The Kennedy Center’s American Playlist

In July John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is putting on “An American Playlist: Three Evenings Celebrating the Performing Arts.” The free series features spoken word, dance and music, with performances by John Mayer, Smokey Robinson, Branford Marsalis and The Suzanne Farrell Ballet.

“An American Playlist: Three Evenings Celebrating the Performing Arts” takes place at the Washington, D.C., Kennedy Center July 18-20 with Sunday and Tuesday’s performance at the Concert Hall and Monday’s at the Eisenhower Theater. All performances begin at 6 p.m.

Join the Center Sunday, July 18 for “An Evening of Music and Verse” featuring Mambo Sauce and The RootsBlack Thought and ?uestlove, along with young poets and MCs from across the country.

Monday, July 19’s event, “An Evening of Dance and Jazz,” is being hosted by saxophonist and producer Brandford Marsalis with performances by Marsalis, members of The Suzanne Farrell Ballet, Evidence A Dance Company/Ronald K. Brown and D.C.’s tap dancing phenomenon the Manzari Brothers.

Photo: AP Photo
Newport Jazz Festival, Newport, R.I.

The series concludes Tuesday, July 20 with “An Evening of Classical Works and Popular Song.” Performers include opera singer and D.C. native Harolyn Blackwell, Smokey Robinson, John Mayer and Branford Marsalis along with the National Symphony Orchestra.

The “American Playlist” series commemorates the culmination of the Kennedy Center’s Arts in Crisis 50-state tour. Kennedy Center President Michael M. Kaiser hit the road last year to tour 69 arts organizations in need in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.

Photo: Justin Brady
Rose Garden Arena, Portland, Ore.

After wrapping up the tour July 16, Kaiser will kick off July 20’s event by briefly share his findings and experiences.

“After a year and half of traveling, I have seen first-hand the resiliency of arts organizations and the commitment they have to serving and enriching their communities,” Kaiser said. “The Kennedy Center celebrates the vitality of the arts and the inspiration the arts ignite in our youth.”

Although the performances are free, patrons still need tickets to get into the shows. Two free tickets per person in line will be distributed at the Kennedy Center July 10 on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets for the July 20 performance will be distributed at 9 a.m. in the Hall of Nations. Tickets for the July 18 performance will be distributed at 10 a.m. in the Hall of States. Tickets for the July 19 performance will be distributed at 11 a.m. on the River Terrace.

For more information, click here for The Kennedy Center website.