Kennedy Center in tune with musicals

Season includes 'Ragtime,' 'Spring Awakening'

The Kennedy Center will stage a new production of “Ragtime” as part of a 2008-09 theater season emphasizing Broadway musicals, including tour stops of Rialto tuners “The Color Purple, “Legally Blonde” and “Spring Awakening.”

Directed by Marcia Milgrom Dodge, “Ragtime” is booked for the newly refurbished Eisenhower Theater in April 2009.

Kennedy Center prexy Michael Kaiser said the center’s season will also feature the touring production of Peter Morgan’s “Frost/Nixon,” starring Stacy Keach as the former U.S. president. “Blonde” will hold down the Opera House during the Christmas holiday, while “Purple” and “Awakening” are slated for July bookings in the Opera House and Eisenhower, respectively. “Frost/Nixon” will play the Eisenhower in November.

The sked also includes a concert titled “Broadway: Three Generations,” presenting abridged and choreographed versions of “Girl Crazy,” “Fiddler on the Roof” and “Sideshow.” The Oct. 2-5 production will be directed by Signature Theater a.d. Eric Schaeffer, with choreography by Warren Carlyle. Separately, the center’s Fund for New American plays is supporting Signature’s production next season of the new musical “Giant,” by Michael John LaChiusa, based on the Edna Ferber novel.

Another highlight of the season is a three-week festival celebrating the arts and culture of 22 Arab nations. It will run Feb. 25-March 15, 2009.

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