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Wolf Trap unveils summer shows, including ‘Star Wars’ and author Neil Gaiman

Author Neil Gaiman will speak at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts on July 20 (courtesy of MasterClass)

This summer, Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts will see the returns of John Legend and the Out & About Festival, along with some brand-new faces.

The Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, the nonprofit that supports and programs the park, announced an initial lineup for the Filene Center’s summer season yesterday (Tuesday) that features both pop and classical shows.

Tickets for all the confirmed shows will go on sale at 10 a.m. on Feb. 16, though Wolf Trap members who donate $80 or more to the foundation can access presales right now.

In addition to a variety of concerts, Wolf Trap will introduce an expanded concessions building this summer with improved accessibility, including an elevator that will provide a stairs-free connection between the park’s upper and lower levels for the first time. The Meadow Commons project has been under construction since September and is expected to be finished this spring.

“[The Meadow Commons is] the embodiment of our community’s commitment and support to enhance the visitor experience through elevated concessions, improved accessibility, and more,” Wolf Trap Foundation President and CEO Arvind Manocha said. “With this upgrade, we’re dedicated to ensuring that all visitors can savor the magic of a performance at Wolf Trap.”

The Filene Center, the park’s 7,000-seat amphitheater, typically kicks off summer in late May around Memorial Day, but this year, the first performance on the schedule so far is the opera “Seven Deadly Sins” on Saturday, June 1. Kurt Weill’s “sung ballet” will be performed by up-and-coming orchestral musicians and opera singers in a collaboration between the National Orchestral Institute + Festival and Wolf Trap Opera.

The popular music slate starts on June 2 with The Beach Boys, led by original band member Mike Love. They will be followed on June 4-6 by John Legend, who visited last year and will sing songs like “All of Me” and Oscar winner “Glory” with the Wolf Trap Orchestra this year.

Other pop highlights will include:

  • June 8: soul singers Patti LaBelle and Gladys Knight
  • June 9: rock/blues guitarist Gary Clark Jr.
  • June 18-19: Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant and country singer Alison Krauss, whose June 18 show is a makeup for one that got postponed last year
  • June 20: alt-rock band Wilco
  • June 22: Out & About Festival, a showcase of LGBTQ artists that launched with Brandi Carlile in 2023. This year’s edition is headlined by Alabama Shakes lead singer Brittany Howard.
  • June 29: Broadway in the Park with Arlington’s Signature Theatre
  • July 20: author Neil Gaiman will take the audience “on a literary journey”
  • Aug. 1: Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me
  • Aug. 10: Kidz Bop Live
  • Aug. 17-18: Boyz II Men
  • Aug. 25: rockers Indigo Girls and Melissa Etheridge
  • Sept. 11: country singer Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
  • Sept. 12, 14 and 15: James Taylor & His All Star Band
  • Sept. 13: actors Kristen Chenoweth and Alan Cumming, singing Broadway hits

On the classical side, Wolf Trap Opera will stage productions of Mozart’s “Così fan tutte” (June 21, 23, 29 and 27), Puccini’s “La bohème” (July 19) and the Pulitzer-Prize-winning “Silent Night” by Kevin Puts (Aug. 9, 11, 15 and 17). The Mozart opera will be in The Barns at Wolf Trap, while the others will be at the Filene Center.

The National Symphony Orchestra is also set to perform live scores for screenings of the original “Star Wars” (July 13) and “Ghostbusters” (July 26).

The orchestra will also celebrate the 200th anniversary of Beethoven’s “Ninth Symphony” on July 12 by conductor Ruth Reinhardt and Wolf Trap Opera artists. The program will include Samuel Taylor-Coleridge’s “Violin Concerto” performed by violinist Njioma Grevious.

Wolf Trap’s 2024 Kay Shouse Great Performance, which is designated annually to honor the park’s founder, will be an evening with the Washington Ballet on Sept. 5.

The full schedule can be found on Wolf Trap’s website.

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