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Washington, DC Theater (Top Venues for Plays, Music and Dance)


The Washington DC theater scene has been expanding in recent years. There are dozens of places around the region to see a wide range of live theatrical performances. Here is a guide to the leading performing arts venues providing the hottest Broadway shows, music, dance, and more.

1. John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Photo © Hisham Ibrahim/Getty Images
2700 F. St. NW, Washington, DC. The premier theater is the home to the National Symphony Orchestra, Washington Opera, Washington Ballet and American Film Institute. Performances include theatre, musicals, dance, orchestral, chamber, jazz, popular, & folk music; youth and family programs and multi-media shows.

2. National Theatre

Photo courtesy of the National Theatre
1321 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC. The 1,676-seat Federal-style theater is the oldest playhouse in the United States and has operated in the same location since 1835. The National Theatre offers Broadway-level plays and musicals, Saturday-morning children's theater and Monday-night showcases of local performers.

3. Warner Theatre

Photo © Paul Morigi/Getty Images
513 13th Street, NW Washington, DC. The theater is located in the heart of Washington, DC, a few blocks from the White House. Performances include comedies, dramas, musicals and more.

4. Ford's Theatre

Photo by Maxwell MacKenzie
10th and E Streets, NW Washington, DC. The theater is a national historic landmark, the site where Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. On the second floor of Ford's Theatre, you can see the boxseat where Lincoln was sitting when he was killed. On the lower level, the Ford's Theatre Museum displays exhibits about Lincoln’s life and explains the circumstances of his tragic death. A variety of live theatrical performances are available throughout the year.

5. Arena Stage

photo by Nic Lehoux courtesy of Bing Thom Architects

1101 Sixth Street SW Washington, DC. The largest of the Washington, DC area's not-for-profit theaters, features a range of performances from American classics to premieres of new plays. The theater recently completed a $135 million renovation and is now one of the largest theaters in the region.

6. Shakespeare Theatre Company

Photo © Shakespeare Theatre Company

Harman Center for the Arts, 610 F Street NW Washington, DC
Lansburgh Theatre, 450 7th Street NW Washington, DC
The Shakespeare Theatre Company produces eight mainstage plays annually in its two downtown theatres.

7. Studio Theatre

1501 14th St. NW Washington, DC. This smaller theater offers a broad range of plays by some of the world's greatest contemporary playwrights. Located near Dupont Circle in Washington, DC.

8. Atlas Performing Arts Center

Photo by Michael Moran
1333 H Street NE Washington, DC. Housed in an historic movie theatre, the performing arts center is home to a diverse group of locally renowned theatre and dance companies, symphony orchestras, choral groups and arts education programs.  As the artistic anchor in the thriving H Street corridor, the Atlas is committed to its neighborhood and arts community.

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