The Kennedy Center Announces Its 2016-2017 Theater Season:’The Curious Incident…’, ‘Into the Woods’, ‘Wicked’, ‘Chicago’, ‘Hedwig…’ ‘The Sound of Music’, ‘Cabaret’, ‘The King and I’ and World Premieres

From The Kennedy Center:

2016–2017 Theater Season:


The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts today announced programming for its 2016–2017 theater season, renewing its dedication to bringing the world’s finest theater productions to its stages. The diverse season features the work of some of the most acclaimed directors working in theater today, including Sulayman Al Bassam (Petrol Station), Peter Brook (Battlefield), Carlos Díaz (Antigonón, Un contingente épico), Lev Dodin (Three Sisters), Robert Lepage (Needles and Opium), Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall (Cabaret), Richard Nelson (The Gabriels: Election Year in the Life of One Family), Jack O’Brien (Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music), Bartlett Sher (Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I), and Susan Stroman (The Last Two People on Earth: An Apocalyptic Vaudeville)

In association with The Public Theater in New York City, the Kennedy Center presents the highly anticipated new production of The Gabriels: Election Year in the Life of One Family. A three-play series written and directed by the Tony Award®–winning Richard Nelson, The Gabriels shines an important, probing spotlight on the 2016 political season and is aptly timed to coincide with Inauguration Day 2017. The three plays will be performed in repertory with several chances for audiences to see all three plays in one day-long marathon performance.

Continuing its tradition of presenting the best of Broadway, the Center presents an array of hit plays and musicals in the 2016–2017 season, including The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Into the Woods, Wicked, Chicago, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music, Cabaret, and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I. Also in the season is the Washington premiere of The Last Two People on Earth: An Apocalyptic Vaudeville starring Mandy Patinkin and Taylor Mac.

With a long history of presenting the best of international theater works, the Kennedy Center brings five leading theater companies and artists from abroad to present cutting-edge and contemporary productions in its 2016–2017 season: Canada’s Ex Machina presents Needles and Opium, a visually stunning work by celebrated director Robert Lepage; Cuba’s Teatro el Público performs the mythic Antigonón, Un contingente épico, directed by Carlos Díaz; Kuwait’s Sulayman Al Bassam presents his provocative new play Petrol Station; France’s Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord presents Battlefield, a new work based on The Mahabharata by legendary director Peter Brook and his collaborators Marie-Hélène Estienne and Jean-Claude Carrière; and Russia’s Maly Drama Theatre presents a bold production of Chekhov’s classic Three Sisters.

As part of the Center’s continued efforts to support the creation of new works, the Kennedy Center will host the 15th annual Page-to-Stage New Play Festival over Labor Day weekend in 2016 and the 49th annual Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) in April 2017. Also, in a unique partnership with the Sundance Institute Theatre Program, the Center will host performances and readings of new works by emerging artists and theater companies from the Middle East and North Africa region in March and April 2017.

2016–2017 Theater Season Schedule 

Performance Dates Theater Show
September 3–5, 2016 Throughout the Center Page-to-Stage New Play Festival
October 4–23, 2016 Opera House The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
December 6, 2016–

January 8, 2017

Eisenhower Theater Into the Woods
December 13, 2016–

January 8, 2017

Opera House Wicked
January 4–22, 2017 Theater Lab The Gabriels: Election Year in the Life of One Family
March 13–April 2, 2017 Terrace Gallery Sundance Institute Theatre Program: Readings and Panels
March 16–18, 2017 Eisenhower Theater Needles and Opium
March 21 & 22, 2017 Eisenhower Theater Antigonón, Un contingente épico
March 24–26, 2017 Eisenhower Theater Petrol Station
March 29–April 2, 2017 Family Theater Battlefield
April 4–16, 2017 Opera House Chicago
April 11–15, 2017 Eisenhower Theater The Last Two People on Earth: An Apocalyptic Vaudeville
April 18–22, 2017 Throughout the Center Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival
April 26–30, 2017 Eisenhower Theater Three Sisters
June 13–July 2, 2017 Eisenhower Theater Hedwig and the Angry Inch
June 13– July 16, 2017 Opera House Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music
July 11–August 6, 2017 Eisenhower Theater Cabaret
July 18–August 20, 2017 Opera House Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I
Ongoing Theater Lab Shear Madness

 Page-to-Stage New Play Festival

September 3–5, 2016 throughout the Center

The Kennedy Center celebrates its 15th annual Page-to-Stage new play festival over Labor Day weekend. Page to Stage is a three-day, Center-wide event that offers free readings and open rehearsals of plays and musicals being developed by playwrights, librettists, and composers for local, regional, and national theater companies.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

October 4–23, 2016 in the Opera House

This critically acclaimed production is the Tony Award®–winning new play by Simon Stephens, adapted from Mark Haddon’s best-selling novel and directed by Tony® winner Marianne Elliott. The production is the winner of five 2015 Tony Awards® including Best Play. Fifteen-year-old Christopher has an extraordinary brain; he is exceptionally intelligent but ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. When he falls under suspicion for killing his neighbor’s dog, he sets out to identify the true culprit, which leads to an earth-shattering discovery and a journey that will change his life forever.

Into the Woods

December 6, 2016–January 8, 2017 in the Eisenhower Theater

Unanimously acclaimed and extended twice at the Roundabout’s Laura Pels Theatre, the Tony Award®–winning musical classic by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine is Into The Woods like audiences have never seen before. With only 10 actors, one piano, and boundless imagination, this Fiasco Theater production features iconic songs including “Children Will Listen” and “No One Is Alone.” Mind the wolf, heed the witch, and honor the giant in the sky at this musical about the power of wishes and what really happens after they come true.


December 13, 2016–January 8, 2017 in the Opera House

Wicked returns to the Kennedy Center for the third time after breaking box office records in both 2005 and 2011. Wicked tells the untold story of the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good, long before Dorothy drops in. The remarkable odyssey of how these unexpected friends changed each other’s lives for good has made Wicked one of the world’s most popular musicals. With music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and book by Winnie Holzman, Wicked is directed by two-time Tony Award® winner Joe Mantello and features musical staging by Tony Award® winner Wayne Cilento. Based on the best-selling 1995 novel by Gregory Maguire, Wicked is the winner of over 100 international major awards, including a Grammy®  and three Tony Awards®.

The Gabriels: Election Year in the Life of One Family

January 4–22, 2017 in the Theater Lab

In the spirit of the critically acclaimed The Apple Family Plays and shining an important spotlight on the 2016 election, Tony Award®–winning playwright and director Richard Nelson and The Public Theater present his latest three-play cycle, The Gabriels: Election Year in the Life of One Family. The first play in the cycle, Hungry, introduces the Gabriels family of Rhinebeck, New York, who live just around the corner from Nelson’s Apple family. These three new plays, which also include What Did You Expect? and Women of a Certain Age, track the lives of the Gabriels throughout the presidential election season. The plays, featuring the same core acting company for all three productions, will be performed in repertory on weekdays and in special marathon performances of all three productions on Saturdays and Sundays.

Sundance Institute Theatre Program: Readings and Panels

March 13–April 2, 2017 in the Terrace Gallery

In a new partnership, the Kennedy Center and the Sundance Institute Theatre Program present performances and reading of new works by emerging playwrights from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

Needles and Opium

Ex Machina (Canada)

March 16–18, 2017 in the Eisenhower Theater

Legendary Canadian artist Robert Lepage presents a reimagined version of his acclaimed Needles and Opium, a cinematic exploration of art, love, and addiction that is still as relevant as when it premiered 20 years ago. Lepage concocts a story triggered by the art of poet and filmmaker Jean Cocteau and American jazz artist Miles Davis, coincidently crossing the Atlantic Ocean in 1949, visiting each other’s cities. Through a hypnotic series of vignettes set in a cube suspended in midair, characters tumble from the boulevards of Paris to the back alleys of New York in this fascinating examination of how the echoes of history affect our daily struggles. With music, theater, acrobatics, and Lepage’s signature visual aesthetic, this noir-drenched examination of the soul turns heartbreak into art.

Antigonón, Un contingente épico

Teatro el Público (Cuba)

March 21 & 22, 2017 in the Eisenhower Theater

Two myths collide in one epic explosion of poetry and heroics in Teatro el Público’s irreverent new work Antigonón, un contingente épico, written by Rogelio Orizondo and directed by Carlos Díaz. The work departs from the myth of Antigone to fuse with old and new heroes of Cuban history. Heroes are reborn and others are abandoned—in particular the myth of renowned poet José Martí, considered the founder of Cuban revolutionary thought. The text reflects a new view of contemporary Cuba from a subtle perspective that slices through moments of the island’s history and surprises audiences with questions regarding the present. Performed in Spanish with projected English titles.

Petrol Station


March 24–26, 2017 in the Eisenhower Theater

Internationally acclaimed writer/director Sulayman Al Bassam, whose play Richard III: An Arab Tragedy was one of the highlights of the ARABESQUE festival in 2009, returns to the Kennedy Center with a new work of tragic intensity, Petrol Station. Drawing inspiration from Sumerian myth, Palestinian refugee literature, and American 1950s urban legends of the gas station, Al Bassam’s poetic and disturbing new play portrays a modern dystopia where the crimes, secrets, and broken loves of one generation make violent claims on the lives of the next.


Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord (France)

March 29–April 2, 2017 in the Family Theater

Legendary director Peter Brook’s nine-hour production of The Mahabharata 30 years ago is hailed as one of the greatest and most memorable theatrical productions of all time. Now Brook, whose work was last seen at the Kennedy Center in Fragments in 2011 and The Suit in 2014, returns to that epic poem of ancient India along with collaborators Marie-Hélène Estienne and Jean-Claude Carrière with the new play Battlefield. War is ravaging the kingdom, and the Bharata family is being pulled at the seams. A new and untested king must face the devastation he has caused as his world crumbles around him and his people. The play poses the enduring question: how can we find inner peace while the world rages around us?


April 4–16, 2017 in the Opera House

Chicago, which opened to rave reviews on November 14, 1996, now has the distinction of being the longest running American musical in Broadway history. Set amidst the razzle-dazzle decadence of the 1920s, Chicago is the story of Roxie Hart, a housewife and nightclub dancer who maliciously murders her on-the-side lover after he threatens to walk out on her. Desperate to avoid conviction, she dupes the public, the media, and her rival cellmate, Velma Kelly, by hiring Chicago’s slickest criminal lawyer to transform her malicious crime into a barrage of sensational headlines, the likes of which might just as easily be ripped from today’s tabloids. With a legendary book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, music by John Kander, and lyrics by Fred Ebb, Chicago is the winner of six 1997 Tony Awards® including Best Musical Revival and the Grammy Award® for Best Musical Cast Recording.

The Last Two People on Earth: An Apocalyptic Vaudeville

April 11–15, 2017 in the Eisenhower Theater

It’s the end of the world as we know it. A flood of biblical proportions leaves us with only two people on Earth, who discover that their common language is song and dance. Together, they chronicle the rise and fall, and hopeful rise again, of humankind—through music that runs the gamut from Rodgers & Hammerstein to Sondheim, R.E.M., and Queen. Starring Mandy Patinkin and Taylor Mac, with direction and choreography by Susan Stroman.

Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF)

April 18–22, 2017 throughout the Center

Since its establishment 49 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 17–24, 2017. 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. Part of the John F. Kennedy Centennial Celebration.

Three Sisters

Maly Drama Theatre (Russia)

April 26–30, 2017 in the Eisenhower Theater

Maly Drama Theatre of St. Petersburg, one of Russia’s leading theater companies, presents this luminous retelling of legendary playwright Anton Chekhov’s masterpiece Three Sisters. Following the death of their father, three sisters are forced to leave Moscow for life in a provincial town.

They bravely confront the tragic discrepancies between yearnings and reality, and a saga unfolds about the vital importance of staying true to oneself while struggling with the burden of everyday life. The play examines the hierarchical and emotional effects of losing status and wealth while coming to terms with changes in modern society. Renowned director Lev Dodin directs this luminous, complex play with rich insight into Chekhov’s eloquent understanding of resignation, longing, and love. Performed in Russian with projected English titles.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

June 13–July 2, 2017 in the Eisenhower Theater

Brilliantly innovative, heartbreaking, and wickedly funny, Hedwig and the Angry Inch is the landmark American rock musical by John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask. This genre- bending, fourth-wall-smashing musical sensation, with a pulsing score and electrifying performances, tells the story of one of the most unique characters to ever hit the stage. Directed by Tony Award® winner Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening) and winner of four 2014 Tony Awards® including Best Musical Revival, Hedwig and the Angry Inch played to record-breaking sell-out crowds on Broadway.

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music

June 13–July 16, 2017 in the Opera House

This brand new production of The Sound of Music is directed by three-time Tony Award® winner Jack O’Brien. The beloved musical story of Maria and the von Trapp Family will once again thrill audiences with its Tony®–, Grammy®–, and Academy Award®–winning Best Score, including “My Favorite Things,” “Edelweiss,” and the title song. The Sound of Music enjoyed extraordinary success during a live television production when “The Sound of Music Live!” aired on NBC in December 2013 and was seen by over 44 million people. 2015 marked the 50th anniversary of the film version, which continues to be the most successful movie musical in history.


July 11–August 6, 2017 in the Eisenhower Theater

Direct from Broadway, the critically acclaimed and award-winning Roundabout Theatre Company presents Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall’s Tony Award®–winning production of Cabaret. Come hear some of the most memorable songs in theater history including “Cabaret,” “Willkommen,” and “Maybe This Time.” Leave your troubles outside—life is beautiful at Cabaret, John Kander, Fred Ebb, and Joe Masteroff’s Tony®–winning musical about following your heart while the world loses its way.

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King and I

July 18–August 20, 2017 in the Opera House

Lincoln Center Theater’s critically acclaimed production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King and I, directed by Tony Award® winner Bartlett Sher, won four 2015 Tony Awards® including Best Revival of a Musical. One of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s finest works, the production boasts a score featuring beloved classics “Getting To Know You,” “I Whistle a Happy Tune,” “Hello Young Lovers,” “Shall We Dance,” and “Something Wonderful.” Set in 1860s Bangkok, the musical tells the story of the unconventional and tempestuous relationship that develops between the King of Siam and Anna Leonowens, a British schoolteacher whom the modernist King brings to Siam to teach his many wives and children in an imperialistic world.

Shear Madness

Ongoing in the Theater Lab

Shear Madness, the wildly popular comedy “whodunit,” keeps audiences 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.


The Kennedy Center Theater for Young Audiences 2016–2017 season features seven world premiere Kennedy Center–commissioned productions, including Bud, Not Buddy, written by Kirsten Greenidge with music written and performed by five-time Grammy®–winning artist Terence Blanchard, in which a large jazz ensemble blends seamlessly with theater to tell the tale

of a boy’s search for his father in Depression-era Flint, Michigan; The Man with the Violin, featuring world-renowned violinist Joshua Bell and based on his best-selling picture book, which chronicles the time he went undercover as a street musician and performed outside a Washington Metro station; All the Way Live!, in which the Hip Hop performers from B-Fly Entertainment collaborate on the spot to “remix” everything from folk tales to classical art; To Sail Around the Sun, a unique spin on Vivaldi’s classic The Four Seasons featuring the collaboration of Washington, D.C. –based contemporary dance group Company E with musicians from the National Symphony Orchestra; From the Mouths of Monsters, a contemporary reimagining of the literary classic Frankenstein by award-winning playwright and breakbeat poet Idris Goodwin; Where Words Once Were, written by award-winning playwright Finegan Kruckemeyer, in which words themselves take center stage; and /peh-LO-tah/, a performance work by Marc Bamuthi Joseph that uses poetry, dance, visual effects, and music to examine the impact of soccer on global society.

Further information on TYA productions as well as National Symphony Orchestra and Washington National Opera offerings for children and their families can be found in the 2016– 2017 Season of Performances for Young Audiences press release.



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