Bruno Mars to Open Theater in MGM Casino at National Harbor

Photograph courtesy MGM Resorts.

Bruno Mars will be the first big-ticket performer to play at a 3,000-seat theater inside the MGM National Harbor casino and hotel when the resort opens in December. Mars’s December 27 show will come nearly three weeks after the casino’s December 8 launch.

The casino’s theater is also expected to host events including comedy shows, “cabaret” nights, and boxing and mixed-martial arts fights. Mars’s concert is part of a deal the singer has with MGM Resorts, which also recently used him to open a new theater at the company’s namesake property in Las Vegas.

The theater is being booked and managed by Live Nation, giving the global promotions-and-ticketing conglomerate another foothold in the area. (It also operates the Warner Theatre and Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow.) The venue, which can expand to a 4,000-person capacity for standing-room shows, is about twice the size as the Music Center at Strathmore, and much larger than other performances spaces in the area, including the 9:30 Club and the Lincoln Theatre.

Rendering via MGM Resorts.

Those last two venues are run by I.M.P., whose boss, Seth Hurwitz, has been one of Live Nation’s most vocal opponents, saying the company has an unfair competitive advantage that only became worse after its 2010 merger with Ticketmaster. Along with his two existing DC theaters, Hurwitz’s company also runs Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia and will manage a 6,000-seat theater at the Wharf development in Southwest DC.

Tickets to Mars’s show, which run from $150 to $395, go on sale Friday at 10 AM through Ticketmaster.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.