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The Kennedy Center Announces Its 2013-14 Season

A platinum-selling rapper and an international film festival are on the lineup.

Rapper Nas comes to the Kennedy Center this season. Photograph courtesy of Flickr user Erik Charlton.

The Kennedy Center this morning announced its lineup for 2013-14—Michael Kaiser’s last season as president—and among big news is that the center breaks away from classical music for a bit to host multi-platinum rapper Nas, the son of jazz musician Olu Dara. Nas is know for the 2002 single “One Mic,” which is the name of the weeklong festival at which he’ll perform. “One Mic: Hip-Hop Culture Worldwide” will celebrate “emceeing, deejaying, B-boying, and graffiti writing,” through exhibitions and performances, Kaiser said this morning. Somali artist K’Naan, who sang the promotional anthem of the 2010 World Cup, “Wavin’ Flag,” will also make an appearance.

Speaking of celebrity appearances: Under the leadership of artistic adviser Jason Moran, more than 70 jazz performances will pop up at the KenCen this year by the likes of NEA Jazz Masters Ramsey Lewis and Cecil Taylor. The legacy of trumpeteer Arturo Sandoval is celebrated with a one-time concert, “50 Years: The Life, Passion, and Music of Arturo Sandoval,” at which actors Bill Cosby and Andy Garcia will also perform.

The debut International Theater Festival, taking place in 2014, will feature the theatrical works of companies from all over the world. Titles include The Green Snake by the National Theater of China, The Petrol Station by Kuwait’s Sulayman Al-Bassam Theatre, Incendios by Mexico’s Tapioca Inn, and a rendition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream by England’s Bristol Old Vic and the Handspring Puppet Company of South Africa. The festival will represent ten total countries and will also host complementary readings and forums.

Also in theater: In a partnership with the La Jolla Playhouse, the Center will present a production of Bill Russell and Henry Kreiger’s Side Show; Sister Act, Elf, and Disney’s The Lion King are also on the lineup. Tony Award winner Patti LuPone and actor-singer Mandy Patinkin will star in the Elvis-inspired Million Dollar Quartet. Francesca Zambello will direct a production this year that’s new to the Washington National Opera, Giueseppe Verdi’s The Force of Destiny, in addition to Richard Wagner’s romance Tristan and Isolde. Both performances are timed to celebrate the composers’ 200th birthdays. Opera in the Outfield will continue again this year, giving the public a chance to see the Washington National Opera for free at Nationals Park.

Yo-Yo Ma conducts the opening concert of the National Symphony Orchestra, which will later celebrate the 150th anniversary of Richard Strauss with a single performance of Der Rosenkavalier and scenes from Elektra and Salome.

The esteemed Mariinsky Ballet will perform Swan Lake this season, during which other big names such the New York City Ballet and the Joffrey Ballet will also perform George Balanchine’s Jewels and The Nutcracker, respectively. All ballet performances this season will be accompanied by the KenCen’s Opera House Orchestra.

For more information on the Kennedy Center’s 2013-14 season lineup, visit the KenCen’s website.

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