Metro Weekly

Out On the Town: D.C. arts and entertainment highlights, April 6-12

Arts and entertainment highlights, April 6-12

Brighton Beach Memoirs at Theater J – Photo: Teresa Wood

FILM

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The legacy of the iconic New York nightclub and disco mecca is brought to life in Mark Christopher’s 1998 drama. Mike Myers stars as impresario Steve Rubell and Ryan Phillippe as a club ingenue, part of an A-list cast also including Salma Hayek and Neve Campbell. 54 kicks off the Library of Congress’s Bibliodiscotheque, a multidisciplinary series that ends with a concert featuring disco diva Gloria Gaynor. Wednesday, April 12, at 7 p.m. Mary Pickford Theater, 3rd Floor of James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. SE. Free, but tickets required. Call 202-707-5502 or visit loc.gov/exhibits.

FORCES OF NATURE
National Geographic offers a virtual tour through modern-day disasters and Earth’s fiercest powers, from volcanic eruptions on the island of Montserrat and trembling fault lines in Turkey, to storms ripping through the notorious “Tornado Alley” of America’s Midwest. Experience it all in eye-popping enormity on the giant screen. Kevin Bacon narrates the 40-minute documentary, shot in IMAX by George Casey, that also features scientists to help viewers better comprehend these forces and hopefully increase the odds of surviving such events in the future. To April 30. National Geographic Museum, 1145 17th St. NW. Tickets are $7. Call 202-857-7500 or visit ngmuseum.org.

FRANTZ
A festival hit, Francois Ozon was inspired by Ernst Lubitsch’s 1932 film Broken Lullaby for his latest feature, set in a small German town immediately after Germany’s defeat in World War I. Paula Beer stars as a woman who mourns the loss of her fiance, killed the year before in France. One day, on her routine visit to his grave, she meets a mysterious Frenchman, played by Pierre Niney, who claims to be a friend of her beloved Frantz from before the war. A surprising and haunting tale of guilt and forgiveness, as two lost young people struggle to escape the shadow of death and war. Opens Friday, April 7. Landmark’s E Street Cinema, 555 11th St. NW. Call 202-452-7672 or visit landmarktheatres.com.

GIFTED
Matilda without the magic and horrible parents. Chris Evans is Frank Adler, a single guy trying to give his prodigy niece (Mckenna Grace) — she can do large sums in her head! — a normal life in the wake of her mother’s death. When granny (Evelyn Adler) rolls into town and tries to force him to send her to a school for the gifted, a custody battle ensues in director Marc Webb’s drama. Opens Friday, April 7. Area theaters. Visit fandango.com. (Rhuaridh Marr)

GOING IN STYLE
What happens when you put three Oscar winners in front of the camera and Zach Braff behind it? A surprisingly fun heist comedy, apparently. Michael Caine (no stranger to heists), Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin are three men sick of banks ruining their pensions, mortgages, and other people’s lives. Yes, there is the dreaded “old people trying to use a smartphone” scene, but everything else looks pretty enjoyable. A remake of Martin Brest’s 1979 hit starring George Burns, Art Carney and Lee Strasberg. Opens Friday, April 7. Area theaters. Visit fandango.com. (RM)

QUEEN OF THE DESERT
IFC Films presents Werner Herzog’s biopic about a British writer/explorer Gertrude Bell, portrayed by Nicole Kidman. James Franco, Damian Lewis, Jay Abdo, and Robert Pattinson also star in this film that has been mostly panned by critics — and is partly the reason it’s taken two years to see wide release. Opens Friday, April 7. Area theaters. Visit fandango.com.

SACRED
Sweeping in global reach and yet intensely intimate, Thomas Lennon’s 2016 film explores how faith is used to navigate the milestones and crises of private life. Part of the What’s Up? Docs! series, Sacred screens before a discussion with several prominent D.C. religious leaders — among them Rabbi Gerry Serotta, Imam Talib Shareef and Brahmachari Vrajvihari Sharan — moderated by Sister Maureen Fiedler of Interfaith Voices. Thursday, April 13, at 7 p.m. Documentary Center at George Washington University. Jack Morton Auditorium, 805 21st NW. Free. Call 202-994-6787 or visit documentarycenter.gwu.edu.

SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE
An all-new animated take on the Smurfs, following Demi Lovato as Smurfette leading an adventure through the Forbidden Forest to the discovery of the biggest secret in Smurf history. Rainn Wilson is an evil wizard that tries to foil the plans of Lovato and her fellow blue travelers in Kelly Asbury’s cartoon comedy, featuring voice work from Jack McBrayer, Joe Manganiello, Danny Pudi, Julia Roberts, Michelle Rodriguez, Ellie Kemper, Ariel Winter, Meghan Trainor, Gordon Ramsey, Tituss Burgess, Gabriel Iglesias, Jeff Dunham, and, in the role of Papa Smurf, Mandy Patinkin. If we wanted to see this much blue, we’d up our Viagra dose. Opens Friday, April 7. Area theaters. Visit fandango.com.

UNION MARKET DRIVE-IN: THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS
Union Market launches its monthly warm weather Drive-In Series with Wes Anderson’s tale, co-written with Owen Wilson, about a strange and estranged family’s unexpected reunion. Starring Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, Ben Stiller, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Luke Wilson as the Tenenbaums, the 2001 comedy is projected onto the market’s wall as part of the quintessential American series, but you don’t have to have a car to participate. You can simply grab a viewing spot in the free picnic area. Food and beer are available, delivered to you or your car window by the DC Rollergirls. Other films to screen this summer include Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, Coming to America, Chef, and Days of Thunder. Friday, April 5. Gates open at 6:30 p.m., with the movie starting at sunset around 8 p.m. In the parking lot at Union Market, 1305 5th St. NE. Free for walk-ups or $10 per car. Call 800-680-9095 or visit unionmarketdc.com.

 

STAGE

A RAISIN IN THE SUN
A family yearning for a better life far from the cramped confines of their Chicago tenement. Tazewell Thompson directs Arena Stage’s in-the-round production of Lorraine Hansberry’s groundbreaking 1959 classic with a cast of mostly local actors led by Will Cobbs and Dawn Ursula. Now to May 7. Fichandler Stage in the Mead Center for American Theater, 1101 6th St. SW. Tickets are $51 to $66. Call 202-488-3300 or visit arenastage.org.

BLOOD KNOT/A HUMAN BEING DIED THAT NIGHT
Athol Fugard’s seminal masterpiece returns more than 50 years after its debut, as part of Mosaic’s “South Africa: Then & Now” series, which includes the D.C. premiere of A Human Being Died That Night. Both chamber plays feature a black and white character in constant, heated dialogue. Joy Zinoman helms Fugard’s intimate parable about a brotherhood bound by blood but separated by color. Meanwhile, New York-based director Logan Vaughn tackles Nicholas Wright’s 2013 adaptation of a memoir by psychologist Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, exploring the ongoing quest for truth and reconciliation in South Africa. A Human Being Died That Night begins previews on Thursday, April 6, and opens Tuesday, April 11. Both plays in rep to April 30. Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $40 to $60. Call 202-399-7993 or visit mosaictheater.org.

BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS
Theater J bills Neil Simon’s semi-autobiographical play about a Depression-era family trying to laugh through tears “a perfect escape from today’s never-ending news cycle.” The company’s Adam Immerwahr also calls it a worthy introduction to American theater for young theatergoers who graduated from Disney musicals but aren’t quite ready for Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller. Four local teen actors take on the lead roles, joined by adults Lise Bruneau, Michael Glenn and Susan Rome, in a production directed by Matt Torney. In previews, opening Saturday, April 8, at 8 p.m. To May 7. The Aaron and Cecile Goldman Theater, Edlavitch DCJCC, 1529 16th St. NW. Call 202-777-3210 or visit theaterj.org.

CHICAGO
Grammy-winning R&B chanteuse Brandy is Roxie Hart in the latest national touring production of Kander & Ebb’s six-time Tony-winning sensation, now the longest-running American musical in Broadway history. Terra C. MacLeod, Brent Barrett, Paul Vogt, Roz Ryan, and C. Newcomer add further razzle dazzle. Now to April 16. Kennedy Center Opera House. Tickets are $49 to $159. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.

DRYLAND
A timely and unflinching play about abortion, female friendship and resiliency from one of America’s most exciting young playwrights, Ruby Rae Spiegel. Forum Theatre presents Dryland, directed by Amber McGinnis, in repertory with What Every Girl Should Know (see separate entry), two dramas led by all-female creative and design teams. To April 15. Silver Spring Black Box Theatre, 8641 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. Call 301-588-8279 or visit forum-theatre.org.

INTELLIGENCE
Inspired by the frenzy that followed when covert operative Valerie Plame’s cover was blown in post-9/11 America and the run-up to war, Intelligence is a fictionalized political thriller by Jacqueline E. Lawton. Daniella Topol directs a world premiere starring Hannah Yelland as Plame. Closes Sunday, April 9. In the Kogod Cradle at Arena Stage, 1101 6th St. SW. Tickets are $51 to $66. Call 202-488-3300 or visit arenastage.org.

KING LEAR
To celebrate its 10th anniversary, professional audio theater company Lean & Hungry offers its first fully staged production, Shakespeare’s deeply moving epic about a powerful, aging leader suffering from dementia, featuring an emphasis on language and sound to encourage use of imagination. The cast includes Jessica Leflow, Sarah Anne Sillers, G Michael Harris, John Stange and Kevin Finkelstein, the company’s associate artistic director. To April 23. Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $20. Call 202-399-7993 or visit atlasarts.org.

LOS OTROS
Baltimore’s Everyman Theatre presents a timely reworking of what has been called “an unusual kind of musical” by composer Michael John LaChiusa (The Wild Party) and writer Ellen Fitzhugh (Grind). Infused with compassionate, cross-cultural understanding, Los Otros features two Californians who reflect on profound moments from the past in which their individual experiences, as a white woman and a Latino, are linked by a collective sense of “otherness.” Broadway vets Judy McLane (Mamma Mia!) and Philip Hernandez (Kiss of the Spider Woman) relate the tales through a series of vignettes, in a production helmed by Noah Himmelstein, with Jon Kalbfleisch leading a live on-stage instrumental ensemble. A semi-autobiographical work, Los Otros is said to be inspiring, energetic and emotionally charged in its exploration of issues such as cultural/sexual identity and interconnectedness, as well as love, risk and revelation. To April 23. Everyman Theatre, 315 West Fayette St. Tickets are $43 to $64. Baltimore. Call 410-752-2208 or visit everymantheatre.org.

MIDWESTERN GOTHIC
A new, darkly funny musical thriller about a young woman who longs to escape her little town in the middle of nowhere. Signature Theatre promises writer Royce Vavrek and lyricist/composer Josh Schmidt’s work will provoke, shock and entertain in equal measure, describing it as “Fargo meets Misery.” It also includes a warning noting that Midwestern Gothic is intended for adults over 18 and that the performance includes “live gunshots, theatrical haze, depictions of drug use and smoking (herbal scent).” Matthew Gardiner directs a cast including Timothy J. Alex, Sherri Edelen, Morgan Keene, Sam Ludwig, Bobby Smith, Stephen Gregory Smith, and Rachel Zampelli. Pride Nights are April 21 and April 28. Runs to April 30. Ark Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. Tickets are $40 to $99. Call 703-820-9771 or visit signature-theatre.org.

NO SISTERS
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THREE SISTERS
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AND ONE-HALF Studio Theatre, in collaboration with multimedia production company New Neighborhood, offers theatergoers a unique opportunity to experience drama both on and “offstage,” with their productions of Three Sisters and Aaron Posner’s new Chekhov-inspired riff, No Sisters. The two shows are running not only in repertory, but are performed simultaneously, with several members of the cast of Chekhov’s play dashing in their offstage moments from one Studio theater to appear onstage in a different theater, as the same characters, but in Posner’s clever riff on the play, described as a hangout “in a weird-ass existential Chekhovian green room.” You might opt to undertake just one leg of this ambitious “choose-your-own-adventure” trip through the tangled lives and loves of the Prózorovs, but the most rewarding path is to experience both. To April 23. In separate auditoriums at Studio Theatre, 1501 14th St. NW. Tickets for Three Sisters are $20 to $69, and tickets for No Sisters are $20 to $45. Call 202-332-3300, or visit studiotheatre.org. (Andre Hereford)

PARADE
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The period musical by Jason Robert Brown (music) and Alfred Uhry (book), trains a fairly narrow focus on the feelings and tragic fate of Leo Frank (Michael Innocenti), a Texas-born, Brooklyn-raised Jew living in Atlanta at the turn of the twentieth century. Leo was arrested and tried — in a Fulton County courthouse and across newspaper front pages — for the gruesome 1913 murder of 13-year old Mary Phagan. Parade is not a happy-go-lucky “let’s take Grandma out for Mother’s Day play.” Rather, Brown and Uhry’s 1999 Tony-winner encompasses a world of post-Reconstruction era concerns, from anti-semitism and mob justice to child labor. Harrowing. Closes Saturday, April 8. Keegan Theatre, 1742 Church St. NW. Tickets are $45 to $55. Call 202-265-3768 or visit keegantheatre.com. (AH)

RAGTIME
Based on the sprawling novel by E.L. Doctorow, with book, music and lyrics by Terrence McNally, Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, the Tony-winning musical Ragtime depicts three families striving for the American dream at the turn of the 20th century. It’s an epic musical, made all the more so by the all-star D.C. cast that director Peter Flynn (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) managed to assemble, led by Kevin McAllister, Tracy Lynn Olivera, Nova Y. Payton and Jonathan Atkinson. Talk about an American dream. To May 20. Ford’s Theatre, 511 10th St. NW. Call 800-982-2787 or visit fords.org.

THE EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES
A fresh, musical spin on Hans Christian Andersen’s classic tale, Creative Cauldron presents a Learning Theater Production adapted and directed by Denise Perrino and Ellen Selby, with music by Matt Conner and lyrics by Stephen Gregory Smith. Watch as a fashion-conscious emperor spends a fortune on the most fabulous robe ever seen in a hilarious tale illuminating how pride and vanity can make a leader a glorious buffoon. Closes Sunday, April 9. ArtSpace Falls Church, 410 South Maple Ave. in Falls Church. Tickets are $16. Call 703-436-9948 or visit creativecauldron.org.

THE NIGHT ALIVE
SCENA Theatre offers the latest work by Conor McPherson, Ireland’s most celebrated contemporary playwright. The Night Alive is a touching drama about a floundering Irish lad who finds a sense of purpose in helping a destitute woman after an attack. Closes Sunday, April 9. Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $20 to $40. Call 202-399-7993 or visit atlasarts.org.

TWISTED MELODIES
Kelvin Roston Jr. portrays Donny Hathaway in a powerful, one-man musical homage to a soulful legend. Hathaway is probably best known for his ’70s-era duets with Roberta Flack. Twisted Melodies is billed as an immersive and crushing play about the muses that inspired Hathaway and the paranoid schizophrenia that tormented him. To April 16. Baltimore Center Stage, 700 North Calvert St. Tickets are $22 to $64. Call 410-332-0033 or visit centerstage.org.

WHAT EVERY GIRL SHOULD KNOW
Forum Theatre presents Monica Byrne’s drama about four teen girls in a 1914 New York reformatory who adopt birth control activist Margaret Sanger as their secret patron saint and build a communal fantasy life that grows increasingly real. Jenna Duncan directs the all-female drama running in repertory with Dryland (see separate entry). To April 15. Silver Spring Black Box Theatre, 8641 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. Call 301-588-8279 or visit forum-theatre.org.

 

MUSIC

ANNE-SOPHIE MUTTER WITH LAMBERT ORKIS
The world-acclaimed violinist returns to the Kennedy Center in a recital, presented by Washington Performing Arts, with her longtime duet partner, the National Symphony Orchestra’s principal keyboardist. The program is of trademark Mutter breadth, from a beloved late sonata by Mozart to a breathtaking work by Saint-Saens, and from Respighi’s passionate and rhythmically inventive sonata to contemporary German composer Sebastian Currier’s Clockwork. Saturday, April 8, at 3 p.m. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Tickets are $39 to $95. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.

ANOUSHKA SHANKAR
Washington Performing Arts presents the return of the star sitarist who has gone from being the protégée of her legendary father, Ravi Shankar, to the world music adventurer nearly as famous as her half-sister, Norah Jones. She leads a virtuoso septet in a program devoted to North Indian classical music, as well as jazz, pop, flamenco, and more. Saturday, April 8, at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. 600 I St. NW. Tickets are $40. Call 202-408-3100 or visit sixthandi.org.

BROADWAY SINGS BEYONCE & BRUNO MARS
Four Broadway performers, Corey Mach (Wicked), Sydney Morton (Evita), Jelani Remy (The Lion King) and Natalie Weiss (Wicked), team up for a series focused on flipping the music of pop icons to create new, unique arrangements and orchestrations backed by a full jazz band. The next traveling show from this New York-based outfit helmed by lead performer Mach features Broadway-transformed hits by Queen Bey and Bruno Mars — from “Single Ladies” to “Grenade.” Joshua Stephen Kartes leads the band in a one-night-only concert in D.C., Saturday, April 15, Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. 600 I St. NW. Tickets are $25 in advance, or $28 day-of show. Call 202-408-3100 or visit broadwaysingsconcert.com.

CECILE MCLORIN SALVANT
A quirky, sophisticated and soulful jazz vocalist, the New York Times has heralded the 27-year-old Salvant as having the best chance of extending the lineage of the Big Three: Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald. Salvant performs original songs and unique interpretations of obscure jazz and blues compositions in English, Spanish and her native French — as demonstrated on her 2016 Grammy-winning jazz vocal album For One To Love. At the Barns, she’ll be accompanied by the increasingly in-demand, 31-year-old jazz piano virtuoso Aaron Diehl. Saturday, April 8, at 8 p.m. The Barns at Wolf Trap, 1635 Trap Road, Vienna. Tickets are $35 TO $45. Call 877-WOLFTRAP or visit wolftrap.org.

DAMAGED CITY FEST
Dozens of D.I.Y. acts in the fifth annual celebration of hardcore punk founded by Chris Moore and Nick Candela of the band Coke Bust. Other homegrown bands on the bill include Angel Dust, Battery, Protestor, Give, Praise, Red Death, Line of Sight, Fried Egg, Stand Off, Kombat, Flasher, Mad Existence, Guilt Parade, Iron Cages, Witchtrial, and Rashomon. The festival kicks off Thursday, April 6, with a pre-show at the Pinch, 3548 14th St. NW. Additional venues for the festival running to Sunday, April 9, include the Black Cat at 1811 14th St. NW and St. Stephen’s Church at 1525 Newton St. NW. Festival passes range from $15 to $75. Visit damaged-city.com for a full schedule and more information.

FAYE BUTLER
Helen Hayes Award-winning performing powerhouse takes a break from stealing shows in ensemble work — most recently as Mrs. Lovett in Olney Theatre’s magnificent Sweeney Todd — for an intimate solo cabaret of sexy, edgy songs by Nina Simone, Etta James, Aretha Franklin, and others. Saturday, April 15, at 8:30 p.m., with a Meet-the-Artist Reception starting at 9:30 p.m. Halcyon House, 3400 Prospect St. NW. Tickets are $60. Call 202-298-5956 or visit halcyonhouse.org.

GAY MEN’S CHORUS: GOD SAVE THE QUEENS
The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington’s a cappella ensembles Potomac Fever and Rock Creek Singers present a concert saluting British rock royalty, from the Beatles to Queen, George Michael to Adele. Expect to hear music from the American King and Queen of Pop as well — Michael Jackson and Madonna. Saturday, April 15, at 4 and 8 p.m. The Barns at Wolf Trap, 1635 Trap Road, Vienna. Tickets are $45. Call 877-WOLFTRAP or visit wolftrap.org.

GREG LOUGANIS WITH THE AMERICAN POPS ORCHESTRA
The Olympic champion dives in to host “You Spin Me ‘Round: An ’80s Dance Party.” Luke Frazier leads the D.C. ensemble in symphonic renditions of hits from the decade in a season-closing concert. Kelly Crandall d’Amboise directs and choreographs a program featuring soloists Patrice Covington (Broadway’s The Color Purple), Warren Freeman (My Fair Lady 50th Anniversary Tour), Justin Keyes (Broadway’s How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying), and Bayla Whitten (Signature’s Girlstar, Beaches) plus dancers Sophia Adoum, Jordan DeBona, Maddie Dunn, Jocelyn Isaac, Lucy Spring, Rachel Stover, Tony Thomas II, and Willow Williams all working to get you into the groove. DJ Shea Van Horn adds to the mix. Friday, April 7, at 8 p.m. GW Lisner, The George Washington University, 730 21st St. NW. Remaining tickets are $25 to $45. Call 202-994-6851 or visit theamericanpops.org.

KENNEDY CENTER TRIBUTE TO PETE SEEGER
The late iconic American folk singer-songwriter gets the star-studded treatment in an event at the Kennedy Center, co-presented by the Grammy Museum and part of JFKC: A Centennial Celebration of John F. Kennedy, which will be recorded for broadcast. “Pete Seeger and the Power of Song: Tribute to a Folk Legend” features Rosanne Cash with John Leventhal, Judy Collins, Peter Yarrow, and Noel Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul & Mary, David Amram, Luther Dickinson, Woody’s granddaughter Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion, Kaia Kater, the Last Internationale, Robert McGuinn of the Byrds, Tom Paxton, Tony Trischka with Carmen Cusack, and Josh White Jr. Saturday, April 15, at 8 p.m. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Tickets are $39 to $129. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.

LEELA JAMES
A few years ago this gritty, big-voiced R&B singer Leela James released Loving You More …In The Spirit of Etta James. Certainly if any contemporary singer most conjures thoughts of the late Etta, it’s the same-surnamed — though unrelated — Leela. She deserves to be more popular, but as it is she’s one of R&B’s best-kept secrets. She tours in support of Did It For Love, performing on the Undeniable Tour 2017 with Daley. Friday, April 14, at 8 p.m. Warner Theatre, 513 13th St. NW. Call 202-783-4000 or visit warnertheatredc.com.

LYNDA CARTER: THE OTHER SIDE OF TROUBLE
The original Wonder Woman has developed a second career as a cabaret/jazz singer in recent years, frequently stopping at the Kennedy Center during her national tours. Carter’s latest cabaret, The Other Side of Trouble, is touted as a dynamic, sexy 90-minute show offering her usual smorgasbord of musical delights, including classic standards, jazz, country, blues, and her own originals. She is once again accompanied by a band including Paul Leim and Blue Lou Marini. Saturday, April 8, at 7:30 p.m. Kennedy Center Family Theater. Tickets are $65. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.

PATRICK MCAVINUE
As part of its 2017 Artist-in-Residence mentoring program, Strathmore offers solo concerts of its up-and-coming artists. Next up is an award-winning fiddler, who uses his passion for roots music to translate bluegrass traditions into an innovative language of his own. McAvinue recently released Charm City Fiddle Favorites, Vol. 1, a set of 16 foot-stomping solo fiddle tunes embodying Baltimore’s style of roots music. Wednesday, April 12, and April 26, at 7:30 p.m. The Mansion at Strathmore, 10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda. Tickets are $17. Call 301-581-5100 or visit strathmore.org.

SFJAZZ COLLECTIVE
“The Music of Miles Davis & Original Compositions” is the focus of a weekend run of shows by this all-star eight-piece ensemble featuring alto saxophonist Miguel Zenon, tenor saxophonist David Sanchez, vibraphonist Warren Wolf, trumpeter Sean Jones, trombonist Robin Eubanks, pianist Edward Simon, bassist Matt Penman, and drummer Obed Calvaire. Friday, April 7, through Sunday, April 9, at 8 and 10 p.m. Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Tickets are $40 to $45, plus $12 minimum purchase. Call 202-337-4141 or visit bluesalley.com.

THE TAKOMA ENSEMBLE
Co-sponsored by Interfaith Works, “Heaven and Earth: Spirituality in Music” explores spirituality from various angles and traditions expressed in music, with works by celebrated contemporary composers Lucas Richman, Jennifer Higdon, Arvo Pärt, Andrian Pertout, Alan Hovhaness, and Christopher Theofanidis. The Maryland group’s Victoria Gau leads the program, which features two guest artists: Grammy nominee Noah Getz on saxophone and world-renowned musician Lee Hinkle on marimba. Saturday, April 8, at 7:30 p.m. Episcopal Church of the Ascension, 633 Sligo Ave., Silver Spring. Tickets are $10 to $25. Call 240-463-3695 or visit takomaensemble.org.

 

DANCE

BHANGRA BLOWOUT 24
“The Collegiate Championships” is a national intercollegiate dance competition of the high-energy style originating in Punjab and hosted by George Washington University’s South Asian Society. The Bhangra Blowout is now in its 24th year, making it the oldest collegiate competition of its kind. Eight teams will compete to be collegiate champion. Saturday, April 8, at 7 p.m. GW Lisner, The George Washington University, 730 21st St. NW. Tickets are $18 to $25. Call 202-994-6851 or visit lisner.org.

CHRISTOPHER K. MORGAN & ARTISTS
The local gay choreographer and his company to perform three acclaimed works, all with live musical accompaniment, on its Family Theater stage, part of the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage programming. Excerpts from the Hawaiian native’s solo work Pohaku open and close the program, incorporating ancient hula, live chants, and percussion by Mel Enos. Meanwhile, electric cellist Wytold perform original compositions for Pohaku as well as In The Cold Room and Bruised, two other works on the program. Friday, April 7, at 6 p.m. Kennedy Center Family Theater. Free tickets will be distributed in the Hall of States roughly an hour before the performance, limited to two per person. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.

DANCETHOS WITH GIN DANCE COMPANY
Tiffany Haughn, artistic director of D.C.-based contemporary dance company DancEthos, was inspired by the current political climate with 1 by 1, an athletic quartet about the concept of the herd mentality and people blindly following along. She specifically created the work for Shu-Chen Cuff’s Gin Dance Company, and the Northern Virginia-based contemporary ballet troupe will perform it in addition to Cuff’s Lost and Found, about the value in being present and appreciating the moment. In turn, Haughn’s company will perform Zoom In, a piece that Cuff specifically created for DancEthos. Also on the bill is an additional, seemingly politically motivated piece by DancEthos company member Elizabeth Odell Catlett. In The Dark examines notions of willful ignorance about other people and little appreciation for shared humanity. Saturday, April 8, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, April 9, at 2 p.m. Kreeger Auditorium at JCC of Greater Washington, 6125 Montrose Rd., Rockville. Tickets are $15 to $25. Call 301-881-0100 or visit dancethos.org.

JANE FRANKLIN DANCE: BARRIER
In Barrier, voices from the community — taken from recorded interviews with people including an environmental scientist, a birdwatcher, and an outdoor hobbyist — share stories and experiences with nature or climate change. Layered with music and made visual through movement and art, the performance brings forward very personal relationships to the creatures on earth, adaptations and changes. Dawn Whitmore, a resident artist at the Arlington Arts Center, has also created brief video statements using words and phrases from the interviews. Friday, April 7, and Saturday, April 8, at 7:30 p.m. Theatre on the Run, 3700 South Four Mile Run Dr. Arlington. Tickets are $25, or $28.50 including Saturday’s closing party including a beer ticket and light buffet at New District Brewing Company, 2709 South Oakland St. Call 703-933-1111 or visit janefranklin.com.

URBANARIAS: LUCY
Most have heard the tragic tale of Lucy, a chimpanzee raised as if she were the human child of a psychologist and his wife. The real-life social experiment ended far worse than most others from the ’60s and the tale is relayed in a new short chamber opera by composer John Glover and librettist Kelly Rourke. UrbanArias presents the East Coast premiere, directed by Erik Pearson and conducted by Robert Wood, and starring baritone Andrew Wilkowske. There won’t be a chimp onstage, real or anthropomorphized — instead, a toy piano in the orchestra serves as a stand-in for the titular character. Friday, April 7, at 8 p.m., and Saturday, April 8, at 8 p.m. Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $32 to $35. Call 202-399-7993 or visit atlasarts.org.

URBAN BUSH WOMEN
Walking With ‘Trane visualizes the work of legendary jazz musician John Coltrane through dance and eye-catching multimedia components from a company known for vivid performances and intelligent dance pieces. The multidisciplinary work features choreography by Urban Bush Women’s Artistic Director Jawole Willa Jo Zolla and Samantha Speis, with music by Philip White and Grammy-winning jazz pianist George Caldwell. Friday, April 7, and Saturday, April 8, at 7 p.m. Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater. Tickets are $25 to $79. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.

 

COMEDY

LISA LAMPANELLI
She may be best known as the “Queen of Mean,” but Lampanelli is never mean for the sake of it — only for show. At heart, she likes the people she ribs. “That’s the thing: You can’t make fun of anyone unless you really like them,” she told Metro Weekly. And as a strong and vocal supporter of the LGBTQ community, everyone knows to expect some loving insults to come our way — and we wouldn’t want it any other way. “Let’s be honest, gay guys just like bitchy women,” she says, “so they really seem to buy in.” Saturday, April 8, at 8 p.m. Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U St. NW. Tickets are $45. Call 202-888-0050 or visit thelincolndc.com.

MAZ JOBRANI
The Iranian-American comedian and actor, who can currently be seen in the CBS sitcom Superior Donuts, offers two shows at the Kennedy Center that will be filmed for his first original Netflix special. Saturday, April 15, at 7 and 9 p.m. Eisenhower Theater. Tickets are $39 to $129. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.

WASHINGTON IMPROV THEATER: FIST 2017
The Fighting Improv Smackdown Tournament is an elimination tournament in which audiences vote to decide which team of improvers advance to the championship. Runs to final round on April 15. Source, 1835 14th St. NW. Tickets start at $12 to $25. Call 202-204-7760 or visit witdc.org.

 

READINGS

100 YEARS: WORLD WAR I AND THE WEIGHT OF SACRIFICE
April 2017 marks the hundredth anniversary of the U.S. entry into World War I, and the WWI Centennial Commision is currently building a National WWI memorial at Pershing Park, set to be dedicated in November. The National Archives offers a panel discussion with on-screen visuals to discuss the new memorial, its concept and design, and featuring Edwin Fountain, Vice Chair of the US WWICC, lead designer Joseph Weishaar, landscape architect Phoebe McCormick Lickwar, and sculptor Sabin Howard. Thursday, April 13, at 7 p.m. William G. McGowan Theater at National Archives Museum, Constitution Avenue and 7th Street NW. NW. Free. Call 202-357-5000 or visit archives.gov/nae.

DAVID SEDARIS
Everybody’s favorite gay modern-day humorist returns to Strathmore to offer preview of his next book, Theft By Finding, to be released next month. Thursday, April 13, at 8 p.m. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Tickets are $35 to $75. Call 301-581-5100 or visit strathmore.org.

HILL CENTER’S EMANCIPATION DAY CELEBRATION
Is today’s prison system and mass incarceration among black men just slavery by another name? That’s one of several provocative ideas to be discussed as part of the third annual Benjamin Drummond Emancipation Day Celebration, commemorating the end of slavery in the nation’s capital. The free, four-day discussion-based series launches Thursday, April 6, at 7 p.m., with “Exploring Georgetown University’s Slave Past.” Friday, April 7, at 7 p.m., brings the talk on prisons, “The 13th Amendment and the History of Policing Black America Since Slavery.” Saturday, April 8, starting at 2 p.m., offers the two-part series “Marion Barry Reconsidered,” evaluating the life and legacy of the former “Mayor for Life” two years after his passing. “Uncovering the Past: The Story Behind a Slave’s Bill of Sale” is the final discussion on Sunday, April 9, which also offers two non-discussion events: “Walking Tour: Mapping Segregation,” stepping off at 10:30 a.m. and venturing to the LeDroit Park and Bloomingdale neighborhoods, and then a closing concert at 6 p.m. featuring Sweet Heaven Kings, the trombone shout band from the United House of Prayer for All People in Anacostia. Hill Center, Old Navy Hospital, 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. Call 202-549-4172 or visit HillCenterDC.org for full details and more information.

JANE HIRSHFIELD
As part of its O.B. Hardison Poetry Series, the Folger Library welcomes a reading by Jane Hirshfield, author of two books of essays and eight collections of poetry, including the recently published The Beauty. A post-reading conversation will be moderated by poet and Folger Poetry Board member Mary-Sherman Willis. Monday, April 17, at 7:30 p.m. Folger Theatre, 201 East Capitol St. SE. Tickets are $15. Call 202-544-7077 or visit folger.edu.

 

EXHIBITS

BLACK ARTISTS OF DC: TRANSITIONS
The Carlyle Hotel presents a collection of works from a local collective curated by Julie Ratner of Directions in Art. Twelve works by Russell Simmons, Daniel Brooking, Michael Platt, and Gloria Kirk will be on display in the hotel’s living room in addition to permanent works by Michele Oka Doner. To April 16. Kimpton Carlyle Hotel Dupont Circle, 1731 New Hampshire Ave. NW. Call 202-234-3200 or visit carlylehoteldc.com.

COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE PHOTOGRAPHY SHOWCASE
A Creative DC, Exposed DC, DC Focused, IGDC and StreetMeet DC join forces for a showcase of 48 unique photographs available for purchase, framed by Social Print Studio, at prices ranging from $20 to $200. Opening reception is Saturday, April 8, from 7 to 11 p.m. On exhibit through May 6. Logan Fringe Arts Space, 1358 Florida Ave. NE. Tickets are $20 to $25. Call 202-733-6321 or visit capitalfringe.org.

IN THIS MOMENT: CHRISTINA TENAGLIA, ANNE C. SMITH
A multi-genre visual artist from Hudson, New York, Christina Tenaglia exhibits a series of fragmented sculptures made using mostly wood and paint, as well as whimsical works on paper suggestive of architecture and landscape. Also on display are works by D.C.-based visual artist Anne C. Smith, whose fascination with nighttime is reflected in her drawings, inspired by memory and landscape, and combining the intense black of charcoal with delicate lines of graphite. Now through June 4. Opening reception, with live music by Terraplane, is Saturday, April 8, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Adah Rose Gallery, 3766 Howard Ave. Kensington, Md. Call 301-922-0162 or visit adahrosegallery.com.

RIC CUNNINGHAM, MICHAEL PLATT
The galleries in the Anacostia Arts Center present solo shows by two D.C.-based mixed-media artists. The Honfleur Gallery presents Ric Cunningham and the emerging artist’s series Reclamation, works examining rebirth, longing and loss by combining decades-old materials and photographs, vintage female forms, with original imagery and mark-making. Vivid Solutions Gallery, meanwhile, focuses on works by esteemed “image-maker” and educator Michael Platt with the series Pathfinders, a celebration of trailblazers and problem-solvers seen in larger-than-life photographs on canvas with overlapping layers of additional imagery, prints or drawings. Closes Sunday, April 9. Anacostia Arts Center, 1231 Good Hope Road SE. Call 202-631-6291 or visit anacostiaartscenter.com.

VOULKOS: THE BREAKTHROUGH YEARS
The Renwick Gallery offers the first exhibition to focus on the early career of Peter Voulkos, from 1953 to 1968, when the potter’s radical methods and ideas opened up the possibilities for ceramics in ways that are still being felt today. One of the most influential ceramicists of the 20th century, Voulkos defied mid-century craft dictums to reinvent his medium, combining wheel-throwing with slab-building, traditional glazes with epoxy paint, figuration with abstraction and building large-scale ceramic structures with complex internal engineering. Opens Friday, April 7. On exhibit through Aug. 20. Renwick Gallery, Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street NW. Free. Call 202-633-1000 or visit renwick.americanart.si.edu.

YUMMM! THE HISTORY, FANTASY AND FUTURE OF FOOD
One of the quirkiest museums around celebrates its 21st birthday with a playful visual feast featuring works by 34 artists focused on humankind’s relationship with food. Food-centric paintings, sculptures, embroideries, installations, and films are part of this exploration of the serious creative vision needed to reinvent how a planet of an estimated 9.6 billion people will eat in the year 2050. Runs to Sept. 3, 2017. American Visionary Art Museum, 800 Key Highway. Baltimore. Tickets are $15.95. Call 410-244-1900 or visit avam.org.

 

ABOVE & BEYOND

AMERICAN HISTORY AFTER HOURS: WOMEN IN WWI
The National Archives isn’t the only museum on the Mall marking the centennial of the American entry into World War I. The Smithsonian’s American History museum toasts the women who served in the war and their lasting impact. A pivotal time in world history, the Great War also marked a pivotal time for women’s history as droves of American women donned uniforms, volunteered or worked in the military and civilian organizations throughout the war. Their actions ultimately paved the way for women’s suffrage. The After Hours event includes a discussion with experts, historians and museum curators, curator-led tours of new World War I displays at the museum with rarely seen objects, posters and artifacts, canteen-inspired drink stations, WWI reenactors, era-inspired appetizers including Salvation Army donuts, and hands-on activities including a scavenger hunt with prizes for the first five people. Thursday, April 13, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. National Museum of American History, 14th St. and Constitution Ave. NW. Tickets are $40 plus $3.50 in fees. Call 202-633-1000 or visit americanhistory.si.edu.

ARTOMATIC
Now in its 11th incarnation, the all-access arts event has returned to Crystal City, where more than 600 visual artists, musicians, filmmakers and performers will be engaged in a 100,000 square-foot space over the next month. Artomatic handiworks for sale range from diamonds-in-the-rough to the kind of art only an artist could love. A literary program and art workshops, including live model drawing and demos, are also on tap throughout the event’s run. Through May 6. Vornado/Charles E. Smith, 1800 South Bell St., Arlington. Visit artomatic.org.

EVENTS DC CHERRY BLAST!
As part of the final weekend of the National Cherry Blossoms Festival (see separate entry), Events DC presents a Tokyo nightlife-inspired event featuring sumo wrestling with audience participation, origami by DC Fray, live art by No Kings Collective, live-screen printing designed by Soul & Ink, and a video game lounge with 10 stations of Nintendo and Sony Classics. Also on tap is traditional pan-Asian street food from local ramen masters Hiro Mitsui (Uzu at Conbini Cafe) and Katsuya Fukushima (Daikaya, Haikan), Seng Luangrath (Thip Khao), Tim Ma (Kyirisian), and Huy Nguyen (Pho Wheelz), as well as a Night Market with samples of Suntory Whisky Toki, Hibiki Japanese Whisky, Kirin Beer, and sake. Also music from DJ Mel. Of course, the main attraction for serious foodies is the upgrade to a VIP Tea Room offering an exclusive first taste of Spoken English, the next restaurant concept from Erik Bruner-Yang (Maketto), as well as specialty handcrafted cocktails by Gina Chersevani. Friday, April 14, from 7 to 11 p.m. Dock 5 at Union Market, 1309 5th St. NE. Tickets are $69 to $89 all-inclusive including open bar, or $125 with VIP Tea Room Call 800-680-9095 or visit eventsdccherryblast.com.

LIGHT CITY BALTIMORE
Also called “A Festival of Light, Music and Innovation,” Light City returns for a second year to illuminate a winding, 1.5-mile stretch of the Inner Harbor and Harbor East. The first large-scale illumination festival in the U.S. and modeled after a much bigger affair in Sydney, Light City features light displays and sculptures, video projections and interactive technologies designed by a curated group of local, regional, national and international artists. There are more than 50 attractions on this year’s BGE Light Art Walk, from art installations to performance stages to food and beverage vendors. There are also a number of additional attractions in nearby parts of downtown, as well as a series of daytime innovation conferences. From 7 to 11 p.m. on weeknights and 7 to midnight weekends until Saturday, April 8. Call 410-752-8632 or visit lightcity.org for a map and details on all events.

NATIONAL CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL
One week from now — Saturday, April 15 — the ephemeral blossoms on the Tidal Basin cherry trees will be long gone. Yet the month-long Cherry Blossom Festival will just be wrapping up — and going out with a bang, via the Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival. In between the bloom and boom, the festival presents one more free outdoor event, what organizers tout as “the nation’s premier springtime parade.” Among the elaborate floats, giant balloons and marching bands from around the country, this year’s Cherry Blossom Festival Parade features musical artists Drew Lachey, Jo Dee Messina, Blu Cantrell, DJ Kool, Mari, and not one but two budding gay pop stars — Brian Justin Crum from America’s Got Talent and Alex Newell from Glee. Saturday, April 8, from 10 a.m. to noon. Constitution Avenue from 7th to 17th Streets NW. Visit nationalcherryblossomfestival.org.

PRETTY BOI DRAG SUNDAY SERVICE – BALTIMORE
An organization devoted to reviving the art of drag kings in D.C. is also now exporting the franchise to Charm City. Pretty Boi Drag, co-founded by former DC King Pretty Rik E, debuts in Baltimore its “parody drag church for the non-religious” experience with live music from hip-hop DJ Tezrah, in addition to drag performances led by “the faithful Pastor Reverend” Chris Jay. Prizes will be awarded to the best-dressed parishioner. Sunday, April 9, from 2 to 5 p.m. Mobtown Ballroom, 861 Washington Blvd. Tickets are $17 to $20, $205 for VIP. Call 202-431-4704 or visit prettyboidrag.com.

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