Molly’s Salons are back — now live at Arena Stage

Join Arena for this series of one-night-only in-person conversations — the "farewell tour" of the inimitable Molly Smith.

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, when life as we know it came to an abrupt halt, Arena Stage kept the theatrical fires burning with Molly’s Salons, a series of intimate conversations with a who’s who of theater. After 56 virtual conversations (available here), Arena is bringing the salons back in Molly Smith’s final months as artistic director. Again she’ll sit down with some of the industry’s brightest thinkers, creators, and doers for conversations about theater’s past, present, and future—but now Molly’s Salons will be live and in person.

Molly Smith

Special Guests:

Visionary: Jackie Maxwell, February 13, 2023. Artistic director of the Shaw Festival in Canada from 2002 to 2016. Arena Stage credits include Good People, Watch on the Rhine, and Junk.

Radical: Charles Randolph-Wright, February 27. Film, television, and theater director, producer, screenwriter, and playwright. Arena Stage credits since 1998 include Guys and Dolls, Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies, and American Prophet.

Insightful: Laura Penn, March 6. Executive Director of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC) since 2008, after a 25-year management career in the League of Resident Theatres (LORT). An Arena Stage alum.

Dynamic: Tazewell Thompson, March 13. Internationally acclaimed director for opera and theater, award-winning playwright, librettist, teacher, and actor. Arena Stage alum whose credits since the 1980s include A Raisin in the Sun, Jubilee, and August Wilson’s Seven Guitars.

Titan: James C. (Jim) Nicola, March 20. Retired in 2022 after leading the New York Theatre Workshop since 1988, premiering projects like RENT. Before joining NYTW, Jim spent seven years at Arena Stage, first as a National Endowment for the Arts Directing Fellow and later as a Producing Associate.

Thoughtful: Edgar Dobie, March 27. Executive Producer at Arena Stage since 2009. A commercial producer for a number of years, Edgar also serves on the Board of Trustees, and was honored with the inaugural Victor Shargai Leadership Award by Theatre Washington in October 2022.

Probing: Jocelyn Clarke, May 8. Sought-after freelance dramaturg and writer, currently Theatre Adviser to the Arts Council of Ireland and dramaturg at the American Voices New Play Institute here at Arena Stage.

Molly’s Salons will be held on select Mondays, from 7 to 8 PM, in the Arlene and Robert Kogod Cradle (unless otherwise noted) at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater, 1100 Sixth Street SW, Washington, DC 20024. While the conversations are free and open to the public, tickets must be reserved in advance online.

COVID Safety: Arena Stage requires that patrons wear facial masks while in its theaters. Arena additionally recommends, but no longer requires, that patrons wear masks in the Mead Center’s large open spaces, such as the Lower Lobby, Grand Lobby, Molly Smith Study, and café area. For up-to-date information, visit


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