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Stage for a Nation

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Stage for a Nation


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The National Theatre has entertained Washington since the time of Andrew Jackson, bringing the best of Broadway to Washington (and sometimes sending a play or musical to Broadway), providing a stage for theatrical legends from Edwin Booth to Helen Hayes, casting an influence on the American theater simply because it was the National Theatre and on the nation because theater-even when it appears all froth or fancy-remains a powerful medium that alters in some way all those who watch it.

This spectacular program celebrates both the history and the present of the National: its memorabilia survey the history of American taste; institutions of the theater, like Helen Hayes, Pearl Bailey, and Carol Channing, describe the added dimensions of playing to an audience of power brokers and presidents; and scenes from some of the nation's (and the National's) biggest hits-including South Pacific, Hello Dolly, West Side Story, and A Chorus Line-are performed by star-studded casts that constitute a virtual Who's Who of the American theater.

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