When only the main course will do for holiday gift giving

All right, so you’ve just stepped out of Arena’s jaw-dropping Oklahoma!, or the fabulous Mary Zimmerman Candide at the Shakespeare Theatre, or some equally astonishing Washington production and you have one thought: my son ought to see this! (or my daughter, or my good friend Gustav.) And, as you reflect on the last year (or last five years) of Washington Theatre, you realize that the odds that Gustav will have a great time are pretty good no matter what show he sees.

That’s when you realize that your holiday gift-giving dilemmas have been solved.

To begin with, fifty area theaters honor the Helen Hayes gifting program, which works like this: you get “tix certificates” in $20 denominations from Helen Hayes Awards (you can order them here), which your delighted beneficiary can use as money when ordering tickets from a participating theater.  The website lists the theaters in the program.

Or if you have a favorite theatre you want to steer them to, chances are they can arrange gift certificates too.

Here are some we found:
Ford’s Theatre
The Kennedy Center
Olney Theatre
Round House Theatre
Shakespeare Theatre

Other theaters offer gift certificates by phone.
Some of them are:
Arena Stage (202.488.3300),
Signature Theatre (703.820.9771)
and Woolly Mammoth (202.393.3939).

To see what the rest of the season has in store, click here.

Or, if your friend’s tastes run to New York Theater (or if he lives in New York) you can order Telecharge Gift Cards, in minimum denominations of $25 which are also good at the National Theatre.

But remember, too, that Gustav is not the only entity worthy of a gift during the holiday season.

Your favorite theater companies– without whom none of this joy would be possible – could also benefit from a nice holiday giftie. Whether you can give them enough to buy a case of toilet paper (think about it) or, for you big spenders, underwrite a production, your gift will be welcomed with gratitude and, unlike your present to Gustav, will probably be tax-deductible.

After all, as Harper’s Magazine Contributing Editor Mark Slouka observes in the cool video below from Theatre Communications Group “Theatre is increasingly seen as the sprig of parsley. But it’s not. It’s the main course. It teaches us to be human.”

Incidently, TCT publishes American Theatre magazine (a great gift for the theatre professional in your life).

Now that we think about it, sharing your love for theatre need not be limited to the holidays.  We hope that throughout the coming year, you will think of giving to friends, colleagues and family, and to remember the theatre companies, and artists who make it happen. Do it anytime!


Brad Hathaway’s Holiday Gift Guide

List of Area Theatres:

Tim Treanor About Tim Treanor

Tim Treanor is a senior writer for DC Theatre Scene. He is a 2011 Fellow of the National Critics Institute and has written over 600 reviews for DCTS. His novel, "Capital City," with Lee Hurwitz, is scheduled for publication by Astor + Blue in November of 2016. He lives in a log home in the woods of Southern Maryland with his dear bride, DCTS Editor Lorraine Treanor. For more Tim Treanor, go to timtreanorauthor.com.



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