Kennedy Center cancels all performances through April 2021

WTOP's Jason Fraley reports on Kennedy Center closures

The Kennedy Center announced Wednesday that it is canceling all performances through at least April 25, 2021 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The performing arts center, home to the Washington National Opera, the National Symphony Orchestra, one-off music performances and national touring shows such as “Hamilton” (scheduled at one point for the summer of 2020), has been mostly closed since March.

The venue has recently presented some indoor shows in front of small audiences, and facilitated outdoor activities on its new The REACH campus overlooking the Potomac River.

Aside from about 20 performances that will be presented to small audiences, all major indoor concerts, performances and national touring shows are canceled or postponed for the time being.

Some of those national shows included “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Dear Evan Hansen” and “The Band’s Visit.”

The performing arts center, according to a news release, has missed out on approximately $80 million of income due to the loss of the 2020-2021 season. All told the newest cancellations represent almost 400 events and a financial loss of just over $24 million.

Some programming will continue, however, through a new online platform called Digital Stage+, designed to keep donors, members and subscribers engaged in the arts.

Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter said the viability of the venue depends on the generosity of donors who will give money even while performances are on hold.

“The institution’s only path forward is a strategic focus on increasing contributions from our donors and patrons while we wait to reopen,” Rutter said in the news release. “Their generosity and patience over the last eight months have made all the difference and kept us strong.”

The Kennedy Center will continue to offer free programs via its YouTube channel, but donors and subscribers will be able to see new material on the Digital Stage+ platform.

More Coronavirus News

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Dan Friedell

Dan Friedell is a digital writer for WTOP. He came to the D.C. area in 2007 to work as digital editor for, and since then has worked for a number of local and national news organizations.

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