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Washington Performing Arts Special Productions are multi-disciplinary large-scale artistic, community engagement, and education projects that provide platforms for creators across genres to pursue projects that advance their artistry and facilitate opportunities for discovery, dialogue, and lifelong learning.

For partnership opportunities and to submit project proposals, please contact Samantha Pollack, Director of Programming.

For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Elizabeth Racheva, Chief Advancement Officer.



Hazel Scott

Hazel Scott at 101

Washington Performing Arts commemorates the 101st birthday of unsung American cultural powerhouse Hazel Scott (1920–1981). Renowned during the 20th century as a brilliant jazz and classical pianist and singer, Scott was one of the most powerful artist-advocates our country has ever known. In addition to being a mainstay at New York’s legendary Café Society, Scott appeared in film, at major concert venues around the world, and on the radio, and she was the first black woman to host a television show in the U.S. These programs are being developed in conjunction with Scott’s son, Adam Clayton Powell III, and Washington Performing Arts Artist-in-Residence Murray Horwitz.


Washington Performing Arts’s Hazel Scott 101st Birthday Celebration is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and Lydia Micheaux Marshall, and Tom Gallagher.

2021/22 performances for the Hazel Scott project have been made possible through the generous support of Lyn and Barry Chasen, Dr. Gary Mather and Ms. Christina Co Mather, and Adam Clayton Powell III and Irene M. Solet.

National Endowment for the Arts Logo





Washington Performing Arts has co-commissioned a new semi-staged production of Scott Joplin’s opera Treemonisha—a revolutionary and masterful work that, tragically, was never fully produced in the composer’s lifetime. It recounts the story of a young woman named Treemonisha who is elected by her 1880s community as their leader—long before women, let alone black women, were able to vote anywhere in North America. The opera is being reimagined by an international team of creators and performers led by Volcano Theatre (Toronto), in association with the Moveable Beast Collective. A new book and libretto have been adapted by Leah Simone-Bowen with co-librettist Cheryl L. Davis, and a new orchestration and music were created by Jessie Montgomery and Jannina Norpoth. The reimagined work provides a 21st century framework for understanding a powerful story of black identity and agency in the years following the Civil War, drawing connections between Treemonisha’s story and modern youth activism in the U.S.

WATCH: Treemonisha production trailer video
READ: Washington Post article
LEARN MORE: WPA project prospectusProduction webpage

Partners: Library of Congress • National Museum of African American History and Culture  CBC Foundation Stanford Live Cal Performances Banff National Arts Centre Howard University Southbank Centre


Previous Special Productions



Dreamers (2018/19)

Jimmy López • Nilo Cruz • Philharmonia Orchestra
Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School
GALA Hispanic Theatre

Shift Festival 2018

SHIFT Festival 2018 (2017/18)

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra
 Albany Symphony • Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
National Symphony Orchestra

SHIFT Festival 2017

SHIFT Festival 2017 (2016/17)

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Boulder Symphony • North Carolina Symphony
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra • The Knights

The Migration

The Migration: Reflections on Jacob Lawrence (2016/17)

Step Afrika! • Phillips Collection • 11th Street Bridge Park

Wynton Marsalis's Blues Symphony

Wynton Marsalis’s Blues Symphony (2014/15)

Shenandoah Conservatory
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra

Of Thee We Sing

Of Thee We Sing: The Marian Anderson 75th Anniversary Celebration (2013/14)

Jessye Norman • Dionne Warwick
Congressional Black Caucus