The Interns' Guide: Theater

By Maura Judkis
Special to
Tuesday, June 12, 2007; 12:01 PM

Live theater seems like one of those lofty post-college pastimes -- something to put off until you've moved beyond semesters of coffee-schlepping, filing and criminally low intern's wages. Theaters in D.C., however, put on shows that appeal to 20-somethings as well as octogenarians, and whether you have a college ID or not, they have the ticket prices to suit your quickly dwindling funds. So save the $10 you'd spend on a summer blockbuster (since half the three-quels in theaters this summer will probably be kind of lame anyway) and visit one of D.C.'s personality-filled theaters instead -- for the same price.

Looking to get dinner before the show? Earlier this year, Washington Post Restaurant Critic Tom Sietsema reviewed pre-theater dinner specials at five restaurants convenient to the area's major performance spaces, including the Studio Theatre, Kennedy Center, Woolly Mammoth and the Shakespeare Theatre.

For Students | For People 25 and Under | For People 35 and Under

For Students

The Kennedy Center
You'll see: The grand dame of D.C. performing arts, offering ballet, opera, theater and symphony, in an opulent setting.
Discount: Students are eligible for half-price tickets, which can be reserved in advance and held at will-call until the day of the show. To receive a discount, all students must appear in person at the box office and present ID -- not just the person buying the ticket. Millennium Stage performances, which occur every day at 6 p.m., are free.

Rorschach Theater
You'll see: Unsung talent, and plays you've never heard of before.
Discount: Student tickets are $13.50, with the first three shows of every run pay-what-you-can.

The Shakespeare Theater
You'll see: Shakespearean classics with a modern twist.
Discount: During the first week of every performance, students can order half-priced tickets ahead of time by phone. If you show up at the door an hour before any first-week shows, your tickets will only cost $10. Throughout the rest of the show's run, tickets can be purchased for half price at the box office an hour before the show.

Signature Theater
You'll see: Usually musicals, but this summer's performances at Signature are a little darker.
Discount: Students get 10 percent off of full-priced tickets. Reserve student tickets over the phone, and bring a student ID when you pick them up in person.

Studio Theatre
You'll see: Hip, modern playwrights in a simple setting.
Discount: Show your student ID and get an automatic $5 discount on any tickets when purchasing in advance. Beginning a half hour before curtain, student tickets are half price.

Theater J
You'll see: Jewish-themed plays and playwrights.
Discount: Students tickets, at $15, are less than half the regular price. June 27 is a pay-what-you-can performance.

For Anyone 25 and Under

Arena Stage
You'll see: A little bit of everything -- musicals, new plays, old standards.
Discount: The FiveTwentyFive program opens up a limited amount of $10 tickets for patrons aged five to 25. They must be ordered the day of the performance, with a limit of two per customer. The regular student discount is 35 percent off with a student ID, but is not valid for Saturday performances.

Round House Theatre
You'll see: Plays about Americana, and adaptations of well-loved books.
Discount: Tickets for patrons under 26 are $25, with proper ID. Call ahead or pick up your tickets in person to redeem this discount. Pay-what-you-can performances are May 20 and June 2 -- tickets go on sale an hour before each show.

Woolly Mammoth Theatre
You'll see: World premieres of even hipper contemporary plays. Woolly Mammoth likes to shock.
Discount: Woolly's discounts aren't just for students -- anyone under 25 can order $10 tickets with proper ID. If you forget to order until the last minute, show up two hours before show time for stampede seats, which have a limited availability, but are also $10. The first two performances of every production are pay-what-you-can.

For People 35 and Under

The Washington National Opera
You'll see: Classic operas -- Wagner, Verdi, Mozart, Handel -- presented by General Director Placido Domingo.
Discount: Join the opera's "Generation O" program for a chance to purchase tickets for deep discounts. Buy individual tickets for three or more performances this season for $75 (Premium Orchestra seats) or $50 (Orchestra) each, which is about half-price. Tickets for individual operas are limited and go on sale at the last minute, but if you can be flexible, it's possible to score great tickets for a fraction of the usual price. Last season, for example, Generation O members could purchase orchestra tickets for Gaetano Donizetti's "La Fille du Regiment" for $35, or roughly one-third of the listed cost. Staff Writer Fritz Hahn contributed to this report.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company