United Shades of America with W. Kamau, Photo: CNN
Best known for the short-lived, GLAAD Award-winning FX comedy series Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, the socio-political comedian has been deemed an “Ambassador of Racial Justice” by the ACLU. Bell, currently the star of CNN’s The United Shades of America, presents a night of standup on Thursday, Oct. 13, at 8 p.m. at the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, 600 I St. NW. Tickets are $25. Call 202-408-3100 or visit sixthandi.org.
Brooklyn Rider, Photo: Erin Baiano
BROOKLYN RIDER AND ANNE SOFIE VON OTTER
The classical string quartet’s works expand the boundaries of the genre by incorporating elements from world music and folk. “Joining Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble really opened up our ears and eyes to the world,” violinist and lead composer Colin Jacobsen told Metro Weekly last year. Brooklyn Rider returns with another boundary-pushing artist, mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter, adding her clear, unaffected tone to idiosyncratic selections from the Beatles and Bjork, among others. Saturday, Oct. 8, at 8 p.m. Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. 600 I St. NW. Tickets are $40. Call 202-408-3100 or visit sixthandi.org.
Emanuel Ax, Photo: Lisa-Marie Mazzucco
NATIONAL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Emanuel Ax plays Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 as part of a “Shakespeare at the Symphony” concert led by Juraj Valcuha. Alan Paul of the Shakespeare Theatre Company will direct Naomi Jacobson and Craig Wallace in scenes from Much Ado About Nothing, Othello and MacBeth, with music inspired by the Bard from Korngold, Dvorak and R. Strauss. Thursday, Oct. 6, at 7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 7, at 11:30 a.m., and Saturday, Oct. 8, at 8 p.m. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Tickets are $15 to $89. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
In the midst of their unprecedented joint collaboration to produce the two-play epic Angels in America, Round House and Olney have signed on to present a free staged reading of plays developed in response to the tragic shooting at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub in June. Part of an international playwrights’ effort and presented in association with Missing Bolts Productions, NoPassport Theatre Alliance and Whitman Walker Health, the plays include: Fun Fact by Neil LaBute as directed by Joe Calarco; We Are Molecules by J. Julian Christopher, directed by Jose Carrasquillo; Everybody Gets a Stick by Deborah Zoe Laufer; At The Store with My Daughter by Rohina Malik, directed by Jenny McConnell Frederick; Departure by Jordan Tannahill, directed by Tom Story; Before.Before.After. by Lisa Schlesinger, directed by Amelia Powell; Ally by Alexander Kveton, directed by Michael Bobbitt; and Orlando Monologue by Lindsey Ferrentino, directed by Randy Baker. Monday, Oct. 10, at 7 p.m. Round House, 4545 East-West Highway, Bethesda. Free, with proceeds benefiting OneOrlando Fund. Call 240-644-1100 or visit roundhousetheatre.org/After-Orlando.
Kathleen Turner, Photo: Tony Powell
THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING
Kathleen Turner returns to Arena Stage to star in a one-woman play based on the award-winning memoir by Joan Didion and focused on the death of her husband, fellow novelist John Dunne, as well as on her daughter’s serious, repeated hospitalizations. As a coping mechanism, Didion engages in magical thinking, an anthropological concept akin to superstition about willing good things to happen, or averting unavoidable events by hoping for or doing the right things. Gaye Taylor Upchurch directs. Opens in previews Friday, Oct. 7, at 8 p.m. To Nov. 20. Arlene and Robert Kogod Cradle, 1101 6th St. SW. Call 202-488-3300 or visit arenastage.org.
Choral Arts Chamber singers, Photo: Jeff Hart
CHORAL ARTS SOCIETY CHAMBER ENSEMBLE
Scott Tucker leads the Choral Arts Chamber Singers in “the Art of the Italian Madrigal,” an evening of artful songs of love and wit, tracing the evolution of the Italian madrigal as it crosses 16th century Europe and continues to the present. Works by Monteverdi, Palestrina, Lauridsen and Druckman will be featured in this recital, co-presented with Dumbarton Concerts as the kickoff to the presenter’s season. Saturday, Oct. 15, at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Historic Dumbarton United Methodist Church, 3133 Dumbarton St. NW. Tickets are $35. Call 202-244-3669 or visit choralarts.org.