D.C. Best Theater and Performing Arts Venues
Second only to New York City in number of theater productions annually, DC has a respectable performing arts scene where each season, nearly 80 professional area theaters stage more than 350 productions. Spearheading this movement is the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts which hosts approximately 3,000 events a year to more than two million people. In recent years, DC has experienced a growth of independent theaters, performance spaces, and troupes with more compelling productions.

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Homage to a Fallen President

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No theater in America has had a more tragic history than Ford's. During an April 14, 1865, performance, 26-year-old stage actor John Wilkes Booth shot President Abraham Lincoln as he sat in the flag-draped presidential box. Shuttered for nearly a century, the venue reopened in 1968 as a memorial to Lincoln and as a working theater showing plays of political and social significance, plus Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol—now a beloved annual tradition. Underneath the theater is a museum of the Civil War and of Lincoln's presidency, even as that empty balcony makes its presence felt.

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by Christian Mirasol
AFAR Local Expert
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