News & Politics

The Kennedy Center Cancels Most Performances for the Rest of 2020

The organization is estimating a near $50 million loss of income.

The Kennedy Center announced Tuesday that it will cancel the majority of its previously scheduled performances and events through the end of the year due to Covid-19. The arts center’s two biggest televised events, the Kennedy Center Honors and the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, will be postponed to 2021.

“As a result of these necessary cancelations and postponements, the Kennedy Center expects to lose an estimated $45.7 million in ticket sales and other earned income during the 2020-2021 season,” the organization wrote in a press release. The Kennedy Center has been closed since March 13. In early May, the center canceled all summer programming and postponed the highly anticipated moneymaker Hamilton.

The Kennedy Center Honors will be postponed to March 7, 2021 and will be aired on CBS at a later date (to be announced). The Mark Twain award ceremony will be moved to June 20, 2021 and will air on PBS afterwards, with the date TBA, too. The National Symphony Orchestra’s Opening Night Gala, originally scheduled for September, is canceled. “Instead, the orchestra will be launching a special effort to support the NSO as it celebrates its 90th season in 2020-2021,” writes the Kennedy Center.

Since March, the Kennedy Center has expanded its online events with a “Digital Stage” that features video clips from various performances and other concerts available for streaming. The organization plans to organize and expand its events for the remainder of the year. In July, the center will announce new programming with a mix of digital events and socially distant physical offerings, some to be held in the green space of the recently opened REACH expansion.

Rosa is a senior editor at Bitch Magazine. She’s written for Washingtonian and Smithsonian magazine.