Metro Weekly

Spotlights: Upcoming D.C. events — January 25-31

4380 Nights — Photo: Christopher Mueller

4,380 Nights

Playwright Annalisa Dias offers a critique of power, humanity, and what it means to be an American in her examination of the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center and our post 9/11 world. The title refers to the length of time — translating to a deplorable 12 years — that Malik Djamal Ahmad Essaid has been held without charge at Guantanamo, in a play that explores the effects of his detention. Kathleen Akerley directs Ahmad Kamal as El Kaim, plus Michael John Casey, Rex Daugherty, and Lynette Rathnam. Now to Feb. 18. Ark Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. Call 703-820-9771 or visit sigtheatre.org.

Imogen: Pointless Theatre — Photo: DJ Corey Photography

Imogen

An adaptation of Shakespeare’s Cymbeline by local artist Charlie Marie McGrath, Imogen is noteworthy as one of the first productions of the second Women’s Voices Theater Festival (a total of 25 local productions by women playwrights will be presented through mid-February in this bid for greater gender parity in American theater). McGrath, a directing fellow at the Shakespeare Theatre Company, has reimagined Shakespeare’s original adventure with Princess Imogen examining her expectations when the fairytale strays from the tried and true. Also, because it’s from Pointless, you can expect puppets. To Feb. 11. Dance Loft on 14 Theater, 4618 14th St. NW, 2nd Floor. Tickets are $30. Call 202-621-3670 or visit pointlesstheatre.com.

Aaron Tveit

Aaron Tveit

In 2010, he portrayed Peter Orlovsky, the partner of poet Allen Ginsberg (James Franco) in Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s Howl. Yet Aaron Tveit is far better known for musical theater, on Broadway (Next to NormalCatch Me If You Can) and on screen (Danny Zuko in Fox’s Grease Live!). Tveit returns for two evenings of cabaret at the Barns at Wolf Trap after making his debut last year. Friday, Jan. 26, and Saturday, Jan. 27, at 8 p.m. The Barns at Wolf Trap, 1635 Trap Road, Vienna. Tickets are $40 to $55. Call 877-WOLFTRAP or visit wolftrap.org.

Kathleen Battle — Photo courtesy of the artist

Kathleen Battle’s Underground Railroad

Almost a decade ago, the five-time Grammy-winning opera star first put together this powerful program of songs inspired by the secret network that helped transport 19th-century slaves to freedom. With performances over the years at the Music Center at Strathmore and the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, Battle next brings what she calls “A Spiritual Journey” — featuring classics from “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” to “Wade In The Water” — to the Kennedy Center, accompanied by the choir Voices of the Underground Railroad and pianist Joel A. Martin. Sunday, Jan. 28, at 5 p.m. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Tickets are $25 to $129. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.

Benjamin Clementine — Photo: Craig McDean

Benjamin Clementine

As eccentric as all get out, the soulful, gay British/French singer-songwriter and poet has been compared to Antony Hegarty and Nina Simone, as well as showered with praise from critics and fellow innovators, including David Byrne. His new album I Tell A Fly — the follow-up to the Mercury Prize-winning 2015 debut At Least For Now — finds the artist flying farther afield than mere piano ballads with unorthodox structures to include even harder-to-define, multi-instrumented tracks that serve as a base and springboard for unpredictable theatrical vocalizations. Clementine kicks off his latest North American tour in D.C. on Sunday, Jan. 28. Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. 600 I St. NW. Tickets are $25 in advance, or $28 day of show. Call 202-408-3100 or visit sixthandi.org.

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