April 2011 Archives

Only the second opera the Wolf Trap Foundation has yet commissioned, John Musto and Mark Campbell's new comedy The Inspector is based on Russian writer Nikolai Gogol's The Government Inspector, though the pair has transposed the play to 1930s Sicily under Mussolini's reign, and written it in English. "There's a lot of humor to be mined in abusive power," says ... [Read]

One of Australia's leading exports, Kylie Minogue is on par with Madonna pretty much everywhere but in America, where she's more of a curiosity -- better known than Vegemite, but almost as foreign. That is, except among the gay community, and dance music fans in general. "It's been a weird level of success for me in the states, compared to ... [Read]

Merriweather Post Pavilion kicks off its 2011 season with The Sweetlife Festival, sponsored by delicious local salad chain sweetgreen and featuring performances by indie-cred acts such as the Strokes, Girl Talk, Lupe Fiasco, Cold War Kids and Ra Ra Riot. Local farmers will also offer hearty grub at this "carbon neutral event." Sunday, May 1, starting at noon. Merriweather Post ... [Read]

From Berlin to Sunset

Posted by Randy Shulman
April 29, 2011 9:10 AM |
The new cabaret From Berlin to Sunset revolves around the constellation of emigre artists in Nazi-era 1940s Hollywood, including Billy Wilder, Erich Korngold, Kurt Weill and Hanns Eisler. Charlotte Stoudt wrote the book. Produced by The In Series. Opens Friday, April 29, at 8 p.m. A special Out at the In Series performance is Sunday, May 8, at 3 p.m. ... [Read]

This week's episode of Swish Edition

Posted by Randy Shulman
April 29, 2011 9:05 AM |
Featuring news headlines and commentary from Metro Weekly editor Sean Bugg. ... [Read]

Two brothers and an innocent stranger are held hostage by a despotic father in Enda Walsh's The Walworth Farce -- and the audience doesn't escape easily, either. As Dinny, the father, Ted van Griethuysen may be the most tyrannical man you've ever seen on stage. Van Griethuhsen's evil portrayal is nearly as squirm-inducing as Heath Ledger's Joker in The Dark ... [Read]

Theater Thursday! Divorcees at Gala!

Posted by Randy Shulman
April 28, 2011 9:11 AM |
You can't help but notice similarities between the 1988 Spanish film Women On The Verge of A Nervous Breakdown and this Divorcees, Evangelists and Vegetarians, which was originally staged in 1989. Anyone who loved Pedro Almodovar's black comedy will be amused here too, but Gustavo Ott’s play isn't quite as loopy, and its feminist undertones are more gratifying. The jokes ... [Read]

Theater Thursday! Art at Signature!

Posted by Randy Shulman
April 28, 2011 9:03 AM |
Three longtime friends debate the purchase by one of a hugely expensive painting in Yasmina Reza's Art. As the friends become increasingly fractious and, eventually, unhinged, they still deliver their one-liners and rueful glances. For although there are a few piquant moments here, this is theatre at a cooler temperature; the kind that lets you keep your emotional distance even ... [Read]

You can blame -- or praise, if you insist -- YouTube for this concert pairing Greyson Chance and Cody Simpson, since it brought both barely pubescent teenagers to mainstream attention. Chance, of course, is the piano-playing, "Paparazzi"-covering teenage sensation now recording for Ellen DeGeneres's debut record label, while Simpson is an upstart Australian now signed to Atlantic Records. Talk about ... [Read]

Julian Wachner leads the The Washington Chorus as it celebrates two notable milestones: Gustav Mahler's 150th birth year in 2010 and his 100-year death in 2011. Outstanding soloists join the chorus in its 50th anniversary gala concert to pay tribute to the German composer. Saturday, May 1, at 1 p.m. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Tickets are $15 to $65. Call ... [Read]

Blue Velvet at Artisphere

Posted by Randy Shulman
April 26, 2011 9:12 AM |
Arlington's Artisphere wraps up its month-long mini-fest of David Lynch films with Blue Velvet, the influential 1986 surreal mystery starring Kyle MacLachlan, Dennis Hopper and Isabella Rosselini as a kinky nightclub chanteuse. Some consider it Lynch's masterpiece. Others consider it unwatchable. Decide for yourself. Wednesday, April 27, at 8 p.m. Artisphere's Dome Theatre, 1101 Wilson Blvd. Arlington. Tickets are $6 ... [Read]

Strathmore: Long live Queen!

Posted by Randy Shulman
April 26, 2011 9:07 AM |
In One Night of Queen, a tribute show to Queen and its flamboyant, bisexual front man Freddie Mercury, vocalist Gary Mullen and The Works offer what the Scottish newspaper The Scotsman says is "an extravagant homage to [the band's] legacy…not merely pretenders to the throne but great showmen worthy of such an accolade." "We Will Rock You," they promise. Wednesday, ... [Read]

Cyrano opens at the Folger

Posted by Randy Shulman
April 25, 2011 9:43 AM |
In Edmund Rostand's classic, Cyrano, the titular character secretly adores Roxanne but fears she could never share the sentiment because of his extraordinarily huge nose. So he uses his gift for wit and wordplay to help a tongue-tied friend Christian woo her instead. Adapted and directed by Aaron Posner and starring Eric Hissom in the title role. In previews starting ... [Read]

An Argentinean-born singer and guitarist on the D.C.-based ESL Music label -- named after the Eighteenth Street Lounge and home to Thievery Corporation -- Aubele makes some of the coolest music you've never heard before. Whatever you call it -- electro-tango or world chill-out most likely -- it's an intoxicating, smoky blend that soothes the soul and puts your mind ... [Read]

Femi Kuti carries the torch for his late father, Nigerian Afro-beat pioneer and superstar Fela Kuti, the subject of the exhilarating recent Broadway musical sensation Fela! Femi Kuti and the Positive Force's Afro-beat expands on his father's funky jazz base to incorporate the sounds of new R&B and dance music from all corners of the world -- but it's as ... [Read]

The American Film Institute's Silver Theatre launches a retrospective of gay filmmaker Todd Haynes with a new 35mm print celebrating the 20th anniversary of Poison, inspired by the transgressive tales of Jean Genet. The director's first feature-length film, Poison is provocative (for its time), highly stylized, and is ultimately marked by a grimy despondency. The film deals mainly with sex ... [Read]

Now Playing: Making the Boys

Posted by Randy Shulman
April 22, 2011 8:47 AM |
Before Prop 8, Milk or Will & Grace, before the AIDS epidemic, gay pride parades or the Stonewall uprising, there was Mort Crowley's brilliant, bitter The Boys in the Band. Crayton Robey's film, Making the Boys explores the drama, struggle and enduring legacy of the first-ever gay play and subsequent Hollywood movie (directed by William Friedkin, no less), beloved by ... [Read]

The Washington theater community has grown in the past quarter century to the point where it is arguably one of the largest, strongest thriving regional theater scenes in the country. And no small contributor to that growth has been the Helen Hayes Awards, which, for 27 years, has been rewarding excellence in local theater, inspiring all -- from the smallest ... [Read]

The Kennedy Center takes something of a spring break and shines a national light on several college theater productions. Remaining highlights include: Minnesota State University, Mankato's production of The Odyssey, as vibrantly adapted by Tony Award-winning playwright Mary Zimmerman, tonight Thursday, April 21, at 7 p.m.; and national finalists in the Ten-Minute Play Festival, featuring plays written by students from ... [Read]

Iron & Wine at Rams Head Live

Posted by Randy Shulman
April 19, 2011 8:15 AM |
Sam Beam is Iron & Wine, a dazzling folk-pop act whose latest album, Kiss Each Other Clean is a rich, idiosyncratic collage of sounds and rhythms that only enhances Beam's evocative lyrics exploring love, religion and dreams. The Rhode Island indie-folk band the Low Anthem opens. Wednesday, April 20, at 8 p.m. Rams Head Live!, 20 Market Place, Baltimore. Tickets ... [Read]

Rags at The Theatre Lab

Posted by Randy Shulman
April 19, 2011 8:14 AM |
The Theatre Lab School of the Dramatic Arts offers a production of the little-known 1986 musical Rags, by Stephen Schwartz (Pippin, Wicked), Charles Strouse (Annie) and Joseph Stein (Fiddler on the Roof). The story focuses on the arrival of Jewish immigrants to New York City in the early part of the last century. Deb Gottesman and Buzz Mauro direct a ... [Read]

Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe star in Howard Hawks’ wicked musical romp Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. You may have heard the showstopper before -- a little ditty about diamonds and girls and best friends, something like that. The American Film Institute’s Silver Theatre screens a new 35mm print of the 1953 classic. Saturday, April 16, at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, April 17, ... [Read]

Lord of the Rings Marathon

Posted by Randy Shulman
April 16, 2011 9:44 AM |
The Arlington Cinema N’ Drafthouse will return all films in the Lord of the Rings trilogy to the big screen for a one-day marathon, Sunday, April 17. Fans are encouraged to dress up as a favorite character to earn a free movie pass for a future screening, and there will also be a trivia contest and a Gollum impersonation contest. ... [Read]

More than 25 years since his professional recording debut, Michael Feinstein has become something of a gay activist. But he remains best known as a leading interpreter and archivist of the Great American Songbook. In addition to his PBS special on the subject, Feinstein continues to tour in what he told Metro Weekly two years ago is intended as "a ... [Read]

The Who's Tommy at AFI

Posted by Randy Shulman
April 15, 2011 9:17 AM |
The Who’s 1975 film adaptation of their rock opera Tommy starred the band’s Roger Daltrey in the title role as a “deaf, dumb and blind kid” who eventually becomes the leader of a religious sect after defeating the Pinball Wizard (played by Elton John). Along the way, we meet characters played by Ann-Margret, Oliver Reed, Eric Clapton, Tina Turner and ... [Read]

Watch live streaming video from apeswillrise at livestream.com ... [Read]

Spindrift's trippy new video

Posted by Randy Shulman
April 13, 2011 2:30 PM |
Check out this new video by Spindrift's Western-tinged song, "When I Was Free." Directed by Rob Bray, the video is an homage to enigmatic photographer Stanley Sanger. ... [Read]

On Wednesday, April 13, Nellie's Sports Bar will be hosting a benefit for Ben Shallenberger, who was recently diagnosed with lymphoblastic lymphoma, a rare and aggressive cancer. The event will take place from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday, and Nellie's will be "offering a $1 donation for every Nellie Beer sold" all night. Shallenberger's work first gained national attention ... [Read]

Aimee Mann at The Birchmere

Posted by Randy Shulman
April 12, 2011 9:02 AM |
The former lead singer of 1980s new-wave band 'Til Tuesday ("Voices Carry"), Aimee Mann gained further recognition as a solo artist for her work on the Magnolia soundtrack a decade ago. But the famously moody singer-songwriter, who grew up outside Richmond, Va., has shown herself to be in an uncharacteristically playful mood of late. Her most recent album, 2008's impressive ... [Read]

The Color Purple returns to DC

Posted by Randy Shulman
April 12, 2011 8:57 AM |
The Color Purple, which earned 11 Tony nominations in 2006 and launched its first national tour at the Kennedy Center in 2009, returns to D.C., this time at The National. The show is based on the classic Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker and the moving film by Steven Spielberg as adapted by librettist Marsha Norman and featuring a joyous ... [Read]

Ralphie May's Lisner Stand

Posted by Randy Shulman
April 9, 2011 9:35 AM |
One of Variety's "10 Comics to Watch," Ralphie May debuted on season one of Last Comic Standing and is known for his ability to connect with a diverse audience by pointing out society's hypocrisies and not shying away from touchy topics or ethnic jokes. The heavyweight doesn't pull punches. Saturday, April 9, at 8 p.m. Lisner Auditorium, The George Washington ... [Read]

Intended as a "holiday for space," the annual event Yuri's Night celebrates the world's first manned space flight by Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin in the most non-scientific of ways: through a zany night of visual art, performance and music. In addition to an art/science exhibit at Artisphere's Mezz Gallery, an adults-only party includes a "Star Trek meets The Love Boat" ... [Read]

The Washington Ballet performs Anna-Marie Holmes's production of Marius Petipa's 19th century Le Corsaire, a swashbuckling adventure of pirates, pashas and the slave girls who love them. Music by Adolphe Adam. Friday and Saturday, April 8 and 9, at 8 p.m. Also Saturday, April 9, at 2:30 p.m., and Sunday, April 10, at 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Kennedy Center ... [Read]

Tim McGraw gets Emotional

Posted by Randy Shulman
April 8, 2011 9:20 AM |
For all you country fans out there (D.C. Cowboys, you know who you are), Live Nation just announced that Tim McGraw's Emotional Traffic Tour will be rolling into Jiffy Lube Live on SAturday, August 13. Tickets on sale next Friday, April 15 at 10 a.m. at LiveNation.com, Ticketmaster outlets, the Jiffy Lube Live box office, or by phone at 800-745-3000. ... [Read]

Teddy Thompson at the 9:30 Club

Posted by Randy Shulman
April 8, 2011 8:42 AM |
One of our personal favorites, with a tenor as sweet and transfixing as they come, Teddy Thompson is the folk-rock son of Richard and Linda Thompson, so he's got pedigree and pressure. But he consistently proves his mettle, living up to the hype, which includes the New York Times calling him "one of the most gifted songwriters of his generation." ... [Read]

Playing a rich, spoiled brat doesn't seem to be much of a stretch for Russell Brand, but who cares? We know he can be funny doing it. In this remake of the 1981 original starring Dudley Moore, Brand as Arthur is joined by Helen Mirren as his nanny and Jennifer Garner as the woman he must marry to avoid losing ... [Read]

Signature Theatre, in Arlington, Va. announced its 2011-2012 season today and among the surprises: Hairspray, the Broadway musical based on the 1988 John Waters film, directed by Eric Schaeffer (no word yet on who's playing Edna, but we can't wait to see who Eric casts), and Xanadu -- yes, that Xanadu -- directed by Matthew Gardiner. The full season, adapted ... [Read]

Hot Pick: Photograph 51

Posted by Randy Shulman
April 3, 2011 9:23 AM |
Anna Ziegler's new drama Photograph 51, chronicles the frenzied chase to find the DNA molecule's structure by focusing on Jewish female scientist Rosalind Franklin, whose contribution to the 20th Century's biggest scientific breakthrough went unsung. Daniella Topol directs a cast including Elizabeth Rich, Clint Brandhagen, Michael Gleen and Alexander Strain. To April 24. The Aaron & Cecile Goldman Theater, Washington, ... [Read]

The Washington Chorus: Elena Ruehr

Posted by Randy Shulman
April 3, 2011 9:19 AM |
Julian Wachner directs The Washington Chorus in its third annual New Music for a New Age concert. This year's featured composer is Elena Ruehr, known for long lyrical lines and rhythmic drives, combined with cantata singing. The event features three major Ruehr works: Cricket, Spider, Bee, with text by Emily Dickinson, Gospel Cha-Cha, with text by Langston Hughes, and Averno, ... [Read]

Hot Pick: UrbanArias Festival

Posted by Randy Shulman
April 2, 2011 9:38 AM |
UrbanArias is a new opera company dedicated to producing short, contemporary operas. Its inaugural festival launches this weekend with fifteen different events and three short operas running in repertory: Ricky Ian Gordon's retelling of Orpheus & Euridice starring opera star Elizabeth Futral; Gordon's Green Sneakers, a searing but also humorous send-off to his late partner stricken by AIDS; and Tom ... [Read]

Hot Pick: Dakshina at Dance Place

Posted by Randy Shulman
April 2, 2011 9:34 AM |
For its annual Dance Place performance, the Dakshina/Daniel Phoenix Singh Dance Company presents a mixed program of dance, including Anna Sokolow's solo pieces Kaddish and Lament for the Death of the Bullfighter, as well as Eric Hampton's By The Light…, the last dance Hampton choreographed before succumbing to Lou Gehrig's disease. Saturday, April 2, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, April ... [Read]

Yes, they're bluer than blue. And they're just about the most engaging avant-garde theatrical experience out there. Blue Man Group offers an escape from the ordinary through an explosive convergence of comedy and multi-media technology, including a massive LED curtain and high-resolution screen, as well as the haunting, driving rhythms of a live band. The touring production includes new material ... [Read]

With "Flyaway," Arachne Aerial Arts, showcases some of the most innovative aerial talent in the region at Joe's Movement Emporium. It's all part of a weekend series of aerial events, including workshops and private lessons hosted by Arachne Aerial Arts and led by visiting artists from The New England Center for Circus Arts. Tickets are $20 for general admission, $15 ... [Read]

Metronomy's new single: The Look

Posted by Randy Shulman
April 1, 2011 1:34 PM |
Check out the new music video -- The Look -- from the UK band, Metronomy. It's a bit minimal musically (and, to be honest, visually), but when was the last time you saw birds (are they seagulls or pigeons? Couldn't tell) in bumper cars? ... [Read]

Ira Glass comes to Lisner

Posted by Randy Shulman
April 1, 2011 8:29 AM |
Ira Glass, the host of public radio's This American Life talks about his dalliances with television -- specifically what he and his staff learned and why they stopped producing the short-lived television adaptation of the popular radio show. Saturday, April 2, at 8 p.m. Lisner Auditorium, The George Washington University, 730 21st St. NW. Tickets are $40 to $50. Call ... [Read]

Atlas's Tribute to Elizabeth Taylor

Posted by Randy Shulman
April 1, 2011 8:26 AM |
The Atlas Performing Arts Center has quickly organized a screening of several of the more memorable films starring the late, great Elizabeth Taylor. The Whitman Walker Clinic will receive a portion of the proceeds. Films on tap are: A Place In The Sun, Saturday, April 2, at 7 p.m. followed by Cat on A Hot Tin Roof at 9:30 p.m. ... [Read]

Anthony De Mare got turned on to the music of Stephen Sondheim at an early age and even now, as a contemporary classical pianist, Sondheim still draws him. De Mare tells Metro Weekly that his current project, "Liaisons: Re-imagining Sondheim for the Piano," is a "career realization." The project involves 30 composers, drawn from the realms of classical, pop, theater, ... [Read]