News on your favorite shows, specials & more!

See Chita Rivera, Cabarets, Drag Shows and More at Olney Outdoors This Summer

The opening week of shows, the week of July 7-9 is representative of the summer’s eclectic program.

By: May. 22, 2023
See Chita Rivera, Cabarets, Drag Shows and More at Olney Outdoors This Summer  Image
Enter Your Email to Unlock This Article

Plus, get the best of BroadwayWorld delivered to your inbox, and unlimited access to our editorial content across the globe.

Existing user? Just click login.

Olney Theatre Center has unveiled its summer schedule of 30 events on its newly renovated Root Family Stage at Omi’s Pavilion. The opening week of shows, the week of July 7-9 is representative of the summer’s eclectic program, and includes a performance by Grateful Dead tribute band Better Off Dead (July 7), and two performances of a concert version of West Side Story (July 8 & 9). The following weeks are all pegged to a “Decades” theme ranging from the 1950s to the 1990s, highlights of which include a series of “One-Name Cabarets” dedicated to seminal mononyms Judy (July 15), Barbra (July 22), and Whitney (Aug. 11). Similarly, each decade includes an outdoor screening of a classic film from that era. Drag shows are also a big element of the programming with tributes to divas from the 60s (July 20) and 90s (Aug. 17). The whole summer climaxes in a special concert by the legendary Chita Rivera, “Chita - The Rhythm of My Life”  in which the Broadway icon will be accompanied by her long-time trio and special guests, over Labor Day Weekend (Sept. 3). Tickets for most performances are on sale now, with the exception of the Chita Rivera concert, which goes on sale June 1st at noon. Tickets to events range from $10 – $95, with most events less than $40, and can be purchased at or through the Box Office (301-924-3400).

Olney Outdoors is curated once again, by Kevin S. McAllister who said, “This is our most exciting summer yet. We have a beautiful, new, covered stage with upgraded sound and lights. Our lineup is the strongest it's ever been, kicking off with a concert version of the quintessential American musical, and finishing with a unique concert by a living legend. In between, we’ll take a tour of some of the defining musical moments of the 20th Century, with weeks of programs dedicated to the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s.”

As Olney Theatre continues to prioritize access, all Olney Outdoors events are part of the First Time Free initiative – where new patrons to Olney Theatre Center can claim 4 free tickets to their first event by using the code 1stTimeFree. This offer is subject to availability and is not valid for the Chita Rivera concert on September 3.

The schedule to date follows. It will be updated on

All programs begin at 8:00 pm on the Root Family Stage at Omi’s Pavilion, except where noted. Programs take place rain or shine but may be moved indoors in the instance of heavy or sustained rain and/or lightning.

WEEK 1: Grand Opening Week of the Root Family Stage at Omi’s Pavilion

July 7 - 9

Since last summer we’ve completely rebuilt the Root Family Stage at Omi’s Pavilion and to break it in, we’re kicking off Olney Outdoors with a week of favorites.

Friday, July 7 

Concert: Better Off Dead.

One of the mid-Atlantic’s most popular Grateful Dead tribute bands, local to Maryland, Better Off Dead will get you feeling good and groovy! Featuring Maryland and DC musicians, Better Off Dead has performed in some of the East Coast’s most beloved venues and their performance on the new Root Family Stage at Omi’s Pavilion at Olney Theatre will be epic!

Saturday & Sunday, July 8 & 9
Note start time: both shows at 7:30 pm 

Applause Series: West Side Story

Jets and Sharks on stage with a full orchestra for a concert version of one of America’s most beloved musicals.

WEEK 2: Welcome to the 50s

Put on your poodle skirt or skinny tie and meet us outside for these 1950s-inspired programs.

Friday, July 14

Cabaret: Great Women of Jazz: Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, and Anita O’Day

A musical tribute to the matriarchs of jazz vocals

Saturday, July 15

10:00 am & 12:00 pm

Movie: TBA Kids Sing-Along

Bring the kids indoors to the 1938 Original Theatre to sing along to a classic movie

Saturday, July 15

One-Name Cabaret: Sounds of Judy

Garland to be specific.

Sunday, July 16 
Outdoor Movie TBA: 1950s Science Fiction

WEEK 3: Welcome to the 60s

One of the best decades for music in American history.

Thursday, July 20

60s Drag Divas

Barbras, Dianas, Janises, and more.

Friday, July 21

Cabaret: Motown Celebration

The Temptations, The Supremes, The Four Tops, and that’s just the bands that begin with “The”

Saturday, July 22

One-Name Cabaret: Sounds of Barbra

Streisand. Not that you needed to ask.

Sunday, July 23

Outdoor Movie TBA: A 1960s Horror Classic

WEEK 4: Welcome to the 70s

Disco. Country divas. Mega-Musicals.

Thursday, July 27

Sounds of (Donna) Summer

A cabaret salute to the Queen of Disco, that will have you on your feet.

Friday, July 28

Cabaret: 70s Country

A tribute to Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Tammy Wynette, Conway Twitty and more

Saturday, July 29

Cabaret: Andrew Lloyd Weber Celebration

Joseph, Evita, Cats and more!

Sunday, July 30 

Outdoor Movie TBA: Something from one of the 1970s renegade directors


Saturday, August 5

More details to come about our annual tribute to the intersection of Arts and Social Justice. 

WEEK 6: Welcome to the 80s

Big hair, big riffs, big voices.

Thursday, August 10

Cabaret: 80s Rock

From Pop to Hair Metal to Indies

Friday, August 11

One-Name Cabaret: Sounds of Whitney

Wanna dance with somebody?

Saturday, August 12
Applause Series: Celebrating the Songs of Boubil and Schomberg

To the barricades! Look out for the helicopter!

Sunday, August 13

Outdoor Movie TBA: Gotta be something in the John Hughes Expanded Universe

WEEK 7: Welcome to the 90s

When your phone was just a phone.

Thursday, August 17 

90s Drag Divas

Madonna, Whitney, Janet, Cher, Mariah

Friday, August 18 

Cabaret: Sounds of Boy Bands

A tribute to Backstreet Boys, NSYNC and Boyz II Men, 98 Degrees

Saturday, August 19

10:00 am & 12:00 pm

Movie: TBA Kids Sing-Along

Bring the kids indoors to the 1938 Original Theatre to sing along to a classic of 90s animation.

Saturday, August 19
Cabaret: Sounds of Girl Groups

Arguably an unmatched era for girl groups like TLC, En Vogue, Destiny’s Child, Salt n Peppa, and even the Spice Girls.

Sunday, August 20 

Outdoor Movie TBA


Family Vacation (we’re closed)



Thursday, August 31

Rhapsody in Blue and other Gershwin with Company E Dance

A multi-disciplinary feast from the internationally renowned company

Friday, September 1

Local Comedy Night

Spend a “stand-up” night with some of the DMV’s best comedians

Saturday, September 2 


Our annual open house with tons of free events, giveaways, and backstage tours.

Saturday, September 2

Sounds of ABBA Tribute

One last taste of summer.

Sunday, September 3 

Concert: Chita Rivera: The Rhythm of My Life

Come celebrate the one and only Chita Rivera! The incomparable Tony Award winner will recreate signature moments from her legendary career from West Side Story, Sweet Charity and Bye Bye Birdie to Chicago, Kiss of the Spider Woman, The Visit, and more. In addition to a tribute to her dear friends John Kander & Fred Ebb, the timeless music of Leonard Bernstein, Charles Strouse & Lee Adams, Jerry Herman and Stephen Sondheim will also be featured, accompanied by her long-time trio and special guests. With credits, honors, and awards too numerous to mention, Ms. Rivera belongs in the first tier of American musical theatre legends. Her performance will be a can’t-miss opportunity to say “you were there” as Olney adds her appearance to our storied history, which places her in the company of Helen Hayes, Carol Channing, Olivia de Havilland, and Tallulah Bankhead.


To post a comment, you must register and login.