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During the Harlem Renaissance, the U Street neighborhood in DC hosted many jazz greats of the age including Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Count Bassie and Washington's favorite son, Duke Ellington. The Lincoln, built in 1921, was renovated and reopened in 1993 as a nonprofit, multicultural arts venue. With a schedule packed with black pop, jazz and soul artists, Hispanic folk music, African dance ensembles, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra series and the Gay Man's Chorus of Washington, this 1225-seat space is rarely quiet and always worth checking out. It was listed on the U.S National Register of Historic Places in the year 1993.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This single-screen cinema is Washington's choice for big film premieres. The theater's popularity is due to its enormous curved screen, one of the largest in the region, and balcony seating. If you want to see a movie here, plan ahead because tickets sell fast. People often start lining up in front of the theater several hours before show time.