Blanchett Led 'STREETCAR', McNally Trio & 'OSAGE' Part of Starry Kennedy Center 2009/2010 Season

Blanchett Led 'STREETCAR', McNally Trio & 'OSAGE' Part of Starry Kennedy Center 2009/2010 SeasonThe John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts today announced the Center and the National Symphony Orchestra's complete season for 2009- 2010. In wide ranging programming that covers theater, dance, classical music, jazz and productions for young people, the Center continues its commitment, as the nation's center for the performing arts, to producing and presenting the best of national and international arts.

Kennedy Center Chairman Stephen A. Schwarzman announced in a statement, "The Kennedy Center's new season highlights a wide breadth of creative programming from the United States and around the world. We begin our two-year ‘Focus on Russia' to present the cultural heritage and vibrant contemporary works of that nation. The 2010 VSA arts International Festival presents the largest showcase of works ever mounted by artists with disabilities. The theater season features three great plays by the wonderful American playwright Terrence McNally. We celebrate the return of Ballet Across America hosting nine regional companies, and our renowned National Symphony Orchestra continues to present world-acclaimed soloists."

The highlights of the season are:

Terrence McNally's Nights at the Opera will feature three plays about opera to be performed concurrently in three Kennedy Center theaters. Tony Award® winner Master Class directed by Walter Bobbie will join a revival of Off-Broadway's The Lisbon Traviata, directed by Christopher Ashley, and a new play co-produced with the Philadelphia Theatre Company as part of the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays, titled Golden Age.
· 2010 VSA arts International Festival

VSA arts will present the largest showcase of artistic excellence highlighting the arts and disability. The 2010 International VSA arts Festival convenes artists with disabilities from around the world in a multicultural celebration of the arts and arts education in a city-wide event. This multidisciplinary festival will include:

An opening concert featuring Patti LaBelle
Claire Danes introducing a new inclusive dance commission by Tamar Rogoff Performance Projects
Comedians Josh Blue and Brett Leake
Performers Marlee Matlin, Henry Butler, and Diane Schuur
Evelyn Glennie with the National Symphony Orchestra
An extraordinary selection of emerging artists with disabilities from around the world on the Millennium Stage

The Ballet Season features Ballet Across America II with nine regional companies from around the United States. Legendary dance companies from around the world will perform, including American Ballet Theatre; Mariinsky Ballet; Bolshoi Ballet; The Suzanne Farrell Ballet; New York City Ballet; and the Washington premiere of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker by the Pennsylvania Ballet.

The National Symphony Orchestra:
Opening Night with Evgeny Kissin
Principal Conductor Iván Fischer conducting Bach's Mass in B minor
Music Director Designate Christoph Eschenbach conducting the Verdi Requiem
John Adams: Perspectives, featuring Adams conducting his own works
The world premiere of Jennifer Higdon's Piano Concerto
Marvin Hamlisch, Principal Pops Conductor, in his tenth season, leads a tribute to Stephen Sondheim's 80th birthday, The Music Man, and other programs.

The two-season Focus on Russia highlights the splendid arts of this country, including performances by the Mariinsky Ballet; the Mariinsky Opera and Orchestra performing War and Peace, as well as concert versions of Eugene Onegin and Boris Godunov; the Bolshoi Ballet; several Russian soloists and conductors appearing with the NSO - including Evgeny Kissin, Vadim Repin, Denis Matsuev, Alexander Vedernikov, and Mischa Maisky. The NSO also performs Russian repertoire, including Lera Auerbach's Requiem for Icarus and a concert of Russian repertoire conducted by Iván Fischer.

The Contemporary Dance Season features performances by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Cloud Gate Dance Theater of Taiwan, Compañía National de Danza, Keigwin + Company, Pilobolus Dance Theater and Shen Wei Dance Arts.

Gospel Across America features acclaimed American gospel artists, from established traditional artists to contemporary rising stars, including Richard Smallwood, Shirley Caesar, Kirk Franklin, and Take 6, as well as Mavis Staples, Marietta Simpson, Fish University Jubilee Singers, Sweet Heaven Kings, Nubian Gents + Feminine Fire gospel step teams, and The Clark Sisters.

The Fortas Chamber Music Series features the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Christopher Taylor, Zukerman ChamberPlayers, Steven Isserlis with Kirill Gerstein, the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, and others.

The Jazz Series focuses on Ella Fitzgerald in Ella!, featuring Dee Dee Bridgewater, Janis Siegel, and the Dizzie Gillespie All-Star Band. Other highlights include Hot Swing, featuring Mark O'Connor and Dorado Schmidt; performances by Dianne Reeves, McCoy Turner, and John Pizzarelli, and the 15th anniversary of the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival.

The Theater Season will also include Broadway hits such as Disney's Mary Poppins; Young Frankenstein; Thurgood starring Laurence Fishburne; August: Osage County starring Estelle Parsons; 4D Art's Norman; and A Streetcar Named Desire starring Cate Blanchett and directed by Liv Ullman.

Barbara Cook's Spotlight will highlight leading Broadway performers, selected by theater legend Barbara Cook, in a cabaret setting. They include Karen Akers, Christine Ebersole, Daniel Evans with Janet Russell, Cheyenne Jackson, and Jessica Molaskey with John Pizzarelli.
Performances for Young Audiences will premiere three new Kennedy Center-commissioned works: Barrio Grrrl: The Musical, written by Quiara Alegría Hudes with music by Bill Sherman; Teddy Roosevelt and the Ghostly Mistletoe, written by Tom Isbell with music by Mark Russell; and Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical adapted by author Mo Willems with music by Michael Silversher.

The 25th annual Open House Arts Festival will highlight the theme: Stage and Street Spectacular.

The 32nd Kennedy Center Honors, which will be broadcast on CBS in late December.

The Mark Twain Prize celebrates its 12th anniversary and will be broadcast nationally.

For more information on the Kennedy Center's 2009-2010 season visit


Photo Credit: Walter McBride/Retna Ltd.