The mission of the Kate is to “present a diverse repertoire of cultural and performing arts, to provide education opportunities in the arts and to be a lasting legacy for America’s iconic actress.” The Kate offers a wide range of music, theater, comedy, opera, lectures, dance and other mediums; hosts a unique museum celebrating the life of Katharine Hepburn; and offers a number of educational programs including diverse outreach programs.

2024 Events

Harlem on my Mind created and performed by Julia Breanetta

“Harlem on My Mind” is a dynamic musical journey through the Harlem Renaissance conceived and performed by New York artist Julia Breanetta Simpson. The 45-minute program features a jazz trio and lively choreography as Simpson portrays artists and writers who were prominent during the development of Harlem as a Black cultural mecca. Experience the poetry of Langston Hughes, the larger-than-life personalities of Bessie Smith, Ethel Waters and Josephine Baker while celebrating the music of “Duke” Ellington, Thomas “Fats” Waller and more. The performance is followed by a question-and-answer session.

This daytime performance is an educational opportunity for students in middle and high school. For more information and to reserve your complimentary seats for your students, teachers, and chaperones, please email marisa.calvi-rogers@thekate.org.

This program is made possible with support from the Connecticut Office of the Arts, which also receives funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

Program Note: This is an encore performance. In the Fall of 2022, the Kate presented a special school-time streaming program of “Harlem on My Mind” with approximately 200 students in attendance and hundreds of others able to experience the presentation via virtual stream.

Wednesday, March 27, 2024 at 7:00 p.m.

Fiery and Fierce: Katharine Houghton and the Work for Women’s Rights

Katharine Hepburn Museum Talk

In honor of Women’s History Month, Jessica Jenkins, Executive Director of the Litchfield Historical Society, will explore the activism of Katharine Houghton, mother of Katharine Hepburn. 

Katharine Houghton ardently campaigned for women’s rights, suffrage, and access to birth control, picketing the White House for women’s right to vote, forming the American Birth Control League (that later became Planned Parenthood) with Margaret Sanger, and supporting equal legal rights for women. Learn more about Katharine Houghton’s incredible life and fiery spirit at this in-person Museum Talk, followed by a question and answer session.

Tuesday, April 30, 2024 at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

Have you Filled a Bucket Today?: The Musical performed by the Virginia Repertory Theatre

This brand new, fun-filled musical from Virginia Repertory Theatre is based on the play Have You Filled a Bucket Today? and book Bucket Filling Fairy by Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead. The books and play use the concept of a “bucket” to show students how to express kindness, appreciation and love to be “bucket-fillers.” The play focuses on the benefits of positive, thoughtful behavior. Have You Filled A Bucket Today? The Musical relays the joys of friendship and compassion for both the receiver and the giver. Help teach students to be bucket-fillers rather than bucket-dippers with this musical performance designed to promote healthy relationships and self-esteem, and bring character education to front-and-center stage to your students. (Source: https://va-rep.org/tour/guides/VirginiaRep_Have_Filled_Bucket_guide_2023.pdf )

Many elementary schools have incorporated this theme into their daily practices. What a great opportunity for your students to see these concepts come to life! Email marisa.calvi-rogers@thekate.org to purchase tickets for your students, teachers, and chaperones.

This program is generously supported by a grant from The Bauman Family Foundation.

Events previously offered at the Kate:

Spring 2023: STAND UP & SPEAK OUT! The Musical

STAND UP & SPEAK OUT! The Musical was a live performance offered at the Kate. This musical highlighted the severity of bullying that many children face today through entertainment and education. It addressed the effects of exclusion and negativity on our youth and informed students about ways to Stand UP against the cycle of insensitivity. The show featured inspired songs, dialogues and dance with an important message for all ages meant to create a chain reaction of kindness!

Over 500 students as from grades 2 to grade 7 from schools in Madison, Norwich, and Old Saybrook attended the complimentary (funded by grants) daytime performances. Members of our State Legislature and State Department of Education also enjoyed the show.

Producer: Jill Nesi, Four-time Emmy Nominated Songwriter
Director: Nick Rapuano, Award Winning Writer, Director of Stage and Film
Choreographer: Tracy Tolisano, Owner/Creative Director Limelite Dance Studio
Music Composed by: Jill Nesi, Nick Fradiani, Sr., and Mike Song


Fall 2022: Martha Redbone

Martha Redbone

Martha Redbone is a singer, songwriter who performed at the Kate. Her music is inspired by her family lineage in the Appalachian Mountains and her African American and Native American Roots. As part of her Bone Hill Project, she performed to local middle and high school students sharing information through song and dance about cultural preservation, indigenous rights, and cultural identity. Martha’s interactive approach engaged the students around racial identity and diversity in both a historical and personal context. She visited with students from Old Saybrook Middle School and Westbrook High School and shared her message through song and dance.


Fall 2022: Harlem on My Mind

In the Fall of 2022, the Kate presented a special school-time streaming program of “Harlem on My Mind” with approximately 200 students in attendance and hundreds of others able to experience the presentation via virtual stream.

“Harlem on My Mind” is a dynamic musical journey through the Harlem Renaissance conceived and performed by New York artist Julia Breanetta Simpson. The 45-minute program features a jazz trio and lively choreography as Simpson portrays artists and writers who were prominent during the development of Harlem as a Black cultural mecca. Experience the poetry of Langston Hughes, the larger than life personalities of Bessie Smith, Ethel Waters and Josephine Baker while celebrating the music of “Duke” Ellington, Thomas “Fats” Waller and more. The performance was followed by a question and answer session.


The Kate’s Sponsors

  • Pasta Vita
  • Gowrie Group
  • Saybrook Point Resort & Marina
  • Sennheiser