John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington DC

4.7
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (formally called the John F. Kennedy Memorial Center for the Performing Arts, and commonly referred to as the Kennedy Center) is the United States National Cultural Center, located on the Potomac River, adjacent to the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C., named in 1964 as a memorial to President John F. Kennedy. Opened on September 8, 1971, the performing arts center is a multi-dimensional facility: it produces a wide array of performances encompassing the genres of theater, dance, ballet, and orchestral, chamber, jazz, popular, and folk music; offers multi-media performances for adults and children; and is a nexus of performing arts education.

In addition to the approximately 3,500 performances held annually for audiences totaling nearly two million, the center hosts touring productions and television and radio broadcasts that, collectively, are seen by 20 million more. The center presents music, dance and theater and supports artists in the creation of new work. With its artistic affiliate, the National Symphony Orchestra, the center's achievements as a commissioner, producer, and nurturer of developing artists have resulted in over 200 theatrical productions, dozens of new ballets, operas, and musical works.
Authorized by the 1958 National Cultural Center Act of Congress, which requires that its programming be sustained through private funds, the center represents a public–private partnership. Its activities include educational and outreach initiatives, almost entirely funded through ticket sales and gifts from individuals, corporations, and private foundations.

The building, designed by architect Edward Durell Stone, was constructed by Philadelphia contractor John McShain, and is administered as a bureau of the Smithsonian Institution. An earlier design proposal called for a more curvy, spaceship-inspired building similar to how the Watergate complex appears today.
It receives annual federal funding to pay for its maintenance and operation.

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John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Reviews

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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
1,737 reviews
Google
4.8
TripAdvisor
  • What a great place to see an Opera and enjoy the beauty of the center. If you are going to Washington this is must see.  more »
  • I attended the Black Girls Rick Fest with workshops, seminars and musical performances all at the Kennedy Center. I traveled from Tennessee. The grounds were immaculate and well maintained. There was....  more »
Google
  • Great shows. Good seating options. It's a very nice venue. There are multiple theaters inside so you can always find something to see. They have a nice gift shop and make concessions readily available. The view outside is lovely also by the waterfront. It's a nice place to view part of DC while you are on intermission or before your show begins.
  • Took my family to see "Miss Saigon " What a great theater. Large but sound was fantastic. Staff was great. Near Georgetown and plenty of restaurants nearby. If you are in D.C. and have a free evening I highly recommend seeing a show here. A great way to end a lovely day in Washington D.C..

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