The capital’s most renowned theater covers the entire realm of performing arts: Ballet, opera, plays, musicals, modern dance, jazz, classical and chamber music, and children’s theater all take the stage at this magnificent complex overlooking the Potomac River. As a living memorial to President John F. Kennedy, the Center considers itself the nation’s theater and is committed to fulfilling the president’s mission to make the performing arts available to everyone.
Within this 17-acre arts facility lie six different theaters: the Opera House, the Concert Hall, the Terrace Theater, the Eisenhower Theater, the Theater Lab, and the Family Theater. And on their stages you can expect to see world-class performances across the cultural and entertainment spectrum. Highlights from the 2015 to 2016 season give you a hint: Matilda, the Musical; the Royal Swedish Ballet’s performance of Juliet and Romeo; the National Symphony Orchestra’s 21-week classical series; in this, its 60th season, the Washington National Opera’s first presentation of Richard Wagner’s four-opera masterpiece, The Ring of the Nibelung; a production of the Greek tragedy Antigone, starring the French actress Juliette Binoche; a robust schedule of 50 jazz concerts; and a three-week Ireland-focused festival, Celebrating a Century of Irish Arts and Culture.
Visit the KenCen to attend a performance, for sure, but also consider stopping by for one of the free guided tours, which take place throughout the day. Finish the visit by attending the free “Millennium Stage” performance, mostly concerts, but also dance, theater, comedy, and other forms of entertainment, staged every single evening at 6pm in the Grand Foyer, each night featuring a different act, local artists mostly, but nationally known and international performers from time to time, too.
Otherwise, expect to pay ticket prices that range from $15 for a family concert to $300 for opera; most tickets cost between $45 and $100.
Whatever performance you attend, make sure you head out to the terrace for a grand view of the Potomac.
- Elise Hartman Ford