Editors' pick

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts photo
Carol Pratt - Kennedy Center

Louis Hayes Jazz Communicators

At the Terrace Gallery.
Through 10/25

Beijing Dance Theater

The company presents "Wild Grass," a three-part performance by choreographer Wang Yuanyuan inspired by the poems of Lu Xun "Dead Fire," "The Shadow's Leave-taking" and "Dance of Extremity.". At the Terrace Theater.
Through 10/25

National Symphony Orchestra

Conductor John Mauceri leads three multimedia performances of excerpts from composer Danny Elfman's scores from Tim Burton's "Edward Scissorhands," "Batman," "The Nightmare before Christmas" and others. At the Concert Hall.

National Symphony Orchestra

The NSO members don creepy costumes and perform a musical whodunit led by conductor Ankush Kumar Bahl in "Halloween Whodunit." The concert is suggested for kids age 5 and older and guests are encouraged to wear their own Halloween costumes. At the Concert Hall.

Master Class: Carmen de Lavallade

Dancer and choreographer Carmen de Lavallade leads a participatory, intermediate- to advanced-level class for adults.
10/29 - 10/30

Carmen De Lavallade

Performance combines writings and projections of her younger self with film of her collaborators. At the Terrace Theater.

Faith Prince

The Tony Award winner performs as part of the series curated by Barbara Cook. At the Terrace Theater.
10/30 - 11/1

National Symphony Orchestra

Led by conductor Christoph Eschenbach the NSO performs Mozart's "Jupiter," Mendelssohn's "Reformation" and Schumann's Violin Concerto with violinist Midori. At the Concert Hall.

Choral Arts Society

The choral group performs Bach's Mass in B Minor. At the Concert Hall.

China National Centre for the Performing Arts Orchestra

The orchestra performs Qigang's "Wu Xing (The Five Elements)," Dvorak's 8th Symphony and by Ravel's Piano Concerto with soloist Yuja Wang. At the Concert Hall.

Avanti Orchestra of the Friday Morning Music Club

Under the baton of Pablo Saelzer, the FMMC's Avanti Orchestra plays Beethoven's Symphony No. 1, Schubert's Overture, and Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1 with Washington International Piano Competition winner Somang Jeagal. At the Terrace Theater.

Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig

Led by music director Riccardo Chailly, the oldest civic symphony orchestra in the world performs Bruckner's 7th Symphony and is joined by violinist Nikolaj Znaider for a performance of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto. At the Concert Hall.

Pretty Yende

The South African soprano makes her Washington debut in a recital with pianist Kamal Khan. Presented by Vocal Arts DC. At the Terrace Theater.

Katie Ernst

At the Terrace Gallery.

Beatrice Rana

The Italian pianist and silver medalist at the 2013 Van Cliburn competition performs works by Chopin, Bach, Prokofiev and Scriabin. At the Terrace Theater.
11/6 - 11/8

National Symphony Orchestra

Joined by cellist Claudio Bohorquez and led by conductor Christoph Eschenbach, the NSO presents an evening of Haydn, Prokofiev and Brahms. At the Concert Hall.

Kalanidhi Dance

Performance of "Krishna, Love Re-Invented," presenting one of the major Hindu gods as the ultimate embodiment of love, dark skinned with lotus-like eyes and adorned in peacock feathers. At the Terrace Theater.

Sutra Dance Theatre of Malaysia

The company performs "Krishna, Love Re-Invented," presenting one of the major Hindu gods as the ultimate embodiment of love, dancing with his many admirers or gopikas. At the Terrace Theater.

Orion Weiss and The Salzburg Marionettes

The pianist performs works by Schumann and Debussy accompanied by puppetry from the Austrian marionette company. At the Terrace Theater.

Christina and Michelle Naughton

The pianists play Brahms' Variations on a Theme of Haydn, Lutoslawski's Variations on a Theme of Paganini for Two Pianos, Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" and Debussy's "En Blanc et Noir.". At the Terrace Theater.

Beyond the Score: Stravinsky's Le Sacre du printemps

In this installment of the "Beyond the Score" series, musical excerpts, narration, visuals and actors work together to explore the background of Stravinsky's "Le Sacre du printemps." Afterward, the NSO performs the work in its entirety, led by conductor Ankush Kumar Bahl. At the Concert Hall.

Lou Donaldson Quartet

At the Terrace Theater.

Washington National Opera: Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Performance: La boheme

For one-night-only, singers from the WNO's Domingo-Cafritz Young Artists program will star in Puccini's "La Boheme.". At the Opera House.
11/13 - 11/15

National Symphony Orchestra

Led by conductor Christoph Eschenbach, the NSO performs Stravinsky's "Le Sacre du printemps." Flutist and Kennedy Center Chamber Player Aaron Goldman performs Mozart's Flute Concerto No. 2. At the Concert Hall.
11/1 - 11/15

Washington National Opera

The WNO presents a new production of Puccini's "La boheme," a four-act opera about struggling Parisian bohemians looking for love and success in 1840s France. At the Opera House.

Kennedy Center Chamber Players

Soprano Esther Oh, clarinet player Loren Kitt, violinist Marissa Regni, violist Daniel Foster, cellist David Hardy, contrabass Robert Oppelt and pianist Lambert Orkis perform works by Schubert and Spohr. At the Terrace Theater.

The Washington Chorus

The chorus performs Beethoven's "Missa Solemnis" with solos from sopranos Julia Sophie Wagner and Daniela Mack, tenor Vale Rideout and bass Morris Robinson. At the Concert Hall.

Master Class: Batsheva Dance Company

Company members lead a participatory, intermediate- to advanced-level class for adults.
11/18 - 11/19

Batsheva Dance Company

The Israeli company returns for the first time in a decade with "Sadeh21," created in collaboration with 18 dancers by artistic director Ohad Naharin using a style he calls "Gaga.". At the Opera House.

Washington National Opera: American Opera Initiative: Three 20-Minute Operas

John Liberatore and Niloufar Talebi's "The Investment," Jake Runestad and David Johnston's "Daughters of the Bloody Duke" and Rene Orth and Jason Kim's "An American Man" are performed accompanied by music from a chamber orchestra. At the Terrace Theater.
11/20 - 11/22

National Symphony Orchestra

Led by music director Frank Albinder, the Washington Men's Camerata joins the NSO and conductor Rossen Milanov in a program featuring Stravinsky's 1919 Suite from "The Firebird" and Busoni's Piano Concerto. At the Concert Hall.

Anne-Sophie Mutter and the Mutter Virtuosi

The violinist and her 14-member string ensemble perform Mendelssohn's "Octet," Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons" and Sebastian Currier's "Ringtone Variations.". At the Concert Hall.
11/28 - 11/29

NSO Pops: An Evening with Sutton Foster

In this program led by conductor Steven Reineke, Tony award-winning vocalist Sutton Foster performs selections from "Shrek the Musical," "Anything Goes" and more. At the Concert Hall.
11/28 - 11/30

The Suzanne Farrell Ballet

Performance of three Balanchine works ("Swan Lake," "Allegro Brillante" and "Monumentum & Movements") and Robbins's "The Concert (or the Perils of Everybody).". At the Opera House.
10/25 - 11/30

Little Dancer

Edgar Degas' sculpture, "Little Dancer Aged Fourteen," which goes on view at the National Gallery of Art Oct. 5, provided the inspiration for this world premiere musical. At the Eisenhower Theater.

Andrea McArdle

Broadway's original "Annie" performs as part of Barbara Cook's curated series. At the Terrace Theater.
12/4 - 12/6

National Symphony Orchestra

Led by director Ed Maclary, the University of Maryland Concert Choir joins the NSO, conductor Helmuth Rilling and several soloists, including soprano Julia Sophie Wagner and alto Anke Vondung, to present an all-Bach program. At the Concert Hall.

36th Young Concert Artists Series: Stephen Waarts, violin

The award-winning, 18-year-old California violinist makes his Washington debut, accompanied by pianist Chelsea Wang. At the Terrace Theater.

Master Class: Ballet West

A participatory, intermediate to advanced level class for adults led by company members from Ballet West.

Vocal Arts DC presents John Brancy

The baritone and his accompanist, pianist Peter Dugan, both make their Washington debuts with their program, "Silent Night: A Centenary Tribute to WWI through Song," featuring works by Gurney, Debussy, Ravel, Ives, and Butterworth. At the Terrace Theater.

Anonymous 4: On Yoolis Night

The vocal quartet presents an evening of holiday music. At the Terrace Theater.

NPR's A Jazz Piano Christmas

At the Terrace Theater.

Melissa Aldana and Crash Trio

At the Terrace Gallery.
12/11 - 12/13

Happy Holidays! with Cirque de la Symphonie

Led by conductor Steven Reineke, Cirque de la Symphonie performs a holiday program with jugglers, aerialists and more. At the Concert Hall.

Pro Musica Hebraica presents: Zion's Muse: Three Generations of Israeli Composers

Just in time for Hanukkah, Pro Musica Hebraica brings the Israeli group, Ariel Quartet, to perform a program that includes two works by German-born composer Paul Ben-Haim, who is considered to be the father of Israeli classical music. At the Concert Hall.
12/10 - 12/14

Ballet West

The company returns to the Kennedy Center with Willam Christensen's beloved production of "The Nutcracker," set to Tchaikovsky's timeless score. At the Opera House.

A Family Christmas

The Choral Arts Society invites guests to sing along to some holiday favorites. At the Concert Hall.
12/19 - 12/21

Washington National Opera: Holiday Family Opera: The Little Prince

The WNO presents a holiday production of Academy Award-winning composer Rachel Portman's opera based on Antoine de Saint-Exupery's 1943 novella. At the Terrace Theater.
12/18 - 12/21

National Symphony Orchestra: Handel's Messiah

The NSO performs Handel's "Messiah" under the baton of conductor Nicholas McGegan. The orchestra is joined by The Washington Chorus and several soloists including, soprano Sherezade Panthaki and countertenor Jay Carter. At the Concert Hall.
12/14 - 12/22

The Washington Chorus presents A Candlelight Christmas

A holiday program featuring James Hubert Blake High School's A CAPPELLA. At the Concert Hall.
12/15 - 12/24

A Capital Christmas: An Annual Concert of Holiday Music

The Choral Arts Society presents one of its yearly Christmas concerts. Presented with the Argentinian Embassy, the concert will feature carols from Argentina, holiday favorites and a guitar solo from Jeff "Skunk" Baxter. At the Concert Hall.

Branford Marsalis

At the Terrace Theater.
12/16 - 1/4/15

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Diana DeGarmo and Ace Young star in the biblical musical. At the Opera House.

Open Rehearsal: Mariinsky Ballet

Dance scholars present an insider's look at Mariinsky Ballet as they prepare onstage for performance. At the Opera House.
1/27/15 - 2/1/15

Mariinsky Ballet

The Russian ballet company performs a program featuring Hodson's "Le sacre du printemps" inspired by Nijinsky, Fokine's "Le Spectre de la Rose" and "The Swan," and Petipa's "Paquita Grand Pas.". At the Opera House.

Editorial Review

Kennedy Center Snapshot

Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

By Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, Sept. 11, 2009

This massive complex overlooking the Potomac River has seven stages (nine if you count the two free Millennium stages in the Grand Foyer) and is one of the best places to catch world-class talent such as Cate Blanchett, appearing in "A Streetcar Named Desire" (Oct. 29-Nov. 21), as well as lighter offerings such as "Young Frankenstein" (Dec. 15-Jan. 10). "In any given year," says Max Woodward, the center's vice president of theater programming, "you can see practically anything you're interested in."

Where to eat? Two in-house restaurants offer the most convenience: the cafeteria-style KC Cafe and the fancier Roof Terrace Restaurant. Off-campus, there isn't much in the immediate neighborhood, but Notti Bianche (202-298-8085; http://www.nottibianche.com) and Dish + Drinks (202-338-8707; http://www.dishdc.com) are good options in nearby hotels.

Concession-stand fare: A cut above: prepared sandwiches and baked goods; beer, wine, cocktails and nonalcoholic drinks.

Tickets: Ticket prices vary widely, depending on the production. Seats for "Streetcar" in the Eisenhower Theater, for example, start at $58 for the side balcony and run to $110 for the box tier. Prime orchestra seats for this show will set you back $80 to $90, depending on the performance.

Getting there: The center is an eight-minute walk from the Foggy Bottom-GWU Metro station. Or catch a free shuttle, departing every 15 minutes from the 23rd Street curb just outside the subway entrance. On-site parking is $18.

Season spotlight: Three Terrence McNally plays, including one D.C. premiere, in three theaters next spring: "Golden Age" (March 12-April 4 in the Family Theater); "The Lisbon Traviata" (March 20-April 11 in the Terrace Theater); and "Master Class" (March 25-April 18 in the Eisenhower Theater).

Kennedy Center Overview

Opened in 1971, 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. The center's profile raised even higher recently, thanks to a repertory festival of Stephen Sondheim musicals in 2002 and the beginning of a five-year partnership with the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2003.
-- Brad Hathaway

Here are the primary venues of the center:

Family Theater
Opened in the former American Film Institute Theater space in December 2005, the 324-seat theater is home to the Kennedy Center's performances for children.

Millennium Stage
Located at either end of the Grand Foyer are the two stages for the free concert series, offering open-to-the-public performances every evening (except Dec. 24) at 6. These shows are simultaneously fed to the Internet and can be viewed live from streaming video-equipped, Internet-connected computers anywhere in the world.
-- Brad Hathaway

Concert Hall
A renovated Concert Hall opened in October 1997 with better acoustics and improved access for people with disabilities. From onstage box seats you can see the conductor's face. Some chorus seats, behind the stage and facing out into the audience offer a "musician's-eye-view" of the proceedings. The handsome hall has plush, dusty-red seats, gold-colored checkerboards inlaid on the fronts of the balconies, and wooden panels placed throughout the house. Among the original features retained are the crystal chandeliers, which have been reconfigured. The embossed hexagonal patterns on the ceiling have been buffed up but remain intact. The largest of the Kennedy Center auditoriums, the Concert Hall has 2,518 seats.
-- Beth Brophy

Eisenhower Theater
A friendly looking bronze bust of Dwight Eisenhower peers down from the box tier of the Eisenhower Theater. At 1,142 seats, the Eisenhower is the smallest of the three theaters on the main level of the Kennedy Center. There is something cozy about sinking into a plush red seat surrounded by wood-paneled walls as the lights high above your head fade and the red curtain rises to reveal a new performance. Although the exclusive box tier claims the most-expensive seats, the orchestra rows often offer a more intimate connection with the performance, because the seats are physically closer to those on stage. The first tier proves a good vantage point for taking in the whole picture and the reactions of the theatergoers below.
-- Nicole Lewis

Opera House
There is no mistaking the grandeur of the place -- the exquisite Lobmeyr crystal chandelier, a gift from Austria, dwarfs the one used in "The Phantom of the Opera." The theater has 2,318 seats and one of the largest stages of its kind in the country. Productions tend to be big and flashy, not to mention pricey, although there's always standing room if the show is sold out. Ballets, musical theater and operas are performed here, and patrons like to get gussied up for a night out at the Opera House, especially on the weekends, but no official dress-code exists. The four levels of the theater can give your legs a real work-out: orchestra, box tier, first tier and second tier. The box tier claims the most expensive tickets and if you are lucky, you'll sit near the White House box, which is reserved by the White House and usually occupied by someone or other from the administration (former first daughter Chelsea Clinton was a fan of the ballet). The Kennedy Center Opera House is perhaps best known nationally as the home of the annual Kennedy Center Honors recognizing lifetime contribution to the arts. Taped at the center in early December, with the president and first lady in attendance, the show normally airs on television the week between Christmas and New Year's.
-- Nicole Lewis

Terrace Theater
Take the elevator in the Hall of States to the second level of the Kennedy Center and you'll discover two things: great theater spaces and great views. The theater closest to the notorious Watergate complex is the 512-seat Terrace Theater. A bicentennial gift from Japan, the interior swims in deep purple with velvet lavender seats, each row on a gentle grade affording perfect sightlines to the stage. The most traditional and the most quirky programming can materialize in this space. Each spring the Terrace Theater presents its chamber music series, showing off new artists and old favorites. Each fall, the theater transforms into a venue for the cutting edge. This theater has an intimate setting and generally cheaper ticket prices. And you can't beat the views if you choose to stroll outside on the Roof Terrace during intermission.

Remember to pick up tickets for the Terrace on the main level in the Hall of States box office. If you arrive unfashionably late and have to wait a few minutes to be seated, don't despair: A TV monitor across from a comfy couch (purple, of course) displays the action on stage.
-- Nicole Lewis

Theater Lab
By day, the Theater Lab at the Kennedy Center entertains children seated on rows of orange-carpeted benches. By night, '70s disco music blares from a tacky hair-salon set and an audience of all ages watches "Shear Madness," the half mystery, half farce that has been ensconced here since the 1988 season. The long-running show, plus staged readings of plays in progress, is the bill for the Lab, originally conceived as an experimental theater space (Willem Dafoe and Gary Sinise played here for free once upon a time). There is no curtain; the set sits naked on stage, giving audiences a sense of being part of the show. Black swatches of material create the theater's walls. Inches behind the fabric lies the production office and dressing rooms. With 399 seats, this is the smallest and sparest of the Kennedy Center's performing spaces; the atmosphere is functional, rather than elegant. It's a place for children to feel comfortable for what may be their first introduction to live theater.
-- Nicole Lewis

The KC Jazz Club enlivens the intimate, roof-level Theater Gallery.

Tours at the Kennedy Center

This Free Tour Is Just the Ticket

By Amy Orndorff
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 27, 2008

There is a certain magnificence about the Kennedy Center with its red-carpeted Grand Foyer. Its seats have held royalty, presidents and those who can pay more than $100 to witness the best that the arts have to offer.

What makes the Kennedy Center extraordinary is that its mission is to make the arts accessible to everyone from America's most notable citizens to its most ordinary ones. You probably know about free Millennium Stage shows daily at 6 p.m., but did you know that you can get into the Kennedy Center's theaters -- without buying a ticket -- as part of free daily tours?

On a recent Sunday morning, the 10 people who stood in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall admiring the organ with its 4,144 pipes and 11 Hadelands crystal chandeliers were in jeans and tennis shoes. They were visitors from abroad as well as area residents, but one thing was clear: Everyone was, well, ordinary.

Members of the Friends of the Kennedy Center, a 500-person volunteer group, lead 45-minute tours whenever someone stops by their kiosk on the main foyer level. Positioned near the elevators from the parking garage, the tour leaders are the first people visitors see when they walk in. A new tour starts about every 10 minutes.

Brochures for self-guided tours are available, but the real fun is going with a docent, who takes guests into the expansive theaters and discusses little-known facts about the center. Did you know that the ceiling in the Concert Hall can be raised and lowered to create the best acoustics possible?

The docents are quick to point out that the nation's home for the performing arts is filled with gifts from other countries: curtains, artwork and even a theater. With that kind of international presence, there's little doubt that the Kennedy Center is truly for everyone.

WHEN SHOULD I GO?Tours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and weekends from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Go as early as possible on the weekends since certain theaters close for matinees. During the week, later is better. Take off work early, tour the center, find happy hour deals at the center's kiosks and catch the Millennium Stage show.

WHERE IS IT? 2700 F St. NW (Metro: Foggy Bottom-GWU, with free shuttles). Tours depart from the kiosk on the main level, midway between the entrance plaza and the Grand Foyer. If you can't find it, anyone in a red jacket will point you in the right direction.

WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFORMATION? 202-416-8340 or http://www.kennedy-center.org.