Dance Place first leapt onto the scene more than three decades ago as an educational and performing arts company that toured local schools. In the years since, it has grown into a multi-faceted operation and source of both entertainment and instruction.
Every weekend, Dance Place dazzles crowds with performances in modern dance, African Dance, performance art, and spoken word. Rather than hiring a sketch artist to doodle each dance step into a flipbook, spectators can learn the moves they see on stage by enrolling in one of Dance Place's programs, or by dropping into an adult or children's class. Dance Place has remained true to its roots through its continued support of local schools, and to this day organizes family-friendly performances, workshops, and school assemblies.
When the Atlas Theater first opened on H Street, the flag had 48 stars, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was President, and saying "consarnit" made everyone around you cheer. Since then, the auditorium has seen its share of good times and bad. A landmark in one of the city's most historically diverse neighborhoods, the Atlas shared its block with a succession of department stores, music shops, pharmacies, and car dealerships before economic hardship shuttered the doors in 1976. The '80s and '90s proved harder still, and the quiet theater sat nearly forgotten and covered in graffiti until 2001. When a performing arts company purchased the venue that year, it heralded not only a new age for the building, but for the entire neighborhood. Today the Atlas' light-bulbed overhang and electric blue sign stand as a beacon of DC's Arts and Entertainment district.
First things first: the letters stand for "Laugh Your Grits Off." Second things first: the name springs from LYGO's early beginnings, when the group hosted Sunday brunch comedy shows. The combination of food, mimosas, and some of the city's best up-and-coming comedians caught on, and soon the company was organizing post-breakfast standup shows throughout the city. But while their menu may have expanded, the goals of LYGO remain the same: to bring comedy to a wider DC audience, promote a greater sense of community amongst comedians, and to provide performers an opportunity to launch and build on their careers, both in and out of the city.
The Shakespeare Theatre Company is devoted to both reinterpreting and staging traditional renditions of plays from the Bard and those who were influenced by him. Since its first production of Romeo and Juliet in 1986, the company has blossomed into a diverse, highly practiced proponent and preservationist of the playwright’s works.
Converted from a historic 1930s art-deco theater, the modern iteration of the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse is a combination restaurant, movie theater, and performance space. Besides screening blockbusters, the venue also hosts regular comedy shows featuring standups who have shared their skills on The Tonight Show, David Letterman, and Conan O'Brien. Between laughs, audience members can take bites from a complete menu or sips of selections from a full-service bar.
Dedicated to creating literate, passionate works of theater, The Washington Stage Guild immerses audiences in carefully staged pieces in the spirit of George Bernard Shaw. Now in its world-premiere run, Amelia tells the tale of a wife who wades into the midst of the Civil War disguised as a Union soldier as she ventures south to search for her husband. Playwright Alex Webb inhabits every character save the titular Amelia in a performance the Washington Post has called "chameleon-like," both for his convincing creation of the mannerisms of dozens of individuals and his extraordinary bark-climbing abilities. Webb's wife, Shirleyann Kaladjian, brings a hard-nosed, sharp-tongued sensibility to Amelia as she ventures toward the infamous Confederate prison at Andersonville. The intimate, recently renovated Undercroft Theatre lets audiences discern the nuances of each performance without demanding the second act be moved to the balcony.