Venues continue to extend shutdown with delayed seasons

Some organizations would rather wait out COVID-19 than reopen prematurely

As the current public safety situation with COVID-19 continues to be unpredictable, DMV-area theaters and other venues are being forced to make decisions regarding their upcoming fall seasons. Many arts organizations had already decided to keep their re-opening date open-ended, but some are taking a bit of pressure off by pulling back, re-organizing, and delaying their seasons—or canceling them entirely. The following list reflects current statements released by DMV arts organizations. This list was first published June 16, 2020, and has been continuously updated as information comes in. The most recent update was made at 5 PM on August 24.

Keeping in mind the health and safety of staff, performers, and patrons, 1st Stage will delay its next season until February of 2021. In February, Alex Levy will direct The Waverly Gallery, written by Kenneth Lonergan. In April, Nick Olcott will direct The Nance, by Douglas Carter Beane. May-June will feature Mlima’s Tale, by Lynn Nottage, directed by José Carrasquillo. 1st Stage will conclude its exciting 13th Season in July with The Logan Festival of Solo Performance, a festival featuring national award-winning performers. Tickets and Flex Passes can be purchased online at or by calling the 1st Stage box office at 703-854-1856.

Photo of City at Peace at the Intersections Festival courtesy of Atlas.

Atlas will forgo all public performances through the fall of 2020, with an eye to reevaluating in January 2021. They will make use of their space for filming and recording by local artists and arts organizations, and work together with Resident Arts Partners Mosaic Theater Company of DC, Step Afrika!, Capital City Symphony, and Joy of Motion Dance Center.  In addition, Atlas’s City at Peace program will be a growing voice for social justice through the arts. The annual multi-week long Intersections Festival will need to be reimagined in the winter of 2021, and they are looking at new ways to present artists in our categories of Story, Movement, and Sound.

The Center for the Arts at George Mason University will suspend the presentation of traditional, live, professional public performances or events inside its Fairfax venues through fall of 2020. This includes its annual Great Performances at Mason Series, the Family Series, as well as external event rentals in the Center for the Arts Concert Hall, Harris Theatre, the deLaski Performing Arts Building, and TheaterSpace.

As part of Mason’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, and situated on Mason’s Fairfax campus, the Center along with all Mason performing arts spaces have been dark since March 13, 2020 in an effort to decrease the risk of exposure to and spread of COVID-19. Although the Center’s 30th Anniversary season may not begin as originally planned, they are pursuing creative opportunities for digital programming and exploring safe and artistically satisfying options for in-person programming for the remainder of 2020.

In anticipation of reopening its doors and resuming mainstage performances, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announces the updated 2021 seasons of the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) and Washington National Opera (WNO) along with the new seasons of theater, ballet and dance, and Performances for Young Audiences.  The ambitious, but limited season will begin on January 14, 2021, contingent on entry into phase four of the District of Columbia’s ReOpen D.C. guidelines. Programming will remain flexible and in accordance with any updates to Mayor Bowser’s reopening guidelines. The Kennedy Center continues to work in consultation with health and safety experts including consultation with medical experts from George Washington University, the National Institutes of Health, United Health Care, and the Wharton School, national and local guidelines, and in accordance with the District of Columbia’s ReOpen DC guidelines for its reopening plans. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to evolve and as the Center and the nation learns more about best practices for reopening, we are committed to reviewing and updating our risk mitigation protocols on an ongoing basis. For the most up-to-date information regarding protocols both current and for spring of 2021, please check the Kennedy Center website for all measures to ensure patron safety during this time. These protocols are not an absolute protection against contracting COVID-19.  Patrons assume their own risk by entering the facility.

Highlights of the 2021 season include: previously announced NSO subscription performances beginning with an exciting program, January 14 and 16, conducted by Dalia Stasevska, Principal Guest Conductor of London’s BBC Symphony Orchestra; the rescheduled performances of WNO’s highly anticipated production of Blue, Tony Award®–winning composer Jeanine Tesori and librettist Tazewell Thompson’s contemporary opera which was recently named “Best New Opera” of 2020 by the Music Critics Association of North America; a range of Broadway hits including a new 50th anniversary production of Jesus Christ Superstar; the original hip hop improv sensation Freestyle Love Supreme returns following its 2019 pre-Broadway Kennedy Center run; the Tony Award® winner for Best Revival of a Musical, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!; the Tony® and Grammy Award®–winning Best Musical, Dear Evan Hansen; Tony®-nominee Disney’s Frozen; the Tony® and Grammy Award®–winning Best Musical Hadestown; and Tony® and Grammy Award®-winning Best Musical The Band’s Visit; Beethoven at 250, the NSO’s four-week festival of concerts celebrating the composer’s 250th birthday and his remarkable contribution to music; Paul Taylor Dance Company’s Celebration Tour honoring the impact of the company’s iconic founder; the Kennedy Center debut of Monaco’s renowned Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo; perennial favorites New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theatre with comedic classics in the ballet repertoire; Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater with a mix of exhilarating repertory programs; and Kennedy Center co-commission of the newest work from leading Bharatanatyam ensemble, Ragamala Dance Company; and a number of Kennedy Center commissions and co-commissions for performances for young audiences including In the MOment: A Drawing Dance, a new collaboration between Kennedy Center Education Artist-in-Residence Mo Willems and Ephrat Asherie Dance. Additionally, the 2021 seasons of Hip Hop, Comedy, Jazz, NSO Pops, and Renée Fleming’s VOICES, will be announced at a later date. The previously announced Fortas series for 2021 will move forward as previously announced.

Given the ongoing spread of coronavirus, the LTA Board of Governors has cancelled the summer musical Sister Act, the September production of August Wilson’s Fences, and the October/November production of Wait Until Dark. The Board did not undertake these cancellations lightly. While the financial hit will be difficult, LTA has a more pressing responsibility to the community. Keeping actors, volunteers, members, and subscribers safe is a priority, and that “rainy day” fund created years ago will now be used to sustain LTA during a period of belt-tightening. They are rolling out a new education plan and beginning work with the City of Alexandria’s ALX Promise project. In addition, they are watching the Governor’s Forward Virginia plan to determine when and if students can return to LTA in small numbers. Focus will be one of small classes (8-10), intensive cleaning and sanitizing, and outdoor learning. Watch their education website for developments.

Monumental has made the decision to postpone the 2020 production of Songs For A New World indefinitely. A full 2021 season will be announced at a later date. The Box Office will contact current ticket holders, including those who used a Flex Pass to reserve their tickets, regarding ticket cancellation options. Flex Passes will not expire, and can be used in the 2021 season. Please reach out to [email protected] with questions.

National Theatre has announced they will delay their next season until spring 2021, and will share show titles and more information in fall. The safety of theater goers and employees is their highest priority.

Photo courtesy of the National Theatre.

PMTC has announced they will celebrate their move to The Writer’s Center in Bethesda with the opening of Alfred Uhry’s Driving Miss Daisy in January 2021. There will be seven performances over two weekends, January 14 – 17 and January 22 – 24. Ayad Akhtars’ Disgraced will run May 13 – 16 and May 21 – 23. Of course, there are still questions about coming together in a post-COVID environment. As localities around the nation begin to open, plans for re-opening around the metropolitan DC area are being developed. Although strong safeguards, including physical distancing and the use of masks, are still in place in Montgomery County, it is good to look forward in hope. Hal Freed, the President of the PMTC Board of Directors has more information on future PMTC operations with respect to area reopening plans. Please click the video below to learn more.

Round House Theatre has announced further changes to the 2020-2021 Season in response to the ongoing pandemic. To ensure the safety and health of artists, audiences, students, and staff, Round House will not produce live performances for the remainder of 2020. Until further notice, Round House facilities, including the Bethesda theatre and the Education Center in Silver Spring, will be closed. At this time, the theatre hopes to return to live performances in early 2021. Round House will hold camps virtually, and continue to create digital programming throughout the fall and winter. More details will be announced in the coming months.

Silver Spring Stage’s primary concern is the health and safety of patrons, artists, crew, and volunteers. They are working to respond to the guidelines set by the state of Maryland and Montgomery County keeping this concern in mind. The plans for the remaining three remaining shows in 2019-2020 are:

Pride and Prejudice – This show was already cast and has been cancelled. They will be reaching out soon to subscribers and ticket buyers to offer them an opportunity to convert their tickets to a donation, exchange for a voucher, or refund. If you are one of those ticket holders, you may email your choice now to [email protected].
Lobby Hero and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – These shows have been moved to the 2020-2021 season.

The next step is considering the next season. The plays for the 2020-2021 season are now all TBD. With that in mind, the roster of plays for consideration is as follows: Lobby Hero by Kenneth Lonergan, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Simon Stephens, based on the novel by Mark Haddon, A Christmas Story by Philip Grecian, based on the story by Jean Shepherd, Ada and the Engine by Lauren Gunderson, Scissoring by Christina Quintana, Blue Stockings by Jessica Swale, A Doll’s House, part 2 by Lucas Hnath, & She Kills Monsters by Qui Nguyen.

To ensure the safety of its artists, patrons, and staff during the ongoing uncertainty and threat posed by COVID-19, Studio Theatre will begin presenting subscription programming in January 2021 with a truncated four-play 2020–2021 season. Titles will be announced in the coming months. Studio’s doors have been closed to the public since March 15, 2020. Because of its shifting season, Studio plans to run each of its productions for longer periods to allow for low seating capacity in its theaters in observance of social distancing. The Theatre is also exploring the potential for virtual or streamed performances to share its work with more audiences and to accommodate those who would rather wait to return to a traditional theatre space.

Theater J has announced that, in light of the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis, the three productions originally scheduled for fall 2020 are being canceled. As the Washington, DC region works toward recovery, Theater J places the highest priority on protecting the health and safety of its audience, artists, and staff. The canceled productions are The Kinsey Sicks in Electile Dysfunction, Arthur Miller’s Incident at Vichy, and Tuesdays with Morrie by Jeffrey Hatcher and Mitch Albom. For summer and fall 2020, Theater J is thrilled to be introducing new and expanded online programs to fulfill its vital mission: celebrating, exploring, and grappling with the complexities and nuances of both the Jewish experience and the universal human condition. Online programming allows Theater J to establish partnerships with Jewish organizations across the country and reach audiences both in the metro DC region and beyond. Theater J is closely following the recommendations of both the DC government and the CDC, as well as consulting directly with medical professionals, and remains hopeful that all the originally announced winter/spring programming in 2021 can happen.

Virginia Opera has overhauled their main stage opera schedule for the 2020-2021 season due to ongoing effects and circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. A number of revisions affecting every facet of the company’s operations both on and off stage were required. Giuseppe Verdi’s Rigoletto, formerly the company’s lead-off October 2020 production, will not be performed; Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance will be rescheduled from November 2020 to April 2021; and the VO season will now begin in February 2021 with the change of a double bill featuring Francis Poulenc’s La Voix Humaine and Giacomo Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi performed in place of Jennifer Higdon and Gene Scheer’s Cold Mountain. The realignment of performance dates and the shifting of one VO production to spring has also necessitated some changes in casting and resulted in The Pirates of Penzance only being performed in Norfolk and Richmond.  Details of these changes will all be posted on Virginia Opera’s website, Current subscribers to the 2020-2021 Season are encouraged to contact the Virginia Opera Box Office to discuss available options for their Rigoletto tickets. The Box Office can be reached at [email protected] or by calling the temporary line 757-347-1906.

Wolf Trap will not hold a live performance season this fall at The Barns at Wolf Trap, including Chamber Music at The Barns concerts. If you are a fall 2020 ticket holder, watch your email for information on individual shows. The full statement can be seen at


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