Arts Desk

All Shook Up: Arts in D.C. Get Quaked

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company Sales Manager Zac Boatright saves the mammoths from the earthquake.

My mug spilled some water, but local arts institutions seem to have mostly fared better during today's earthquake. We're calling as many places as we can, so keep checking back here.

Update: A photo posted on the Washington Post website shows damage to a spire at National Cathedral.


The Smithsonian Museums are closed the rest of the day.

Phillips is fine.

No art was damaged at the National Gallery, which briefly evacuated, and is now filling up, presumably with people shut out of the Smithsonian museums. "It's like the weekend in there now," says press chief Deborah Ziska. There was some small loss of plaster and paint in some "expansion joints and corners" in the West Building.

The Corcoran College of Art and Design closed after the temblor, says Corcoran spokesperson Melanie Kimmelman. The museum was closed as it is every Tuesday.


The new, lavish, Bing Thom-designed Arena Stage is doing fine. "I know I was just inside of the glass curtain wall," says publicist Kirstin Franko, "and they shook, which they’re supposed to do. That’s how the architect designed them.” Any damage? "I had a picture in my office that was slightly ajar,” says Franko.

Everyone at Shakespeare Theatre Company's administrative offices are fine, and the operations staff is currently examining both theaters for damage, says publicist Lindsay Tolar. Also, the theater's Twitter is now posting fun earthquake facts. Update! Shows are go.

An award fell off the wall at Woolly Mammoth. "It wasn't a Helen Hayes Award," says publicist Brooke Miller. Turns out it was some sort of architecture prize. The theater's actual architecture is OK.

No damage at Studio Theatre, but a spokesperson says the shaking glass wall was a little freaky.

Signature Theatre evacuated, but no damage. Publicist Peter Eramo reminds us that the theater's The Hollow opens in previews tonight. "Do you see how earth-shattering we are?" says Eramo. Update! Eramo emails: "To commemorate the 5.9 scale earthquake that has VA/DC in a bit of an uproar today, Signature Theatre is offering $5.90 tickets for performances of The Hollow tonight and tomorrow night – and The Boy Detective Fails on Thursday night. Both world premiere musicals begin their preview performances tonight! The $5.90 tickets are RUSH TICKETS and offered to the public 2 hours before showtime."

Kennedy Center evacuated, but there was no damage. The shows will go on. Ditto Artisphere.


The band Beauty Pill is taking the earthquake as a sign it should finally release its sophomore album.

At Joe’s Record Paradise, assistant manager Michael Miller says the "first thing that came to mind was the Carole King song." There was no damage.

CD Cellar in Falls Church saw some small damage. Says owner David Schlank in an instant message: "shit fell off the walls, lost a little plaster, little ceiling crud..."

A few glasses broke at the Rock & Roll Hotel, says a staffer, who adds, "It was just me running out of the building like a little girl." A bar patron yells into the phone, "Thank God we have beer! We all needed one."

Spokesperson Paul Guilderson says everything's fine at DAR Constitution Hall and that programming is on schedule. A staffer adds, "We were rattled by it. Everything's just fine, just a little rattled. We're in the middle of a move-in for the MLK gala and it's proceeding, so life is good down here."

No damage at 9:30 Club; they have no shows scheduled until Thursday anyway.

No damage at Blues Alley, Strathmore, Wolf Trap.


At Politics & Prose, floor manager Susan Skirboll says "we're having a little construction work," so she first thought, "Oh, what is it, an earthquake? Ha ha ha." She says a book or two might have fallen from a shelf.

Kramerbooks manager Alex Asancheyev poked his head outside the Dupont location. "Everyone just kind of stood there and looked around." No damage.

At Sankofa Bookstore & Cafe, manager Patrick Andrews says, "There's a rumor spreading that there's probably going to be an aftershock. That's not very settling to anyone here..." A couple items fell over; everyone is OK.


The escalator stopped at E Street Cinema. But no damage. The shows are on.

A pipe fell at The Avalon, but no significant damage. Shows are on.

No damage reported at West End Cinema, which is open as usual.

Tonight's U Street movie, City of Cranes, has been canceled.

You better believe this post will be updated. Photo courtesy Woolly Mammoth. With reporting help from Ally Schweitzer, Alex Baca, and Benjamin R. Freed.

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