J.F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

The J.F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is a center for performance arts that is located on Potomac River near the Watergate Complex in Washington DC. The building is named as John F. Kennedy Memorial Center for the Performing Arts and it is commonly referred to as the Kennedy Center by the locals.

Opened to the public on September 8th, 1971, this center produces and presents various kinds of art forms including theatre, dance, ballet, orchestral music, jazz, popular arts, folk music and more. There are also multimedia performances that are organized for all ages. It is estimated that about 2000 performances are organized every year reaching a total of 2 million people. Including the production tours, radio shows and television presentations, the reach of the J.F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is far higher.

The building was designed by Edward Durrell Stone and the building was created by a Philadelphia contractor John McShain. The J.F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts received a federal grant every year to allow it to manage the maintenance of the building and carry on the operations required.

There are three main theatres at the Kennedy Center are the Concert Hall, the Opera House and the Eisenhower Theatre. The Concert hall seats about 2400 people and has been designed in a manner similar to other European theatres. A gift from Norway, the Hadelands crystal chandeliers have been placed above to make the lighting better. There is also a 4,144 pipe organ that is placed behind the stage. Relatively newer additions have been an acoustical canopy and new seating sections.

The Opera House has about 2300 seats and is adorned by red velvet and gold silk curtains, a gift from Japan. There is also Austria's gift, the Lobmeyr crystal chandelier too. Extensive renovations were done in 2003-2004, during which time the theatre was closed for a while. A changed seating arrangement and redesigned entrances were the key aspects that were changed. The Eisenhower Theatre is relatively smaller with a seating of about 1163 people. This theatre hosts ballets, musicals and small scale operas.


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