In the News: Kennedy Center Reveals Plans for 50th Anniversary Season, Including a Broadway Concert and Bernstein's MASS | Playbill

Streaming In the News: Kennedy Center Reveals Plans for 50th Anniversary Season, Including a Broadway Concert and Bernstein's MASS Plus: Performers have been announced for Harlem Stage's gala and the upcoming Rock of Ages concert.

Read on for more theatre headlines you may have missed in today's news.

The Kennedy Center Announces Plans for 50th Anniversary Season
The nation's cultutral center has announced preliminary plans for its milestone 50th Anniversary season, including new play, opera, orchestra, and dance commissions; new works for artists-in-residence; and celebratory reflection events and productions. Among the new opera commissions will be a work from Huang Ruo and David Henry Hwang, premiering a series of new short works in March 2022 at the Washington National Opera. New plays have been commissioned from Ike Holter, Hansol Jung with composer/lyricist Brian Quijada, Pulitzer Prize winner Martyna Majok, Molly Smith Metzler, and Marco Ramirez, all winners of the Michael Kanin Playwriting Award from the annual Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. A new play for young audiences by KCACTF alum Kirsten Greenidge will premiere in March 2022. The spring of 2022 will also offer 50 Years of Broadway at the Kennedy Center, a concert featuring Broadway talent with an on-stage orchestra, celebrating the musicals from the Center's history. The culminating event of the Center’s 50th anniversary season will be Leonard Bernstein’s Mass. The work, originally commissioned by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis for the opening of the Center, will be directed and re-staged by Francesca Zambello, featuring the National Symphony Orchestra along with 2020 Marian Anderson Award winner Will Liverman as the Celebrant.

Details Announced for Harlem Stage Gala
Co-hosted by poet-playwright Carl Hancock Rux and Harlem Stage Artistic Director Patricia Cruz, the 2021 Art and Activism gala will celebrate the intersection of art, activism, and social justice. Documentary filmmaker Stanley Nelson and his company, Firelight Media, will be honored with the Transformative Artist Award. The evening will feature music and spoken word performances from hip hop artist Jason ‘Timbuktu’ Diakité; singer-songwriter Maimouna Youssef (a.k.a. Mumu Fresh); composer and pianist Vijay Iyer; hip hop and jazz artist José James; hip hop dance artist Sun Kim; vocalist and flutist Elena Pinderhughes; Carl Hancock Rux; artist and dancer Joseph Webb; a special video contribution by Carrie Mae Weems; and more. Guests can also expect special appearances from MSNBC's Joy Reid, actors Claire Danes and Hugh Dancy, and actor-producer Tamara Tunie, among others. The gala is accessible to all and free of charge, streaming 8 PM ET May 21. Visit for more info.

Stellar Creates New Streaming Theatre Development Program
The theatrical streaming platform Stellar has announced the creation of the Stellar Emerging Creators in Theatre Program. The initiative will grant recipients a $50,000 production budget and resources to develop and present new theatre for the live streaming space. Stellar will lend support in marketing and will broadcast the new works exclusively on the platform. Applications for the program will be reviewed by a panel including producer Brian Moreland (Thoughts of a Colored Man), social media marketer Sam Maher of YesBroadway, producer and actor-writer Osh Ghanimah (Sing Street), director Sammi Cannold (Evita), and Stellar CEO Jim McCarthy. For more information or to submit an application, visit

Kate Rockwell, Wesley Taylor, More Join All-Star Rock of Ages Concert
A host of Rock of Ages alums have been added to the setlist of the musical's upcoming all-star reunion concert. Newly announced are Grammy winner Kyle Gass, Mean Girls star Kate Rockwell, comedian Chris Hardwick, Gettin' the Band Back Together alum Becca Kötte, and original Braodway cast members Wesley Taylor and Mitchell Jarvis. As previously announced, the concert, streaming April 24, will also feature Constantine Maroulis, Dee Snider, Lauren Molina, Laura Bell Bundy, Kerry Butler, Fankie James Grande, and many more.

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