Performing Arts

Members of the National Negro Opera Company pose backstage during a 1941 performance of Aida.

The Founder of This Trailblazing Opera Company Put Black Singers at Center Stage

Mary Cardwell Dawson created unprecedented opportunities for aspiring Black musicians

Elton John performing during his farewell tour at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles

Elton John Just Became an EGOT Winner

With his victory at last night's Emmy Awards, the celebrated musician is the 19th person in history to take home an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony

Italian opera singing is now among the hundreds of cultural practices officially recognized by UNESCO.

Italian Opera Singing Is Now Protected by the U.N.

UNESCO announced 55 new additions to its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage

The musical Hell's Kitchen, seen here at the Public Theater, will be moving to Broadway in the spring.

Alicia Keys' 'Hell's Kitchen' Will Open on Broadway

The musical is loosely based on the 15-time Grammy winner's childhood

Will Liverman performs during the dress rehearsal of X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X at the Metropolitan Opera, which runs through December 2

Malcolm X Opera Opens in New York

The Afrofuturist production examines the civil rights leader's legacy and lasting influence

On the new U.S. quarter, sculptor Joseph Menna and designer Benjamin Sowards depict Tallchief floating through the air in the middle of a dramatic leap in The Firebird.

New U.S. Quarter Honors Maria Tallchief, America's First Prima Ballerina

Born on Osage land in Oklahoma, the famous dancer broke barriers for Native American women

Dell O'Dell loved the stage as much as she dominated it—no small feat for any magician, much less a “funsational femagician,” as she called herself.

Dell O'Dell's Trailblazing Magic Show Cast a Spell on Early Television Audiences

Rare footage of the woman magician's act captures her magnetic stage presence and range of tricks

Hattie McDaniel is shown with her Best Supporting Actress award, which she received for her performance in 1939's Gone With the Wind.

The Academy Will Replace Hattie McDaniel's Missing Oscar

McDaniel became the first Black actor to win an Oscar in 1940, but the award went missing several decades later

Sofia Liñares in a promotional photo for Black Sabbath: The Ballet, the Birmingham Royal Ballet's new show honoring the city's legendary heavy metal band

New Ballet Takes on Black Sabbath, the Genre-Defining Heavy Metal Band

“Black Sabbath: The Ballet” honors the legendary band that formed in Birmingham, England

Performers at the 1963 Renaissance Pleasure Faire. Ron Patterson, a co-founder of the event, appears in orange at the far right.

The Surprisingly Radical Roots of the Renaissance Fair

The first of these festivals debuted in the early 1960s, serving as a prime example of the United States' burgeoning counterculture

The theme for this year's festival is "Halloween in August."

The Puppets Take Manhattan, Celebrating a Rich Global Art Form

The International Puppet Fringe Festival honored puppeteer Ralph Lee, who died earlier this year

An aerial view of the excavation site, where archaeologists found what they think are the ruins of Emperor Nero's theater

Have Archaeologists Finally Found Emperor Nero's Lost Theater?

Ahead of a planned luxury hotel, excavations have revealed what may be the ruins of the venue

Tony Bennett painting in June 1971

Tony Bennett's Passion for Art Lives On in His Paintings

Smithsonian curators reflect on the beloved crooner's legacy as a musician and visual artist

No known photographs of Swann survive. This 1903 postcard depicts two Black actors, one of whom is dressed in drag, performing a cakewalk in Paris.

The First Self-Proclaimed Drag Queen Was a Formerly Enslaved Man

In the late 19th century, William Dorsey Swann's private parties attracted unwelcome attention from authorities and the press

The Grand Prismatic Spring at Yellowstone National Park

Listen to Music Made From Yellowstone's Seismic Data

A scientist and a musician performed a live musical rendition of the park's underground rumblings

Sarah Bernhardt as Cleopatra in 1891

Why Actress Sarah Bernhardt Was the First Modern Celebrity

An exhibition in Paris revisits the life of the 19th-century thespian, who used the press to promote herself and eagerly capitalized on her fame

The exhibition "Afrofuturism: A History of Black Futures," (above, right: A scene from the 2014 Ghanian short film "Afronauts") is on view through March 24, 2024, at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History.

What Is Afrofuturism?

A new exhibition defines how artistry and activism over decades gave rise to the idea and promise of a future that could advance Black life

Willie Nelson is among the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's 2023 honorees.

Missy Elliott, Willie Nelson, Kate Bush and More Join the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

In recent years, the organization has been widening the definition of the genre

The curtain call of a 2015 performance of the New York City Ballet, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year.

New York City Ballet Celebrates 75 Years of Tradition and Innovation

The 2023-2024 season will include a recreation of the company’s first-ever performance

A rendering of the 2.3-acre site that will house the Museum of Shakespeare

An Interactive Shakespeare Museum Will Immerse Visitors in the Ruins of an Elizabethan Theater

The cultural institution is slated to open in London in spring 2024

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