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Little Dancer

Article: On Stage: Little Dancer
This feature includes background about the musical Little Dancer as well as an interpretive piece for younger audience members about the play’s more sensitive themes
Theater, Ballet, Backstage, Controversial, Dance, Europe, Young Artists

Kathryn Bostic

Article: Q&A with Kathryn Bostic
Kathryn Bostic, music arranger for Four Little Girls: Birmingham 1963, shares her thoughts on sharing stories through music and music’s central role in the Civil Rights Movement.
America, Backstage, Composers, History, Musicals, Controversial

ers

Gear: The Ellipsoidal Reflector Spotlight
One of the jobs of a lighting designer is to be an illusionist; to convince the audience they’re somewhere special
Theater, Jobs in the Arts, Backstage

Kennedy Center

Collection: A Few of Our Favorite Things...
From musical theater to music in space, our media collections reflect the breadth and depth of the performing arts in America and around the world. These are some of our staff favorites--we'd love to hear yours!
Backstage, Dance, Education, Jazz, Music, Theater, Visual Arts, World Cultures

Japanese Noh theater

Collection: Japan
Larger-than-life calligraphy, giant bamboo weaving, and robots both real and toy... experience the vibrant diversity of the arts across Japan.
Japan, Asia, Backstage, Cartoons, Comics, & Animation, Fashion, Innovators & Pioneers, Musical Instruments, Inventions, Language, Music, Popular Culture, Visual Arts, World Cultures

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

Interactive: Dancing With Gregory Hines
In this video-based interactive, Gregory Hines is your guide through the diverse and exciting history, people, and techniques of tap.
Backstage, Broadway, Choreographers, Dance, Dance Legends, History, Innovators & Pioneers, Musicals

arts quote

Arts Quotes: George Balanchine
"First comes the sweat. Then comes the beauty if you're very lucky and have said your prayers."
Backstage, Dance Legends, Ballet, Dance, Choreographers

Agnes De Mille

Arts Days: September 18, 1905: Dance Queen of Broadway
Her father William and her uncle Cecil were both big-shot Hollywood directors, so perhaps it was genetic that Agnes de Mille sought a life in the arts. She studied piano, considered acting and took dance lessons, and choreographed big dance sequences for movies like Cleopatra and ballets including the sensational Rodeo (which received 22 curtain calls). Yet it was as a choreographer for the theatrical stage that de Mille really found her calling.

The dance routines she created were anything but routine. Musicals like Carousel, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and especially Oklahoma! revolutionized musical theater by the way de Mille incorporated her choreography right into the plot, further rounding out characters’ personalities, and blending folk dance with ballet.
Backstage, Broadway, Choreographers, Dance, Dance Legends, Musicals, Theater

The John F. Kennedy Center

Arts Days: September 08, 1971: America’s Home for the Arts
In 1958, President Eisenhower signed legislation to build a national cultural center in Washington, D.C. Yet in the wake of President Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, Congress decided that the center would be a “living memorial” to our 35th president, who had worked tirelessly to elevate the role of the arts in America.

Opening night saw the debut performance of Leonard Bernstein’s Mass, written in memory of the fallen president; other performers included the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the Berkshire Boys Choir. Since that night, the Center has welcomed and entertained millions as the finest performers from around the globe have graced its multiple stages. In addition, its Education Department touches more than 11 million young people, teachers, and parents each year.
Architecture, Art Venues, Backstage, Ballet, Choreographers, Composers, Dance, Dance Legends, America, Innovators & Pioneers, Music, Music Legends, Musicals, Opera, Theater

Playbill

Arts Days: July 06, 1934: Get With the Program
Go to any theater on Broadway, in Miami, or even St. Louis, and you’ll probably be handed a copy of Playbill. Part program description of the play you are about to see, part theater magazine, Playbill was first called the Strauss Magazine Theater Program, after its creator Frank Vance Strauss.

In 1884, Strauss started a company that created programs tailored to shows. It featured restaurant ads, feature articles on famous directors, and other related material. These days you can subscribe to the magazine, as well as have one customized for any given show. It lists the actors, the parts they play and their work in other shows, as well as the sequence of events that will take place on the stage.
Backstage, Broadway, Playwrights & Plays, Theater

John Kander

Arts Days: March 18, 1927: Razzmatazz On Broadway
Along with lyricist Fred Ebb, the composer John Kander created some of the most memorable tunes you’ll ever hum. Like “New York, New York”—Kander came up with that unforgettable melody and Ebb added the words. The men also collaborated on the musicals Chicago, Cabaret, Kiss of the Spider Woman, and others. Together they understood the conventions of musical theater better than just about anyone.

But it wasn’t always that way. Kander wrote the music for a show called A Family Affair in 1962. Kander clicked with the show’s producer Harold Prince, who thought he was a terrific musician and hired him and Ebb to write the music and lyrics for Flora, the Red Menace. In 1966, their work on Cabaret led to the Tony Award® for Best Musical. For nearly five decades, Kander and Ebb were the longest running musical/lyricist partnership in Broadway history.
Backstage, Broadway, Composers, Music, Musicals, Music Legends, Theater

Swifty Lazar

Arts Days: March 28, 1907: Nothing Slow About Swifty
When Hollywood legend Irving Lazar managed to sign three mega-deals in a single day, actor Humphrey Bogart jokingly gave him the nickname “Swifty.” It stuck, creating the role of a super talent agent, with such clients ranging from writers Ernest Hemingway, Vladimir Nabokov, and Tennessee Williams, composers Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers, and George Gershwin, and actors/singers Cary Grant, Gregory Peck, Cher, and Madonna.

Lazar was notorious for his legendarily high phone bills (he worked those phones!) and even more famous for the party he threw every year after the Academy Awards®; an invite to Swifty’s party meant that you had arrived.  Standing only 5’3”, Lazar was a giant when it came to protecting the creative and financial interests of his famous clients. Lazar also produced movies and plays, and even represented politicians like Richard Nixon, but his work as a performer’s advocate is still what he’s best known for.
Backstage, Movies & Movie Stars, Presidents

Spotlight

Arts Days: March 16, 1912: Electrifying Art
It can be easy to overlook the role that lighting plays during a ballet or theatrical production, but you’d be surprised at how much a performance’s lighting design contributes to our enjoyment of it. From how well we are able to see the action to the emotions we feel as we watch, Jean Rosenthal helped make the position of lighting designer more important than it had been.

In her work lighting dance performances for Martha Graham and plays for Orson Welles, she not only used lights to illuminate the action for the audience, but to set the mood, advance the plot, or underscore the importance of certain characters. Nowadays, lighting designers work closely with the director and actors to figure out how to use light effectively before, during, and after a show. And, if you’ve seen a dancer or singer standing in a diagonal shaft of light during a big solo, you’re seeing a bit of Rosenthal’s influence at work.
Backstage, Dance, Innovators & Pioneers, Jobs in the Arts, Movies & Movie Stars, Theater

Theater collage

Article: It's Not Just a Stage
How to find your way around a theater, onstage and off
Backstage, Art Venues, Theater

Theater conversations

Audio Series: Theater Conversations
The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, in association with The Dramatists Guild, presents conversations from their two-week playwriting intensive at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Theater, Jobs in the Arts, Backstage

Theater seats

Video Series: The Power of Theater
What does theater "do"? Does it matter in a contemporary, screen-driven society? Drawn from the Kennedy Center Education Department archives, this series examines the way theater impacts modern society and culture.
Theater, Jobs in the Arts, Backstage, Controversial, Playwrights & Plays

Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia

Video Series: Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia: Backstage
Go backstage with the artists of Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia to learn about the skill and creativity they use to bring charcters to life, and what it's like to be a professional puppeteer on the road.
Puppets, Literature, Jobs in the Arts, Backstage, Theater

Nobody's Perfect

Video Series: Nobody's Perfect: Page to Stage
Explore the creation of the Kennedy Center's Theater for Young Audiences and VSA Arts production of Nobody's Perfect, including how American Sign Language was incorporated into a lively musical (ASL captioning is included in every episode in this series).
Jobs in the Arts, Language, Literature, Theater, Young Artists, Backstage, Musicals, Accessibility

Blood, Guts, & Gore

Video Series: Blood, Guts, and Gore
These video tutorials offer step-by-step guides for homemade fake blood and other gory stage effects. The series is hosted by stuntman and special effects professional Greg Poljacik.
Backstage, Movies & Movie Stars, Television, Theater, Science, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Stunts & Special Effects

Sheet Music

2700 F St.: National Symphony Orchestra Open Rehearsal
with Lionel Bringuier (conductor) & Gil Shaham (violin)
Musical Instruments, Orchestra, Backstage

Le Corsaire

2700 F St.: Mariinsky Ballet: Le Corsaire
Le Corsaire is a captivating story of bold pirates, passionate maidens, shocking betrayal, and a dramatic shipwreck rescue. Beloved for its breathtaking choreography, virtuosic dancing, and spectacular scenery and costumes, the classic ballet is an unmissable, swashbuckling adventure. Choreographer Marius Petipa revived the ballet for the Mariinsky more than a century ago, and the company continues to perform it with exhilarating freshness and tradition.
Dance, Ballet, Backstage

San Francisco Ballet

2700 F St.: San Francisco Ballet
Launching in Spring 2018 in San Francisco, Unbound: A Festival of New Works showcases all new ballets created by 12 of today’s most innovative choreographers, including David Dawson, Alonzo King, Edwaard Liang, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Cathy Marston, Myles Thatcher, Stanton Welch, and Christopher Wheeldon. Favorite pieces from the festival will make their way to the Kennedy Center this fall, celebrating dance without limits and the company’s unique spirit of curiosity, experimentation, and invention.
Dance, Ballet, Backstage

Harlequinade

2700 F St.: American Ballet Theatre: Harlequinade
ABT’s star-studded roster of dancers, combined with the dynamic vision of Artist in Residence Alexei Ratmansky, has garnered cristical acclaim for the company across global audiences. The D.C. premiere of Ratmansky’s retelling of Marius Petipa’s 19th-century comic ballet follows its New York world premiere in summer 2018. He brings the “lost” classic to life with a bold new staging co-produced with Australian Ballet, inspired by Petipa’s archival notes and set to original music by Riccardo Drigo. In this two-act ballet, Harlequin fights for his true love, Columbine. Playful costumes and vivid sets create a charming tribute to the Italian commedia dell’arte style, known for its slapstick humor and rollicking characters.
Dance, Ballet, Backstage

Ballet West: The Nutcracker

2700 F St.: Ballet West: The Nutcracker
No company holds a more storied relationship with The Nutcracker than Ballet West, which has kept the ballet in its repertoire since performing the first complete American version more than 70 years ago. Now, Ballet West returns to perform the D.C. premiere of its whimsical new production of The Nutcracker, which was unveiled in Salt Lake City last year. Pairing reimagined designs with beloved choreography, the opulent production delivers treasured moments and surprising new delights. Featuring grand sets and fantastical costumes alongside Tchaikovsky’s cherished score, this Nutcracker is a glittering, larger-than-life adventure.
Dance, Ballet, Backstage

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