Fortunately, Dana also falls into the "musical junkie" category, so I have a buddy here in D.C. to accompany me to these kinds of things that turn off a lot of other people. Last week we went to the Kennedy Center to take in a performance of Spring Awakening. I didn't really know too much about this one, just that it did remarkably well at the 2007 Tony Awards - that warrants a viewing in my book, especially when it gives you the chance to go explore the Kennedy Center.
First, the building. It opened in 1971, but the wheels started turning in 1958 when President Eisenhower signed legislation creating a National Cultural Center - in his honor, one of the theaters is named after him. The building now functions as a living memorial to John F. Kennedy, who was instrumental in fundraising activities to get the center up and running. I didn't realize that it housed so many performance spaces and hosts so many different arts performances - ballet, theater, jazz, contemporary dance, chamber music, and performances by the National Symphony Orchestra. There's also a free performance every day at 6 PM on the Millennium Stage, which I think is pretty great - it affords people who might not otherwise be able to attend a performance the chance to take in a show.
I think my favorite part of the building is the terrace that wraps around the entire structure with a great view of the city. Wander out before the show and catch the view with some sunlight, and then head back out afterwards to see everything all twinkly and bathed in moonlight. So pretty.
As for Spring Awakening, I really enjoyed it. The story is set in Germany in the 1890s, teenagers fighting the system and growing up, poor parents who can't bear to tell their children the truth about sex, etc. etc. The music in the show is by Duncan Sheik, very rock and roll vibe, and it was awesome. If the tour heads through a city near you, pick up some tickets and check it out. Caution - mature adult themes and partial nudity...we didn't realize the whole "partial nudity" bit until we were walking into the theater and a large sign warned us. But now you've been sufficiently warned.
I'm in love with the Kennedy Center. Coming up on my calendar - Ben Folds playing with the National Symphony Orchestra and Cate Blanchett in A Streetcar Named Desire. And that picture's totally not mine, but it sure is pretty. The Kennedy Center has spindly columns in the styling of 1970s harvest gold, which certainly sets it apart from the grand Roman/Greek/really-old-style columns adorning so many of D.C.'s distinguished buildings. Bring on the shows!