Ford’s Theatre Director Paul R. Tetreault announced the Ford’s Theatre 2023-2024 season, featuring the world premiere of Pearl Cleage’s Something Moving: A Meditation on Maynard, directed by Seema Sueko; the music-filled production of A Christmas Carol with Craig Wallace reprising the role of Ebenezer Scrooge; and the iconic musical Little Shop of Horrors, directed by Kevin McAllister. In January 2024, the company will present a free public festival of readings offering a first look at new plays in development by Nambi E. Kelley and Charlayne Woodard—members of the first cohort of BIPOC playwrights in The Ford’s Theatre Legacy Commissions initiative, as well as a sneak peek of When Day Comes by Ricardo Khan and Sweet Honey in the Rock.
“This season brings joyous, restorative life to our American past and takes audiences on hero’s journeys. From a flower shop on Skid Row to the city of Atlanta, these stories emphasize community, courage, and transformation,” said Ford’s Theatre Director Paul R. Tetreault. “We are proud to present this season with all-DMV local casts and continue our commitment to sharing stories that have made an important impact on our history.”
“We begin with the world premiere of Pearl Cleage’s play about the legacy of Atlanta’s first Black Mayor, Maynard Jackson: Something Moving: A Meditation on Maynard – the first production to come out of our Legacy Commissions, following its workshop in our A First Look festival earlier this year. Seema Sueko brings Cleage’s play to life on the eve of the 50th anniversary when this historic election took place,” Tetreault continued. “Our spring production of Little Shop of Horrors, an iconic musical with an underdog story and a doo-wop-inspired score, will bring levity under Kevin McAllister’s direction. It will be a joy to present Ford’s tradition of the holiday classic, A Christmas Carol, once again. We are privileged to work with these exceptional storytellers and artists at our theater.”
Free Preview and Discounts
Ford’s Theatre continues its commitment to offer free and discounted performance tickets to the company’s mainstage productions during the 2023-2024 season. All tickets to the first preview performances of Something Moving: A Meditation on Maynard and Little Shop of Horrors will be offered free of charge via a TodayTix ticket lottery, and at least 100 free tickets will be made available for a preview performance of A Christmas Carol. The Free Preview initiative seeks to remove price barriers and build audiences in a more inclusive way, by inviting those who live and work in the Washington community who might not otherwise consider participation in the arts. Since the program launched in 2016, more than 6,500 tickets have been provided to Washington, DC audiences.
Discounts are available for groups, senior citizens, military personnel, and young professionals between the ages of 21-40 (Generation Abe, Ford’s Theatre’s community for young history and theatre lovers). Learn more about discounts and Free Previews at www.fords.org/whats-happening/discounts. To bring a group, contact Group Sales at [email protected].
Student Matinees and Teacher Preview Workshops
Ford’s Theatre is committed to serving local DC students and teachers and offers weekday student matinees and tailored lessons to complement educator curriculum. A limited number of free tickets to select weekday matinee performances are available to DC public and public charter schools, Title I schools, and schools that have 40 percent or more students eligible for Free and Reduced Meals. Schools located within the Capital Beltway may also qualify for free bus transportation. Ford’s Theatre offers a free workshop and free tickets to a preview performance of each of the company’s mainstage productions to Washington-area teachers before they bring their students. Since the program launched in 2009, more than 13,500 tickets have been provided to local students. Learn more at www.fords.org/teaching-and-learning/education-programs/student-matinees.
Ford’s Theatre is committed to ensuring visitors of all abilities can experience the performances, exhibits, history and programs the site has to offer. Ford’s offers Sensory-Friendly, audio-described, ASL-interpreted and GalaPro closed captioned performances. Accessible seating and chair rental, assisted listening devices, large print programs and Braille programs are available upon request. Learn more about accessibility offerings here.
Since 2018, Ford’s Theatre has offered relaxed Sensory-Friendly performances, providing theatrical experiences for people with sensory sensitivities. Sensory-Friendly performances are set for A Christmas Carol on December 10, 2023, and for Little Shop of Horrors on May 4, 2024. These performances are designed for those with sensory sensitivities who might benefit from an adjusted theatrical environment, including individuals with autism or other social, learning, or cognitive disabilities. Our Sensory-Friendly experiences aim to provide a safe environment where individuals and families can relax and be who they are. Learn more here.
The Ford’s Theatre 2023/24 Season
Tiered Member On-Sale: July 10-23, 2023
Public Sale: July 24, 2023
Something Moving: A Meditation on Maynard
By Pearl Cleage
Directed by Seema Sueko September 22-October 15, 2023
This thrilling and well-timed world premiere production is part of our ongoing Ford’s Theatre Legacy Commissions initiative. Playwright Pearl Cleage explores the election of Maynard Jackson, Atlanta’s first Black mayor. Cleage sets the play in present-day Atlanta, but soon we travel back 50 years as citizens of the city recollect and reflect upon the significance of the once-in-a-lifetime election that turned Atlanta into a progressive example of the New South. Cleage’s unique theatrical voice turns Atlanta into a full-blooded character while allowing her audience to feel what it was like to be part of a true historic moment in this Southern capital city. As we mark the 50th anniversary of Jackson’s election, immerse yourself in Cleage’s evocative depiction of this monumental moment, directed by Seema Sueko (Silent Sky).
A Christmas Carol
By Charles Dickens Adapted by Michael Wilson Directed by Michael Baron
Featuring Craig Wallace as Scrooge November 17-December 31, 2023
Join the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future as they lead the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge on a journey of transformation and redemption. Directed by Michael Baron, this music-infused production captures the magic and joy of Dickens’s Yuletide classic, with familiar characters, ghosts and a children’s ensemble in the spirit of the holidays. Acclaimed actor Craig Wallace returns to play Ebenezer Scrooge in Ford’s annual tradition heralded as a “rich visual and vocal treat” (TheaterMania) and “infectiously jolly” (The Washington Post).
The Second Ford’s Theatre Legacy Commissions: A First Look Festival Featuring New Works by Nambi E. Kelley and Charlayne Woodard
Sneak Peek of When Day Comes by Ricardo Khan and Sweet Honey in the Rock
Late January 2024
Registration Dates and Titles to Be Announced
In its second year, The Ford’s Theatre Legacy Commissions: A First Look will continue to give DC audiences unparalleled access to the development of new plays by our inaugural cohort of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) playwrights exploring stories and characters that have changed American history. The Ford’s Theatre Legacy Commissions initiative seeks to amplify lesser-known stories and heroes responsible for changing the course of civil rights, social justice, and equality in America. The 2024 edition of A First Look will workshop two new commissions by renowned playwrights Charlayne Woodard and Nambi E. Kelley. The workshops culminate in free public readings and post-reading discussions with the creative team. In addition, A First Look will give audiences an exclusive sneak preview of When Day Comes—a collaboration between playwright/director Ricardo Khan (Crossroads Theatre Company) and the all-women, African American a cappella ensemble sensation, Sweet Honey in the Rock.
Nambi E. Kelley is an actress and playwright with an extensive résumé in the United States and internationally. She is a former playwright-in-residence at the National Black Theatre and the Goodman Theatre and a former Dramatists Guild Fellow. Her play will explore women leaders of the nation of Islam.
Charlayne Woodard is an American playwright and actress, whose solo plays include Pretty Fire, Neat, In Real Life, and The Night Watcher. As an actress, Woodard has extensive film, television, and theatre credits, including Kate in The Taming of the Shrew at the Shakespeare Theatre Company (2007). Her play will examine the life of Ann Lowe, the first African American to become a noted fashion designer.
The Ford’s Theatre Legacy Commissions initiative is led by Senior Artistic Advisor Sheldon Epps, Director of Artistic Programming José Carrasquillo, and Ford’s Theatre Legacy Commissions Advisor Sydné Mahone. Learn more about the initiative.
Little Shop of Horrors
Music By Alan Menken
Lyrics and Book by Howard Ashman Music Direction by William Yanesh Choreographed by Ashleigh King Directed by Kevin McAllister
March 15-May 18, 2024
Little Shop of Horrors is a non-stop blast, sci-fi horror comedy, love story, and doo-wop and rock musical that has become one of the most treasured pieces of American musical theatre. With music by Alan Menken and lyrics and book by Howard Ashman, Little Shop plays homage to doo-wop and Motown recordings. The story follows a luckless florist shop worker, Seymour, who raises a wisecracking carnivorous plant – Audrey II – that must feed on human blood. He delights in the fame and fortune that his ever-growing plant attracts, while trying to show his co-worker Audrey that she is the girl of his dreams. As Seymour discovers Audrey II’s out-of-this-world origins and intent toward world domination, he learns the lesson: “Don’t feed the plants!” Join us for a wild ride through Skid Row this spring 2024, directed by Kevin McAllister (who appeared in The Wiz, Ragtime and more at Ford’s).
By Richard Hellesen; Directed by Mark Ramont March through June 2024
Learn about Lincoln’s assassination from two men who were there. This 35-minute stage play at Ford’s Theatre explores the key facts of the assassination while capturing the emotions of that fateful night in 1865, as told through the eyewitness accounts of actor Harry Hawk and Ford’s Theatre co-owner Harry Ford, among others. As they reconstruct the sequence of events, they grapple with the question: Could John Wilkes Booth have been stopped? One Destiny was honored with The Washington Post Award for Innovative Leadership in the Theatre Community in 2011 and celebrated its 1,000th performance in spring 2016. Jonathan Atkinson and Joe Mallon joined the cast in spring 2023. Performance dates and times for spring 2024 to be announced. Learn more about One Destiny.
The One Destiny: On Demand streamed performance, featuring original actors Michael Bunce and Stephen F. Schmidt, continues to be on sale through the end of 2023.
History on Foot Walking Tours:
Investigation: Detective McDevitt
By Richard Hellesen; Directed by Mark Ramont
March through October 2024
Join Detective McDevitt as he re-visits and re-examines the sites and clues surrounding the assassination of our nation’s 16th president. This outdoor tour lasts approximately two hours and makes at least eight stops between Ford’s Theatre and the White House. The walking distance is 1.6 miles. Wear comfortable shoes. Performance dates and times for 2024 to be announced. Learn more about History on Foot.
Ford’s Theatre Society
One of the most visited sites in the nation’s capital, Ford’s Theatre reopened its doors in 1968, more than a hundred years after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Operated through a partnership between Ford’s Theatre Society and the National Park Service, Ford’s Theatre is the premier destination in the nation’s capital to explore and celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s life and legacy.
Ford’s Theatre Society was founded under the guidance of executive producer Frankie Hewitt, who, during her 35-year tenure, established Ford’s as a living, working theatre producing performances that highlighted the diversity of the American experience. Since the arrival of Paul R. Tetreault as Director, critics, and the theatre-going public have recognized Ford’s for the superior quality of its artistic programming. With works from the Tony Award-nominated Come From Away and the nationally acclaimed Big River, to the world premieres of Grace, Meet John Doe, The Heavens Are Hung In Black, Liberty Smith, Necessary Sacrifices, The Widow Lincoln, The Guard, and Grace, Ford’s Theatre is making its mark on the American theatre landscape. Under the current leadership of Board of Trustees Chairman Phebe N. Novakovic and through the lens of Lincoln’s leadership and legacy, Ford’s today endeavors to advance Lincoln’s “unfinished work” with programs and performances that cultivate empathy, encourage dialogue and bridge divides in American life.
For more information on Ford’s Theatre and the Ford’s Theatre Society, please visit www.fords.org.