You are here

20+ Must-See Fall Plays, Musicals & More in Washington, DC

H Street NE Neighborhood - Atlas Performing Arts Center & H Street Country Club - Washington, DC

A new season of critically acclaimed theater, including Broadway musicals and cutting-edge dramas, comes to the District.

Each fall, Washington, DC and its incredible performing arts scene offer up can’t-miss theater productions, from acclaimed Broadway plays to exciting new shows from local companies. Read on for highlights of the fall theater season.

Your ultimate guide to fall in Washington, DC

• • •

Theatre Week 2019 in Washington, DC - Discount theater performances this September in Washington, DC

See Top Shows for Bottom Dollar During Theatre Week – Sept. 10-29
Theatre Week celebrates DC’s professional theater community and the launch of the fall season. Dozens of local theaters will participate, with $15 and $35 tickets offered for the most exciting shows of the season. Expect diverse work, including comedies, musicals and dramas.
Tickets

• • •

John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566

 

What the Constitution Means to Me at the Kennedy Center - September theater production in Washington, DC

‘What the Constitution Means to Me’ – Sept. 11-22
Shrouded in nominations and awards this year, this of-the-moment play will capture the full attention of Kennedy Center audiences this September. The autobiographical tale concerns Heidi Schreck, as the writer/performer portrays her teenage self. Schreck details how she earned enough money to attend college by winning Constitutional debate competitions all over the country and how the document came to influence four generations of her family. Blending humor, hopefulness and humanity, this production is a must-see for DC theatergoers.
Tickets

• • •

'CATS' – Sept. 17 – Oct. 6
One of the most successful musicals of all-time will light up the stage at the Kennedy Center for a three-week run this fall. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s masterpiece follows a tribe of cats for their annual ball to celebrate and determine which cat will be reborn. Along the way, you’ll hear songs that have touched multiple generations, take in breathtaking choreography and gawk at beautiful set design.
Tickets

• • •

The Improvised Shakespeare Company at the Kennedy Center - Fall theater in Washington, DC

The Improvised Shakespeare Company – Oct. 1-6
Shakespeare has been interpreted in many, many ways, but The Improvised Shakespeare Company has come up with one of the most intriguing approaches yet. With one audience suggestion (a title of a play not yet written), the Company creates a Shakespearean masterpiece right before your eyes, totally improvised. Equipped with language and themes from all The Bard’s classics, the talented players could unveil a comedy or a tragedy – you will have to come to find out. Thomas Middleditch of Silicon Valley fame is one of the company’s talented players.
Tickets

• • •

‘Footloose’ – Oct. 9-13
Enjoy an all-new, semi-staged concert production of the beloved rock and roll musical based on a classic film of the same name. Tony Award winner Walter Bobbie directs the tale of Ren McCormack, a big city kid who moves to a small town in Texas only to find that dancing and rock music are both banned there. Ren inspires his classmates to work around the law and a stern Reverend to create a rockin’ prom. Featuring classic songs like “Let’s Hear it for the Boy” and the title track, Footloose promises to be a joy this fall season.
Tickets

• • •

Kid Prince and Pablo at the Kennedy Center - Fall theater and performing arts in Washington, DC

‘Kid Prince and Pablo’ – Oct. 19 – Nov. 3
The Prince and the Pauper, Mark Twain’s classic tale, is transformed into a digital age, American hip-hop story in this new production at the Kennedy Center. The ruling class known as The Promised has banned dance and rap after progressives, known as New Wave, have attempted a revolution. Set to rule is Royal Kid Prince – until he runs into Pablo, a New Wave drummer. The two switch identities and drama and hilarity ensue. By seeing the world through the other’s eyes, the Royal Kid Prince and Pablo could start a revolution of their own.
Tickets

• • •

Balancing Bodies at the Kennedy Center - Performing arts this fall in DC

‘Balancing Bodies’ – Oct. 31 – Nov. 2
Hailing from the Netherlands, Woest wants to show you how a normal space can be turned into its own world full of surprises. This interactive show, which will be great for visitors both young and old, asks audience members to build their own universe by mixing organization and playfulness, silliness and seriousness and action and inaction.
Tickets

• • •

The Manganiyar Seduction at the Kennedy Center - Things to do this fall in Washington, DC

‘The Manganiyar Seduction’ – Nov. 1-2
Audio and visuals combine for a spellbinding experience at the Kennedy Center during The Manganiyar Seduction, part of the Center’s World Stages series. More than 40 singers and instrumentalists, all from the Rajasthani deserts, will be seated on-stage in a four-story bank of lighted pods, with each occupied by a different performer and illuminated whenever he or she enters into the extended piece of music via voice or instrument. The spectacle will be performed on the night of Nov. 1, with a day and a night performance on Nov. 2.
Tickets

• • •

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
641 D Street NW, Washington, DC 20004

 

Fairview at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company - September theater production in Washington, DC

‘Fairview’ – Sept. 9 – Oct. 6
Winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Fairview is a family tale gone completely off the rails. Beverly must make Grandma’s birthday celebration the best ever, but her lazy husband, her drunk sister and her daughter’s secretive ways all threaten the good time. In other news, her home is being surveilled by a group of curious spectators, a group that eventually invades the festivities. Familial controversy, America’s racial perceptions and the struggle for identity are all wrapped into this spellbinding play.
Tickets
Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, 641 D Street NW, Washington, DC 20004

• • •

What to Send Up When It Goes Down at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, DC

‘What to Send Up When It Goes Down’ – Oct. 30 – Nov. 10
As is frequently the case, the Woolly Mammoth Theatre will present a stage show unlike any other in the city this season. What to Send Up When It Goes Down takes on the issue of racialized violence through a whirlwind performance that includes elements of ritual, pageantry and a play. Parody, song and movement all weave a series of vignettes together that will inspire audiences to reflect and participate. Before its run at Woolly Mammoth, the production will have shows at the Duke Ellington School for the Arts (Oct. 12-13), Howard University (Oct. 17-20) and THEARC (Oct. 24-27).
Tickets

• • •

Save up to 60 percent on last-minute theater tickets to the best Washington, DC shows with TodayTix

• • •

Folger Theatre
201 East Capitol Street SE, Washington, DC 20003

Henry IV performance at Folger Theatre - September theater in Washington, DC

‘1 Henry IV’ – Sept. 3 – Oct. 13
The Folger Theatre takes on 1 Henry IV, a staging that will feature DC theater legend Edward Gero as Falstaff. The story focuses on Prince Hal and his drinking and carousing with the common folk, which only angers his father, King Henry IV. Eventually, Hal will have to wear the crown, but not before his reputation and honor are put on the line on the battlefield.
Tickets

• • •

Signature Theatre
4200 Campbell Avenue, Arlington, VA 22206

 

Escaped Alone fall theater production at Signature Theatre near DC

‘Escaped Alone’ – Sept. 24 – Nov. 3
Playwright Caryl Churchill, considered one of the most important playwrights of this era, makes her debut at Signature Theatre with this darkly comedic fantasy tale that takes place in a British garden. Three friends and a neighbor are having tea and conversation and also encountering some end-of-the-world scares. Talk of TV shows and grandchildren mingles with stories of abject terror. You’re in for some surprises in this surreal spectacle.
Tickets

• • •

A Chorus Line at Signature Theatre - Fall performing arts near Washington, DC

‘A Chorus Line’ – Oct. 29 – Jan. 5, 2020
One of the greatest musicals of all-time touches down at Signature Theatre in late fall and runs throughout the holiday season. A Chorus Line has won nine Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize with its stunning fusion of ballet, jazz and tap dance numbers. You will experience what it takes to be in a chorus line through the eyes of the dancers, as their loves, hopes, dreams and memories are poured out on stage.
Tickets

• • •

Arena Stage
1101 6th Street SW, Washington, DC 20024

 

August Wilson's Jitney - August Wilson Festival at Arena Stage for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC

'August Wilson's Jitney' – Sept. 13 – Oct. 20
Arena Stage kicks off a season-long festival honoring August Wilson, a legendary, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, with this drama that won the 2017 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play. The story focuses on a Pittsburgh jitney station, where drivers face the onslaught of gentrification and a steady lack of opportunity. The group resists forces more powerful than them while also analyzing their past to plan for their future. Ruben Santiago-Hudson directs.
Tickets

• • •

Right to be Forgotten production at Arena Stage - Autumn theater in Washington, DC

‘Right to be Forgotten’ – Oct. 11 – Nov. 10
Playwright Sharyn Rothstein wrote this tech-savvy tale that dives headlong into the notion of forgiveness in the digital age. At 17, a young man made a mistake that still haunts him online a decade later. In an effort to create a normal life for himself, he takes on the tech companies to win back his right to privacy. Back-stabbing and political maneuvering riddle this riveting story that serves as an allegory for our modern times.
Tickets

• • •

Newsies production at Arena Stage - Autumn theater in Washington, DC

‘Newsies’ – Nov. 1 – Dec. 22
This Tony Award-winning musical based on the 1992 film takes audiences back to just before the dawn of the 20th century. Inspired by true events, Newsies details how New York City newsboys battled Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst, the two most powerful men in the country at the time. Filled with energy and songs that will be stuck in your head for days, this production is ideal for a family outing.
Tickets

• • •

Ford’s Theatre
511 10th Street NW, Washington, DC 20004

 

‘Fences’ – Sept. 29 – Oct. 27
Ford’s Theatre is also celebrating August Wilson this fall with this staging of one of the playwright’s most powerful plays. Recently adapted into a film starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, Fences is the story of Troy Maxson, a former star baseball player in the Negro Leagues who is now just getting by as a sanitation worker. Troy attempts to assert control in his relationships with his wife and son, accounting for their safety but simultaneously driving them away. This searing look at how families operate in a society corrupted by racism will be one of the most captivating theater productions of the season.
Tickets

• • •

A Christmas Carol at Ford's Theatre - Washington, DC

‘A Christmas Carol’ – Nov. 21, 2019 – Jan. 1, 2020
Acclaimed actor Craig Wallace assumes the role of Ebenezer Scrooge in a lavish Victorian-style musical production of Charles Dickens’ timeless classic, the staging of which is a time-honored holiday tradition in the nation’s capital. Scrooge’s riveting journey alongside the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future is a joy even if you’ve experienced it a hundred times before – especially in one of the world’s most historic theaters.
Tickets

• • •

The National Theatre
1321 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20004

 

Jimmy Buffett’s ‘Escape to Margaritaville’ – Oct. 8-13
Jimmy Buffett classics, including “Cheeseburger in Paradise” and “Volcano”, blend with original songs to make an uproarious good time for audiences when they see this musical comedy at The National Theatre. Emmy Award winner Greg Garcia and Emmy Award nominee Mike O’Malley are responsible for this laidback journey to a place where all your problems just drift away.
Tickets

• • •

Mystery Science Theater 3000 at The National Theatre - Fall performing arts in Washington, DC

‘Mystery Science Theater 3000’ – Oct. 18-19
Mystery Science Theater 3000, a cult-favorite television show featuring a man held captive with his robot companions by two mad scientists on a spaceship as they are forced to watch the cheesiest movies of all-time (deep breath), brings its hilarity to The National Theatre this October. The Great Cheesy Movie Circus will feature creator and original host Joel Hodgson (on his final tour, no less) with his beloved robots, riffing and joking their way through the ultimate in movie tackiness.
Tickets

• • •

‘RENT’ – 20th Anniversary Tour – Nov. 12-17
Seven artists strive to make their dreams come true without selling out in Jonathan Larson’s classic rock musical that has inspired audiences for two decades. Now, RENT is going all out with a 20th anniversary rendition that will have you singing, laughing and crying all over again. The revolutionary masterpiece packs friendship, creativity, love and struggle into its reimagining of Puccini’s La Bohème. Purchase your tickets quickly, as the show is one of the most highly anticipated of the season and there are just eight performances in total.
Tickets

• • •

Shakespeare Theatre Company

 

Everybody production at Washington, DC's Shakespeare Theatre Company

‘Everybody’ – Oct. 15 – Nov. 17
Penned by Obie Award winner and MacArthur Genius Grant recipient Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Everybody is a fresh interpretation of the 15th-century play Everyman. The roles of a happy person, a free person and a person relentlessly positive about the future will be assigned by lottery from a small cast of actors live on stage each night. Into the fray comes Death, and Everybody is taken on a philosophical and psychological journey. Prepare to witness the medieval morality play flipped on its head at Lansburgh Theatre.
Tickets
Lansburgh Theatre, 450 7th Street NW, Washington, DC 20004

• • •

Dance Place
3225 8th Street NE, Washington, DC 20017

 

Family at Dance Place in Brookland - Dance studio in Washington, DC

d. Sabela grimes – Sept. 14-15
L.A.-based artist d. Sabela grimes brings ELECTROGYNOUS to the Dance Place stage for two nights in September. Through video art, digital illustrations and kinetic poetry, grimes’ piece unites AfroFuturistic and ancient soundscapes, taking audiences to a time and place where the Black body is liberated. With its cutting edge and idiosyncratic features, grimes’ show is sure to be enthralling and thought-provoking.
Tickets

• • •

Dance Box Theater at Dance Place - Performing arts in Washington, DC

Dance Box Theater – Sept. 21-22
Dance Box Theater will perform an of-the-moment composition that deals with white supremacy, misogyny, racism and sexual aggression. Naked King: Subject to Change – Part 1 will expose the oppression and corruption that is prevalent in today’s America (starting with the Oval Office and its inhabitants), and meet it with equality, healing and justice. Note that the performance contains mature themes and explicit language that may not be suitable for all viewers.
Tickets

• • •

Culture Shock Washington DC – Oct. 26-27
Local dance company Culture Shock Washington DC brings this impressive and varied set of performances to Dance Place. With the concept of “home” as a theme, both nights will feature an array of dance renditions, all choreographed and performed by members of the local company. The 150-member group will utilize hip-hop, dance, spoken word and live music to highlight what home looks, feels and sounds like to them.
Tickets

• • •

Atlas Performing Arts Center
1333 H Street NE, Washington, DC 20002

 

Fabulation, or the Re-Education of Undine at the Atlas Performing Arts Center on H Street NE in Washington, DC

‘Fabulation, or the Re-Education of Undine’ – Through Sept. 22
Written by Lynn Nottage, a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the recipient of a MacArthur Genius Award, this satire concerns Undine, a successful African-American publicist who sees her life ruined when her husband steals her fortune. Without money and carrying a child, Undine returns to her childhood home in the projects and is forced to face her past and an uncertain future. Mosaic Theater Company presents this spellbinding tale.
Tickets

• • •

Surfacing: An Inventory of Helplessness at the Atlas Performing Arts Center on H Street NE in Washington, DC

‘Surfacing: An Inventory of Helplessness’ – Sept. 11-29
A female refugee in hiding, a kidnap victim and a man imprisoned in his own home are at the center of this play by Russian/Austrian writer Julya Rabinowich. Surfacing cycles through the mental states of each person trapped in isolation, showcasing their experience as well as their anger, hopes, fears and survival strategies.
Tickets

• • •

Keegan Theatre
1742 Church St NW, Washington, DC 20036

 

West By God at the Keegan Theatre - Fall performing arts in Washington, DC

‘West By God’ – Sept. 27 – Oct. 20
The Appalachia region of West Virginia serves as the setting for this new production at the Keegan Theatre. Two families are wrestling with grief, memory and identity, and attempting to love one another in the process. Generational, societal and racial divides are emphasized, imbued with honesty and humor by playwright Brandon McCoy, a West Virginia native.
Tickets

Performing arts and theater in Washington, DC - Experience wonder inside DC's acclaimed playhouses