Theater offers some of the most beloved and hated characters—and those whom you love to hate. It’s where you go on a journey and fall in love with a story. Here are some of the best theaters in the DC area where you can do just that.
The National Theatre
1321 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20004
Steeped in history and situated on “America’s Main Street” near the White House, The National Theatre is a historic symbol for performing arts in the District. For nearly 200 years The National has continuously operated in its original capacity—making it the oldest enterprise on Pennsylvania Avenue to do so. Since it first opened its doors in 1835, the theatre has been host to some of the world’s most important people and events, including presidential inaugural balls, presidential command artistic performances, and even as a stage in the fight for civil rights. Historic productions like the Ziegfeld Follies showed here, as well as the world premieres of famed musicals like “West Side Story” and “Show Boat.” Celebrities past and present have graced The National’s stage—from Will Rogers, Vivien Leigh, Josephine Baker and Audrey Hepburn, to James Earl Jones, Angela Lansbury, Kevin Spacey and Annie Lennox. Today, The National Theatre continues to attract top talent and eager audiences.
1501 14th Street N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20005
With a mission to produce “an uncommonly rich and wide-ranging repertoire of provocative new writing from around the world,” Studio Theatre is among D.C.’s most prominent venues. Here you can enjoy thrilling contemporary productions as well as modern classics. Over the course of Studio’s 36-year history it has won 60 Helen Hayes Awards for excellence in professional theatre. The intimate seating of its four theatres enhances the viewer experience, enabling patrons to connect with the actors and productions. It all makes for memorable theatre that keeps audiences coming back for more.
GALA Hispanic Theatre
3333 14th Street N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20010
Considered a “national center for Latino performing arts,” the GALA Hispanic Theatre offers classical and contemporary plays in both Spanish and English, as well as programs of music, dance, art, poetry, the spoken word and film. Founded in 1976 by Hugo and Rebecca Read Medrano, GALA’s mission is to preserve and promote Hispanic language and culture. The organization accomplishes this objective by raising awareness of Spanish and Latin American plays among Spanish-speaking people in DC, and by making the English-speaking public aware of the richness, depth, and variety of Hispanic theater. In 2005, GALA moved into its permanent location at D.C.’s historic Tivoli Theatre.
The Warner Theatre is another D.C. institution with lots of history. First opened as the Earle Theatre in 1924, the name was changed to Warner Theatre by its owner—Harry Warner of the Warner Brothers—in 1947. In the decades following, the theatre underwent several incarnations and was heavily utilized during the 1980s for touring plays and music concerts of nearly every kind before it was shut down in 1989 for a major three-year renovation performed by The Kaempfer Company. The new-and-improved facility reopened in 1992, and Warner Theatre has since become a destination to experience top talent in theatre, dance, music and television.
Kevin Don Porter is the author of OVER THE EDGE and MISSING—two mysteries available on Amazon.com. Visit his website at www.kevindonporter.com..