‘Antigone’, ‘Matilda’, ‘Kinky Boots’, ‘A Gentleman’s Guide To Love and Murder’,”Beautiful’, ‘The Bridges of Madison County’, and ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ Highlight The Kennedy Center’s 2015-2016 Theatre Season

The Kennedy Center Announced its 2015-2016 Theatre Season:




Starring Juliette Binoche, Directed by Ivo van Hove Three World Premiere Plays as part of the Women’s Voices Theater Festival

Lost in the Stars by Washington National Opera

National Tours of:

Matilda the Musical

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

Kinky Boots

The Bridges of Madison County

The Phantom of the Opera

The 9th Season of Barbara Cook’s Spotlight Series

Celebrating a Century of Irish Arts and Culture!

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts today announced its 2015-2016 theater season. As the nation’s performing arts center, the Kennedy Center is dedicated to bringing theater’s finest productions to its stages. Reaching hundreds of thousands of audience members annually, the upcoming theater season showcases a diverse range of theatrical productions from a dramatic, centuries-old classic tale to unforgettable Broadway sensations; the season has something to offer everyone in the family.

The season features Antigone starring Academy Award® winner Juliette Binoche, directed by Ivo van Hove, and presented by Barbican and Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg in association with Toneelgroep Amsterdam;

Six Tony Award® winning Broadway favorites including Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Matilda the Musical, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Kinky Boots, The Bridges of Madison County, and The Phantom of the Opera; three world premiere plays as part of the citywide 2 Women’s Voices Theater Festival; a Washington National Opera production of Lost in the Stars which merges influences from Broadway and crosses the barrier between opera and musical; and five Broadway performers hat entertain in an intimate cabaret setting as part of the ninth season of Barbara Cook’s Spotlight series.

From May 16 to June 5, 2016, Celebrating a Century of Irish Arts and Culture! will bring a variety of theatrical and cultural offerings from Ireland to the Kennedy Center.

As part of the Center’s continued efforts to support the creation of new works, the Kennedy Center will host the 14th annual Page-to-Stage new play festival over Labor Day weekend and the 48th annual Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in April 2016. The 2015-2016 Kennedy Center Theater Season Schedule PAGE-TO-STAGE New Play Festival, Throughout the Center September 5 – 7, 2015. The Kennedy Center hosts its 14th annual Page-to-Stage new play festival over Labor Day weekend. Page-toStage is a three-day, Center-wide event that offers free readings and open rehearsals of plays and musicals that are being developed by local, regional, and national playwrights, librettists, and composers in locations throughout the Center.



The Kennedy Center presents three theatrical offerings as part of the Women’s Voices Theater Festival to include Darius & Twig, Roe, and Good Kids. The Women’s Voices Theater Festival, which boasts participation from more than 50 theaters throughout the Nation’s Capital region, is dedicated to featuring new work by female playwrights and highlighting the scope of plays being written by women. More information on the two-month festival will be announced at a later date.



Family Theater

October 31 – November 8, 2015

Part of the Theater for Young Audiences Season

Based on Darius & Twig by Walter Dean Myers, this Kennedy Center world premiere commission is adapted by Caleen Sinnette Jennings and directed by Eleanor Holdridge. Darius and Twig have been best friends since they were nine. Now 16, the two dream of finding a world beyond the confines of their daily lives on 145th Street in Harlem. Certainly, their talents are on their side: Darius is a highly intelligent writer and Twig is a gifted runner. But are the two free to use their gifts? A suspenseful, street-smart novel by acclaimed novelist Walter Dean Myers, Darius & Twig depicts a viscerally real setting in which young men must struggle to overcome obstacles by finding the best within themselves. For ages 13 and up.


Part of the Women’s Voices Theater Festival:


Theater Lab

September 28, 2015

In association with Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s American Revolutions Project

Bill Rauch directs Lisa Loomer’s Roe, presented in association with Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s American Revolutions Project, which is commissioning up to 37 new plays inspired by major moments of change in American History. This is a FREE event.


Part of the Women’s Voices Theater Festival.


Theater Lab

In association with the University of Maryland

October 12, 2015

Naomi Iizuka’s new play, Good Kids, is directed by Alan McVey from the University of Iowa and is presented in association with the University of Maryland celebrating the Big Ten Theatre Consortium’s Women Playwrights Commissioning Project, which will commission one female playwright a year for the next ten years to write a relevant piece of theater for university students. The project also addresses the lack of strong female characters available despite the fact that the majority of people working in theater are women. After a high school party, Chloe is raped by a group of football players, and eventually the whole school finds out about it through social media. What leads a group of “good kids” to collectively assault a peer or not intervene when they see it happening? This is a FREE event.

Part of the Women’s Voices Theater Festival:


Opera House

October 6 – 25, 2015

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical tells the inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom, from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history. Along the way, she made more than beautiful music, she wrote the soundtrack to a generation. Featuring a stunning array of beloved songs written by Gerry Goffin/Carole King and Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil, including “I Feel The Earth Move,” “One Fine Day,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “You’ve Got A Friend” and the title song, Beautiful has a book by Tony Award® nominee and Academy Award® nominated writer Douglas McGrath, direction by Marc Bruni, choreography by Josh Prince, and took home two 2014 Tony Awards® and a 2015 Grammy Award® .



Eisenhower Theater

October 22 – 25, 2015

Academy Award® winning actress Juliette Binoche stars in the title role of Antigone, a Barbican and Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg production, in association with Toneelgroep Amsterdam. The production is directed by internationally renowned Belgian theater director Ivo van Hove, with a new translation by TS Eliot Prize-winning poet Anne Carson. When her dead brother is decreed a traitor and his body is left unburied beyond the city walls, Antigone refuses to accept this severe punishment. Defying her uncle who governs, she dares to say “no.” Forging ahead with a funeral on her own, she places personal allegiance before politics, a tenacious act that will trigger a cycle of destruction.



Opera House

December 15, 2015 – January 10, 2016

TIME Magazine’s #1 Show of the Year. Winner of 50 international awards including four Tony Awards® and a record-breaking seven Olivier Awards® including Best Musical, Matilda the Musical is based on the beloved novel by best-selling author Roald Dahl (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr. Fox). It is the story of an extraordinary girl who dreams of a better life. Armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, Matilda dares to take a stand and change her destiny. Matilda the Musical is directed by Tony Award® winner Matthew Warchus (God of Carnage), who helms this production with a book by Tony Award® winning playwright Dennis Kelly and music and lyrics by Australian comedian, musician, and composer Tim Minchin.4



Eisenhower Theater

January 13 – 30, 2016

Winner of four 2014 Tony Awards ® including Best Musical, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder features Tony Award® winning book and lyrics by Robert L. Freedman, music and lyrics by Steven Lutvak, and direction by Darko Tresnjak. Direct from New York, Gentleman’s Guide tells the story of Monty Navarro, a distant heir to a family fortune who sets out to jump the line of succession by—you guessed it— eliminating the eight pesky relatives (all played by one fearless man) who stand in his way. All the while, he’s got to juggle his mistress (she’s after more than just love), his fiancée (she’s his cousin but who’s keeping track?), and the constant threat of landing behind bars! Of course, it will all be worth it if he can slay his way to his inheritance… and be done in time for tea.



Eisenhower Theater

February 12 – 20, 2016

Part of the Washington National Opera season For the first time in 15 years, WNO returns to the Eisenhower Theater for an important company premiere, Kurt Weill’s Lost in the Stars. Based on Alan Paton’s novel Cry, the Beloved Country about apartheid in South Africa, this searing work crosses the barrier between opera and musical. Merging influences from Broadway, gospel, African spirituals, jazz, and blues, Lost in the Stars soars with thrilling operatic passages, including the haunting title number. Following his turn in WNO’s The Flying Dutchman, renowned bassbaritone Eric Owens returns for the role of Stephen Kumalo, a minister in apartheid-era South Africa who travels from his small village to Johannesburg to find his troubled son. The opera also stars Sean Panikkar (WNO’s Salome and Nabucco) as The Leader and Wynn Harmon (WNO’s Show Boat) as James Jarvis. The breathtaking production from Cape Town Opera is directed by Tazewell Thompson and features set and costume design by Michael Mitchell in his WNO debut and lighting design by Robert Wierzel. American conductor John DeMain (WNO’s Show Boat) leads the WNO Orchestra in playing Weill’s powerful score. Part of the Washington National Opera season.


Throughout the Center

April 11 – 16, 2016

Since its establishment 48 years ago, KCACTF has reached millions of theatergoers and hundreds of thousands of college and university theater students nationwide. The national festival brings together participants from regional festivals around the country to the Kennedy Center from April 11 – 16, 2016. The national festival includes master classes with leading artists from the American theater, an opportunity for the student participants to engage with colleagues from across the nation, attendance at productions at leading Washington, D.C. theaters, interviews and auditions for scholarship and residency opportunities, and an awards ceremony.



May 16 – June 5, 2016

Featuring Theatrical Productions from Ireland including:

All that FallBeckett Radio Play (Pan Pan Theatre)

Additional companies will be announced in the coming months. Please see Celebrating a Century of Irish Arts and Culture! press release for more information.



Opera House

June 14 – July 10, 2016

A smash-hit musical that brings together four-time Tony Award® winner Harvey Fierstein (Book) and Grammy Award® winning rock icon Cyndi Lauper (Tony Award® winner for Best Score for Kinky Boots), Kinky Boots is directed and choreographed by Tony Award® winner Jerry Mitchell. Kinky Boots took home 5 six 2013 TonyAwards® , the most of any show in the season. In Kinky Boots, Charlie Price has reluctantly inherited his father’s shoe factory, which is on the verge of bankruptcy. Trying to live up to his father’s legacy and save his family business, Charlie finds inspiration in the form of Lola. A fabulous entertainer in need of some sturdy stilettos, Lola turns out to be the one person who can help Charlie become the man he’s meant to be. As they work to turn the factory around, this unlikely pair finds that they have more in common than they ever dreamed possible… and discovers that when you change your mind about someone, you can change your whole world.



Eisenhower Theater

June 28 – July 17, 2016

The Bridges of Madison County, one of the most romantic stories ever written, is now a two-time Tony Award® winning Broadway musical. Based on the best-selling novel by Robert James Waller, The Bridges of Madison County tells the story of Iowa housewife Francesca Johnson and her life-changing, four-day whirlwind romance with traveling photographer Robert Kincaid. It’s an unforgettable story of two people caught between decision and desire, as a chance encounter becomes a second chance at so much more. With a book by Pulitzer Prize Winner Marcia Norman (The Secret Garden, The Color Purple) and direction by Tony® winner Bartlett Sher (South Pacific, The Light in the Piazza), this new production features soulful music by Tony Award® winning composer Jason Robert Brown (Parade, The Last Five Years) that draws upon the rich textures of Americana and folk and the sweeping, expressive balladry of classic Broadway.



Opera House

July 13 – August 20, 2016

Following an acclaimed sold-out tour of the United Kingdom, Cameron Mackintosh’s spectacular new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s phenomenal musical success, The Phantom of the Opera, will come to the Kennedy Center as part of a brand new North American Tour. Critics are raving that this breathtaking production is bigger and better than ever before. This Phantom features a brilliant new scenic design by Paul Brown, Tony Award® winning original costume design by Maria Björnson, lighting design by Tony Award® winner Paule Constable, new choreography by Scott Ambler, and a new staging by director Laurence Connor. The production, overseen by Matthew Bourne and Cameron Mackintosh, boasts many exciting special effects including the show’s legendary chandelier. The beloved story and thrilling score—with songs like “Music of the Night,” “All I Ask of You,” and “Masquerade”—will be performed by a cast and orchestra of 52, making this Phantom one of the largest productions now on tour.



Terrace Theater

Now in its ninth season, Broadway legend Barbara Cook selects preeminent Broadway talent to perform on the Kennedy Center stage in a cabaret-style performance as part of her Spotlight series. Since its inception in 2007, more than 35 artists have participated in this series.

The 2015-2016 season features:

Terri White on October 16, 2015

Randy Graff on October 30, 2015

 Michele Lee on November 6, 2015

John Lloyd Young on November 20, 2015

Frances Ruffelle on March 25, 2016



Theater Lab

Continuous Shear Madness, the wildly popular comedy whodunit, keeps every audience laughing as they try to outwit the suspects and catch the killer. New clues and up to the minute improvisation deliver a different show every night.



2015-2016 The Kennedy Center Theater for Young Audiences 2015-2016 season features five world premiere Kennedy Center commissioned productions,iincluding  the return of the popular musica Elephant & Piggie’s We Are in a Play! to the Family Theater and on national tour, and three presentations from national and international companies.


Additionally, the Kennedy Center’s award-winning New Visions/New Voices workshop celebrates its 25th Anniversary.


The Kennedy Center Press Office authored this press release.


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