Kennedy Center announces impressive theater lineup for upcoming season

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews Kennedy Center theater (Part 1)

Theater fans finally have something to look forward to after a year of closures.

The Kennedy Center announced its theater lineup for the 2021-2022 season.

“I am elated to announce what is perhaps one of our most important theater seasons ever at the Kennedy Center as we return with such a full, exciting program of musicals and plays,” Vice President and Executive Producer of Theater Jeffrey Finn said.

“The anticipation of being able to see Broadway productions again—and be in the theater together—is palpable,” Finn added. “This upcoming season is filled with incredible shows and works from brilliant artists, offering something for everyone.”

“Hadestown” kicks off the season from Oct. 13 to Oct. 31 in the Opera House. Created by singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell and director Rachel Chavkin, the show is a love story intertwining two mythic tales: (a) young dreamers Orpheus and Eurydice, and (b) King Hades and his wife Persephone. It’s the most recent Tony winner for Best Musical.

“Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations” from Dec. 14, 2021 to Jan. 16, 2022 in the Opera House. Set to the group’s biggest hits, from “My Girl” to “Just My Imagination,” the smash musical won the Tony for Best Choreography in a story that follows The Temptations’ extraordinary journey from the streets of Detroit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

“Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” from Dec. 14, 2021 to Jan. 2, 2022 in the Eisenhower Theater. It tells the inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom, from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, to becoming one of the most successful solo acts ever.

“The Prom” arrives Jan. 4-16, 2022 in the Eisenhower Theater. The joyous Broadway hit is a new musical comedy about big Broadway stars on a mission to change the world and the love they discover that unites them all. It was recently adapted for Netflix by Ryan Murphy.

“Jesus Christ Superstar” arrives Feb. 22 to March 13, 2022 in the Opera House. The iconic musical celebrates its 50th anniversary, featuring award–winning music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice. It’s all set against the backdrop of an extraordinary series of events during the final weeks in the life of Jesus Christ as seen through the eyes of Judas.

“Riverdance: The 25th Anniversary Show” arrives March 15-27, 2022 in the Opera House. It’s a powerful and stirring reinvention of this beloved favorite, celebrated the world over for its Grammy–winning score and the thrilling energy and passion of its Irish and international dance.

“Mean Girls” arrives April 5-24, 2022 in the Opera House. This “fetch” musical comes from book writer Tina Fey (“30 Rock), composer Jeff Richmond (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”), lyricist Nell Benjamin (“Legally Blonde”) and director Casey Nicholaw (“The Book of Mormon”).

“Oklahoma!” arrives April 5-10, 2022 in the Eisenhower Theater. The classic 1943 musical is reimagined for the 21st century with a Tony win for Best Revival of a Musical. This acclaimed production features some of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s biggest hits, including “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin,” “The Surrey with the Fringe on Top” and the unforgettable title song.

“Freestyle Love Supreme” arrives May 10-15, 2022 in the Eisenhower Theater. Before creating “Hamilton” and “In the Heights,” the rising team of Thomas Kail, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Anthony Veneziale created a freestyle rap improv group for the ages. Before you see the show, check out the recent Hulu documentary “We Are Freestyle Love Supreme.”

“A Monster Calls” arrives May 25 to June 12, 2022 in the Eisenhower Theater. Based on a novel by Patrick Ness, the show is brought to the stage by visionary director Sally Cookson. It follows 13-year-old Conor who lives with his ill mother after his father moved to America. One night, Conor is woken by something at his window — a monster ready to tell tales to help Conor face his fears.

“Jersey Boys” arrives June 14-26, 2022 in the Eisenhower Theater. The smash Broadway musical tells the behind-the-music story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, winning the Tony for Best Musical and the Grammy for Best Musical Show Album both in 2006.

“To Kill a Mockingbird” arrives June 21 to July 10, 2022 in the Opera House. Based on Harper Lee’s beloved 1960 novel and the 1962 film starring Gregory Peck, Aaron Sorkin’s adaptation holds the title of the most successful American play in Broadway history. The national tour is directed by Bartlett Sher and stars Emmy winner Richard Thomas.

“The Band’s Visit” arrives July 5-17, 2022 in the Eisenhower Theater. The Broadway musical won a whopping 10 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. It is also a Grammy winner for Best Musical Theater Album with a score that seduces your soul and sweeps you off your feet.

“Hamilton” arrives July 12 to Oct. 2, 2022 in the Opera House. Blending hip hop, jazz, R&B and show tunes, “Hamilton” took the story of founding father Alexander Hamilton and created a revolutionary moment in theater. With book, music, and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Hamilton” won 11 Tonys, including Best Musical, and a special citation at the Kennedy Center Honors.

“Blue Man Group” arrives July 19-31, 2022 in the Eisenhower Theater. More than 35 million people around the world have experienced the smash-hit phenomenon. Now, the bald and blue men are finally making their Kennedy Center debut, featuring their signature drumming, pulsing music, colorful moments of creativity and quirky moments of comedy.

“Dear Evan Hansen” arrives Aug. 30 to Sept. 25, 2022 in the Eisenhower Theater. The musical originated at Arena Stage in D.C. before winning six Tony Awards on Broadway, including Best Musical. It concerns a letter that was never meant to be seen, a lie that was never meant to be told, a life that a high schooler never dreamed he could have.

“Shear Madness” will also be a recurring show starting Oct. 5, 2021 in the Theater Lab. When a famed concert pianist is killed above the Shear Madness hair salon, the audience turns detective to crack the case. Was it the shady antiques dealer, the secretive stylist, the sassy salon owner, or the snooty society lady? Thanks to hilarious improv comedy, no two performances are alike.

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews Kennedy Center theater (Part 2)

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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