Theatre Washington’s Theatre Week is returning to DC for the first time since 2019.
The celebration is actually a three-week-long bash—from September 22 through October 9—to launch the 2022-2023 theater season in the Washington region. It will include discounted tickets for some 20 shows, a kickoff fest and concert at the Wharf, and community events throughout the region.
With tickets priced between $22 and $44, the festivities will make theater more accessible to everyone, says Amy Austin, president and CEO of Theatre Washington: “It’s like Restaurant Week, when it allows you to try something new.”
Theatre Week will get things started with a kickoff fest on Saturday, September 24, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Arena Stage, then a concert at the Wharf’s Transit Pier stage from 4 to 6. The kickoff will feature performances, workshops, and conversations with more than 40 theaters in the Washington region. There will be free food and drinks from area vendors including ANXO cider, Crazy Aunt Helen’s, Carmine’s Italian Restaurant’s famous meatballs, DC Brau tastings, and the Turkish Coffee Lady, who will be serving Turkish coffee and demonstrating how it is made.
Throughout the day, visitors can win free tickets to shows, restaurant gift cards, and a grand prize package of a basket full of theater tickets and T-shirts.
Saturday’s kickoff fest and concert are both free to attend, but you must register here for each event.
“Connecting to those theaters at the kickoff fest is a great way to pick up a season brochure and see if it looks like something you’d want to be a part of,” Austin says. “So I think it’s a great place for newcomers to the city to figure out what we mean when we say DC theater.”
Good Shows to See
The Trip to Bountiful at Ford’s Theatre features Nancy Robinette, a DC theater mainstay who has been nominated for 14 Helen Hayes Awards. She plays Carrie Watts, an elderly woman who embarks on a risky journey out of the bustling city back to her beloved hometown of Bountiful, Texas.
Tony Award-winning Signature Theatre in Arlington is currently showing No Place To Go, featuring Bobby Smith, who has 17 Helen Hayes nominations and has appeared both on and off-Broadway in addition to DC-area stages. Playing the narrator, Smith learns the personal cost of doing business as his corporate job moves to a “very (very) remote location,” having to decide whether to uproot his family or embark on an unknown journey.
Jon Hudson Odom stars with DC native Shannon Dorsey in Ain’t No Mo’, a comedy at Woolly Mammoth about the final boarding call for African American Airlines’ Flight 1619 to Africa following the election of a Black president.
DC theater veteran Nova Y. Payton is currently portraying the role of Celie in The Color Purple, the Tony Award-winning musical adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.
Mosaic Theater Company will be showing The Till Trilogy, a new work that tells the story of the life, death, and legacy of Emmett Till in three plays–The Ballad of Emmett Till, Benevolence, and That Summer in Sumner–which aim to offer an opportunity for collective reckoning, reflection, and response in the ongoing fight for racial justice in the United States.
“Theater is not only what’s happening on stage, you know. Theaters are very involved in their communities,” Austin says. “They’re community spaces. So during the  protests and Black Lives Matter, most of the productions were shut down, but the doors were open, which is a great example of how they’re just really integral to the community. We help remind people of that.”
Additional Theatre Week activities include catching a baseball game with theater-industry folks at Nats Park on September 26, and a bike ride on October 1 from Keegan Theatre in Dupont to The Reach at the Kennedy Center, passing by 12 theaters along the way. They’re also hosting pre-show happy hours throughout the three weeks.
“It’s a good opportunity to reengage with the theater community or discover something new,” Austin says. “And remember what a joy it is to be at the theater.”