The Borneo Post (Sabah)

Kennedy Centre plans massive season of in-person theater, including ‘To Kill a Mockingbir­d,’ ‘Hamilton’ and ‘Hadestown’


WASHINGTON: Theatre is coming back to the Kennedy Centre - with a vengeance. With masks on and fingers crossed, the performing arts centre will begin on Oct. 13 to roll out musicals and plays at a pace breathtaki­ng even in far healthier times.

Twelve Broadway musicals, including Tony winners “Hadestown,” “Hamilton,” “The Band’s Visit” and “Dear Evan Hansen,” are planned for the arts centre’s halls between October and August 2022. Two major plays, too: the Washington debut of Aaron Sorkin’s adaptation of “To Kill a Mockingbir­d” and, from London’s Old Vic Theatre, “A Monster Calls.” A whopping 86 weeks of theatre offerings will be staged during the 20212022 season – an agenda built on a presumptio­n of inviting fullcapaci­ty ticket-buying audiences, with no requiremen­t for social distancing.

If the robust roster sounds as if someone at the Kennedy Centre is dreaming, well, many a starved (and Covid-19 immunised) theatregoe­r is liable to think: Dream away.

“This is looking into the future and believing that more and more of the country is vaccinated so that herd immunity is developed,” said Kennedy Centre

President Deborah Rutter. “But we’re not going to do anything that isn’t safe . ... And we’ll see how people respond.”

The first indicator of that response - and perhaps a better measure than any telephone survey - will be how busy the box office computers are when season subscripti­ons go on sale Tuesday at noon. Revealing its plan well ahead of any Broadway announceme­nt, the Kennedy Centre will have producers and artistic directors across the nation watching hopefully, too, for early signs of a resurgence of consumer confidence.

Asked if he and Rutter will be on pins and needles as the phone lines and website open up today, Jeffrey Finn, the arts center’s vice president and executive producer of theatre, had a oneword reply: “Yes.”

This year, with coronaviru­s cases and fatalities still mounting, the mere act of detailing plans for large-scale live offerings feels radically counterint­uitive, especially since it calls for ramping up so quickly to full capacity. Rutter and Finn acknowledg­ed the boldness of their strategy but maintained it was time to say, in Rutter’s phrasing, “Let’s move this forward.”

 ?? — AFP photo ?? Amber Gray and the Broadway cast of “Hadestown.
— AFP photo Amber Gray and the Broadway cast of “Hadestown.

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