The Keegan Story

Keegan Mission

Vision Statement

Powerful productions of classic and modern plays and musicals, offered to the community at affordable, neighborhood prices.  Our work is fueled by the highest caliber acting and design, scripts that put real people out there on the stark edges of life, and a directing approach that honors clear, authentic storytelling.

The Keegan Theatre rests on a foundation of three core artistic beliefs: that the theatre, as an art form, succeeds only in so far as it presents an honest, pure exploration of the human condition; that American audiences can be profoundly enhanced by the richness and depth of Ireland’s theatrical tradition – and vice versa; and that all people deserve the opportunity to safely explore and freely develop their creative potential.

Keegan’s founding members share a deep personal commitment to producing theatre the way we believe theatre should be done – by allowing actors to bring their own experience and energy to the process and encouraging them to explore the text freely; by hiring directors who promote such exploration and who are committed to an open, participatory process; by maintaining an artistic sensibility that favors story over “concept,” clarity over production, and honesty over gimmick; and by selecting works by playwrights who have captured the poetry and rawness of language, playwrights unafraid to explore the recesses of the human condition. By holding fast to these principles, we believe that the theatre we create reaches our audiences in a distinctive, compelling way.

The Irish heritage of Keegan’s Producing Artistic Director, Mark A. Rhea, played a pivotal role in the direction the company has developed, and in the uniquely important niche we have carved out in the theater community. Rhea’s intense personal connection to and passion for the Irish people inspired The Keegan Theatre to include in our mission statement a commitment to produce at least one Irish play per season. This commitment has deepened and grown over time to become a defining characteristic of Keegan, a legacy that continues to grow as Keegan’s relationships with our colleagues in deepen.

Planting the seeds of opportunity in a fertile creative mind, nurturing a young artist to his or her full potential – this is hard work, work that requires an open mind, patience, and dedication. We believe this work is vital to the growth of the community at large. Keegan staff are characterized by our personal experience in and passion for youth development. We are committed to the development of the community by aggressively searching for and nurturing new, local talent and by working with local educational institutions to identify and develop budding artists.  A number of our “intern alumni” are either pursuing undergraduate degrees in theatre or currently working on local professional stages.  We believe that the arts has a critical role to play in the development of young people and that Keegan can support and nurture budding artists, encouraging them to pursue these dreams (whether as a vocation or avocation).  Each year, we see the kids with whom we work grow in their craft and commitment to it.  This is why we work with youth.

Building a “Hidden Gem” in Dupont Circle

The first show ever produced by The Keegan Theatre was Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at Church Street Theater in 1996. Guided by the principles of boldness and honesty, the young company presented stories about humanity in an intimate setting, attracting and embracing artists who valued honest storytelling above all and earning overwhelming support and sold-out audiences.

In 2009, the Church Street Theater became Keegan’s official home, making The Keegan Theatre the resident theatre company of Dupont Circle.  In 2013, thanks to the generous support of an anonymous donor, Keegan purchased the Church Street Theater, renamed it The Andrew Keegan Theatre, and launched the “In Good Company” Capital Campaign to raise the funds needed to modernize the building through a major renovation project.  Ground was broken on the project in 2014, and in 2015, The Andrew Keegan Theatre was officially reopened with a vital new production of the play that originally put the company on the map – Cat on a Hot Tin RoofView Production History

Forging a Bond Between Two Rich Cultures

In 1999, as part of a unique vision to bridge theatrical traditions of America and Ireland, The Keegan Theatre toured an American classic, A Streetcar Named Desire, to Ireland.  The inaugural tour earned high praise and the tradition continued.  Productions have played to enthusiastic audiences from Galway to Letterkenny over 4-8 week tours almost every year since, forging a strong bond between the two rich cultures.  View Ireland Tour Productions

The Keegan Theatre Today

Today, The Keegan Theatre is still guided by the principles on which it was founded:  powerful productions of classic and modern plays fueled by the highest caliber acting and design, intense personal staging, scripts that put real people out there on the stark edges of life, and a directing approach that respects straightforward storytelling rather than concepts that too often just get in the way.   Ever a bold champion of fearless new works, Keegan has produced 17 world premieres, 3 American premieres, and 4 DC-area premieres so far.   And, driven by the conviction that American and Irish cultures can be enhanced through their connection, The Keegan Theatre has produced 14 Ireland Tours, bringing American classics to audiences across Ireland. With a respected professional company that’s bound like family, including actors, designers, directors, playwrights, and leadership, Keegan audiences are always surely “in good company.”

Awards and Recognition

Helen Hayes Nomination, Outstanding Music Direction – HELEN Production, Jake Null, HAIR
Helen Hayes Nomination, Outstanding Ensemble in a Musical – HELEN Production, HAIR
Helen Hayes Nomination, Outstanding Musical – HELEN Production, HAIR
Helen Hayes Nomination, Outstanding Supporting Actress in Musical – HELEN Production, Ines Nassara, HAIR

Helen Hayes Nomination, Outstanding Choreography, Resident Musical, Rachel Leigh Dolan, CABARET
Helen Hayes Nomination, Outstanding Ensemble, Resident Musical, THE FULL MONTY
Helen Hayes Nomination, Outstanding Resident Musical, CABARET
Helen Hayes Nomination, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Resident Musical, John Loughney, THE FULL MONTY
Helen Hayes Nomination, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Resident Musical, Matthew Dewberry, THE FULL MONTY
Helen Hayes Nomination, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Resident Musical, Paul Scanlan, CABARET
Helen Hayes Nomination, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Resident Musical, Maria Rizzo, CABARET

Helen Hayes Nomination, Outstanding Ensemble, Resident Musical, SPRING AWAKENING
Helen Hayes Nomination, Outstanding Ensemble, Resident Play, AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY
Helen Hayes Nomination, Outstanding Resident Musical, SPRING AWAKENING
Helen Hayes Nomination, Outstanding Music Direction, Resident Musical, Jake Null, SPRING AWAKENING
Helen Hayes Nomination, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Resident Musical, Paul Scanlan, SPRING AWAKENING
Helen Hayes Nomination, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Resident Play, Rena Cherry Brown, AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY
Helen Hayes Nomination, Outstanding Direction, Resident Musical, Mark A. Rhea and Susan Marie Rhea, SPRING AWAKENING

Helen Hayes Nomination, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Resident Musical, Dan Van Why, NATIONAL PASTIME

Helen Hayes Award, Outstanding Ensemble, RENT
Helen Hayes Award, Outstanding Lead Actor, Parker Drown, RENT
Helen Hayes Nomination, Outstanding Direction, Mark and Susan Rhea, RENT
Helen Hayes Nomination, Outstanding Musical Production, RENT
Helen Hayes Nomination, Outstanding Musical Direction, Aaron Broderick, RENT

Helen Hayes Nomination, Outstanding Ensemble, Translations

Helen Hayes Nomination, The Canadian Embassy Award for Outstanding Ensemble, Alone It Stands
Helen Hayes Nomination, Outstanding ChoreographyEric and Kerry Lucas, Alone It Stands

Theatre Lobby Mary Goldwater Award, Joe Baker, Company Member, The Keegan Theatre

Theatre Lobby Mary Goldwater Award, Chris Stezin, Company Member, The Keegan Theatre

Helen Hayes Nomination, Carlos Bustamante, Outstanding Supporting Actor, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Star Award for Managerial Excellence, The Keegan Theatre from Arlington Commission for the Arts

Helen Hayes Nomination, David Jourdan, Outstanding Supporting Actor, Twelve Angry Men
Helen Hayes Nomination, Jenifer Deal, Outstanding Supporting Actress, Dancing at Lughnasa
Helen Hayes Nomination, Little John Nee, Outstanding Lead Actor, Non-Resident Production, The Derry Boat
Theatre Lobby Mary Goldwater Award, Oustanding Production, Dancing at Lughnasa

Helen Hayes Nomination, Mark A. Rhea Outstanding Director, Resident Production, Translations

Keegan: Through the Eyes of Insiders

Theater in an intimate setting with gifted actors, creative staging and sets and outstanding American and Irish plays that explore the human condition through music, comedy and drama.  In the Dupont Circle neighborhood with a community orientation exemplified by charitable works, youth mentoring and community outreach, Keegan does it all at prices the community can afford.

Roberta Milman

Keegan takes audiences to the vital heart of the theater experience: unforgettable characters confronting themselves, other people, their times and surroundings, their histories, their humanity, and their place in the world.  Our character driven-tools are the rich theater traditions of American and Ireland, both classic and new plays, presented in a lean, cut-to-the-bone style and setting, where the focus is on the strength of the actors.

Kenn Speicher

Our trademark is telling powerful, thought-provoking stories in an intimate setting. You won’t find better directing or acting, at any better price or with any comparable service, anywhere in town.

Alison Sheahan

Keegan blends a fresh take on classics with the experimentation and risk-taking of new productions. The focus is always on connecting the characters directly to the audience and illuminating aspects of the human condition, in a spare, thought-provoking context. In Keegan’s new home in Dupont Circle, we are sharing our brand of provocative, intimate theater, at a neighborhood price.

Ann Speicher

Press and News

Catch up with Keegan – read news, announcements, and reviews online.

The Company

Meet the leadership and company members that make “in good company” more than just a slogan.

Ireland Tours

Learn about the Irish-American cultural exchange at the heart of the Keegan mission.

Past Productions

Browse Keegan’s production history, including Ireland Tour and Wee Keegans productions.