National Theatre announces ‘Rent,’ ‘Hairspray’ for 2021-2022 return

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews National Theatre (Part 1)

Musical theater fans have been more than patient over the past year. Soon, the wait will be worth it, as D.C.’s National Theatre has announced its 2021-2022 return.

“Broadway at the National” subscriptions are available now starting at $145. Tickets to individual performances will go on sale at a later date. You can also subscribe for Tuesday Tix, featuring deeply discounted balcony seats for Tuesday performances.

The National is taking steps to maximize COVID-19 safety by upgrading its air filtration, increasing the cleaning schedule of surfaces and modifying its box-office and ticketing procedures to limit physical contact. It is also installing a building-wide HVAC bi-polar ionization system, thanks to resources provided by Events DC and the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities.

“We are grateful for our audiences and their continued support of the arts during this unprecedented time,” Nederlander Organization President James L. Nederlander said. “We are confident that the theatre community will return from this ‘extended intermission’ with renewed heart and energy. It’s exciting to look ahead to the future, and we hope we’ll see you back at The National this fall.”

Here is the lineup for the 2021-2022 season:

“Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas: The Musical” (Nov. 23-Dec. 5, 2021)

This record-setting Broadway holiday sensation features the hit songs “You’re A Mean One Mr. Grinch” and “Welcome Christmas” from the original animated special. Max the Dog narrates as the mean and scheming Grinch, whose heart is “two sizes too small,” decides to steal Christmas away from the Christmas-loving Whos. Magnificent sets and costumes help transport audiences to the whimsical world of Whoville and reminds us of the true meaning of the holiday season.

“Tootsie” (Dec. 7-12, 2021)

Made famous by the 1982 film starring Dustin Hoffman, this laugh-out-loud love letter to the theater tells the story of Michael Dorsey, a talented but difficult actor who struggles to find work until a cross-dressing scheme lands him the role of a lifetime. The show features a Tony-winning book by Robert Horn and a clever score by Tony-winner David Yazbek.

“Pretty Woman: The Musical” (Dec. 28, 2021 – Jan. 2, 2022)

After an incredible run on Broadway, “Pretty Woman: The Musical” is now on tour. One of Hollywood’s most beloved rom-coms is brought to life by a powerhouse creative team, featuring direction and choreography by two-time Tony winner Jerry Mitchell (“Hairspray,” “Kinky Boots,” “Legally Blonde”), an original score by Grammy winner Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance, and a book by the movie’s legendary director Garry Marshall and screenwriter J.F. Lawton.

“The Simon & Garfunkel Story” (Jan. 29-30, 2022)

This immersive, concert-style performance chronicles the amazing journey shared by the iconic folk-rock duo of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, from their humble beginnings as Tom & Jerry to becoming one of the top-selling music groups of the ‘60s. We also see their dramatic split in 1970 and their “The Concert in Central Park” reunion in 1981 for more than half a million fans. Using state-of-the-art video projection, photos and original film footage, the show features a full live band performing the duo’s biggest hits, from “Cecilia” to “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”

“Alton Brown: Beyond the Eats” (Feb. 20, 2022)

Alton Brown is hitting the road with a new culinary variety show. Audiences can expect comedy, music, highly unusual cooking demos, and potentially dangerous “sciencey” stuff. Prepare for an evening unlike any other — and if Brown calls for volunteers, think twice.

“Rent: The 25th Anniversary Farewell Tour” (March 25-27, 2022)

For a quarter of a century, Jonathan Larson’s “RENT” has inspired us to choose love over fear and to live without regret. This Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning phenomenon follows a year in the lives of a diverse group of artists and friends struggling to follow their dreams without selling out during the AIDS epidemic. It has become more than a musical – it’s a cultural touchstone, a rite of passage and a source of joy and strength for millions. RENT has become a part of us forever.

“Come from Away” (April 12-17, 2022)

After winning the Helen Hayes Awards for Outstanding Musical at Ford’s Theatre, “Come From Away” took Broadway by storm, earning seven Tony nominations and winning Best Direction. It tells the remarkable true story of 7,000 stranded passengers in the small town in Newfoundland when flights were grounded on 9/11. Cultures clashed and nerves ran high, but uneasiness turned into trust, music soared into the night, and gratitude grew into enduring friendships.

“Hairspray” (May 10-15, 2022)

You can’t stop the beat! Broadway’s Tony-winning musical comedy phenomenon is back on tour after inspiring a blockbuster film and live television event. Join 16-year-old Tracy Turnblad in 1960s Baltimore as she sets out to dance her way onto TV’s most popular show. Featuring hit songs like “Welcome to the ’60s,” “Good Morning Baltimore,” “It Takes Two,” and incorporating “Ladies Choice” from the film adaption, this all-new touring production will reunite Broadway’s award-winning creative team led by director Jack O’Brien and choreographer Jerry Mitchell.

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews National Theatre (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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