Rubber Ducks Origin Story

On August 5, 2023, the largest rubber duck in the world sailed (paddled?) up the Chesapeake Bay, visiting two Maryland towns along the way. And that made us think: you might be interested in learning about Arena’s storied history with rubber ducks. So… here goes!

When you’ve walked into the Mead Center, you may have noticed something unusual at our Gift Bar. Sure you’ve seen theaters sell posters, magnets, apparel, but…rubber ducks?!? Where in the world did we get that idea? Well, we’ll tell you. 

These rubber ducks initially started as a gift for Arena staff for the Opening Night of Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies 13 years ago. They were such a hit that it became a running request to get more ducks, and customize them for each show. 

In 2018, that dream finally became a reality with Anything Goes: little sailor ducks appeared at our Gift Bar and we literally couldn’t keep them from flying (swimming?) off the shelves. Since then, they’ve become a staple of Arena —we even have an Arena Stage-branded duck! 

And now, each of our productions has a show-themed rubber duck for sale. From patriotic ducks to rock star ducks, we have them all. 

Take a look at our array of ducks below:

We have yet to order our ducks for POTUS: Or, Behind Every Great Dumbass Are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive. And we’d love your input! What Rubber Duck best embodies this searingly funny Broadway hit? Let us know in the comments below!