The Kennedy Center Announces Its 2017-2018 Theater Season: ‘Hamilton,’ ‘The Humans,’ ‘The Color Purple,’ ‘In the Heights,’ ‘An American in Paris,’ ‘On Your Feet,’ ‘The Book of Mormon,’ and More

From The Kennedy Center:
2017–2018 Theater Season:


The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts today announced programming for its 2017–2018 theater season in an event on the famed Opera House stage that showcased performances from a range of work being presented and produced this season. Today’s presentation included songs from The Color Purple, a world premiere musical for young audiences, and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights, which will be produced as a part of Broadway Center Stage, the Kennedy Center’s new series of musicals in concert showcasing talent direct from Broadway and the nation’s capital. As previously announced, Hamilton will play the Kennedy Center Opera House for 14 weeks, June 12–September 16, 2018.

Continuing its tradition of bringing the best of Broadway to Washington, D.C., the Kennedy Center will present six Broadway productions in the 2017–2018 season: 2016  Tony Award®–winning Best Play The Humans, director John Doyle’s Tony Award®–winning production of The Color Purple, the Emilio and Gloria Estefan musical sensation On Your Feet!, and the previously announced productions of Hamilton and An American in Paris. Back by popular demand, The Book of Mormon, which played record–breaking runs in 2013 and 2015, returns to the Kennedy Center for a limited engagement. Also included in the season is En Garde Arts’s new multimedia documentary theater work Wilderness, the British a cappella show Gobsmacked!, The Illusionists, and the return of Second City’s hilarious holiday hit Twist Your Dickens.

The cast of the National Touring Company of Hamilton. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Following on the success of this current season’s series of plays from acclaimed international directors, the Kennedy Center will join the worldwide celebration of the work and legacy of legendary auteur director Ingmar Bergman with the Bergman 100 Celebration. In December, Bergman’s muse, Liv Ullman, directs the U.S. premiere of National Theater of Norway’s production of Private Confessions, based on Bergman’s deeply personal 1996 film. Then in April, director Ivo van Hove, whose rapturously received production of A View From the Bridge played the Kennedy Center in 2016, brings his unique vision to two Ingmar Bergman screenplays, After the Rehearsal and Persona, in a theatrical double bill from Toneelgroep Amsterdam.

As a part of the Center’s continued efforts to support the creation of new works, the Kennedy Center will host the 16th annual Page-to-Stage New Play Festival over Labor Day weekend 2017. April 2018 will mark the 50th annual Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF), which for the past half-century has encouraged and celebrated the finest and most diverse theatrical productions from colleges and universities nationwide.

One additional production will be announced for the 2017–2018 season at a later date.

2017­–2018 Theater Season Schedule

Performance Dates Theater Show
September 1–3, 2017 Throughout the Center Page-to-Stage
New Play Festival
September 22, 2017


Eisenhower Theater Bernstein on Broadway
October 12–15, 2017 Family Theater Wilderness
October 24–November 19, 2017 Opera House The Book of Mormon
November 24–26, 2017 Eisenhower Theater Gobsmacked!
December 5–31, 2017 Theater Lab The Second City’s
Twist Your Dickens
December 6–9, 2017 Eisenhower Theater Private Confessions
December 12, 2017–January 7, 2018 Opera House An American in Paris
December 27, 2017–January 7, 2018 Eisenhower Theater The Illusionists
January 9–28, 2018 Eisenhower Theater The Humans
January 9–28, 2018 Opera House On Your Feet!
February 14–18, 2018 Eisenhower Theater Broadway Center Stage: Chess
March 6, 2018 Eisenhower Theater Taylor Mac: A 24-Decade History of Popular Music (1776–2016)
March 21–25, 2018 Eisenhower Theater Broadway Center Stage:
In the Heights
April 19–22, 2018 Throughout the Center Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival
April 19–22, 2018 Eisenhower Theater After the Rehearsal and Persona
June 6–10, 2018 Eisenhower Theater Broadway Center Stage: How to Succeed in Business
Without Really Trying
June 12–September 16, 2018 Opera House Hamilton
July 31–August 26, 2018 Eisenhower Theater The Color Purple
Ongoing Theater Lab Shear Madness

Artists and performances are subject to change.

Page-to-Stage New Play Festival
September 1–3, 2017 throughout the Center

The Kennedy Center celebrates its 16th 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.

Bernstein on Broadway
September 22, 2017 in the Eisenhower Theater

The Kennedy Center presents a special one-night-only performance celebrating the indelible and lasting impact Leonard Bernstein’s work had on American culture through the Broadway stage. A “who’s who” of Broadway stars will join Tony Award®–winning director Kathleen Marshall and music director Rob Fisher for an extraordinary evening of the unforgettable music of West Side Story, Wonderful Town, and Candide. The performance will also include the irresistibly tuneful score and iconic choreography from On the Town, as well as selections from Bernstein’s Mass, originally commissioned by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis to open the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 1971.

October 12–15, 2017 in the Family Theater

Wilderness is a pulsating new multimedia documentary theater work from En Garde Arts that speaks to our collective search for connection and hope as families navigate the complexities of their children coming of age in 21st-century America. The production is derived from the real-life stories of six families—narratives exploring issues of mental health, addiction, and gender, and sexual identity. Video and projection design combines sweeping landscapes with documentary footage of parents veering from familiar domestic confines to the harshness of the world outdoors. Featuring an evocative folk rock score combined with visceral and emotionally charged movement, this compelling drama begs the crucial question: how do we persevere when we feel most alone in the world? Wilderness is most enjoyed by audiences age 12 and up.

The cast of The Book of Mormon. Photo by Joan Marcus.

 The Book of Mormon
October 24–November 19, 2017 in the Opera House

The nine-time Tony Award®–winning Best Musical. This outrageous musical comedy follows the misadventures of a mismatched pair of missionaries, sent halfway across the world to spread the Good Word. Now with standing room–only productions in London, on Broadway, and across North America, The Book of Mormon has truly become an international sensation. Contains explicit language.

November 24–26, 2017 in the Eisenhower Theater

Direct from sold-out engagements in London, Hong Kong, and Edinburgh comes the next-generation a cappella show,Gobsmacked! Featuring the reigning world champion beatboxer Ball-Zee and an international cast of world-class vocalists,Gobsmacked! weaves stories through all forms of a cappella, from traditional street corner harmonies to cutting edge, multi-track live looping.

The Second City’s Twist Your Dickens
December 5–31, 2017 in the Theater Lab

Twist Your Dickens returns to the Kennedy Center following its hugely popular 2016 engagement. In this wicked parody of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, Scrooge, Tiny Tim, three ridiculous ghosts, and a cast of Second City’s funniest members take the Theater Lab by storm. Holiday hilarity ensues as a timeless tale is told through the legendary troupe’s trademark improvisation and sketch performance.

Private Confessions
December 6–9, 2017 in the Eisenhower Theater

Presented by the National Theater of Norway, Private Confessions reveals a deeply personal and heartbreaking world of secrets and explores what keeping those secrets does to one’s relationships. Ingmar Bergman’s powerfully penned 1996 film of the same name delved into the deepest thoughts of his mother, which were revealed to him only after her death through the pages of her diary. Bergman’s muse, Liv Ullmann, helmed the film; she now returns to direct the stage adaptation of the work which premiered in Oslo in January 2016 and now makes its U.S. premiere. The play’s powerful source material has been expanded to include the diaries Ingmar himself kept during the film’s production. The result is a poignant, non-linear series of “confessions” which delve into the realms of infidelity, family relationships, loneliness, and the weighty results of keeping secrets deep within.Performed in Norwegian with English surtitles.

An American in Paris
December 12, 2017–January 7, 2018 in the Opera House

An American in Paris is the new Tony Award®–winning musical about an American soldier, a mysterious French girl, and an indomitable European city, each yearning for a new beginning in the aftermath of war. Acclaimed director/choreographer and 2015 Tony Award® winner Christopher Wheeldon brings the magic and romance of Paris into perfect harmony with unforgettable songs from George and Ira Gershwin in the show that earned more awards than any other musical in the 2015 season.

The Illusionists
December 27, 2017–January 7, 2018 in the Eisenhower Theater

Direct from Broadway, the world’s best-selling magic show returns to the Kennedy Center after sold out performances in 2015. This spectacular showcases the jaw-dropping talents of the most incredible Illusionists on earth. The Illusionists has shattered box office records across the globe and dazzles audiences of all ages with a powerful mix of the most outrageous and astonishing acts ever to be seen on stage. This non-stop show is packed with thrilling and sophisticated magic of unprecedented proportions.

The Humans
January 9–28, 2018 in the Eisenhower Theater

Stephen Karam’s The Humans is an uproarious, hopeful, and heartbreaking play that takes place over the course of a family dinner on Thanksgiving. Breaking with tradition, Erik Blake has brought his Pennsylvania family to celebrate and give thanks at his daughter’s apartment in lower Manhattan. As darkness falls outside the ramshackle pre-war duplex and eerie things start to go bump in the night, the Blake clan’s deepest fears and greatest follies are laid bare. Our modern age of anxiety is keenly observed with humor and compassion in this new American classic that won the 2016 Tony Award® for Best Play.

Ana Villafane in On Your Feet!. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

On Your Feet!
January 9–28, 2018 in the Opera House

From their humble beginnings in Cuba, Emilio and Gloria Estefan came to America and broke through all barriers to become a crossover sensation at the very top of the pop music world. But just when they thought they had it all, they almost lost everything. From international superstardom to life-threatening tragedy, On Your Feet! takes audiences behind the music and inside the real story of this record-making and groundbreaking couple who, in the face of adversity, found a way to end up on their feet. Directed by two-time Tony Award® winner Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots), with choreography by Olivier Award winner Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys), and an original book by Academy Award® winner Alexander Dinelaris (Birdman), On Your Feet!features some of the most iconic songs of the past quarter century—and one of the most inspiring stories in music history.

Broadway Center Stage: Chess
February 14–18, 2018 in the Eisenhower Theater

This complex rock opera has been seen around the world. The pawns in this drama form a love triangle: the loutish American chess star, the earnest Russian champion, and the assistant who is torn between them. From Bangkok to Budapest, the players, lovers, politicians, and spies are manipulated to the pulse of a monumental rock store with music by Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, and lyrics by Tim Rice.

Taylor Mac: A 24-Decade History of Popular Music (1776–2016)
March 6, 2018 in the Eisenhower Theater

A recent winner of the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama, Taylor Mac’s work uses songs of the time to chronicle our country from its founding in 1776 to today. Years in development, the show was originally performed in 2016 as a one-time, 24-hour event. This abridged version is a highly immersive and outrageously entertaining crash course in the 240 years (and counting) of American culture and dysfunction, highlighting various musical styles and artistic voices ranging from murder ballads to disco, and Walt Whitman to David Bowie.

Broadway Center Stage: In the Heights
March 21–25, 2018 in the Eisenhower Theater

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first Broadway musical, with a book by Quiara Alegría Hudes, tells the story of a vibrant community on the brink of change in New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood. The windows are always open, the breeze carries the rhythm of three generations of music, and the biggest struggles can be deciding which traditions you take, and which ones you leave behind. In the Heights won Tony Awards® for Best Musical, Best Score, Best Choreography, and Best Orchestrations.

Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF)
April 19–22, 2018 throughout the Center

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, 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 19–22, 2018. 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.

After the Rehearsal and Persona
April 19–22, 2018 in the Eisenhower Theater

Two Ingmar Bergman screenplays are brilliantly reimagined for the stage by celebrated Belgian director Ivo van Hove. After the Rehearsal centers on director Hendrik Vogler, a man who organizes his life within the confines of the theater. His work is his life: rehearsals are like notes in his diary, performances are his autobiography. All emotions are submitted to his control. Yet as the women in his life begin to intrude, he learns that life and reality cannot be kept at bay. In Persona, an actress falls mute during a performance of Electra and has not spoken since. But does she have a condition or is she merely assuming another role? The starstruck nurse who cares for her idolizes the actress at first, but then develops a deep resentment toward her charge. As tensions build between the two, manipulation and emotional attacks trade back and forth, and their two personalities seems to slowly meld together. Performed in Dutch with English surtitles.

Broadway Center Stage: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
June 6–10, 2018 in the Eisenhower Theater

Big business means big laughs in this delightfully clever lampoon of life on the corporate ladder. A tune-filled comic gem boasting an exhilarating score with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser, the show took Broadway by storm, winning both the Tony Award® and the Pulitzer Prize. We follow the rise of J. Pierpont Finch, who uses a little handbook called How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying to climb the corporate ladder from lowly window washer to high-powered executive.

June 12–September 16, 2018 in the Opera House

Hamilton is the story of America’s Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the West Indies who became George Washington’s right-hand man during the Revolutionary War and was the new nation’s first Treasury Secretary. Featuring a score that blends Hip Hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B, and Broadway, Hamilton is the story of America then, as told by America now. With book, music, and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, direction by Thomas Kail, choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler and musical supervision and orchestrations by Alex Lacamoire, Hamilton is based on Ron Chernow’s biography of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. Single tickets for Hamilton will go on sale to Kennedy Center Members in February 2018 and to the general public in March 2018. Specific on-sale dates and pricing details will be announced at a later date.

The Color Purple
July 31–August 26, 2018 in the Eisenhower Theater

The Color Purple is the 2016 Tony Award® winner for Best Musical Revival. This joyous American classic has conquered Broadway in an all-new production, directed by Tony® winner John Doyle. With a soul-raising score of jazz, gospel, ragtime, and blues, The Color Purple gives an exhilarating new spirit to this Pulitzer Prize–winning epic story about a young woman’s journey to love and triumph in the American South.

Shear Madness
Ongoing in the Theater Lab

Shear Madness, the wildly popular comedy “whodunit,” keeps audiences laughing as the try to outwit the suspects and catch the killer. New clues and up-to-the-minute improvisation deliver a different show each night.

Theater for Young Audiences 2017–2018

The Kennedy Center Theater for Young Audiences 2017–2018 season features three world premiere Kennedy Center–commissioned productions, including Me… Jane: The Dreams & Adventures of Young Jane Goodall, a new musical based on Patrick McDonnell’s book of the same title about the celebrated humanitarian and animal activist as a young adventurer, adapted by McDonnell, Andy Mitton, and Aaron Posner with music and lyrics by Mitton; Digging Up Dessa, a new play by Laura Schellhardt about a young girl who uses her powers of excavation to uncover the story of pioneering English paleontologist Mary Anning; and a VSA co-commission of Night Train 57: A Sensory Friendly Folk Opera from Grammy® winner Dan Zanes and multi-instrumentalist Claudia Eliaza that takes audiences on a far-out ride through the galaxies and back.  



Patrons wishing to renew subscriptions may do so by calling the Subscription office at (202) 416-8500 or go to New subscriptions may be offered later this summer, depending on availability. Pricing and on sale details for single tickets will be made available at a later date.


Explore the Arts educational events including Theater Look-Ins will continue to be held in conjunction with many theater productions as part of the Kennedy Center’s ongoing education program.


The Kennedy Center’s MyTix program offers patrons 18–30 years old and active duty members of the armed services to join for special discount offers and chances to win free tickets. For more information, visit


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