Theatre Week kicks off in DC with discounted shows, backstage tours and even bike rides

Theatre Week returns to D.C. from Sept. 21 through Oct. 8. (Courtesy Carletta Girma)
WTOP's Jason Fraley previews Theatre Week (Part 1)

D.C. always stages great theater, but this is an especially good time to see a show.

The seventh annual Theatre Week kicks off this Thursday, Sept. 21 through Oct. 8.

Actress Felicia Curry told WTOP that the event is “basically the Super Bowl of theater,” hitting the District since 2017.

“Last year, we sold 16,000 tickets, amidst everything going on in the world, which tripled the tickets we did in 2019, so Theatre Week has been thriving. … [We had] over 20 productions last year,” Curry said. “This year we have over 25 productions and we’re hoping that we can double or triple that again — come on, D.C.!”

Start off by enjoying a kickoff party at Arena Stage in Southwest on Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. It’s a “free, interactive, all-day event where you can get up close and personal with over 50 of the theaters,” according to Curry.

“There are performances, there are workshops, there are panel conversations, there’s food and drinks,” she said. “I think this is a wonderful way for our audiences to get to know the theaters specifically — and you can be right down there by The Wharf in Arena Stage’s beautiful space, which I think is super exciting.”

For 18 days, audiences can purchase discounted tickets to various shows around town.

Curry compared it to D.C.’s Restaurant Week.

“We’re offering the public an opportunity to not see one show, not two, but maybe to try out several shows. We have tickets at $20, $40 and $60 through our partner TodayTix,” she said. “We’re really encouraging folks to try all that D.C. theater has to offer. We have musicals, plays, new works, theater for young audiences. This is a chance for you to try all those things out and not really hurt the bank.”

It’s also your chance to get in on the ground floor of brand new works that have never been seen. There will be “several world premieres,” according to Curry.

“At Woolly Mammoth Theatre, there’s a new play called ‘My Mama & The Full-Scale Invasion’ that touches on the crisis in Ukraine. … ‘Monumental Travesties’ at Mosaic Theatre about a subject right in our backyard at the Emancipation Memorial. … We have several plays written by Latinx playwrights, one at Studio Theatre called ‘Espejos: Clean.’ … and another, ‘ALCESTE,’ at IN Series,” she said.

If you have kids, there’s also plenty of theater for young audiences.

“Families sometimes get discouraged from going, but this is an opportunity to do that without breaking the budget,” Curry said. “‘You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown’ is happening at Adventure Theatre. If you have teeny, tiny ones, there’s ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar,’ which was a book [by Eric Carle], being done at Imagination Stage.”

Of course, there’s all the blockbuster mainstream productions in town as well.

“Obviously, the big ones — you have ‘Evita’ happening over at Shakespeare Theatre, you have ‘Moulin Rouge!’ still happening over at the Kennedy Center,” Curry said.

Beyond the shows, Theatre Week offers several interactive experiences, including a bike tour starting at Studio Theatre on 14th Street in Northwest D.C. at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 30.

There are also two walking tours from National Theatre to the National Portrait Gallery. The first is sold out on Sunday, Sept. 24, at 1 p.m., but a second tour was recently added for Sunday, Oct. 1, at 1 p.m.

“We’re taking you backstage at some of the local theaters,” Curry said. “We also do a bike tour for those of you that prefer to get on some wheels and do the travel. It’s a 20-mile bike tour, so be sure you bring your water, but again, giving you an opportunity to learn the history of some of the theaters.”

Toward the end of Theatre Week, you can celebrate “Black Broadway” on U Street in Northwest from Oct. 5-8.

“This is a really exciting event specific to Washington D.C.,” Curry said. “It’s an immersive multimedia exhibit celebrating some of the most iconic Black female artists of our time, including Pearl Bailey. I think they might talk about Cab Calloway in that too, who’s not female, but just celebrating Black artists. I think that is really exciting because Black Broadway is what U Street used to be called.”

In the end, the overall hope is that audiences will continue to support local shows long after Theatre Week, including Curry, who will be starring in the Broadway hit “POTUS” at Arena Stage from Oct. 13 to Nov. 12.

“When Theatre Week is over, we want to encourage folks to continue to see theater,” Curry said.

Find more information here.

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews Theatre Week (Part 2)

Listen to our full conversation here.

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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