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Musical Theatre Today

2700 F St.: Musical Theatre Today
Forget everything you thought you knew about Broadway-style shows because this performance gives you an insider’s look at modern musical theater—musical theater today.
Theater, Backstage, Broadway, Musicals, Playwrights & Plays

Superman 2050

Cuesheet: Superman 2050
Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s… Superman 2050! Fast forward 35 years from now to see the fearless Man of Steel battle his arch-enemy Lex Luthor.
Backstage, Theater, Playwrights & Plays, Science Fiction & Fantasy

The Girl Who Forgot To Sing Badly

Cuesheet: The Girl Who Forgot to Sing Badly
It’s hard to make your voice heard, especially when you’re small.
Backstage, Theater, Playwrights & Plays

Moby Dick

Cuesheet: Moby Dick
Hoist sail, raise anchor, and join the hunt for the great white whale! Set off on an epic sea adventure as one of America’s greatest novels comes to life on stage.
Backstage, Theater, Playwrights & Plays

OLIVÉRio

Cuesheet: OLIVÉRio
OLIVÉRio adapts the themes, events, and characters of the novel Oliver Twist into a story full of the sights and sounds of modern-day Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Backstage, Theater, Playwrights & Plays, Latin America

Elephant & Piggie's We Are in a Play

Cuesheet: Elephant and Piggie's We Are in a Play
Straight from Mo Willems’ award-winning book series, best friends Gerald and Piggie sing and dance their way through fundamental questions like, should you share your ice cream? And how can two friends play with one toy? Discover the answers and much more!
Animals, Backstage, Theater, Playwrights & Plays

Titus

Cuesheet: Titus
Ten-year-old Titus has seen life’s disappointments pile up and he’s on edge—the edge of the school roof to be exact. From that perch, he shares the story of his life and all the losses that have left him hurting. He still has his wicked sense of humor, but can he find a ray of hope and happiness for the future?
Theater, Family, Controversial, Playwrights & Plays

Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord's The Suit

Cuesheet: Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord's The Suit
Hearts will be broken in this tragic tale of a wife’s betrayal and a husband’s revenge set in South Africa during the days of apartheid. Can music and wit soften the pain?
Theater, Family, Playwrights & Plays

Man of the House

Cuesheet: Man of the House: A World Premiere Kennedy Center Commission
“Son, I’ve got to go. Now you are the man of the house.” Pablito never forgot those words from his father. Now it’s time to do something about them.
Backstage, Family, Theater, Playwrights & Plays

Four Little Girls

Cuesheet: Four Little Girls: Birmingham 1963
Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Birmingham, Alabama church bombing that took the lives of four young girls, this reading remembers this seminal event in American history and how it helped to galvanize the American Civil Rights Movement.
America, Controversial, History, Playwrights & Plays, Theater

Elephant & Piggie's We Are In A Play

Cuesheet: Elephant and Piggie's We Are in a Play (Premiere)
Straight from Mo Willems’ award-winning book series, best friends Gerald and Piggie sing and dance their way through fundamental questions like, should you share your ice cream? And how can two friends play with one toy? Discover the answers and much more!
Animals, Backstage, Theater, Playwrights & Plays

All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914

Cuesheet: All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914
The a cappella voices of Cantus and actors from Theater Latté Da recall the remarkable World War I truce between Allied Forces and German soldiers on Christmas, 1914. All is Calm brings this extraordinary tale to life with words and songs from the soldiers who laid down their arms to celebrate Christmas.
History, Playwrights & Plays, Theater, Europe

Death of a Salesman

Master + Work: Arthur Miller and Death of a Salesman
Arthur Miller’s voice of social conscience and theatrical imagination changed the face of American theater. Meet him through his masterwork, Death of a Salesman.
America, History, Broadway, Playwrights & Plays, Theater, Controversial

As You Like It

Article: Shakespeare in Love
Shakespeare made the pursuit of love just as difficult as leading men to war, or solving your father's murder
Playwrights & Plays, Shakespeare, Tragedy, Literature, Theater

Romeo and Juliet

Article: Romeo and Juliet
Find out why William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is such an enduring love story. Learn more about Act II’s balcony scene and the tragedy’s most well-known adaptations
Playwrights & Plays, Shakespeare, Tragedy, Literature, Theater

comedy and tragedy masks

Collection: Theater Resources
Take a peek behind the red curtain and discover the artistry and history behind the world of theater. Explore the playwriting process first-hand, learn about the cultural impact of performance, and read and perform some of the most influential works of the 20th century.
America, Art Venues, Backstage, Broadway, Musicals, Playwrights & Plays, Theater

Language Arts

Collection: Language Arts Resources
How do fables and myths explain the unknown and preserve cultures? What makes a good story? How do plays comment on societal issues? Grab a pencil and prepare to create original poems, experience the Civil War through letters, and parse symbolism and metaphor in this exploration of language arts.
America, Europe, Folklore, Language, Literature, Native America, Playwrights & Plays, Poetry

African-American Boy

Collection: African-American History
Learn about the African American experience through the arts — and discover the contributions of African Americans to the history and culture of the United States.
Africa, America, Folklore, Geography, History, Jazz, Music, Playwrights & Plays, Dance, Blues

Mother and girl art class

Tipsheet: Going Public
Here are the best and safest ways to share your student's work with the world!
Education, Young Artists, Visual Arts, Poetry, Playwrights & Plays, Literature

word art

Grades 6-8 Lesson: A Way With Words or Say What?
Many words and phrases that we use every day were coined by Shakespeare. He is credited with inventing over 2,000 words and expressive phrases.
Shakespeare, Literature, Language, Playwrights & Plays

Fencers

Grades 6-8 Lesson: Fancy Fencing
Stage-fighting, and especially sword-fighting, is important to the plot of many Shakespearean plays. In theatre, fights are based on precise choreography.
Choreographers, Europe, Playwrights & Plays, Shakespeare, Stunts & Special Effects

Romeo and Juliet

Grades 9-12 Lesson: Performance Essay
By investigating Shakespeare through both an analytical and theatrical lens, students achieve a much deeper understanding of his work.
Theater, Shakespeare, Playwrights & Plays, Literature

Scene from 'The Glass Menagerie'

Grades 9-12 Lesson: The Memory Play in American Drama
This lesson explores structural and technical devices of the "memory" play by focusing on a Tennessee Williams' masterpiece, The Glass Menagerie
Playwrights & Plays, Theater, Literature

Scene from Eugene O'Neill's 'The Hairy Ape'

Grades 9-12 Lesson: Uncivil Civilization in The Hairy Ape
Eugene O'Neill's The Hairy Ape presents a disheartening assessment of the impact of living in the industrialized society of the early 20th century.
Playwrights & Plays, Theater, Literature

Eugene O'Neill

Grades 9-12 Lesson: Eugene O'Neill on Page and Stage
Continue the exploration of "Puritanism" as an influence on the development of modern American drama by focusing on elements of narrative, theme and characterization.
Playwrights & Plays, Literature, Theater

Firefighter at Ground Zero

Grades 9-12 Lesson: Art from Tragedy: Remembering 9/11
Students will interview their peers about their memories of September 11th, 2001, and use those memories to craft a one-act play for performance
America, Theater, Tragedy, Playwrights & Plays, Movies & Movie Stars, Literature, History

Performance of Shakespeare's

Grades 9-12 Lesson: A Question of Style
Students will explore the nature of comedy by informally staging the opening scenes in Shakespeare's As You Like It
Theater, Young Artists, Literature, Playwrights & Plays

Scene from

Grades 9-12 Lesson: Exploring A Streetcar Named Desire
Students study setting, plot, and character development in Tennessee Williams' play, A Streetcar Named Desire and discuss its impact on American theater.
Playwrights & Plays, Education, Theater, Literature

Locomotion

Multimedia Series: Locomotion
A foster child uses poetry to cope with his troubled past
Playwrights & Plays, Literature, Poetry, Theater

Jackie and Caroline reading

Slideshow: Discovering American Scrapbook
Bringing poetry to life through performance
America, Poetry, Presidents, Playwrights & Plays, Theater

Musical theater kids

Audio: Write Your Own Musical
Heather Nathans, Associate Professor of Theatre at the University of Maryland, is joined by Joe Stein and Sheldon Harnick (writers of Fiddler on the Roof) and Stephen Schwartz (who wrote Pippin, Godspell, and Wicked) to talk about how a musical gets written.
America, Art Venues, Backstage, Composers, Music, Music Legends, Musicals, Playwrights & Plays, Theater, Young Artists

arts challenge

Everyday Arts Challenge: Here Ye…
Talk like William Shakespeare. (Hint: a good place to start is by using “thou” in place of “you.”) What dost thou think? ‘Tis easy! Your turn.
Shakespeare, Literature, Poetry, Television, Playwrights & Plays

arts quote

Arts Quotes: Eugene Ionesco
"A work of art is above all an adventure of the mind."
Europe, Innovators & Pioneers, Playwrights & Plays

arts quote

Arts Quotes: William Shakespeare
"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool."
Europe, Literature, Poetry, Playwrights & Plays

arts quote

Arts Quotes: Oscar Wilde
"The stage is not merely the meeting place of all the arts, but is also the return of art to life."
Europe, Controversial, Literature, Comedy, Playwrights & Plays, Theater

arts quote

Arts Quotes: Oscar Wilde
"Music is the art which is most nigh to tears and memory."
Europe, Controversial, Literature, Comedy, Playwrights & Plays, Music

arts quote

Arts Quotes: Oscar Wilde
"No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did he would cease to be an artist."
Europe, Controversial, Literature, Comedy, Playwrights & Plays

arts quote

Arts Quotes: Oscar Wilde
"The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it immensely. All art is useless."
Europe, Controversial, Literature, Comedy, Playwrights & Plays

arts quote

Arts Quotes: William Shakespeare
"Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt."
Europe, Literature, Poetry, Playwrights & Plays

arts quote

Arts Quotes: Samuel Beckett
"Dance first. Think later. It's the natural order."
Dance, Playwrights & Plays, Theater

arts quote

Arts Quotes: José Bergamín
"If you really believe music is dangerous, you should let it go in one ear and out the other."
Controversial, Poetry, Literature, Playwrights & Plays, Music

arts quote

Arts Quotes: Sir Francis Bacon
"The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery."
Playwrights & Plays, Shakespeare, Literature, Theater

arts quote

Arts Quotes: Lillian Hellman
"Nothing you write, if you hope to be any good, will ever come out as you first hoped."
America, Literature, Playwrights & Plays, Controversial

Arthur Miller

Arts Days: October 17, 1915: A Man of Morals
Arthur Miller's dramatic works probe at various aspects of human nature—all of them—the good, the bad, and the ugly. The Crucible, for example, examines what prompts otherwise good, moral people to make false accusations about others, while Incident at Vichy considers why the Nazis were able to perpetrate the mass slaughter of Jews.

In Death of a Salesman, Miller tells the story of an aging businessman attempting to right the failures of his past, and explores the concept of the "American Dream." This 1984 Kennedy Center Honoree became something of a political lightning rod, too: In 1957 Miller was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee during Congress’ bid to find Communist sympathizers in the ranks of U.S. writers, actors, and others. Miller refused, was convicted of contempt, and became a hero of the political Left.
Broadway, Playwrights & Plays, Theater, Controversial, Literature

Eugene O’Neill

Arts Days: October 16, 1888: The Playwright Cometh
Among the greatest of American playwrights, Eugene O’Neill had theater bred right into him. His father was a touring actor, so O’Neill and his family accompanied him everywhere. It made for a transient life, but one that fed the young writer’s creativity.

His plays are detailed, realistic portrayals of the complex and difficult relationships among everyday people. O’Neill was also an innovator: He introduced the concept of realism to American audiences, explored simultaneous action on stage, and employed “the aside,” a dramatic technique that allows characters to reveal their true thoughts directly to the audience.

Through his work, he hoped to challenge theatergoers to reflect on their own families, relationships, and conflicts. Among his classic plays are Mourning Becomes Electra, The Iceman Cometh, and Long Day’s Journey Into Night.
Broadway, Theater, Playwrights & Plays, Innovators & Pioneers

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf

Arts Days: October 13, 1962: Couples’ Therapy
It’s said that playwright Edward Albee, a 1996 Kennedy Center Honoree, had his own experiences at Connecticut’s Trinity College in mind when he wrote this play about George and Martha, a university professor and his wife. The audience watches as this dysfunctional, middle-aged couple drink heavily, insult one another and their guests, and savagely expose each other’s layers of emotional fragility.

The play’s adult language, themes of infidelity and alcohol abuse, and conflicts between illusion and reality, caused quite a stir after the play opened on this day in 1962. Only a few years later, the controversial drama was adapted into a feature film as a star vehicle for Hollywood’s iconic couple, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Today it is viewed as an important milestone in the development of modernist drama.
Theater, Broadway, Controversial, Playwrights & Plays

West Side Story

Arts Days: September 26, 1957: Tonight, Tonight
Behind the hit musical about the rival white “Jets” and the Puerto Rican “Sharks” is an updated, urban retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The inspiration and innovation was provided by a boatload of talent; Stephen Sondheim wrote the sophisticated lyrics, Leonard Bernstein the historic music.

Jerome Robbins directed and choreographed the revolutionary dance sequences like the Shark Girls’ exuberant “America” and the Jets’ “Cool.” Audiences saw how violent gang warfare shattered the dreams of star-crossed lovers Maria and Tony. The musical drew big crowds, shocking them all with the death of two young men at the end of Act One and of Tony at the close of the play. As stunned viewers exited the theater, few doubted the universality of Shakespeare’s love story.
Broadway, Musicals, America, Choreographers, Composers, Controversial, Playwrights & Plays, Shakespeare, Popular Culture

Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter, and Jessica Tandy in A Streetcard Named Desire

Arts Days: December 03, 1947: Passion Play
The great American playwright and 1979 Kennedy Center Honoree Tennessee Williams took home the Pulitzer Prize for this Southern Gothic play. Elia Kazan directed the young newcomer Marlon Brando and the veteran Jessica Tandy in the iconic roles of Stanley Kowalski and his sister-in-law Blanche DuBois, whose violence-laced attraction to one another drives much of the action.

Blanche, a frail, helpless relic of the Old South, has come to New Orleans to seek refuge in her sister’s home, only to face psychological and sexual clashes with Stanley. As the play unfolds, the audience witnesses Blanche’s slow descent into insanity. After completing the show's run on Broadway, both Tandy and Brando enjoyed illustrious acting careers; Kazan not only went on to direct the 1951 movie version of Streetcar, but was also named a Kennedy Center Honoree in 1983.
Broadway, Playwrights & Plays, Theater, Controversial

William Shakespeare

Arts Days: November 01, 1604 and 1611: A Double Bill of Will
Was this William Shakespeare’s lucky day or just a coincidence that two of his best known plays premiered on the first day of the 11th month, seven years apart? Each play was first presented to King James I at the Palace of Whitehall, the decades-old main residence of the kings and queens of England.

It was customary for any new works to first be seen by the monarch and his court before any presentation to the general public. It is likely that for many years after these two debuts, both plays were indeed performed for the general public at playhouses like The Rose and The Globe. The demand for such entertainment was so great that chances are the ink was barely dry on the page when the first productions were mounted.
Shakespeare, Playwrights & Plays, Tragedy, Europe, Theater

George Bernard Shaw

Arts Days: July 26, 1856: Voice of the People
Hmmm… could the fact that George Bernard Shaw started out as a newspaper arts critic have something to do with his interest in expressing his political and philosophical opinions freely?

In his 60 some plays, Shaw always found a way to criticize social mores by poking holes in the conventions of 19th century life. Pygmalion, upon which the smash Broadway musical My Fair Lady would later be based, examines class differences, while Major Barbara considers whether it is right to use money earned from the sales of weapons for charitable purposes.

Some of these satirical themes generated controversy among early theatergoers, but Shaw didn’t care. “My way of joking is to tell the truth,” he once said. Shaw’s “joking” earned him both a Nobel Prize for Literature and an Academy Award® for Best Adapted Screenplay for My Fair Lady.
Literature, Musicals, Playwrights & Plays, Theater

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