Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

THE WHO'S TOMMY, LITTLE SHOP, THE MUSIC MAN, and More Set For Kennedy Center Season

THE WHO'S TOMMY, LITTLE SHOP, THE MUSIC MAN, and More Set For Kennedy Center Season

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts today announced programming for its 2018-2019 theater season. The upcoming season not only exemplifies the Kennedy Center as a home for the best theater productions from Broadway and around the world, but also reinvigorates the Center's commitment to self-producing world-class theatrical work at the nation's performing arts center.

The season was announced from the stage of the newly renovated Terrace Theater, which will house the Kennedy Center production of Evan Linder's new play Byhalia, Mississippi, a work that explores issues of race, family, and betrayal in the American south. This powerful new play is presented as a part of The Human Journey, a season-long investigation of who we are as a people, examining art and creativity through the lenses of migration, environment, discovery, identity, citizenship, and legacy. Today's presentation included an electrifying performance of "Waving Through a Window" from six-time Tony® winner Dear Evan Hansen, the show stopping "Friend Like Me" from Disney's Aladdin, and an excerpt from a new play for young audiences based on Jason Reynolds's Newbery Honor Book, Long Way Down.

In the 2018­-2019 season, the Kennedy Center will present seven Broadway productions, all of which are either currently running or recently completed runs on Broadway. Making its eagerly awaited return to the city that launched it is Dear Evan Hansen, the Tony and Grammy Award®-winning Best Musical. The season opens with Anastasia, the new musical from the Tony Award®-winning creators of Ragtime, followed by the acclaimed new Broadway production of the legendary Tony Award®-winning musical, Miss Saigon, and Broadway and London's award-winning smash comedy, The Play That Goes Wrong. The summer of 2019 fills the Kennedy Center's stages with some of Broadway's hottest musicals. In the Opera House, musical theater legend Betty Buckley stars in the Tony Award®-winning revival of Hello, Dolly! before audiences are taken to a whole new world with Disney's hit Broadway musical, Aladdin. The Eisenhower Theater will host the recent Tony®-nominated Lincoln Center Theater Broadway production of Falsettos and the Washington, D.C. premiere of the critically acclaimed new musical The Band's Visit.

In addition to Byhalia, Mississippi, the Kennedy Center will self-produce six musicals and play readings through its Broadway Center Stage series of starry semi-staged productions featuring talent and creative teams from Broadway and here in the nation's capital. Following on the heels of the wildly successful inaugural year, which included sold-out productions of Chess and In the Heights and continues with How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, next season's series of musicals will feature Little Shop of Horrors, Alan Menken and Howard Ashman's tuneful and hilarious musical about a megalomaniacal R&B singing carnivorous plant; Meredith Wilson's Tony Award®-winning classic, The Music Man; and The Who's Tommy, the Tony Award®-winning musical based on the iconic 1969 rock concept album.

For this upcoming season, Broadway Center Stage will expand to include three one-night-only readings of some of the greatest classic American plays featuring stars in roles they have always dreamed of playing. Play titles and dates will be announced at a later time.

The Center has also commissioned a new holiday show, Love, Factually, from Chicago's famed The Second City. Combining favorite characters and stories from the film Love, Actually with an original improv romantic tale, Love, Factually will make its world premiere in the Kennedy Center's Theater Lab.

Throughout the season, Kennedy Center audiences will be treated to five celebrated international plays from some of the world's most lauded theaters through the "World Stages" series. Shakespeare's Measure for Measure comes to the Kennedy Center in a dexterously crafted adaptation from director Declan Donnellan, English theater company Cheek by Jowl, and the Pushkin Theatre Moscow. Following a critically acclaimed run at London's Royal National Theatre, Barber Shop Chronicles welcomes audiences into a unique, intimate community where African men gather to discuss the world and their lives. Making its U.S. premiere,NeoArctic, a visual music performance collaboration between Denmark's artistic incubator Hotel Pro Forma and the Latvian Radio Choir, explores the harsh impact of humanity on our vulnerable eco-system and its future. In Limits, Swedish physical theater company Circus Cirkör examines the fences, walls, and boundaries we impose on our lives and our world. And, in a U.S. premiere, acclaimed Egyptian playwright/director Ahmed El Attar's The Last Supper is a darkly comedic satire that delves into the life of an affluent Egyptian family as they gather around the table for dinner.

As a part of the Center's continued efforts to support the creation of new works and unique artistic voices, the Kennedy Center will again partner with Sundance Institute to present a series of theater pieces from Institute alumni from the MENA region. The partnership began in 2017 with plays from Palestinian playwrights. The Center will also host the 17th annual Page-to-StageNew Play Festival over Labor Day weekend 2018, featuring more than 60 theaters from the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, all with a mission to produce and support new work, offering performances as dynamic as the makeup of the city.

April 2019 will continue the 50th anniversary celebration of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF), which for the past half-century has encouraged and celebrated the finest and most diverse theatrical productions from colleges and universities nationwide.

Page-to-Stage New Play Festival
September 1-3, 2018 throughout the Center

The Kennedy Center celebrates its 17th annual Page-to-Stage New Play Festival over Labor Day weekend. Page-to-Stage is a three-day, Center-wide event that offers free readings and open rehearsals of plays and musicals being developed by playwrights, librettists, and composers for local, regional, and national theater companies.

Measure for Measure
October 10-13, 2018 in the Eisenhower Theater

Shakespeare's classic play becomes a mirror of modern society in a dexterously crafted adaption from director Declan Donnellan, English theater company Cheek by Jowl, and the Pushkin Theatre Moscow. With a unique brew of humor and high seriousness, the story dissects the nature of justice, mercy, and virtue-asking unsettling questions about how we are governed and the relationships between those in power, and those not. In Russian with projected English titles.

Broadway Center Stage: Little Shop of Horrors
October 24-28, 2018 in the Eisenhower Theater

With book and lyrics by Howard Ashman and music by Alan Menken, Little Shop of Horrors is delicious sci-fi camp classic based on the 1960s cult horror film. Meek floral assistant Seymour Krelborn stumbles across a new breed of plant he names "Audrey II," after his coworker crush. This foul-mouthed, R&B-singing carnivore promises unending fame and fortune to Seymour as long as he keeps feeding it... BLOOD.

October 30-November 25, 2018 in the Opera House

Inspired by the beloved films, the romantic and adventure-filled new musical Anastasia transports audiences from the twilight of the Russian Empire to the euphoria of Paris in the 1920s, as a brave young woman sets out to discover the mystery of her past. Anastasia features a book by celebrated playwright Terrence McNally, a lush new score by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens (also the acclaimed composer/lyricist team for the Kennedy Center production of Little Dancer), and direction by Tony Award®winner Darko Tresnjak.

The Choir of Man
November 24-26, 2018 in the Eisenhower Theater

From the creators of this season's sold-out hit, Gobsmacked!, and Soweto Gospel Choir comes the ultimate feel-good show of the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Choir of Man is a night of unadulterated entertainment that combines high-energy dance, live music, and foot-stomping choreography with the incredible talent of ordinary guys who perform everything from sing-along favorites to classic rock.

Barber Shop Chronicles
November 28-December 1, 2018 in the Eisenhower Theater

This dynamic play, written by Inua Ellams, leaps from a barber shop in London to Johannesburg, Harare, Kampala, Lagos, and Accra. Barber Shop Chronicles welcomes audiences into a unique, intimate community where African men gather to discuss the world and their lives. These are places where the banter can be barbed but the truth is always telling. The play comes to the Kennedy Center following its critically acclaimed run at the Royal National Theatre in London.

The Second City's Love Factually
December 5-31, 2018 in the Theater Lab

This fast-paced romp from Nancy Hayden, Damon Royster, and Marc Warzecha combines favorite (or despised) characters and stories from the movie Love, Actually with an original romantic tale sure to warm the heart. A mashup of parody, original comedy, music, improv, and audience participation, Love, Factually is a holiday satire from the twisted minds at The Second City, which gets to the truth of December life, love, and romance.

Miss Saigon
December 11, 2018-January 13, 2019 in the Opera House

Cameron Mackintosh's acclaimed new production of the legendary Tony®-winning musical Miss Saigon, from the creators of Les Misérables, features stunning spectacle, a sensational cast of 42, and a soaring score including Broadway hits like "Last Night of the World," "The Movie in My Mind," and "The Heat Is on in Saigon." This is the epic story of a young Vietnamese woman named Kim. In a bar run by a notorious character called The Engineer, Kim meets an American G.I. in an encounter that will change their lives forever.

The Play That Goes Wrong
December 18, 2018-January 6, 2019 in the Eisenhower Theater

What would happen if Sherlock Holmes and Monty Python had an illegitimate Broadway baby? You'd get New York and London's award-winning smash comedy, The Play That Goes Wrong. This classic murder mystery is chock-full of mishaps and madcap mania. Welcome to opening night of The Murder at Haversham Manor, where things are quickly going from bad to utterly disastrous-with an unconscious leading lady, a corpse that can't play dead, and actors who trip over everything.

Broadway Center Stage: The Music Man
February 6-10, 2019 in the Eisenhower Theater

This American favorite and winner of six Tony Awards® follows traveling salesman Harold Hill as he cons the people of River City, Iowa, into buying instruments and uniforms for a boys' band that he vows to organize... despite the fact he doesn't know a trombone from a treble clef. The musical with book, music, and lyrics by Meredith Wilson will star Tony Award® nominee Norm Lewis.

February 13-16, 2019 in the Terrace Theater

Making its U.S. premiere, this collaboration between Denmark's artistic incubator Hotel Pro Forma and the Latvian Radio Choir daringly explores the Anthropocene, a new geological age characterized by the harsh impact of humanity on our vulnerable eco-system. Through a mingling of classical voice, electronica, dramatic staging, and movement, plus a dynamic backdrop of photography from NASA, this visual music performance addresses a broad range of environmental issues from climate change to soil erosion. Twelve unique soundscapes cover twelve different landscapes to tell the story of planet Earth and its future.

Tap Dogs
February 19-24, 2019 in the Eisenhower Theater

The global dance sensation Tap Dogs hits the road on an international tour of jaw-dropping new surprises. Audiences will experience the thrill of a revitalized genre of dance, with 75 action-packed minutes of part theater, part choreography, part rock concert, and part construction site. An adrenaline-pumped cast turns traditional tap dancing upside-down and into the ultimate night out. Tap Dogspremiered at the Sydney Theater Festival and success quickly followed with seasons in London, New York, Tokyo, Paris, Berlin, Shanghai, and around the world. Created by Olivier Award-winning choreographer Dein Perry, and originally directed by Nigel Triffitt, with music by Andrew Wilkie and lighting by Gavin Norris.

March 6-9, 2019 in the Eisenhower Theater

Tilde Björfors conceived and directed this physical theater work by Sweden's Cirkus Cirkör. We build fences around our gardens, walls, and barricades, and place armed soldiers around our countries. But human beings have never wanted to stay in the same place. In classic Cirkus Cirkör style, Limits will turn perspectives on their heads. In English and Swedish with projected English titles.

The Last Supper
March 14­-16, 2019 in the Family Theater

Making its U.S. premiere, this darkly comedic satire delves into the life of an affluent Egyptian family as they gather around the table for dinner. Although the meal never seems to arrive, the audience feasts on the absurdity and banality of these caricatures thriving in their self-absorbed philosophies. Created by acclaimed Egyptian playwright/director Ahmed El Attar, the play highlights the harsh indifference of the bourgeoisie in Egypt and the hallow exchanges which masquerade as human connection. In Arabic with projected English titles.

Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF)
April 15-21, 2019 throughout the Center

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, KCACTF has reached millions of theatergoers and hundreds of thousands of college and university theater students nationwide. The national festival brings together participants from regional festivals around the country to the Kennedy Center. The national festival includes master classes with leading artists from the American theater, an opportunity for the student participants to engage with colleagues from across the nation, attendance at productions at leading Washington, D.C. theaters, interviews and auditions for scholarship and residency opportunities, and an awards ceremony.

Broadway Center Stage: The Who's Tommy
April 24-28, 2019 in the Opera House

Based on the iconic 1969 rock concept album, The Who's Tommy is an exhilarating story of hope, healing, and the human spirit. With music and lyrics by Pete Townshend, book by Des McAnuff and Pete Townshend, and additional music and lyrics by John Entwistle and Keith Moon, this five-time Tony Award®-winning one-of-a-kind musical tells story of the pinball-playing, "deaf, dumb, and blind" boy who triumphs over his adversities.

Betty Buckley in Hello, Dolly!
June 4-July 7, 2019 in the Opera House

Tony Award®-winning Broadway legend Betty Buckley stars in Hello, Dolly!-the universally acclaimed smash. Winner of four Tony Awards® including Best Musical Revival, director Jerry Zaks's gorgeous new production is breaking box office records week after week and receiving thunderous raves on Broadway. This Hello, Dolly! pays tribute to the original work of legendary director/choreographer Gower Champion-hailed both then and now as one of the greatest stagings in musical theater history.

June 11-23, 2019 in the Eisenhower Theater

William Finn and James Lapine's groundbreaking, Tony Award®­-winning musical Falsettos returned to Broadway in an all new production from Lincoln Center Theater, and was nominated for five 2017 Tony Awards®, including Best Revival of a Musical. Lapine returned to direct an extraordinary cast in a production that was seen on PBS stations nationwide. Falsettos revolves around the life of a charming, intelligent, neurotic gay man named Marvin, his wife, lover, about-to-be-Bar-Mitzvahed son, their psychiatrist, and the lesbians next door. It's a hilarious and achingly poignant look at the infinite possibilities that make up a modern family... and a beautiful reminder that love can tell a million stories.

The Band's Visit
July 9-August 4, 2019 in the Eisenhower Theater

Dina, a café owner in an Israeli desert town, had long resigned her desires for romance to daydreaming about exotic films and music from her youth. When a band of Egyptian musicians show up lost at her café, she and her fellow locals take them in for the night. As their lives intertwine in unexpected ways, this once sleepy town begins to wake up. It rejoices in the way music brings us to life, brings us to laughter, brings us to tears, and ultimately, brings us together. The Band's Visit is brought to the stage by three-time Tony® nominee David Yazbek (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Full Monty), Drama Desk nominee Itamar Moses (Nobody Loves You, Fortress of Solitude), based on the screenplay by Eran Kolirin and directed by acclaimed director David Cromer (Our Town, The House of Blue Leaves).

Disney's Aladdin
July 18-September 7, 2019 in the Opera House

Washington, D.C. will discover a whole new world at Aladdin, the hit Broadway musical. From the producer of The Lion King comes the timeless story of Aladdin, a thrilling new production filled with unforgettable beauty, magic, comedy, and breathtaking spectacle. It's an extraordinary theatrical event where one lamp and three wishes make the possibilities infinite. Adapted from the Academy Award®-winning film, Aladdin features music by Tony Award® and eight-time Oscar® winner Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, Newsies, Sister Act), lyrics by two-time Oscar® winner Howard Ashman (Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid), three-time Tony Award® and three-time Oscar® winner Tim Rice (Evita, Aida) and four-time Tony Award® nominee Chad Beguelin (The Wedding Singer), with a book by Beguelin, and is directed and choreographed by Tony Award® winner Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon).

Dear Evan Hansen
August 6-September 8, 2019 in the Eisenhower Theater

Winner of six 2017 Tony Awards® including Best Musical and the Grammy Award® for Best Musical Theater Album. A letter that was never meant to be seen. A lie that was never meant to be told. A life he never dreamed he could have. Evan Hansen is about to get the one thing he's always wanted: a chance to finally fit in. Dear Even Hansen is the deeply personal and profoundly contemporary musical about life and the way we live it. Dear Evan Hansen features a book by Tony Award® winner Steven Levenson; a score by Grammy®, Tony®, and Academy Award® winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land, The Greatest Showman); and direction by four-time Tony Award® nominee Michael Greif (Rent, Next to Normal).

Shear Madness
Ongoing in the Theater Lab

Shear Madness, the wildly popular comedy "whodunit" keeps audiences laughing as they try to outwit the suspects and catch the killer. New clues and up-to-the-minute improvisation deliver a different show each night. It's interactive, immersive, and irresistible.

Theater for Young Audiences 2018-2019

For the 2018-2019 season, Kennedy Center Theater for Young Audiences has commissioned four new world premiere journeys in theater, music, and dance: Long Way Down, based on National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestseller Jason Reynolds's fiercely stunning novel; How to Catch a Star, a multimedia, movement based adaptation from Oliver Jeffers's simple tale of reaching for the stars; She a Gem, a new play by Josh Wilder about four girls in inner city Philadelphia who create a double-dutch team to compete in the neighborhood pageant; and The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963, from the Newbery Medal for Excellence in Children's Literature and Coretta Scott King Award winning book by Christopher Paul Curtis. KCTYA has also partnered with Brooklyn's ArKtype for a co-commission of Cartography, a piece developed through work with refugee youth from around the world exploring migration, and with D.C.'s Company | E for a co-commission of Voyagers: A Dance Among the Planets, combining live music and movement to celebrate curiosity, compassion, and the natural world.

Ticket Information

Patrons wishing to renew or purchase new subscriptions may do so by calling the Subscription office at (202) 416-8500 or go to Pricing and on sale details for single tickets will be made available at a later date.

Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy

Related Articles

More Hot Stories For You