Kennedy Center Announces New Season

News   Kennedy Center Announces New Season
The 2016-17 slate will include works by Bartlett Sher and Susan Stroman, hit musicals like Wicked and Into the Woods and a hip hop focus.
Ken Watanabe and Kelli O&#39;Hara in <i>The King and I</i>
Ken Watanabe and Kelli O'Hara in The King and I Paul Kolnik

Washington D.C.’s John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has announced its yearlong program marking and honoring the 100th anniversary of the birth of the late President. The new season will run April 2016 through May 2017 and is set to feature an eclectic array of initiatives and productions “reflecting the contemporary spirit of America.”

For the first time, the Center has appointed an artistic director of Hip Hop Culture, a position filled by Q-Tip, with an aim to make hip hop a core programming area. Other newly appointed roles include artistic advisors-at-large, Broadway actress and opera superstar Renée Fleming and acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

The theatre season will feature works from the U.S. and around the world, including: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Into the Woods, Wicked, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, The King and I, Cabaret, The Gabriels: Election Year in the Life of One Family, Teatro El Público (Cuba): Antigonón, un contingente épico, Petrol Station, Chicago, Battlefied and more.

The slate includes productions by notable directors Peter Brook, Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall, Richard Nelson, Jack O’Brien, Bartlett Sher and Susan Stroman, among others.

As part of Celebrating the Man and His Legacy, the Center will also present Ireland 100: Celebrating a Century of Irish Arts & Culture, which will feature staged readings of short plays reflecting Kennedy’s legacy.

“We want to do more than just commemorate a great President on the 100th anniversary of his birth,” commented Kennedy Center president Deborah F. Rutter in a press announcement. “It is important to all of us here at the Center, that we live, breathe, and demonstrate his legacy, and be guided by the essence of his remarkably enduring contributions: idealism, hope, and empowerment…This season is designed to encourage our institution to become more and more a true reflection of our rich, diverse culture and the world in which we live.”

The 2016-17 season will feature works from the worlds of ballet, contemporary dance, comedy, opera, classical music, hip hop, jazz, civil rights activism and more. The centennial celebrations will officially kick off May 29 with an evening ceremony and performance and will culminate with an Open House featuring free street arts, a showcase of hip hop and skate culture, and classical and contemporary arts.

For the full season line-up, visit

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