Metro Weekly

Alexandria’s MetroStage turns 30

Alexandria's MetroStage celebrates three decades of providing powerful experiences

Metro Stage: 30th-anniversary and Three Sistahs Photo by Chris Banks

Three Sistahs – Photo: Chris Banks

“When you have a 130-seat theater with a semi-thrust stage,” Carolyn Griffin says, “you better have the best actors in town because there are no secrets on that stage.”

True to form, Griffin has consistently recruited the best actors for shows at Alexandria’s MetroStage. In fact, the 30-year-old outfit was originally named the American Showcase Theatre Company, “founded to showcase acting teachers and students.” Griffin changed the name after becoming artistic director a few years later, but never changed focus on presenting strong actors, working in tandem.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had a critic say I had an uneven cast,” asserts Griffin, who has numerous Helen Hayes Award nominations for best ensemble performance to prove it. “I take pride in … these kind of remarkable ensemble pieces that resonate with an audience. And because the audience is so close to the stage, it is really a very powerful theater experience.”

It’s also consistently not the kind of experience — or show — you can get elsewhere. “All you have to do is look in the back of American Theater magazine and you’ll see what the hot shows are,” Griffin says. “Everybody is doing the same shows — and we’re not.” Instead, MetroStage has made its name with less buzzy, history-steeped plays featuring just a couple actors — such as Athol Fugard’s The Island, on tap for next spring — and for small, intimate musicals generally focused on the cultural experiences and impact of African Americans. Griffin concedes this can add to the challenge of attracting audiences to MetroStage’s location of the past 12 years, in a developing but still off-the-beaten-path area near the Alexandria waterfront. But it’s worth it in the end, for her, and for audiences, too.

Take, for example, the musical that kicks off MetroStage’s 30th anniversary season. Directed by MetroStage’s most frequent collaborator, Atlanta-based Thomas W. Jones, who also wrote the book and lyrics, Three Sistahs features original gospel, R&B and funk music by William Hubbard, and focuses on sisters who reconnect at their father’s funeral. The show stars MetroStage veterans Bernardine Mitchell and Roz White, along with newcomer Ashley Ware Jenkins — “three of the most terrific African-American performers you’ll ever see on a stage any place,” Griffin boasts.

Noting one theatergoer who vowed to renew long lost ties to her own sister after seeing the show, Griffin says, “It’s leaving people with a powerful feeling as they leave the theater, and that is what I think theater is meant to do and should do.”

Three Sisters runs to Nov. 2 at MetroStage, 1201 North Royal St., Alexandria. Tickets are $55 to $60. Call 800-494-8497 or visit metrostage.org.

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Blues Alley: D.C.'s Premier Jazz & Supper Club

at Blues Alley, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Mon, September 25
Tue, September 26
Wed, September 27
+ 25 more dates
Mon, September 25
Tue, September 26
Wed, September 27
Mon, October 02
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[less-]
FULL PRICE: $20 - $30
OFFER PRICE: $10 - $15

Founded in 1965, Blues Alley is the nation's oldest operating jazz supper club, having showcased such internationally renowned artists as Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Wilson, Grover Washingto... [more+]

Founded in 1965, Blues Alley is the nation's oldest operating jazz supper club, having showcased such internationally renowned artists as Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Wilson, Grover Washington Jr., Ramsey Lewis, Charlie Byrd, Maynard Ferguson and Eva Cassidy. Located in the heart of historic Georgetown in an 18th century red brick carriage house, Blues Alley offers a unique and intimate ambiance, reminiscent of the jazz clubs of the 1920s and '30s. Go for just the music and drinks, or make it an evening and choose from authentic Creole cuisine, steak and seafood dishes. [less-]

"Monuments by Night" Puts D.C. Landmarks on Display

at Smithsonian Metro Station, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Mon, September 25
Tue, September 26
Wed, September 27
+ 32 more dates
Mon, September 25
Tue, September 26
Wed, September 27
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FULL PRICE: $56
OFFER PRICE: $33

See the majestic landmarks of Washington in a new light with the "Monuments by Night" tour. You'll get to skip the crowded sidewalks and cruise around town in an electric roadster. And you won't miss ... [more+]

See the majestic landmarks of Washington in a new light with the "Monuments by Night" tour. You'll get to skip the crowded sidewalks and cruise around town in an electric roadster. And you won't miss a thing -- this two-hour tour takes you past all the must-see locations in D.C. You'll check out the FDR, MLK and Lincoln memorials, and get the inside scoop on the White House, Capitol and Smithsonian buildings. You'll also get great tips on dining, drink and other awesome stops in the nation's capital. [less-]

Workshop of the Powerful "Native Son"

at Atlas Performing Arts Center, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Mon, September 25
FULL PRICE: $15
OFFER PRICE: $5

Chicago native Nambi E. Kelley's retelling of Richard Wright's landmark novel re-imagines the story of 20-year-old Bigger Thomas for a whole new generation. Suffocating in rat-infested poverty on the ... [more+]

Chicago native Nambi E. Kelley's retelling of Richard Wright's landmark novel re-imagines the story of 20-year-old Bigger Thomas for a whole new generation. Suffocating in rat-infested poverty on the South Side of Chicago, Bigger lands a job in the home of a wealthy white family. Struggling to find a place for himself in a world whose prejudice has shut him out, he unwittingly unleashes a series of events that violently seal his fate. Catch this workshop presentation of "Native Son" from Mosaic Theater Company at the Atlas Performing Arts Center in Washington, DC. [less-]

Football Heals Heartache in "Any Given Monday"

at Gunston Arts Center, Arlington
OFFER DATES:
Mon, September 25
Sat, September 30
FULL PRICE: $25
OFFER PRICE: $15

Lenny is a great guy: a good teacher, an excellent father and a loving husband. So when his wife leaves him for a smooth-talking lothario, his life is shattered. While Lenny consoles himself with pizz... [more+]

Lenny is a great guy: a good teacher, an excellent father and a loving husband. So when his wife leaves him for a smooth-talking lothario, his life is shattered. While Lenny consoles himself with pizza and Monday Night Football, his best friend Mick takes matters into his own hands. How far is too far to get back to happily-ever-after? Find out when dark comedy "Any Given Monday" touches down at Arlington's Gunston Arts Center. [less-]

International Spy Museum: Enter the World of Secret Agents

at International Spy Museum, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Tue, September 26
Wed, September 27
Thu, September 28
+ 92 more dates
Tue, September 26
Wed, September 27
Thu, September 28
Fri, September 29
Sat, September 30
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[less-]
FULL PRICE: $23.21
OFFER PRICE: $13

From real-life spy gadgets to the stories behind the coolest secret agents in movies, the International Spy Museum is the first and only public museum in the United States dedicated solely to the worl... [more+]

From real-life spy gadgets to the stories behind the coolest secret agents in movies, the International Spy Museum is the first and only public museum in the United States dedicated solely to the world of espionage. Upon arrival, you'll be given a secret identity, which you'll use to test your spy skills throughout the experience. Then, you'll explore a series of themed rooms, where you'll hear historic tales, examine artifacts and participate in activities. Get ready for exhibits like "Spies Among Us", which focuses on WWII-era German and Russian spy rings, and "Exquisitely Evil", a tribute to the villains of cinema's most famous spy -- James Bond. "Exquisitely Evil" features more than 100 film artifacts from both old and new Bond movies, plus interactive exhibits that allow you to take over the controls of a villain's lair, brave the depths of a virtual shark tank, play spy vs. spy with other visitors, disarm a missile before time runs out and more. [less-]

Tour the Capital Sites on the Washington D.C. Unveiled Electric Roadster Tour

at L'Enfant Plaza, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Tue, September 26
Tue, September 26
Wed, September 27
+ 7 more dates
Tue, September 26
Tue, September 26
Wed, September 27
Wed, September 27
Thu, September 28
Thu, September 28
Fri, September 29
Fri, September 29
Sat, September 30
Sat, September 30
[less-]
FULL PRICE: $56
OFFER PRICE: $33

If a full day of walking the National Mall and visiting the D.C. monuments sounds exhausting, skip the crowded sidewalks and cruise around in a slick electric roadster. You'll get to visit all the sit... [more+]

If a full day of walking the National Mall and visiting the D.C. monuments sounds exhausting, skip the crowded sidewalks and cruise around in a slick electric roadster. You'll get to visit all the sites on your list while getting first-class treatment as your Urban Adventures tour guide shuttles you between the Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Abraham Lincoln memorials, while providing the inside scoop on the White House, Capitol Building and Smithsonian Museum. During your guided tour of just over two hours, you'll also get great tips on other things to see in D.C., plus suggestions for the best places to eat and drink in the capital. [less-]

Politics & Pints Capitol Hill Walking Tour

at US Capitol Building, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Tue, September 26
Wed, September 27
Thu, September 28
+ 62 more dates
Tue, September 26
Wed, September 27
Thu, September 28
Fri, September 29
Sat, September 30
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[less-]
FULL PRICE: $30
OFFER PRICE: $15

On the Politics & Pints Capitol Hill Tour, you'll explore the historic Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Discover the birthplace of American government while seeing iconic landmarks and le... [more+]

On the Politics & Pints Capitol Hill Tour, you'll explore the historic Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Discover the birthplace of American government while seeing iconic landmarks and learning fascinating history on this two-hour walking tour. Cap it all off by grabbing a drink in the city's oldest commercial district. [less-]

Two Tales of Dramatic Marital Dysfunction

at Lansburgh Theatre, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Tue, September 26
Wed, September 27
Thu, September 28
+ 7 more dates
Tue, September 26
Wed, September 27
Thu, September 28
Fri, September 29
Sat, September 30
Sat, September 30
Sun, October 01
Wed, October 04
Thu, October 05
Fri, October 06
[less-]
FULL PRICE: $71 - $108
OFFER PRICE: $35.50 - $54

You can travel far and wide, but you'd be hard pressed to find anybody who'll tell you that marriage is easy -- and if you do, that person is probably lying. Coincidentally, lies are reoccurring theme... [more+]

You can travel far and wide, but you'd be hard pressed to find anybody who'll tell you that marriage is easy -- and if you do, that person is probably lying. Coincidentally, lies are reoccurring themes in Nobel Prize-winning writer Harold Pinter's one-act plays "The Lover" and "The Collection", coming to the Lansburgh Theatre in Washington, D.C. "The Lover" alternates between comedy and drama as a couple try to spice up their relationship by faking an affair, while in "The Collection" a pair of married couples add too much spice to their relationship while bitterly interrogating one another about a very real affair that may or may not have happened. Bring a date -- if you dare -- to this evening of rumors and recriminations. [less-]

Two-Man Irish Comedy "Stones in His Pockets"

at Keegan Theatre, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Tue, September 26
Thu, September 28
Fri, September 29
+ 9 more dates
Tue, September 26
Thu, September 28
Fri, September 29
Sun, October 01
Mon, October 02
Thu, October 05
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FULL PRICE: $45
OFFER PRICE: $22.50

In wicked tragicomedy "Stones in His Pockets", a big-budget Hollywood film descends upon a small village in Ireland and turns everything upside down. Two down-on-their-luck Irish 30-somethings become ... [more+]

In wicked tragicomedy "Stones in His Pockets", a big-budget Hollywood film descends upon a small village in Ireland and turns everything upside down. Two down-on-their-luck Irish 30-somethings become extras in the film, and the movie is a wonderful break from worrying about their futures. That is, until the harsh realities of rural life break through. The play offers a funny, dark and poignant look at the complicated relationship between Tinseltown and its subjects. Watch real life and the reel world collide when this Olivier Award-winning comedy by Irish playwright Marie Jones comes to D.C.'s Keegan Theatre. [less-]

"Deej": Groundbreaking Film & Discussion

at Atlas Performing Arts Center, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Tue, September 26
FULL PRICE: $15
OFFER PRICE: $7.50

In this first-of-its-kind collaboration between a veteran filmmaker and a nonspeaking autistic, "Deej" is a story told largely from the inside by DJ Savarese -- not by his parents, autism experts or e... [more+]

In this first-of-its-kind collaboration between a veteran filmmaker and a nonspeaking autistic, "Deej" is a story told largely from the inside by DJ Savarese -- not by his parents, autism experts or even the camera. At its core, "Deej" reflects the level of participation that disability rights advocates insist upon: "Nothing about us without us." This Atlas Performing Arts Center screening of "Deej" at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre will be followed by a panel discussion moderated by Erica Ginsberg, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Docs In Progress, a nonprofit incubator for emerging documentary filmmakers headquartered near Washington, DC. [less-]

Relive the News Stories That Have Shaped Our Lives at the Newseum

at Newseum, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Tue, September 26
Wed, September 27
Thu, September 28
+ 2 more dates
Tue, September 26
Wed, September 27
Thu, September 28
Fri, September 29
Sat, September 30
[less-]
FULL PRICE: $15.81 - $26.38
OFFER PRICE: $11.50 - $17

Stories of the world come alive at the Newseum, where you can go behind the scenes to experience how and why news is made. See some of the final photographs of the only journalist who died covering th... [more+]

Stories of the world come alive at the Newseum, where you can go behind the scenes to experience how and why news is made. See some of the final photographs of the only journalist who died covering the 9/11 attacks, witness the epic struggle of the civil rights movement in the '60s, marvel at a comprehensive collection of Pulitzer Prize-winning photographs and hear never-before-told stories from the journalists and photographers who stood on the front lines of history. This high-tech museum features seven levels of galleries and exhibits, theaters, retail spaces and visitor services where you can explore electronic news, unique artifacts, photojournalism, news history and world news. And, since there's so much to see, your ticket is good for two consecutive days. Take your time and see half the first day, then return the next day to catch what you missed. [less-]

Ghosts of Georgetown Walking Tour -- A Haunted Trek Through DC

at The Old Stone House, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Tue, September 26
Thu, September 28
Sat, September 30
+ 21 more dates
Tue, September 26
Thu, September 28
Sat, September 30
Sun, October 01
Tue, October 03
Thu, October 05
Fri, October 06
Sat, October 07
Sun, October 08
Tue, October 10
Thu, October 12
Fri, October 13
Sat, October 14
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Thu, October 19
Fri, October 20
Sat, October 21
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Fri, October 27
Sat, October 28
Sun, October 29
[less-]
FULL PRICE: $20
OFFER PRICE: $10

DC By Foot presents a walking tour featuring the Ghosts of Georgetown. Among the historic streets, manicured gardens and Victorian row houses of one of Washington, D.C.'s finest neighborhoods lie deep... [more+]

DC By Foot presents a walking tour featuring the Ghosts of Georgetown. Among the historic streets, manicured gardens and Victorian row houses of one of Washington, D.C.'s finest neighborhoods lie deep, dark secrets about a forgotten past. Come along to hear about the ghosts and spirits that still haunt the nation's capital ... if you dare. You'll hear a historian's take on all of the curses, eerie coincidences and hauntings that make up the darker side of days gone by in this pre-Revolutionary town. [less-]

Cruise Past the National Monuments: Candlelight Dinner & Dancing

at Nina's Dandy, Alexandria
OFFER DATES:
Tue, September 26
Thu, September 28
Fri, September 29
+ 11 more dates
Tue, September 26
Thu, September 28
Fri, September 29
Sat, September 30
Fri, October 06
Sat, October 07
Sun, October 08
Tue, October 10
Fri, October 13
Sat, October 14
Sat, October 21
Sat, October 28
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Sat, November 25
[less-]
FULL PRICE: $98 - $108
OFFER PRICE: $66 - $76

Cruise from historic Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, past the stunning national monuments and museums of DC, to Georgetown and back to Alexandria on Nina's Dandy Dinner Cruise. Soak in the sights, incl... [more+]

Cruise from historic Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, past the stunning national monuments and museums of DC, to Georgetown and back to Alexandria on Nina's Dandy Dinner Cruise. Soak in the sights, including Washington's famous cherry blossom trees -- a gift from Japan in 1912 -- and the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials while enjoying a three-course meal by candlelight, served tableside, followed by dancing on the ship's elegant marble dance floor or under the stars on the upper deck. Live music welcomes you aboard and accompanies the dining experience. [less-]

Constellation's Dark, Decadent '20s Musical

at Source, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Wed, September 27
Thu, September 28
Sat, September 30
+ 10 more dates
Wed, September 27
Thu, September 28
Sat, September 30
Sat, September 30
Sun, October 01
Mon, October 02
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[less-]
FULL PRICE: $55
OFFER PRICE: $25

An acclaimed off-Broadway hit, "The Wild Party" captures all the verve and violence of the Jazz Age as it tells the '20s-era story of volatile vaudeville lovers Queenie and Burrs, hosts of the titular... [more+]

An acclaimed off-Broadway hit, "The Wild Party" captures all the verve and violence of the Jazz Age as it tells the '20s-era story of volatile vaudeville lovers Queenie and Burrs, hosts of the titular bash. But as their friends start to tumble in and the booze flows freely, inhibitions lower, jealousies flare, and the decadent evening turns increasingly dark and deadly. Written by Tony nominee Andrew Lippa ("The Addams Family"), this bold and provocative musical comes to the stage at DC's Source via a new production by the Constellation Theatre Company. [less-]

"The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith"

at Atlas Performing Arts Center, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Wed, September 27
Thu, September 28
Sat, September 30
+ 3 more dates
Wed, September 27
Thu, September 28
Sat, September 30
Sat, September 30
Sun, October 01
Sun, October 01
[less-]
FULL PRICE: $45 - $60
OFFER PRICE: $20 - $30

Iconic blues singer Bessie Smith's life was as large and outrageous as her talent. Live it with her as "The Devil's Music: The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith" takes you back to a 1937 Memphis "buffet ... [more+]

Iconic blues singer Bessie Smith's life was as large and outrageous as her talent. Live it with her as "The Devil's Music: The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith" takes you back to a 1937 Memphis "buffet flat" where the partying, laughter and bawdiness reach a crescendo after Bessie and her band are turned away by a whites-only theater. Starring Miche Braden, reprising the role she originated off-Broadway, the musical is packed with a trove of Bessie's all-time hits, including "I Ain't Got Nobody," "St. Louis Blues" and "Tain't Nobody's Bizness If I Do." Get rowdy with a musical legend when Mosaic Theater Company's production of "The Devil's Music" comes to D.C.'s Atlas Performing Arts Center. [less-]

No Pulp Comedy Show Presents D.C.'s Best Local Comics

at The Black Squirrel, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Wed, September 27
FULL PRICE: COMP
OFFER PRICE: FREE

The No Pulp Comedy Show is cool and refreshing like a tall glass of orange juice, bringing together some of the Washington, D.C. area's best and brightest comics and blending them together for a month... [more+]

The No Pulp Comedy Show is cool and refreshing like a tall glass of orange juice, bringing together some of the Washington, D.C. area's best and brightest comics and blending them together for a monthly showcase that's high in vitamin C -- comedy. Don't miss this juicy lineup at The Black Squirrel in the District. [less-]

Absurdist Comedy "The Arsonists"

at Woolly Mammoth Theatre, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Wed, September 27
Thu, September 28
Fri, September 29
+ 4 more dates
Wed, September 27
Thu, September 28
Fri, September 29
Sat, September 30
Sat, September 30
Sun, October 01
Sun, October 01
[less-]
FULL PRICE: $51 - $74
OFFER PRICE: $25.50 - $37

You probably know the meme of the cartoon dog surrounded by flames and declaring: "This is fine." But you might not know this classic work that may as well have inspired it. Mild-mannered Mr. Biederma... [more+]

You probably know the meme of the cartoon dog surrounded by flames and declaring: "This is fine." But you might not know this classic work that may as well have inspired it. Mild-mannered Mr. Biederman tries to live a blameless life, refusing to acknowledge evil of any kind -- even as the world around him burns. The facade comes crashing down when he allows two smooth-talking guests to move in to his home and they start filling his attic with petrol drums. Part moral fable and part black farce, Alistair Beaton's "The Arsonists" is an elegant, witty translation of Max Frisch's 1958 absurdist comedy "The Firebugs", which was inspired by the Communist takeover of Czechoslovakia in 1948 and satirizes the way in which people can be manipulated into accommodating their own destruction. [less-]

Meet Tech Pros at D.C. Networking Mixer

at Shaw's Tavern, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Wed, September 27
FULL PRICE: $10 - $30
OFFER PRICE: $5 - $15

If you're in the tech industry, it can feel tough to tear yourself away from the computer screen and meet other tech professionals in your city. But whether you're already a part of the city's thrivin... [more+]

If you're in the tech industry, it can feel tough to tear yourself away from the computer screen and meet other tech professionals in your city. But whether you're already a part of the city's thriving tech community or just want to dip your proverbial toe in the water, this is the perfect, fun and relaxed atmosphere for networking with startup and tech professionals. You can bring company swag, product samples and even host demonstrations, while collecting goodies and knowledge from a host of startup pros. Meet new people and participate in lively discussions with outstanding names in the community. These events are happening across the country, so don't miss this special Washington D.C. edition! [less-]

Pulitzer-Winning Tale of Friendship

at The Little Theatre of Alexandria, Alexandria
OFFER DATES:
Wed, September 27
Thu, September 28
Fri, September 29
FULL PRICE: $19
OFFER PRICE: $9.50

This warmhearted, humorous play looks at the unlikely friendship between a fiercely independent Southern white woman and her African-American chauffeur. It's 1948, and after Daisy, an elderly Jewish w... [more+]

This warmhearted, humorous play looks at the unlikely friendship between a fiercely independent Southern white woman and her African-American chauffeur. It's 1948, and after Daisy, an elderly Jewish widow who lives in Atlanta, has an auto accident, her son hires Hoke Colburn, a black man, to be her driver. Initially disdainful, Miss Daisy gradually starts to accept Hoke, an unexpected bond begins to grow between the two. Revisit one of America's most treasured stories of compassion, acceptance and mutual tolerance at The Little Theatre of Alexandria. [less-]

Neil Gaiman's Urban Fantasy "Neverwhere"

at Atlas Performing Arts Center, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Wed, September 27
Thu, September 28
Fri, September 29
+ 3 more dates
Wed, September 27
Thu, September 28
Fri, September 29
Sat, September 30
Sat, September 30
Sun, October 01
[less-]
FULL PRICE: n/a
OFFER PRICE: Sold Out

Enter a hidden world that lurks below the London city streets, where fallen angels, monsters and magic are real and an ordinary businessman can become a hero. Based on the cult classic novel by sci-fi... [more+]

Enter a hidden world that lurks below the London city streets, where fallen angels, monsters and magic are real and an ordinary businessman can become a hero. Based on the cult classic novel by sci-fi and fantasy master Neil Gaiman, "Neverwhere" is the story of Richard Mayhew, whose mundane life is changed forever when he encounters a young woman in distress named Door. His attempt to help her leads him to the parallel world of London Below, where all kinds of fantastic creatures make their home. On the run from deadly assassins, Richard and Door must make their way across the deadly darkness of Night's Bridge and through the weird and wonderful communities of London Below in search of the Angel Islington, who will help them ... for a price. Rorschach Theatre's production brings Gaiman's metropolitan wonderland to brilliant and colorful life on stage at the Atlas Performing Arts Center in Washington, D.C. [less-]

Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly.