Metro Weekly

Festive Best Bets

These five holiday shows are slightly off-the-beaten path

John Waters
John Waters – Photo: Todd Franson/Metro Weekly

One could easily overindulge on culture this holiday season, with multiple takes on The Nutcracker, Handel’s Messiah and Charles Dickens on offer around town. Slightly off the beaten path, however, there are plenty of holiday shows and concerts worth seeking out, from the high-minded and serious to the lowbrow — or at least low-lying — and comical.

There couldn’t be a more glorious venue for a traditional celebration than the Washington National Cathedral, and the Cathedral Choral Society‘s Advent procession, the “Joy of Christmas,” takes full advantage of the Gothic edifice. J. Reilly Lewis leads the chorus in performances of beloved carols accompanied by the Washington Symphonic Brass as well as organist Todd Fickley. Saturday, Dec. 13, and Sunday, Dec. 14, at 4 p.m., at the Washington National Cathedral. Tickets are $75. Call 202-537-2228.

Every year, the Folger Consort offers a more interesting, scholarly spin on the Christmas tradition, with this year’s program focusing on seasonal music from the imperial courts during the Italian Renaissance. Anna Marsh and Christa Patton join the Consort as guest artists playing the medieval wind instrument called the shawm, as well as the recorder. Mark Rimple also accompanies on lute for the concerts Tuesday, Dec. 16, through Tuesday, Dec. 23, at the Folger Theatre, 201 E. Capitol St. SE. Tickets are $50. Call 202-544-7077.

Few music genres capture the festive Christmas spirit better than jazz, and this year’s brassiest best comes courtesy of The Capitol Bones Big Band. This local, all-brass band stops by Blues Alley for two concerts featuring local jazz vocalist Lena Seikaly performing renditions of Christmas classics first popularized by the late big band jazz pioneer Stan Kenton. Tuesday, Dec. 23, at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., at Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Tickets are $22, plus $10 minimum purchase. Call 202-337-4141.

Of all the theatrical variations on Dickens, MetroStage offers what is no doubt the most entertaining, at least to musical theater queens. Kathy Feininger’s A Broadway Christmas Carol spins its Dickensian tale by adapting lyrics from familiar Broadway tunes, 30 or so in all, including The Music Man, Sweeney Todd and Annie. Peter Boyer is Chief Bah Humbugger in a cast that also includes director and choreographer Michael Sharp as The Man Who Isn’t Scrooge. Now to Sunday, Dec. 28, at MetroStage, 1201 North Royal St., Alexandria. Tickets are $50. Call 800-494-8497.

Last but not least is the Birchmere‘s yuk-fest featuring a certain Baltimore filmmaker. In A John Waters Christmas, the “Pope of Trash” explores the gay and sexual possibilities of the holiday, posing questions you’ve probably never pondered before, such as whether there is a “Santa hag” or a “flue queen.” Monday, Dec. 22, at 7:30 p.m., at the Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. Tickets are $49.50. Call 703-549-7500.

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Flip Circus

Westfield Montgomery, Bethesda
Tuesday, October 04 - Monday, October 10
  • Theatre & Performing Arts
  • Fall Preview
  • Circus & Magic
  • Family

From the imagination of Circus Vazquez is born Flip Circus, a world-class show! Full of magic, fun and talent. A traditional American Circus dedicated to those people looking for a special place to ha... Read more

The Till Trilogy: Part I - The Ballad of Emmett Till

Mosaic Theater Company at Atlas Performing Arts Center, Washington
Tuesday, October 04 - Saturday, November 19
  • Theatre & Performing Arts
  • Theatre
  • DC Theatre Week
  • Fall Preview

With music and magic, Ifa Bayeza’s Edgar Award-winning drama recounts the last two weeks of Emmett Till's life on his journey from Chicago to Money, Mississippi in 1955. We meet a young man with boi... Read more

"Hamilton" at The Kennedy Center

The Kennedy Center - Opera House, Washington
Tuesday, October 04 - Sunday, October 09
  • Theatre
  • Theatre & Performing Arts
  • Fall Preview
  • Top Rated

Leave it to Lin-Manuel Miranda to do what the history books couldn't: bring the story of a founding father to new life with the electrifying power of hip-hop, jazz, blues, R&B, and Broadway. The "HAMI... Read more

Sublime with Rome - Capital One Hall's 1 Year Anniversary Concert

Capital One Hall, Tysons
Tuesday, October 04
  • Music
  • Music & Comedy
  • Added This Week

Capital One Hall is thrilled to celebrate its 1 Year Anniversary with Sublime with Rome and FeelFree. Billboard-charting Ska-Punk trio Sublime With Rome was formed in 2010 by lead-singer/guitarist Rom... Read more

"The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci"

Michael R. Klein Theater, Washington
Tuesday, October 04 - Sunday, October 09
  • Theatre & Performing Arts
  • Theatre
  • DC Theatre Week
  • Fall Preview
  • Hot

Tony Award-winner and MacArthur “Genius” Award recipient Mary Zimmerman, the creative leader behind some of STC’s most imaginative productions (Candide, Pericles), brings the writings of Leonard... Read more

"Heroes of the Fourth Turning"

Studio Theatre - Mead Theatre, Washington
Tuesday, October 04 - Sunday, October 23
  • Theatre & Performing Arts
  • DC Theatre Week
  • Theatre
  • Fall Preview
  • Hot

On the edge of the Wyoming wilderness, the last guests linger late into the night at a celebration for the new president of their conservative Catholic college. Reunited after seven years, the friends... Read more

"Tina - The Tina Turner Musical"

The National Theatre, Washington
Tuesday, October 04 - Sunday, October 23
  • Theatre & Performing Arts
  • Theatre
  • Hot

An uplifting comeback story like no other, "Tina - The Tina Turner Musical" is the inspiring journey of a woman who broke barriers and became the Queen of Rock n’ Roll. One of the world’s best-sel... Read more

The Color Purple

Signature Theatre, Arlington
Tuesday, October 04 - Sunday, October 09
  • Theatre & Performing Arts
  • DC Theatre Week
  • Fall Preview
  • Top Rated

This triumphant musical adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of human fortitude, redemption and love is directed by Timothy Douglas (Spunk). A teenage Celie is torn from her beloved sister a... Read more

No Place To Go

Signature Theatre, Arlington
Tuesday, October 04 - Sunday, October 16
  • Theatre & Performing Arts
  • DC Theatre Week
  • Fall Preview
  • Hot

Bobby Smith stars in this musical ode to the unemployed with an enterprising twist. A dedicated corporate “information refiner” has learned that his company is moving to a cheaper, but very (very)... Read more

Black Broadway: "A Proud History, A Limitless Future"

Howard University: Cramton Auditorium, Washington
Wednesday, October 05
  • Theatre

Join The American Pops Orchestra for "Black Broadway: A Proud History, A Limitless Future" filmed for TV Broadcast at Howard University! This one night only concert celebrates iconic performances by B... Read more

The Till Trilogy: Part II - "That Summer in Sumner"

Mosaic Theater Company at Atlas Performing Arts Center, Washington
Wednesday, October 05 - Sunday, November 20
  • Theatre & Performing Arts
  • Theatre
  • DC Theatre Week
  • Fall Preview

Drawn from courtroom transcripts, news accounts, and government records, That Summer in Sumner simulates the 1955 trial for the murder of Emmett Till with palpable energy and profound theatricality. T... Read more

"Drunk Shakespeare" Washington DC

The Sage Theatre, Washington
Wednesday, October 05 - Saturday, January 14
  • Theatre & Performing Arts
  • Theatre
  • Fall Preview
  • Hot
  • Comedy
  • Top Rated

You are cordially invited to a meeting of The Drunk Shakespeare Society. In a hidden speakeasy, five classically-trained actors assemble for their sacred ritual. One actor takes five shots of whiskey ... Read more

"My Calamitous Affair With the Minister of Culture & Censorship..."

The Corner at Whitman-Walker, Washington
Wednesday, October 05 - Sunday, October 23
  • Theatre
  • Theatre & Performing Arts
  • DC Theatre Week
  • Added This Week

Voices Festival Productions presents a timely comic and cutting-edge theatrical chronicle about how we collaborate, housed at DC's hottest new event space, The Corner at Whitman-Walker (on 14th & R). ... Read more

Alice In Chains and Breaking Benjamin + Bush With Special Guests

Jiffy Lube Live, Bristow
Wednesday, October 05
  • Music
  • Music & Comedy
  • Outdoor

Over the course of their remarkable career, ALICE IN CHAINS (vocalist/guitarist Jerry Cantrell, drummer Sean Kinney, bassist Mike Inez and vocalist/guitarist William DuVall) have garnered multiple Gra... Read more

"Witch Wartsmith's Halloween Spooktacular"

Puppet Co. Playhouse, Glen Echo
Thursday, October 06 - Sunday, October 09
  • Theatre
  • DC Theatre Week
  • Halloween
  • Family

Witch Wartsmith (the sister of Witch Wartsmith from our Legacy and touring show "Rapunzel") hosts the annual Halloween Spooktacular and you get to vote on the winner! Part contemporary competition sho... Read more

"The Till Trilogy": All Three Parts

Mosaic Theater Company at Atlas Performing Arts Center, Washington
Thursday, October 06
  • DC Theatre Week
  • Theatre
  • Theatre & Performing Arts
  • Fall Preview

"The Till Trilogy" is a series of plays by noted playwright Ifa Bayeza that reflect on the life, death, and legacy of Emmett Till, whose murder in 1955 remains one of the most pivotal moments in Ameri... Read more

DC Comedy Loft presents Asif Ali

DC Comedy Loft and Bier Baron Tavern, Washington
Thursday, October 06 - Saturday, October 08
  • Comedy

Asif Ali started his career as a club grown comic & improviser into becoming a heavily credited tv/film actor. He can be seen on the Emmy Nominated series Disney+ Marvel WandaVision, The Mandalorian, ... Read more

Maple and Vine

Spooky Action Theater, Washington
Thursday, October 06 - Sunday, October 16
  • Theatre & Performing Arts
  • DC Theatre Week

​Spooky Action Theater's 2022-2023 season begins with Maple and Vine, by Jordan Harrison, directed by Stevie Zimmerman. Big City dwellers Katha and Ryu have become disenchanted with their 21st-centu... Read more

The Till Trilogy: Part III - "Benevolence"

Mosaic Theater Company at Atlas Performing Arts Center, Washington
Thursday, October 06 - Saturday, November 19
  • Theatre & Performing Arts
  • Theatre
  • DC Theatre Week
  • Fall Preview

A poignant and powerful look into the ripple effects of Emmett Till’s murder, Benevolence follows two couples - one Black and one White - as they process the role of violence and loss in their relat... Read more

"Mlima's Tale"

1st Stage Theater, Tysons
Thursday, October 06 - Sunday, October 09
  • Theatre & Performing Arts
  • Theatre
  • DC Theatre Week

Pulitzer Prize Winner and Macarthur Genius Grant Winner Nottage gives us the story of Mlima, an elderly “big tusker” elephant from a protected reserve in Kenya. When Mlima is poached for his glori... Read more

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