman Theater in Chicago.

Language:
The words “hell,” “bitch,” “asshole,” “shit,” “ass,” and “fuck” are used.

Drinking and Gambling:
The main character imitates his drunk father. Characters talk about drinking but it is not shown. Illusions to gambling and references to a casino are made.

Sex:
A homosexual relationship is heavily discussed and two men are somewhat intimate onstage. Extramarital affairs and sex are mentioned.

Violence:
The magician threatens to hit someone.


For Which Audiences?
Ages 16+ who enjoy audience participation.

Rating:
If this was a movie, it would be rated R for language.

Proof

Synopsis: Dawn Ursula stars as Catherine, the bereaved daughter of a brilliant, but chronically mentally ill mathematician. Catherine worries that she has inherited her father's mental illness, but more central to the drama is whether she also inherited his genius. A penetrating mystery at the center of the play and the stellar cast illuminates the ways in which family and lovers play into and defy expectations. Craig Wallace returns to Olney Theatre Center, where he last appeared as Prospero in The Tempest, to undertake the role of Robert, the brilliant mathematician whose movements between sanity and brilliance are the polestars by which Catherine has lived her life. Longtime DC favorite Aakhu TuahNera Freeman, plays Catherine’s successful older sister Claire, and Biko Eisen-Martin plays Hal, Robert's former protege with an academic interest in his mentor's final mathematical proof and a romantic interest in his daughter.

Language:
The words "shit" and "fuck" (and variations) are used. Mental illness and "madness" are discussed; references to the "bughouse" and metal institutions.

Drinking and Drugs:
One character drinks champagne from the bottle; there are references to heavy drinking, taking speed and amphetamines; one character enters hungover.

Sex:
There is talk about sex, 'getting laid,' and 'jerking around,' and two characters sleep together offstage.

Violence:
None.


For Which Audiences?
For ages 13+.

Rating:
If this was a movie, it would be rated PG-13

My Fair Lady

Synopsis: Eliza Doolittle seeks out Professor Henry Higgins to learn how to speak like an upper-class London citizen so that she can get a better job than selling flowers on the street. He takes on the task of educating her and training her to pass as a high society lady.  A classic Tony Award-winning musical based on George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion.

Language:
Much of the content in this show appears very sexist today. The words “damn” and “arse” are used.

Drinking:
A few characters mime drinking wine, and later a few drink port. Some characters appear drunk and disorderly. A supporting character has an addiction to alcohol that is encouraged and never truly addressed. Drugs and gin are mentioned but not seen.

Sex:
There are allusions to prostitution and wedlock.

Violence:
Murder, shooting, drowning, whipping children, and hitting are mentioned but never seen.


For Which Audiences?
Ages 10+ for the length of the production.

Rating:
If this was a movie, it would be rated PG.

Thurgood

 

Synopsis: Thurgood Marshall shares his life story and major moments of his legal career. A one-man play.

Language:
The words “damn,” “bastard,” “ass,” and “nigger” are used.

Drinking, Smoking, Gambling, and Drugs:
Thurgood shares anecdotes of his alcoholic father and his own tendencies to drink under stress. Whiskey, Wild Turkey, and drunk driving are mentioned.

Sex:
Sex is gently alluded to.

Violence:
Thurgood references lynching and killing on account of racial discrimination multiple times. He describes being caught in gunfire on an assignment during the Korean War and talks about government-ordered executions. He is given a gun at one point in his memory.


For Which Audiences?
Ages 13+.

Rating:
If this was a movie, it would be rated PG for language and heavy subject matter.