Winter Theater in Washington, D.C. (2018 Show Highlights)

A Guide to This Season’s Live Performing Arts in the Capital Region

Mr Popper's Penguins
Photo © Helen Murray

The winter season is a great time to check out the theater scene in Washington, D.C. With dozens of performances around the capital region, here is the schedule of the top shows for the 2016-2017 season. Enjoy a variety of live theatrical performances ranging from Broadway-style musicals to dramatic productions to child-friendly shows.

Tickets are available directly from the specific venue or through 

  • Mr. Popper’s Penguins - Kennedy Center - December 22-31, 2017. Based on the book by Richard and Florence Atwater. In the small town of Stillwater, painter and decorator Mr. Popper is a pleasant, practical, predictable person who periodically pines for polar adventures. But when a peculiar package on the Poppers’ porch produces a penguin, chaos waddles into their lives! Soon, the Poppers open their home and hearts to not one, not two, but a bunch of boisterous black-and-white birds
  • On Your Feet! -  Kennedy Center - January 9-28, 2018. From their humble beginnings in Cuba, Emilio and Gloria Estefan came to America and broke through all barriers to become a crossover sensation at the very top of the pop music world. But just when they thought they had it all, they almost lost everything.
  • Sovereignty Arena Stage - January 12-February 18, 2018. Sarah Ridge Polson, a young Cherokee lawyer fighting to restore her Nation’s jurisdiction, must confront the ever-present ghosts of her grandfathers. With shadows stretching from 1830s Cherokee Nation (now present-day Georgia) through Andrew Jackson’s Oval Office to the Cherokee Nation in present-day Oklahoma, Sovereignty asks how high the flames of anger can rise before they ultimately consume the truth.
  • Jefferson's Garden - Ford's Theatre - January 19 - February 11, 2018​. In this sweeping drama, Christian, a Quaker pacifist, defies his family to fight in the American Revolution. Susannah, an enslaved woman, is tempted to fight for the British when they promise liberation. The two meet and cross paths with Thomas Jefferson, George Mason and Sally Hemings. These encounters force them to confront the compromises America makes after the promise of equality. Wertenbaker creates a dazzling world, taking us from Revolutionary battlefields to Paris to Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello. Part of the Women’s Voices Theater Festival.
  • The Great Society - Arena Stage - February 2-March 11, 2018. As America is divided by civil rights protests and the anguish of the Vietnam War, LBJ struggles to maintain his relationship with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., keep his political opponents in check and complete a raft of impossibly ambitious social policy projects. ​
  • Riverdance - Warner Theatre - February 2-4, 2018. The international Irish dance phenomenon is back by popular demand with Riverdance – The 20th Anniversary World Tour. 
  • Disney On Ice presents Frozen - Capital One Arena - February 14-19, 2018. Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse take the audience through the magical story based in Arendelle, with special appearances by beloved Disney princesses and favorite characters from Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story and Finding Nemo and Disney’s The Lion King, who come together to prove that true love is the greatest power of all.
  • Broadway Center Stage: Chess -  Kennedy Center - February 14-18, 2018. The pawns in this dramatic rock opera form a love triangle: the loutish American chess star, the earnest Russian champion, and the assistant who is torn between them. Follow the machinations and manipulations from Bangkok to Budapest in a semi-staged concert performance.
  • Hold These Truths Arena Stage - February 23-April 8, 2018. Reeling from the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor and driven by fear and prejudice, America placed its own citizens of Japanese ancestry in internment camps. A play for our times, Hold These Truths tells the true story of Gordon Hirabayashi, the American that defied an unjust court order to uphold the values on which America was founded.
  • The Wiz - Ford's Theatre - March 9-May 12, 2018. The Wiz is a musical feast featuring soul, gospel, R&B and pop as well as exuberant choreography. Ease on down the road with Dorothy and her friends Scarecrow, Tinman and Lion on their quest to meet The Wiz. In this adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s magical novel, Dorothy is whisked away by a tornado to the fanciful land of Oz. There, she and her sidekicks encounter munchkins, flying monkeys and a power-hungry witch named Evillene who vows to destroy them.
  • More to Be Announced

See also, Spring Theater in Washington, D.C.

Looking for more entertainment in Washington, D.C.? See our monthly event calendars  and plan ahead for the coming months.

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