No two theaters in Washington are alike. The Kennedy Center is a national memorial. Ford’s Theatre is linked to history. Theatre J and the Folger live within parent institutions — the D.C. Jewish Community Center and the Folger Shakespeare Library. And small theaters have blossomed throughout the region to fulfill individual niches or missions. Some are national leaders — the Shakespeare Theatre Company is arguably peerless among U.S. classical troupes. Others, such as the comparatively new Forum Theatre, focus on nimble creativity, not infrastructures. Their financial profiles, audiences and works all vary, but together they make up a vibrant scene. Read related article.