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The Arts Return to American University this Fall

Fall lineup features events in the performing and visual arts, free tickets for AU students

Mina Cheon (Kim Il Soon), Umma Rises: Towards Global Peace, 2017.

The arts are back in full swing at American University this fall! The Department of Performing Arts (DPA) will present music, theatre, and dance performances, while art exhibitions will return to the Katzen Arts Center and the American University Museum. 

Professor Daniel Abraham, Department of Performing Arts chair, made a major announcement that tickets for DPA events will be free to all American University students beginning this fall. He says, “The DPA prides itself in providing opportunity: not just for those participating in one of our many productions, but also for our audiences. We hope that you will engage with the performing arts as an important and challenging cornerstone of your well-rounded AU education.”  

A new lineup of exhibitions at the American University Museum opening in September will feature a contemporary ceramic group exhibition, portraits from the Corcoran Legacy Collection, work by local artists, and more. New exhibitions, including ones featuring student artists, will be on view in the Katzen Arts Center throughout the semester. 

Tickets for DPA events will go on sale later in August. Free for AU students with ID, $10 for alumni, staff, faculty, and senior citizens (55 and older), $15 general admission. Students are encouraged to reserve their free tickets in advance. Are you an AU student, and want to get involved in the performing arts? Visit AU's Performing Arts online.  

Sign up for updates from AU Arts and follow us on social media: Instagram @auartsdc, Twitter @auartsdc, and Facebook.

From the Theatre/Musical Theatre program

Into the Woods rehearsal, spring 2022. Photo: Dylan Singleton.


Directed by Tara Giordano

Overture welcomes AU’s newest actors from the dynamic class of 2026 to the stage. Showcasing the unique talents of its performers, this production features music, text and movement assembled and devised by the student company, in collaboration with faculty director Tara Giordano. 

When: September 30, 8 p.m. October 1, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.  
Where: Studio Theatre, Katzen Arts Center, 4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW 


By Branden Jacobs-Jenkins  
Directed by Christopher Michael Richardson 

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins brilliantly reimagines the fifteenth-century play Everyman for our times. When Death summons Everybody to go on one final journey, they scramble to find someone to accompany them. Everybody is like an onstage lottery—you'll never see the same show twice. With a lively cast of characters like “Friendship” and “Stuff,” this irreverent play full of heart asks us what really matters in the end. 

When: October 20–21, 8 p.m., October 22, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. 
Where: Harold and Sylvia Greenberg Theatre, 4200 Wisconsin Ave. NW  


Book by Joe Masteroff 
Based on the play by John Van Druten and stories by Christopher Isherwood 
Music by John Kander Lyrics by Fred Ebb 
Directed by Carl Menninger, Music Direction by Nathan Beary Blustein, Choreographed by Cate Ginsberg 

Daring, provocative, and exuberantly entertaining, Cabaret explores the dark and heady life of Bohemian Berlin as Germany slowly yields to the emerging Third Reich. Descend into the Kit Kat Club for a raucous experience that captures the societal complexities of its time.  

“Leave your troubles outside! Life is disappointing? Forget it! In here, life is beautiful, the girls are beautiful, even the orchestra is beautiful!” 

When: October 28 and November 4, 8 p.m. October 29 and November 5, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. 
Where: Studio Theatre, Katzen Arts Center, 4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW 

CABARET is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Tams-Witmark LLC.  

Sense and Sensibility  

By Kate Hamill, based on the novel by Jane Austen 
Directed by Karl Kippola 

This breezy and fun adaptation of Jane Austen's 1811 novel follows the Dashwood sisters on their journey toward love and happiness. Contrasting the good judgment and self-control of Elinor's "sense" with the impulsive, uncontrollable emotions of Marianne's "sensibility," this fast and fun theatrical experience embraces the comedy and romance of Austen's brilliant, complex women.  

When: December 8-9, 8 p.m. December 10, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. 
Where: Studio Theatre, Katzen Arts Center, 4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW 

From the Music program 

The American University Symphony Orchestra performs, fall 2019.

The Invisible Made Visible

American University Chamber Singers 
Directed by Daniel Abraham 

Join the Chamber Singers for a program centering on the music of outstanding underrepresented choral creators of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. With a focus on Black, Latinx, and women composers, the program will include the music of Margaret Bonds, Rosenphanye Powell, Abbie Betinis, Andre Thomas, Emma Lou Diemer, José Maurício Nunes Garcia, Ysaye Barnwell, Joel Thompson and other well-known artists. The concert will also feature setting of texts by Langston Hughes, Paul Dunbar, and Maya Angelou that promote equity and rebuke racism and injustice. Faculty from the Department of Literature to give deep context to the poetry and their choral settings.  

When: November 12, 7:30 p.m., November 13, 3 p.m. 
Where: Abramson Family Recital Hall, Katzen Arts Center, 4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW 

American University Symphonic Band

Conducted by Matthew Brown 

The AU Symphonic Band presents an eclectic variety of selections spanning the Band literature, ranging from century-old classics to relatively unknown contemporary works by living composers. A large ensemble of about fifty musicians, the Symphonic Band regularly prepares and performs some of the most demanding works available in the Band repertoire.  

When: November 20, 3 p.m. 
Where: Abramson Family Recital Hall, Katzen Arts Center, 4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW

Fall for Jazz

Directed by Josh Bayer 

The AU Jazz Orchestra plays big band jazz, bop, funk, Latin, rock, and of course swing! Every concert has a full menu of these styles. Special guests to be announced.  

When: December 2, 7:30 p.m. 
Where: Abramson Family Recital Hall, Katzen Arts Center, 4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW 

American University Symphony Orchestra and Chorus: Brahms and Sibelius

Conducted by Matthew Brown and Casey Cook

AU Chorus and Orchestra collaborate to perform one of Johannes Brahms' most beautiful and well-known choral works, Schicksalslied, as well as other choral works led by Casey Cook. The orchestra will also present Finnish composer Jean Sibelius' Symphony 2.  

When: December 3, 7:30 p.m. December 4, 3 p.m.  
Where: Abramson Family Recital Hall, Katzen Arts Center, 4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW 


From the Dance program


DANCEWORKS 2019. Photo: Jeff Watts.

Fall Dance Concert

The Fall Dance Concert is a mainstage event featuring new faculty work and selected student-choreographed and faculty-mentored projects. 

When: November 18–19, 8 p.m. 
Where: Harold and Sylvia Greenberg Theatre, 4200 Wisconsin Ave. NW 

Fall Guide to the Visual Arts 

Exhibitions at the American University Museum  

Mina Cheon (Kim Il Soon), "Umma Rises: Towards Global Peace," 2017. Custom IKB blue dip painting on archival digital print on canvas, 30 x 40 in. Courtesy of Mina Cheon Studio.

Seven exhibitions will be on view at the American University Museum September 10–December 11. 

  • Make-Believe: Georgia Saxelby and Devan Shimoyama 
  • Kallos: Maria Karametou 
  • Sitting Pretty: Two Hundred Years of American Portrait Painting from the Collection of the Corcoran Gallery of Art 
  • Haunted Koreas: Mina Cheon with Kim Il Soon 
  • Singularities and Infinities: Shanthi Chandrasekar and Michael Albrow 
  • Nan Montgomery: Counterpoint 
  • More Clay: The Power of Repetition

Exhibitions on view in the Katzen Arts Center

Jarrett Arnold, "Don't Leave," 2021. Mixed media and oil on canvas. Courtesy of the artist. Featured in Cadmium Blue.
  • August 15–September 4 
    Second year students in the studio art MFA program present their recent work in Cadmium Blue, named after their artist collective.  
  • Opening Reception: August 26, 6-8 p.m.  
  • August 15–September 8 
    Socially engaged artist Monica Jahan Bose presents an installation work addressing climate change using saris. Made in collaboration with American University students, other DC residents, and Bangladeshi women farmers in the Bay of Bengal.
  • Opening Reception: August 27, 7-8:30 p.m.
  • September 11–October 17
    Group 93
    is an artists’ critique group founded in 1990 that is unified by its deep ties to AU and its commitment to a rigorous critique method. For Group 93, a work of art, whether it be paintings, sculpture, prints, or drawings, must speak independently. Its critique sessions result in a collection of work with a visual vitality that transcends individual style. 
  • Opening Reception: September 24, 3-6 p.m.