Big stars, big hits for Kaiser’s exit season at the Kennedy Center, 2013-2014

The Kennedy Center will be offering a season of proven box-office successes for the 2013-2014 season, Center President Michael Kaiser announced last week.

The season, which will also be Kaiser’s last he announced, will begin as it has for the past dozen years, with the free for all Page-to-Stage Festival, Aug 31 – September 2nd.

The first production will be a  return engagement for  Million Dollar Quartet, an imagined account of a meeting of the young Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins at the studios of Sam Phillips’ Sun Records. (The four really did meet at Sun Records’ studio, but playwrights Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux fictionalized the encounter). “Whether you’re from the era where  Elvis got you palpitating or just curious about what started America in its most popular and commercially successful musical groove and what set us on the path to our youth dominated society, you’ll want to hear and feel these cracklin’ beginnings,” DCTS’ Susan Galbraith said about last year’s Kennedy Center production. This year’s tour will be here from September 24 to October 6 of this year.

On October 29, the Kennedy Center will present Sister Act, the story of an aspiring singer who witnesses a murder and hides out in a convent. Soon, she has her sister Sisters singing their souls out, and grooving to dance moves that were never taught in the catechism. This theatrical adaptation of the Whoopie Goldberg movie musical vehicle will run October 29 to November 10, 2013.

For the Holiday season, KC will present two other stage adaptations of movies. One will be Elf, in which the enormous elf Buddy (played in the movie by Will Farrell) leaves the North Pole to find his true identity.  Elf will run from December 17, 2013 to January 5, 2014.

For those who prefer a non-holiday holiday season, KC presents Flashdance, the story of a young steelworker who dreams of being a dancer. The 30-year-old movie introduced Jennifer Beals to general audiences, and this musical theater piece has the old songs – “Maniac” and “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” and the rest along with sixteen original pieces. Flashdance begins its run on Christmas and finishes on January 19 of next year.

The Kennedy Center will present Peter and the Starcatcher from January 28 to February 16, 2014. This prequel to Peter Pan, adapted from a novel co-written by Ridley Pierson and humorist Dave Berry, was a Tony nominee for best play and won the Drama Desk award for best music in a play.  In it, we discover that Peter was originally an orphan, kept in a cage and bound for Rundoon in the bad ship Neverland.

Of the New York production, Ben Brantley of the Times said, “[w]ith grown-up theatrical savvy and a child’s wonder at what it can achieve, ‘Peter and the Starcatcher’ floats right through the ceiling of the physical limits imposed by a three-dimensional stage.” Our own Richard Seff observed, “[o]ne must come to this piece expecting to participate in the mood of madness, to be willing to leave reason in the lobby, to fly with those on stage.”

Side Show, a musical which also received attention from the Tony Awards (nominated for Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, and Best Original Score) will get a new Kennedy Center production from June 14 to July 13 of next year. This is the story of conjoined twins who became famous stage performers in the1930s. They successfully make the transition from the circus freak show to vaudeville, but their romantic aspirations face some unique challenges.

The Kennedy Center will complete its main stage season with a return of Disney’s The Lion King, the Elton John-Tim Rice musical version of the 1994 Disney animation. It is the story of the willful lion cub Simba, whose misplaced bravado endangers his family and casts him into a crisis which he can resolve only by coming to grips with his true nature. The Lion King will run from June 17 to August 17, 2014.

An Evening with Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin will bring those Broadway legends to the Kennedy Center for nearly a week, February 18 to 23, 2014.

Following this year’s spectacular Nordic Cool Festival, celebrating the work of Scandinavian theatre companies, next year, the Kennedy Center will bring in artist from around the work for the International Theater Festival, 2014. Ten productions are already listed from theatre companies from Canada, Chile, China, France, Israel, Kuwait, Mexico, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The festival will run from March 10 to March 30, 2014.

The Kennedy Center will be continuing its popular Theater for Young Audiences series: Man of the House, David Gonzalez’ story of Pablito’s search for his father during a long summer in Miami (ages nine and up) on November 2-3, 2013; Elephant and Piggie’s We Are in a Play, a musical adaptation from the Mo Willems stories and a world premiere (ages 4+), from November 23 to December 31 of this year; Orphie and the Book of Heroes, a world premiere musical about a plucky girl in ancient Greece who travels to Mount Olympus and to the Underworld in order to save Homer and his Book of Heroes (ages 9+) from February 8-23, 2014; and an updated Robin Hood from Scotland’s Visible Fictions Theatre Company (ages 7+) on March 29 to April 6, 2014.

We note that Shear Madness, the hilarious who-dunnit-it beauty shop mystery, has now passed its 25th year mark at the Kennedy Center with no closing notice in sight.

Finally, the Kennedy Center is offering a bevy of stars for its Barbara Cook cabaret series:  Tommy Tune (November 1, 2013), Lucie Arnez (November 8), Patina Miller (December 6), Brian d’Arcy James (March 7, 2014) and Megan Hilty (May 2).


Subscriptions are not yet on sale. To receive information, call the Kennedy Center box office, (202) 416-8500. (Groups of 10 or more call (202) 416-8400. Subscriptions will also be available online.

Several of next season’s  performances will be part of the Kennedy Center’s MyTix program, which offers those 18-30 years old and active duty members of the armed services complimentary and discounted tickets to a wide variety of performances throughout the 2013-14 season. Sign up for this benefit-rich program online.

Lorraine Treanor About Lorraine Treanor

Lorraine Treanor has been editor of DC Theatre Scene since 2006. She has produced plays and concerts in her hometown of Chicago, and twice in the Capital Fringe festival. Her daughter Nina Norris is an artist working in Chicago. Life's a blast because she shares it with writer Tim Treanor.


  1. This looks pretty lame. Where are any dramatic plays? When did the Kennedy Center become just another stop for the touring Broadway musicals?



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