(WASHINGTON)—Washington National Opera (WNO) today announces an exciting
conclusion to its 2016–2017 season: the 2017 WNO Opera Gala, celebrating WNO
Board Chairman Jacqueline Badger Mars, who will step down as Chairman this
summer. The Gala, on Saturday, June 3, 2017, will include a concert in the Kennedy
Center Opera House featuring the WNO Orchestra and an array of musical stars who
will pay special tribute to Jacqueline Mars’s visionary leadership of WNO: legendary
soprano Renée Fleming, superstar mezzo-soprano and D.C. native Denyce Graves,
and Hamilton Tony Award® winner Leslie Odom Jr. The Gala is presented as part of
JFKC, the Kennedy Center’s season-long celebration of John F. Kennedy’s centennial,
and explores the themes of service and gratitude, which are often associated with
The Co-Chairmen of the WNO Opera Gala are WNO Life Chairman Mrs. Eugene B.
Casey and Mrs. John F. Mars. The Opera Gala pays tribute to Jacqueline Badger Mars
for her six seasons of leadership of the WNO Board of Trustees. Highlights of her
tenure include the founding of the American Opera Initiative, which for the last five
seasons has helped identify the brightest rising American composers and librettists and
has added their work to the repertory; the programming of an annual opera for families
at the holiday season, including Hansel and Gretel, The Little Prince, and the world
premiere commission of The Lion, the Unicorn, and Me; and the presentation of WNO’s
first-ever complete Ring cycles in 2016, a feat that put WNO into a very elite group of
American opera companies.
“I have been honored to work with Jacquie Mars since 2008, and her imaginative
leadership and guidance have brought WNO unparalleled growth and success while
also making the opera more accessible to a broader audience,” said WNO executive
director Michael L. Mael. “Our next Chairman will certainly have big shoes to fill, but I
am happy that Jacquie will continue to steer this company as a WNO trustee.”
Tickets for the Gala concert start at $49 and are on sale now to Kennedy Center
members. Tickets go on sale to the general public on Friday, April 21, 2017 at 10 a.m.
For those who wish to purchase special Gala packages, the evening will begin with a
VIP cocktail reception on the Kennedy Center’s River Terrace at 5:30 p.m., followed by
the Gala concert at 6:30 p.m. After the performance, Gala package holders will depart
the Kennedy Center for elegant black-tie dinners hosted by many ambassadors at their
embassies or residences throughout the city, a longtime tradition of the Opera’s season-
ending social gathering.
The Opera Gala is WNO’s largest fundraiser and one of Washington’s most anticipated
events of the year. Proceeds from the Opera Gala will play a crucial role in advancing
the Opera’s award-wining artistic, educational, and outreach programs.
While the 2016–2017 season is coming to an end, the new season promises
excitement. WNO’s 2017–2018 season includes new productions of Verdi’s epic drama
Aida, the company premiere of Handel’s magical baroque opera Alcina, and Verdi’s
towering masterpiece Don Carlo, plus Rossini’s delightful comedy The Barber of Seville
and Bernstein’s biting satire Candide. The season also features a festival weekend of
four world premieres as part of the American Opera Initiative, the return of the holiday
family opera The Little Prince, two special Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist performances,
and more. Subscription packages are available now.
Tickets for the Gala concert start at $49 and are available online, in person at the
Kennedy Center Box Office, and by calling (202) 467-4600 or (800) 444-1324. For all
other ticket-related customer service inquiries, call the Advance Sales Box Office at
Shakespeare Theatre Company will once again welcome Members of Congress and distinguished Washington influencers onto its stage to perform in Will on the Hill, a lively show infused with comedic references to contemporary politics. Now in its fifteenth year, the much-loved bipartisan event for theatre and political fans alike will return to STC on Monday, June 12 at Sidney Harman Hall (610 F Street NW) at 7:30 p.m.
Written by Peter Byrne with assistance from D.C.’s West Wing Writers, the event will be directed by STC Associate Artistic Director Alan Paul and will star 47 Members of Congress and notable Washingtonians led by Maulik Pancholy, best known for playing Alec Baldwin’s intrepid assistant Jonathan on the classic NBC comedy 30 Rock.
“We are grateful that some of the nation’s well-known political faces are so willing to donate their time to help raise funds for our education and outreach programs. While these men and women tread the boards to showcase their acting skills and poke fun at the political landscape they are helping the theatre provide access to the arts for the entire D.C. community,” said STC Artistic Director Michael Kahn.
Proceeds from this event support STC’s many education, artistic and community engagement programs, including in-school workshops and educational resources that inspire new and diverse audiences and deepen the connection to classical theatre in learners of all ages.
About the Cast
The production will feature 30 Rock star Maulik Pancholy. The NBC show garnered 80 awards and 310 nominations. He is also widely recognized for playing Sanjay over six seasons of the Showtime hit series Weeds, created by Emmy Award-winner Jenji Kohan (Orange Is the New Black). He will soon appear on the upcoming CBS series Star Trek: Discovery, which will be the first Star Trek series to air since 2005. He played Katherina in STC’s The Taming of The Shrew in 2016. Rounding out the cast are British Ambassador to the U.S. His Excellency Kim Darroch and many Members of Congress including Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) and Representatives Joyce Beatty (D-OH), Brendan Boyle (D-PA), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Daniel M. Donovan (R-NY), Jim Himes (D-CT), George Holding (R-NC), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Jared Polis (D-CO), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Darren Soto (D-FL), Thomas Suozzi (D-NY), Dina Titus (D-NV), Michael Turner(R-OH) and Peter Welch (D-VT). Other illustrious cast members include Wa’el Alzayat (Executive Director, EmergeUSA), Gregory Angelo (President, Log Cabin Republicans), Jess Bravin (Supreme Court correspondent, The Wall Street Journal), Linda Chavez (Chairman, Center for Equal Opportunity), Ron Christie (Political Strategist), Steve Clemons (Editor At Large, The Atlantic), Maggie Coons, Bob Cusack (Editor in Chief, The Hill), Jon Decker (White House Correspondent, Fox News), Johanna Derlega (Publisher, The Hill), Karen Dunn (Partner at Bois, Schiller, & Flexner LLP, consultant for House of Cards), Dr. Michael Eric Dyson(Georgetown University professor, host of The Raw Word, and author), Paula Fitzgerald (Executive Director, Ayuda), Taegan Goddard (Publisher, Political Wire), Richard Haass (President of the Council on Foreign Relations), Rick Klein (Political Director, ABC News), Maria Teresa Kumar (President, Voto Latino), Dana Milbank (Columnist, The Washington Post), Erica Moody (Deputy Editor, Washington Life), Grover Norquist (Americans for Tax Reform), Hilary Rosen (Partner and Managing Director, SKDKnickerbocker), Christina Sevilla (Deputy Assistant, USTR), Rina Shah (Political consultant at Run with Rina), Ari Shapiro (Host, NPR), Pamela Lynne Sorensen (Pamela’s Punch), Kelly Jane Torrance (Deputy Managing Editor, The Weekly Standard), Crystal Wright (Communications consultant at Baker Wright Group), and Tim Young (Political Comedian).
* Cast members subject to change.