Kennedy Center loses $80 million on Covid

Kennedy Center loses $80 million on Covid


norman lebrecht

November 18, 2020

The arts hub today extended its shutdown to the end of April 2021.

These most recent cancelations in 2021 represent 384 ticketed events and a financial loss of $24.1 million for the institution, plus an additional $7 to $8 million of revenue from programs that had not yet been announced. Combined with the fall cancelations in excess of $50 million, the total earned revenue loss for FY21 now stands at over $80 million…

Beyond April 25, the Broadway national tours of Jesus Christ Superstar (May 25 – June 13), Freestyle Love Supreme (June 8 – 13), Oklahoma! (June 22 – 27), Dear Evan Hansen (June 29 – July 18), and The Band’s Visit (July 28 – August 8) have canceled their upcoming engagements at the Kennedy Center. Plans to bring these productions to the Center in future seasons will be announced at a later date. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performances, originally scheduled for February 2–7, will shift to June 22–27, 2021.

“The Kennedy Center has now lost more than half of its 2020-2021 season due to the continued shutdown, and over $80 million in earned income that would have been generated from those programs,” commented Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter. “Despite substantial expense and staff reductions, the institution’s only path forward is a strategic focus on increasing contributions from our donors and patrons while we wait to re-open. Their generosity and patience over the last eight months have made all the difference and kept us strong. Today’s announcement represents a longer planning horizon and understanding that it will not be safe to gather large-scale audiences until later in the season. But it also signals our eagerness to plan and program for an eventual re-opening, as well as our commitment to do all that we can to serve our community of artists and audiences in the meantime.”




  • Bill says:

    They’ve lost $80 million in earned income. That’s not (necessarily) the same as having an $80 million loss.

  • Greg Bottini says:

    “….the institution’s only path forward is a strategic focus on increasing contributions from our donors and patrons while we wait to re-open.”
    Everybody’s got their hand out now.
    How about those “donors and patrons” contributing funds which go DIRECTLY to out-of-work musicians, stagehands, etc., or those ill with The Virus, instead of into the black hole of bloated institutional organizations?

  • What a liberty!! says:

    What happened to the $100 million they received from the lame duck?

  • V.Lind says:

    They’ll be lucky to open in April 2021.

  • DC Musician says:

    What happened to the $25 million the Kennedy Center received back in April 2020, from Congress??
    If the building has been “dark” since March, and there are no performances to speak of..what is that money being used for?

  • Marge O. says:

    Didn’t they get PPP funds, govt bail outs -free “grant” during Tom Hanks (corona virus) disease?

  • Patricia says:

    The Kennedy Center is not just a concert hall. It also has an opera house, the Eisenhower Theatre for legitimate drama and the American Film Institute. It is an enormous organization.

  • Layoffs? says:

    Funny that there was no mention in the press release of how this announcement coincided with Deborah Rutter laying off another 38 employees after giving herself a salary increase in September. Happy Holidays from the Kennedy Center!