Located only a few blocks from the White House, the National Theater has been called the “Theater of Presidents”. It is the longest running major touring house in the nation, opened in 1835 during the presidency of Andrew Jackson. Although the building burned down soon after opening, and has been rebuilt five times, the Theater has remained a presence for over a century and a half. It has featured the most acclaimed stage actors of every era since opening, from Shakespeare to Broadway. It is even said by some to house the ghost of famed Shakespearean actor John Edward McCullough, who may or may not have been murdered at the Tiber Creek, which flows beneath the building’s original foundation.
The National was affected by the civil rights movement, which was strongly felt in Washington, and even closed for several years before being reopened as an integrated theater in 1952. Today this theater remains vibrant, offering a full season of theater on the mainstage, as well as a Monday night series that branches out into music, dance, comedy, film and magic. A Saturday morning series features entertaining and educational programs for a younger audience.
National Theatre Information
- Public Transportation: Very good (easily accessible by several buses, and the Red, Orange, and Blue subway lines at and around both the Metro Center and Federal Triangle Stations)
- Handicapped Accessibility: Good
- Performances/Programs: The National is the oldest operating major touring house in the U.S. It first opened in 1835 and today primarily hosts Broadway touring shows. The National also offers many free programs, such as Saturday-morning children’s theater, Monday-night showcases of local talent, and free films in the summer
- Ticket Prices: Vary based on program. A limited number of half-price tickets are offered to people with disabilities, students, seniors, military, and people with low fixed incomes
- Group Discounts: Discounts for groups of 20 or more people sometimes available.