Imagination Stage, known as the DC region’s largest professional theatre for children, debuts its latest new play commission, The Hula-Hoopin’ Queen. This new family-friendly play is adapted for the stage by Gloria Bond Clunie from the book by Thelma Lynne Godin, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton.
The Hula-hoopin Queen hits the stage
Imagination Stage is transformed into a community in Harlem for this intergenerational story celebrating family and community ties. The story follows young Kameeka and her friends as they navigate friendship, responsibility and community.
This play is royalty in the making. Kids for generations will be captivated by the relatable story of Kameeka and her pals who have the itch to hula-hoop.
About the Show
Kameeka is confident that she will finally beat her rival, Jamara, and become the Hula-Hoopin’ Queen of 139th Street. When her Mama reminds her that today is their neighbor Miz Adeline’s birthday, Kameeka wrestles with her responsibilities and her hula-hoopin’ reputation. Kameeka knows she has important chores to do to prepare for the party, but she is so preoccupied with thoughts of victory that she accidentally ruins Miz Adeline’s birthday cake and has to own up that there won’t be a cake for her special day.
Disappointment dissipates quickly when Miz Adeline confesses that she’s also got the hula-hoopin’ itch! The young and the young at heart spill into the street to celebrate with timeless fun.
Have you read “The Hula-Hoopin Queen”?
If you haven’t read the book yet, you can watch Oprah Winfrey read “The Hula-Hoopin’ Queen,” on YouTube. This is a wonderful way to become acquainted with the story and also to see how much depth Clunie adds to the characters and their relationships in bringing the story to the stage.
These relationships are at the heart of the story, as mothers, aunties, and neighbors lovingly dole out advice. And, of course, the hula-hooping becomes delightfully real, incorporating choreography, rhyme, and music into its own hip-hop adjacent art form.
Why you will love the Hula-Hoopin’ Queen
Hula-hoopin’ brings joy to children of all ages and illustrate the connections within a community. This play also highlights the joy of childhood. It is a beautiful expression of joyful black girls and women. Generations of black women illustrate the power of a village in raising children. Kameeka and her friends receive support, love and guidance from so many of these women enriching their lives beyond what a nuclear family can offer.
Kameeka and her community are also a beautiful reminder of the strength of friendship and love. Relationships can survive mistakes when they are built on love and forgiveness.
See a performance
The Hula-Hoopin’ Queen runs February 15 – April 8, with general public performances Saturdays and Sundays and school field trip matinees Tuesdays-Fridays. See the full schedule on the Imagination Stage website.
The play is staged in the Annette M. and Theodore N. Lerner Family Theatre.
This performance is best for ages 5-11.
Tickets are $12 – $36 (group rates available) and may be purchased online at imaginationstage.org or by phone at 301-280-1660.
Sensory-Friendly performance: March 12 at 10:00 ASL-Interpreted performance: March 19 at 1:00
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