Metro Weekly

Operatic Intent

UrbanArias finds “winning combination” to attract new opera fans

Pulley-and-Hall-Ft-Worth
“I always thought opera was kind of silly when I was growing up,” concedes Jake Heggie, adding with a laugh, “and sometimes I still do.”

Heggie was weaned on American musicals, and grew up writing songs in that style. But years of work with some bold-named opera stars, including Frederica von Stade and Renee Fleming, eventually led to a commission from the San Francisco Opera, where he once worked in the marketing department. And more than 15 years since that first commission, composing Terrence McNally’s adaptation of the film Dead Man Walking, Heggie has been committed to the genre and putting his own musical theater-esque stamp on it.

“We have to make a strong case to make this traditionally European form our own,” he says. “Looking at all the different permutations of stories and combinations of singers and instruments throughout history, not to mention today, shows you just how versatile this art form is.”

Heggie has a kindred spirit in UrbanArias, which Robert Wood founded more than four years ago as a way to make opera more accessible and affordable to new audiences. This nationally recognized, Arlington-based company opens its new season with a production of Three Decembers, a 90-minute opera Heggie developed with librettist Gene Scheer, adapted from a script by Terrence McNally. The intimate piece explores the dysfunctional relationship between a Broadway diva and her two children over the course of three decades, charting the impact of AIDS and the rise of gay rights. “It’s very important that people today remember what that period was like,” Heggie says, “because a lot of young people don’t know what it was like or what was going on.”

Heggie, who lives in San Francisco with his actor husband Curt Branom and is currently in the final stages of writing another new opera with McNally, is thrilled by the efforts of UrbanArias and other organizations for pushing opera in new directions.

“It’s exciting to see a younger generation, a generation behind me who are getting opportunities to write operas in a way that I never could have imagined,” he says.

Three Decembers opens Saturday, Sept. 27, at 8 p.m., with additional performances Sunday, Sept. 28, at 2 p.m., Friday, Oct. 3, at 8 p.m., and Saturday, Oct. 4, at 8 p.m. Artisphere, 1101 Wilson Blvd. Arlington. Tickets are $28. Call 703-875-1100 or visit urbanarias.org.

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Quick Witted English Satire "Vanity Fair"

at Lansburgh Theatre, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Sun, March 24
Tue, March 26
Wed, March 27
FULL PRICE: $71 - $92
OFFER PRICE: $35.50 - $46

In this colorful adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray's satire of 19th-century British society, the wiley and scheming antiheroines Becky Sharp and Amelia Sedley are recast as complex, vibrant ch... [more+]

In this colorful adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray's satire of 19th-century British society, the wiley and scheming antiheroines Becky Sharp and Amelia Sedley are recast as complex, vibrant characters who the "New York Times" called "a gift to actors." Becky and Amelia scramble up social ladders and hurdle over whims of fate in this farcial comedy about trying to get what you want out of life, no matter the cost. Acclaimed playwright Kate Hamill ("Sense and Sensibility") brings her signature quick wit and distinctly unfussy retelling of classic work to one of literature’s most celebrated novels in this production at the Lansburgh Theatre in Washington, D.C. [less-]

"From Gumbo to Mumbo": Theater, Poetry & Hip Hop

at Keegan Theatre, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Sun, March 24
Sat, March 30
Sun, March 31
+ 2 more dates
Sun, March 24
Sat, March 30
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Sat, April 06
Sun, April 07
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FULL PRICE: $15
OFFER PRICE: $7.50

The Keegan PLAY-RAH-KA's series, designed to inspire and empower young audiences, brings their dynamic new work to the stage as a world premiere. "From Gumbo to Mumbo" delves into contemporary issues ... [more+]

The Keegan PLAY-RAH-KA's series, designed to inspire and empower young audiences, brings their dynamic new work to the stage as a world premiere. "From Gumbo to Mumbo" delves into contemporary issues with a mix of theater, poetry and hip-hop. A SouthEast DC b-boy, video gamer -- and crochet artist -- connects with a science-teacher-turned-comic rhymer from New Orleans, and together they explore the issues of the day and the search for home, while celebrating love and redefining masculinity. This two-person show is written and performed by Drew Anderson and Dwayne Lawson-Brown. [less-]

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

at The Old Stone House, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Sun, March 24
Thu, March 28
Sat, March 30
+ 59 more dates
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FULL PRICE: $24
OFFER PRICE: $12

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-]

Theater J's "The Jewish Queen Lear"

at Gonda Theatre at Georgetown University, Washington
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Sun, March 24
Wed, March 27
Thu, March 28
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FULL PRICE: $52
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A bold, independent heroine for the ages, Mirele Efros -- often called "the Jewish Queen Lear" -- stands at the center of this epic, gripping story of power, pride and maternal sacrifice. A wealthy wi... [more+]

A bold, independent heroine for the ages, Mirele Efros -- often called "the Jewish Queen Lear" -- stands at the center of this epic, gripping story of power, pride and maternal sacrifice. A wealthy widow and savvy businesswoman who wants to find a good wife for her son, Mirele suffers a fall of Shakespearean proportions when her children turn against her. Wildly successful in its time, this 1898 masterpiece of Yiddish theater shines in a scintillating new English translation produced in partnership with the Georgetown University Theater and Performance Studies Program. [less-]

Politics & Pints Capitol Hill Walking Tour

at US Capitol Building, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Mon, March 25
Tue, March 26
Wed, March 27
+ 4 more dates
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FULL PRICE: $40
OFFER PRICE: $20

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+]

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

at Blues Alley, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Mon, March 25
Tue, March 26
Wed, March 27
+ 12 more dates
Mon, March 25
Tue, March 26
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[less-]
FULL PRICE: $20 - $25
OFFER PRICE: $10 - $12.50

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-]

Smithsonian American Art Adventures

at Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Mon, March 25
Tue, March 26
Wed, March 27
+ 4 more dates
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FULL PRICE: $40
OFFER PRICE: $20

Take a quirky tour of one of the most historic -- and underrated --buildings and museums in Washington, D.C. with Smithsonian American Art Adventures. You'll dive into American history through art whi... [more+]

Take a quirky tour of one of the most historic -- and underrated --buildings and museums in Washington, D.C. with Smithsonian American Art Adventures. You'll dive into American history through art while your guide regales you with amazing tales of the power players who shaped the country. At the same time, you'll be taking in one of the world's largest collections of art. [less-]

Discover D.C. On a Walking Foodie Tour of H Street

at Union Station - Main Lobby, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Mon, March 25
Tue, March 26
Wed, March 27
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Mon, March 25
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FULL PRICE: $79
OFFER PRICE: $39.50

Not only does H Street have rich, cultural history, but it's also blossomed into one of the most diverse culinary scenes of the Capitol. Grab a little mix of everything, from Italian to Middle Eastern... [more+]

Not only does H Street have rich, cultural history, but it's also blossomed into one of the most diverse culinary scenes of the Capitol. Grab a little mix of everything, from Italian to Middle Eastern and American, on this Washington, D.C. food tour. A local guide will give you the inside scoop on the cuisines, the Corridor's sites, the juicy gossip of H Street and beyond. The fun begins at Union Station's Main Lobby. [less-]

Capitol Hill Architecture Tour

at DC Design Tours - Union Station, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Mon, March 25
Sat, March 30
Mon, April 01
+ 16 more dates
Mon, March 25
Sat, March 30
Mon, April 01
Fri, April 05
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Sat, April 20
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Sat, May 25
Mon, May 27
Fri, May 31
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Sat, June 22
Fri, June 28
[less-]
FULL PRICE: $35
OFFER PRICE: $25

This tour takes visitors through the political core of Washington, D.C. -- from the original L'Enfant city plan to the tumultuous construction of the Capitol and grounds, the rise of the magnificent B... [more+]

This tour takes visitors through the political core of Washington, D.C. -- from the original L'Enfant city plan to the tumultuous construction of the Capitol and grounds, the rise of the magnificent Beaux Arts Library of Congress and imposing Supreme Court, and into the present day. Prolific designers like Thomas Jefferson, Robert Mills, Frederick Law Olmsted and Daniel Burnham will feature prominently. Controversy, chaos and red tape abound in this walking tour from DC Design Tours, a treat for architecture and history enthusiasts. [less-]

Speakeasies & Craft Cocktail Tour of the Capitol

at Temperance Fountain, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Mon, March 25
Tue, March 26
Wed, March 27
+ 4 more dates
Mon, March 25
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Sun, March 31
[less-]
FULL PRICE: $94
OFFER PRICE: $47

If there's one thing you'll immediately learn about the hardworking citizens of Washington, D.C., it's that they love a good happy hour! Urban Adventures helps you sip your way through the Capitol's v... [more+]

If there's one thing you'll immediately learn about the hardworking citizens of Washington, D.C., it's that they love a good happy hour! Urban Adventures helps you sip your way through the Capitol's vibing craft cocktail scene, where you'll sample sweet libations at hidden gems and even learn how to make your own drinks. Get a history lesson too on how prohibition shaped D.C., and discover the speakeasies that still thrive here today. [less-]

Tragic Tales of Georgetown: Walking Tour Unearths Scary Stories

at Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Tue, March 26
Fri, March 29
Tue, April 02
+ 34 more dates
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[less-]
FULL PRICE: $24
OFFER PRICE: $12

The tragedy of Georgetown's darker side encompasses the oldest neighborhood in D.C. with local legends and true crime events from its past. This is a tour about scandals, murder and tragedy. It is not... [more+]

The tragedy of Georgetown's darker side encompasses the oldest neighborhood in D.C. with local legends and true crime events from its past. This is a tour about scandals, murder and tragedy. It is not a ghost tour, though we have a few spooky tales to share. In this evening walking tour, you will stroll the historic streets of Georgetown and hear long ago tales of tragedy, romance and lore. With its architecture, pedigree and ambiance, Georgetown is a lovely place to visit. However, the houses, churches and cemeteries of this tiny neighborhood are still haunted by their past. Come find out why! This tour is for adults only due to mature content. [less-]

Explore History of U.S. Through Music: Guided Tour

at National Museum of American History, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Tue, March 26
Wed, March 27
Thu, March 28
+ 3 more dates
Tue, March 26
Wed, March 27
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Sun, March 31
[less-]
FULL PRICE: $40
OFFER PRICE: $20

Travel through time and explore U.S. history with a musical twist at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. Learn about the origins and controversies of America's national anthem,... [more+]

Travel through time and explore U.S. history with a musical twist at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. Learn about the origins and controversies of America's national anthem, discover the evolution of spiritual music into blues, jazz, rock n' roll, hip-hop and R&B, and live out your dream of becoming a hip-hop DJ by learning a funky beat -- all with your local guide by your side! [less-]

Documentary Double Feature on Feminism & Power

at Atlas Performing Arts Center, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Tue, March 26
FULL PRICE: $16
OFFER PRICE: $8

In 1920, the First Wave Feminist Movement, when women fought for the right to vote, ended when Congress ratified the 19th Amendment granting women’s suffrage. Forty years later, in 1963, women would... [more+]

In 1920, the First Wave Feminist Movement, when women fought for the right to vote, ended when Congress ratified the 19th Amendment granting women’s suffrage. Forty years later, in 1963, women would once again come together as the Second Wave Feminist Movement to fight for women’s rights. Prompted when Betty Friedan published "The Feminine Mystique" in concert with President John F. Kennedy’s Presidential Commission on the Status of Women releasing its report on gender inequality, which led to the formation of many local, state and federal government women's groups as well as many independent feminist organizations. The movement grew with legal victories such as the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and many Supreme Court cases such as "Roe v. Wade" of 1973. "From the Second Wave to the Tidal Wave" tells the stories of four women who experienced this era from the front lines: Nancy Wanderer, who went off to Wellesley where she along with Hillary Rodham (Clinton) vied for class leadership, Joyce Elliott who was an unlikely pioneer in Arkansas’ school integration, Christine Lesiak who spent her years at UCLA in campus protests, and filmmaker Pam Maus, who, as a seven-year-old, learned about social injustice watching the violent integration of Little Rock Central High School on television. "NextStepRun!" tells the stories of four women running for elective office in their respective local House districts during the 2014 midterm elections. This documentary film features how they confront the unique barriers to entry that keep women from running for elective office and ultimately has ensured the political system as a white male domain. [less-]

Historic Taste of Georgetown Walking Tour

at The Washington Harbour, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Tue, March 26
Wed, March 27
Thu, March 28
+ 3 more dates
Tue, March 26
Wed, March 27
Thu, March 28
Fri, March 29
Sat, March 30
Sun, March 31
[less-]
FULL PRICE: $88
OFFER PRICE: $44

From sweet to savory, to locally sourced and all things artisan, this Georgetown food tour reveals where to find the best locally-produced bites in a neighbourhood that’s gone corporate. As you tast... [more+]

From sweet to savory, to locally sourced and all things artisan, this Georgetown food tour reveals where to find the best locally-produced bites in a neighbourhood that’s gone corporate. As you taste your way through one of the most historic areas in DC your local guide will regale you with tales of the neighborhood, how it has changed through the years, and where it will go in the future. [less-]

Live Music at City Winery D.C.

at City Winery DC, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Tue, March 26
Wed, March 27
Fri, March 29
+ 2 more dates
Tue, March 26
Wed, March 27
Fri, March 29
Sat, March 30
Sun, March 31
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FULL PRICE: $18 - $38
OFFER PRICE: $9 - $19

City Winery strives to deliver the best culinary and cultural experience to D.C. denizens who are passionate about wine, food and music. Combining a fully functioning winery with intimate concerts, fo... [more+]

City Winery strives to deliver the best culinary and cultural experience to D.C. denizens who are passionate about wine, food and music. Combining a fully functioning winery with intimate concerts, food and wine classes, and beyond, City Winery has created a compelling mix for its sophisticated clientele of foodies, and active cultural patrons -- bringing the wine country experience to the middle of a large city. [less-]

Hit Broadway Musical: "A Bronx Tale"

at The National Theatre, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Tue, March 26
Wed, March 27
Thu, March 28
+ 5 more dates
Tue, March 26
Wed, March 27
Thu, March 28
Fri, March 29
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Sat, March 30
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Sun, March 31
[less-]
FULL PRICE: $54 - $204
OFFER PRICE: $39 - $204

In 1960s New York City, a young man is caught between the father he loves and the mob boss he'd love to be in "A Bronx Tale", coming to the National Theatre in DC. Bursting with high-energy dance numb... [more+]

In 1960s New York City, a young man is caught between the father he loves and the mob boss he'd love to be in "A Bronx Tale", coming to the National Theatre in DC. Bursting with high-energy dance numbers and original doo-wop tunes from legendary composer Alan Menken, this ""Jersey Boys" meets "West Side Story"" musical is a Broadway smash with loads of behind-the-scenes talent, including Oscar winner Robert DeNiro, Tony winner Jerry Zaks and Oscar nominee Chazz Palminteri. This unforgettable story of loyalty and family is "the kind of tale that makes you laugh and cry" ("The New York Times") and is bringing 10 alumni from the Broadway production on this national tour. [less-]

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

at Newseum, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Tue, March 26
Wed, March 27
Thu, March 28
+ 276 more dates
Tue, March 26
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[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, including the Berlin Wall Gallery, which features eight 12-foot-high sections of the actual wall and a three-story East German guard tower. There are also 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-]

An Explosive Look at Power, Class & Immigration

at Studio Theatre - Milton Theatre, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Tue, March 26
Fri, March 29
Sat, March 30
+ 6 more dates
Tue, March 26
Fri, March 29
Sat, March 30
Tue, April 02
Thu, April 04
Sat, April 06
Sat, April 06
Sun, April 07
Sun, April 07
[less-]
FULL PRICE: $64 - $81
OFFER PRICE: $40 - $50

It's Art Basel, Miami's weeklong party for the rich and famous, where socialite darling Julie reigns over the blowout her real-estate mogul father is throwing at his South Beach hotel. But when her fi... [more+]

It's Art Basel, Miami's weeklong party for the rich and famous, where socialite darling Julie reigns over the blowout her real-estate mogul father is throwing at his South Beach hotel. But when her fiancé dumps her in front of the crowd, Julie hides from her humiliation (and her father) in the hotel’s barely used storage kitchen. Her companions are Christine, a cocktail waitress who recently fled conflict-torn Venezuela, and Christine’s fiancé John, an Uber driver from the Miami slums. This explosive elixir of power, class and immigration status is a bold and contemporary take on Strindberg’s "Miss Julie" by vibrant rising voice Hilary Bettis ("The Americans"). Enjoy "Queen of Basel" at the Studio Theatre in Washington, DC. [less-]

Singer-Songwriter Gabriel Kahane "Book of Travelers"

at The Kennedy Center - Terrace Theater, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Wed, March 27
FULL PRICE: $45
OFFER PRICE: $25

Singer-songwriter Gabriel Kahane, “one of the most visible representatives of a generation of Brooklyn musicians who bring individual voices to many genres” ("The Washington Post"), performs his n... [more+]

Singer-songwriter Gabriel Kahane, “one of the most visible representatives of a generation of Brooklyn musicians who bring individual voices to many genres” ("The Washington Post"), performs his new song cycle "Book of Travelers" to his own piano accompaniment. The evocative cycle draws on the conversations and stories Kahane gathered on an 8,980-mile trip just after the 2016 election, when he spent two phone- and internet-free weeks crisscrossing America by train, talking to as many people as possible. Join him in concert at The Kennedy Center in Washington. [less-]

"Oil": Innovative Century-Spanning Drama

at Olney Theatre Center - Mulitz-Gudelsky Theatre Lab, Olney
OFFER DATES:
Wed, March 27
Thu, March 28
Fri, March 29
+ 3 more dates
Wed, March 27
Thu, March 28
Fri, March 29
Sat, March 30
Sat, March 30
Sun, March 31
[less-]
FULL PRICE: $64 - $74
OFFER PRICE: $32 - $37

Oil -- there’s no escaping the fact that it’s at the heart of modern life, powering the world to previously unimaginable heights. But one day that will end. Called “scorchingly ambitious,” ("T... [more+]

Oil -- there’s no escaping the fact that it’s at the heart of modern life, powering the world to previously unimaginable heights. But one day that will end. Called “scorchingly ambitious,” ("The Guardian"), the innovative drama "Oil" traces the life of this transformative resource, from its first boom in 1889 to its inevitable demise in the not-too-distant-future -- all seen through the eyes of a single mother and her daughter. Across five separate but connected playlets, the duo spans the globe and decades, struggling to survive by any means necessary. Ella Hickson, a young playwright making waves in the U.K., tackles big ideas of feminism, imperialism and environmentalism in this genre-busting tale that makes its American premiere at Olney Theatre Center. [less-]

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

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