Art Works Blog

Something Happening on U Street

Washington, DC

U Street, NW in Washington, DC - once known as the "Black Broadway" for its plethora of theaters - hit hard times in the 1970s and '80s. After the riots of 1968 nearly burned the neighborhood to the ground, it was a long time coming before new life sprung up there.

But in the last 15 to 20 years, the neighborhood has experienced a rebirth, riding on the back of the cultural institutions that made an investment in it: Busboys and Poets, Bohemian Caverns, Arena Stage, and the historic Lincoln Theatre (not to mention the everpresent Ben's Chili Bowl). Now it's not surprising to see crowds move from seeing a show at the Lincoln to hitting one of numerous restaurants and nightclubs in the neighborhood.

This week's Art Works podcast looks at the history and art-fueled revitalization of U Street in the words of those who took part in it. David Dower, associate artistic director of Arena Stage, talks about a transformative conversation he had recently outside the doors of the Lincoln Theatre for the production of Arena?s Sophisticated Ladies in this podcast excerpt.

Listen to the entire podcast and check back next week for part two of the U Street story: Duke Ellington?s DC roots and connection to historic U Street.


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