Weekend Picks: Summer Theater

Chris Maneval is serving as the Program Advisor for the International Affairs track of  2010 Engalitcheff Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems. His blog entry is the third in a series of “Weekend Picks” for TFAS interns spending their summer in DC.

There is no shortage of entertainment in the DC area, believe me. With all of the monuments, museums and restaurants there is simply no excuse to be bored this summer. But for those of you who are looking to quench a more specific, theatrical side of your entertainment thirst, Washington DC may be no Broadway, but it is certainly no slouch either.

In the 68.3 square miles that make up our nation’s capital, there are over 37 different theater venues and countless actors, singers and groups staging daily performances throughout the city. From the National Symphony Orchestra, to the Tony Award Winning show Avenue Q, Washington, DC has everything you need to get you your theatrical fix.

Check out some of the more popular (and sometimes FREE) venues:

Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

The Kennedy Center
Opened in 1971 on the banks of the Potomac (2700 F St., NW at the intersection of New Hampshire Avenue, NW, and the Rock Creek Parkway) the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has become one of the nation’s busiest performing arts venues, with more than 3,000 performances that play before nearly two million patrons each year. It is home to the National Symphony Orchestra, the Washington Ballet and the Washington Opera, and hosts artists from around the world. Some of the Kennedy Center’s featured summer shows are:

  • The Reduced Shakespeare Company’s Completely Hollywood (June 22nd – July 11th)
  • Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s Mary Poppins (July 1st – August 22nd)
  • And more: http://www.kennedy-center.org/

Tickets normally hover around $45 per show and seating normally fills up pretty quickly. 

Millennium Stage (FREE)
No time to panic though if budgets and time alike are tight, the Kennedy Center is not only located right up the river, (you can see it very clearly from the Key Bridge) but it also hosts free, open to the public, concerts every evening at 6pm on its Millennium Stage. Check out this month’s Millennium Stage show list be clicking here: http://www.kennedy-center.org/programs/millennium/schedule.html           

The Shakespeare Theater Company

The National Theatre
The National Theatre, or “The Theatre of Presidents”, has operated at the same location, three blocks from The White House, since 1835. It is not only a historical landmark but an epicenter for all things theater.  One of its featured attractions for the summer is its month-long tribute to actor and legend Cary Grant. For show times and directions go to http://www.nationaltheatre.org/shows.htm, or call (202)783-3372 for more information.To all you Bard fans out there, The Shakespeare Theater Company will not disappoint. Located a few blocks from the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro stop (450 7th Street, NW), these Stratford-upon-Avon gurus have brought back recreations ranging from As You Like it to Henry V, and will be expanding their theatrical horizons this summer to bring you Mrs. Warren’s Profession, a play by the ever famous George Bernard Shaw. Show times, ticket sales and more information can be found at http://www.shakespearetheatre.org/plays/index.aspx.  

This is just a sampler of what your options are for seeing some good theater while spending your summer in the District. For more venues and shows visit http://www.thingstodo.com/states/DC/theaters.htm, or simply Google: Theater in Washington, D.C.  And as a midsummer night’s – question – rolls through your mind as to what form of entertainment you should fill your summers’ evening with, head on out to one of DC’s many summer theater performances and discover the inner thespian in you.

The Shakespeare Theater Company

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