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Best Theaters in Washington DC

By: Cityseeker
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The Studio Theatre

Studio Theatre is a busy venue, renowned for its leadership in the cultural arts neighborhood of 14th Street and as a primary force in the Washington theatrical scene in general. The three 200-seat theaters, the Metheny, the Mead and the Milton, offer strong works by contemporary playwrights such as David Mamet, Athol Fugard and Tom Stoppard. The six or seven plays presented each season in these two spaces assure the Studio's status as among the most productive in the city. In addition, the 50-seat Secondstage allows popular productions to continue their runs, and also provides for experimental plays to be showcased.

Washington DC, DC, United States
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Source Theater

Tracing its history back to 1977, this intimate theater is well-known for hosting avant-garde performances from emerging theater artists. The theater changed hands in 2006, undergoing an extensive update to its facilities and today, is a prominent hotspot in the city's theater scene. From modern productions to dance recitals, Source offers something for everyone.

Washington DC, DC, United States
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National Theatre

With its grand Federal-style architecture, this theater occupies a prominent place along one of the most imposing sections of Pennsylvania Avenue, near the White House, the Willard Inter-Continental hotel and the Old Post Office. Broadway shows are featured here, both before and after their on-Broadway run. In addition to large-scale, high-visibility productions, the National Theatre offers special events. A popular children's program includes music, a variety of one-act plays, readings and dance. Many special programs are free and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Washington DC, DC, United States
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Warner Theatre

Built in 1924, the Warner has long been a respected part of theater life in downtown Washington. Housed in an imposing building, it underwent an extensive USD10 million restoration in 1992. The intricately decorated vaulted ceilings and rich brown-and-rose interiors contribute to the lavish rococo decor. The Warner Theatre is one of a small number of venues in the city that present theatrical productions with a national reputation. This is where Washingtonians are likely to see touring Broadway plays and musicals. Some musical tours also stop at the Warner.

Washington DC, DC, United States
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Ford's Theatre

An iconic theater, Ford's Theatre is recognized as the place where President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on April 14th, 1865. A century later on January 1968, the theater was reopened again for a performance after being under the management of numerous government organizations including the United States Department of War and National Park Service. Also found within the Ford's Theatre is a Lincoln Museum that displays artifacts from the assassination, including the gun Lincoln was shot with. Mementos from Lincoln's life are also on display.

Washington, DC, United States
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The Howard Theatre

Founded in 1910, the Howard Theatre was once the face of great and renowned musical performers and artists. Lauded for its exclusive design and classy interiors, this stage has hosted performances of popular artists like Sarah Vaughn, Dinah Washington and Chuck Brown. However, this glorious period came to end in 1968 when the property was damaged. In 1974, Howard Theatre was re-opened and it hosted shows till 1980; in 2010, a project was undertaken to restore this oldest venue of the city. After the makeover, it once again features great gigs and has reclaimed its title of being one of the best music venues in town.

Washington DC, DC, United States
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District of Columbia Arts Center

Two theater companies, Theatre Conspiracy and Fraudulent Productions, have their home in this arts center in Adams-Morgan. With their offbeat and frequently controversial exhibits, both companies are known for experimental theater in the style of "off-off-Broadway." Theatre Conspiracy features cutting-edge feminist works with a focus on women and their roles in society. Plays by experimental but firmly established writers such as Peter Handke, Guenter Grass and Karel Capek have also been staged here.

Washington DC, DC, United States
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Sidney Harman Hall

The Sidney Harman Hall is a majestic 774-seat theater in the heart of Washington DC and forms a part of the Harman Center of the Arts. Suitable for dance and music events, organizers can choose from the proscenium, thrust, semi-arena or bare stages, depending on the show. It is acoustically designed to suit dramas, plays and even live chamber music concerts. The venue along with the Lansburgh Theatre on the 7th Street is home to the Shakespeare Theatre Company.

Washington DC, DC, United States
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Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company

This successful company is one of the top local theaters in the city. With a focus on new works and playwrights, Woolly Mammoth is regarded as an artistically adventurous theater with little fear of either controversy or experimentation. Washington audiences are especially fond of Woolly Mammoth's preview performances, which include discussions of the work with a generous pay-what-you-can policy. Other community-oriented programs include a number of projects designed for area youth-at-risk, teacher-enrichment and eight free public readings of new plays each year. Woolly Mammoth also runs a popular program of acting classes through its Theatre School.

Washington DC, DC, United States
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John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

The Kennedy Center is a must-see for any visitor. The center consists of Concert Hall, Eisenhower Theater, Family Theater, KC Jazz Club, Opera House, Terrace Theater and the Theater Lab, which show productions that include plays, operas, ballets, concerts and films. Among the center's highlights include the Shakespeare Festival produced by the Shakespeare Theatre. Free tours introduce visitors to the Hall of States, Hall of Nations, the main theaters and gifts from many countries honoring the 35th president.

Washington DC, DC, United States
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Folger Theatre

A part of the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Folger Theatre presents performances of the classic plays that are part of the library's collection. Of course there are performances of Shakespeare's plays, as well as productions of other classics written during the Elizabethan period. The space itself is very intimate, meaning that every seat in the house is a great one.

Washington DC, DC, United States
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