News & Politics

25 Can’t-Miss Shows

The season ahead offers lots of blockbuster plays, musicals, and much-loved classics

A Chorus Line, coming to the National Theatre, is still musical theater at its best. Photograph by Paul Kolnik

There’ll be lots of great performances this season on area stages and in music clubs and concert halls. Some are destined to be sold out, so think about getting tickets now for those you don’t want to miss.

Lykke Li

Black Cat, October 19

A recent appearance on Late Night With Conan O’Brien made this indie-pop singer the hottest Swedish import since Abba. $15; 202-397-7328;

Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt

Warner Theatre, October 19

An acoustic evening with two alt-country masters. $69.50; 800-551-7328;

The Black Crowes

9:30 Club, October 23 through 25

This band’s mix of rock, folk, and blues has sold more than 20 million albums. $45; 800-955-5566;

“Modern Masters” Dance Series

Kennedy Center beginning October 29, with performances through March 28

An exceptional lineup of modern-dance companies—including the Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham, and José Limón companies. $22 to $89; 202-467-4600;

Carmen, Washington National Opera

Kennedy Center Opera House, November 8 through 19

Washington native Denyce Graves is famous worldwide for her performance of the fiery Carmen, and Bizet’s music is dazzling. $45 to $300; 202-467-4600;

Cheetah Girls One World Tour

Verizon Center, November 9

If you’ve got a tween girl, you may already have tickets to see this sassy and sparkly Disney-created girl group. If not, hurry before they become as coveted as Hannah Montana tickets. $35 to $45; 202-397-7328;

Conductor Gustavo Dudamel

Kennedy Center Concert Hall; conducting the Israeli Philharmonic November 18; conducting his old orchestra, the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, April 6.

The 27-year-old maestro—who’ll take over the Los Angeles Philharmonic next year—is considered the hottest ticket in the concert world. Washington has two chances to see the Venezuelan dubbed “the golden boy of classical music.” $28 to $175; 202-467-4600;

San Francisco Ballet

Kennedy Center Opera House, November 25 through 30

The nation’s oldest professional ballet company comes to the area for the first time in six years, bringing works from its New Works Festival, commissioned for its 75th anniversary. $29 to $99; 202-467-4600;

Christmas With Aaron Neville and His Quintet

Birchmere, November 30

Neville has the sweetest tenor voice ever to leave New Orleans. His appearances are always popular, especially concerts like this one with brother Charles. $45; 202-397-7328;

Les Misérables

Signature Theatre, December 2 through February 22

The first regional theater production of Les Miz as only artistic director Eric Schaeffer would dare to do it: The audience will be onstage behind the barricades. $49 to $77; 703-820-9771;

West Side Story

National Theatre, December 15 through January 17

This pre-Broadway production is a restaged version directed by the original librettist, Arthur Laurents. Leonard Bernstein’s music and Stephen Sondheim’s lyrics still soar, but the characters have a modern edge. $46.50 to $176.50; 800-447-7400;

NSO Kinderkonzert: “String and Stories”

Kennedy Center Theater Lab, January 10 (two performances)

Kennedy String Quartet musicians use animals and slapstick to bring classical music to life. $18; 202-467-4600;

The Seafarer

Studio Theatre, January 14 through February 22

Conor McPherson’s play about prison inmates who play poker with the devil on Christmas Eve. When actors Edward Gero, Philip Goodwin, and Floyd King get together, magic happens. $34 to $61; 202-332-3300;

Sweet Honey in the Rock Annual Children’s Concert

People’s Congregational Church, January 17 (two performances)

The a cappella group’s blend of folk, gospel, jazz, and percussion is a treat for kids and adults alike. The local group’s children’s CD Experience . . . 101 was nominated for a Grammy last year. $12; 202-785-9727;


Round House Theatre, February 4 through March 1

This retelling of the Orpheus myth is an early work by Sarah Ruhl, author of Dead Man’s Cell Phone, a New York hit that premiered at Woolly Mammoth last year. She’s a MacArthur “genius grant” recipient and a favorite of local audiences. $50 to $60; 240-644-1100;

Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra With Tap Dancer Savion Glover

Music Center at Strathmore, February 13

“Symphony With a Twist” combines classical music, pop, jazz, and Glover’s choreography and improvisation. $25 to $80; 301-581-5100;

Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra

George Mason Center for the Arts, February 21

These top-notch local musicians, led by Jim Carroll, will blow the house down with classics from jazz greats such as Duke Ellington. $19 to $38; 888-945-2468;

Second City National Touring Company

Barns at Wolf Trap, February 21 and 22

Tina Fey, Mike Myers, and Steve Carell started with the renowned improv group from Chicago. Expect the politically incorrect. $20; 877-938-2404;

Pianist Evgeny Kissin

Kennedy Center Concert Hall, March 1

The Russian classical pianist and former child prodigy is always a big draw. At his last area recital, the crowd refused to leave and he played eight encores. $47 to $127; 202-467-4600;

BeauSoleil With Michael Doucet

Barns at Wolf Trap, March 5

It’s always time for Mardi Gras beads and dancing shoes when this Louisiana band comes to town with its feel-good Cajun/zydeco mix. $25; 877-938-2404;

A Chorus Line

National Theatre, March 10 through 22

The Pultizer Prize– and Tony Award–winning musical about dancers auditioning for a Broadway show is still “one singular sensation.” Tickets ($46.50 to $151.50) go on sale in January; 800-447-7400;

Bach’s Great Organ Mass

National Presbyterian Church, March 22

The Washington Bach Consort celebrates the composer’s birthday with J. Reilly Lewis at the organ and splendid voices singing. $20 to $55; 202-429-2121;


Arena Stage at the Lincoln Theatre, March 27 through April 26

This joyful musical about Southern black matriarchs and their church hats always sells out. The new version stars E. Faye Butler, who stopped the show in Signature Theatre’s Saving Aimee. $57 to $76; 202-488-3300;


Signature Theatre, April 28 through May 31

This world premiere is based on Edna Ferber’s novel. The musical won a grant from the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays. $49 to $77; 703-820-9771;

King Lear

Shakespeare Theatre Company, Sidney Harman Hall, June 16 through July 19

Stacy Keach plays Lear in a production by Tony Award–winning director Robert Falls. $20 to $67.50; 202-547-1122;

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Theater Dining Guide

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Behind the Scenes Wizards

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Music Masters