Metro Weekly

Out On the Town: Week of December 22, 2017

Everything arts and entertainment in D.C. and beyond!

A Christmas Carol at Ford's Theatre
A Christmas Carol at Ford’s Theatre


Films based on established video game franchises are never awful. Well, except for Lara Croft, Mortal Kombat, Final Fantasy, Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Hitman, Prince of Persia, Need for Speed, Ratchet & Clank, Angry Birds, Warcraft, and pretty much every game-based film ever. It doesn’t help that Justin Kurzel’s action/adventure, about a man reliving his ancestor’s past as a member of an ancient order of assassins and starring Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard and Jeremy Irons, looks dreadful. Now playing. Area theaters. Visit (Rhuaridh Marr)

In 2010 Denzel Washington and Viola Davis won Tony Awards for a revival of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, focused on the family of a working-class man who might have been a Major League star if only he hadn’t been a black baseballer a generation before Jackie Robinson changed the game. Both actors recently snagged Golden Globe nominations for reviving their roles in the movie adaptation, directed by Washington. “The movie of Fences doesn’t need Hollywood bells and whistles,” wrote Peter Travers of Rolling Stone, who put it No. 4 on his year-end best list. “This writer, this director and these actors are all the magnificence required to grab your attention and hold it.” Opens Sunday, Dec. 25. Area theaters. Visit

The late John Glenn lives on in a feel-good drama by Theodore Melfi that focuses on the incredible, untold story about the three female African-American NASA employees who helped launch the astronaut into orbit. Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae face personal and professional struggles on the way to winning the Space Race. Adapted from the book by Margot Lee Shetterly. Opens Sunday, Dec. 25. Area theaters. Visit

Saroo Brierley (Dev Patel) is an Indian-born Australian businessman who begins to remember flashes of his early life: He got on a train, was separated from his family, and eventually adopted by his Australian parents (Nicole Kidman and David Wenham). Using Google Earth, he traces his memories of certain locations in an attempt to find his birth family. Garth Davis’ film is based on a true story, and seems crafted to deliver the emotional storytelling Academy voters love. Rooney Mara also stars. Opens Sunday, Dec. 25. Area theaters. Visit (RM)

One of those rare and extraordinary cinematic experiences that pulls you deeply into its narrative, Moonlight artfully guides viewers towards an emotional payoff without once feeling manipulative or artificial. It is an extraordinary achievement in this cut-and-paste era of cinema, a time when movies fail to ignite so much as a spark of genuine, earned emotion. The ’80s-set story of a young boy who comes to terms with his identity and sexuality in a harsh South Florida neighborhood refuses to lazily cleave to its genre. There isn’t an off performance in the film, which employs a solely African-American cast — come Oscar time, Moonlight could be the one film to give Hollywood a credible reason to break its too-white image without resorting to tokenism. Now playing. Area theaters. Visit (Randy Shulman)

National Geographic captures on film the giant pandas living in Wolong National Nature Reserve in China. One of the rarest species on the planet, the ever-elusive, gentle creature is also on the brink of extinction due to centuries of human expansion and destruction of their habitat. Nicholas Brown’s 40-minute natural history film educates viewers on the life and habits of pandas as well as scientific efforts to increase breeding. In 3D. To Dec. 31. National Geographic Museum, 1145 17th St. NW. Tickets are $7. Call 202-857-7588 or visit

Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence wake up early from hibernation pods on a transport spaceship. The only problem? The other 5,000 people are all still asleep, and they’re 90 years from their destination. What are two beautiful people to do? (We can guess the answer, and we’re already booking our tickets.) Now playing. Area theaters. Visit (RM)

Disney has solemnly sworn to release a Star Wars film every year from now to eternity and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is good but not great. Apart from a magnificently orchestrated 30 minute climactic battle that pulls out all the stops, it’s nowhere near as fun or engaging as last year’s Force Awakens. Narratively, it fills a few gaps, and fully and finally explains one key plot point from A New Hope that has plagued super-fans for decades. We now know why, how and who. Now playing. Area theaters. Visit (Randy Shulman)

Apparently not terrible, which is surprising, as Illumination Entertainment’s (Despicable Me) animated film about anthropomorphic animals hosting a singing contest looked pretty one-note from the previews. Now playing. Area theaters. Visit (RM)

The American Film Institute concludes its series of holiday-themed films with Brian Henson’s 1992 adaptation of the Dickens classic. Featuring Michael Caine as Scrooge, Kermit as Bob Cratchit, and some truly awesome creations from the late Jim Henson’s Creature Shop as the ghosts of Christmases past, present and future. Friday, Dec. 23, and Saturday, Dec. 24, at 12 p.m. and 4:45 p.m. AFI Silver Theatre, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. Tickets are $10. Call 301-495-6720 or visit

The tropes are strong in this film. Bryan Cranston and Megan Mullally visit their daughter, Zoey Deutch, and meet her new boyfriend, James Franco. Father and boyfriend compete. Comedy ensues? Opens Friday, Dec. 23. Area theaters. Visit (RM)


Craig Wallace takes over from Edward Gero as the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge in Ford’s Theatre’s 35th anniversary production of Dickens’ Yuletide classic. The music-infused adaptation was originally conceived by Michael Wilson. To Dec. 31. Ford’s Theatre, 511 10th St. NW. Call 800-982-2787 or visit

Olney Theatre Center presents another seasonal run of the one-man portrayal of the Dickens classic by Paul Morella, who bases his adaptation on Dickens’ original novella and reading tour. To Dec. 31. The Mulitz-Gudelsky Theatre Lab, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney, Md. Call 301-924-3400 or visit

For the fifth year in a row, Keegan Theatre offers company member Matthew Keenan’s homage to Dickens, albeit with typical, Irish biting humor and incisive candor. Mark A. Rhea directs a cast featuring himself plus Kevin Adams, Josh Adams, Timothy Lynch, Mike Kozemchak, Matt Hirsh, Caroline Dubberly and Mick Tinder. To Dec. 31. Keegan Theatre, 1742 Church St. NW. Tickets are $35 to $45. Call 202-265-3768 or visit

Theater Alliance offers a production of Langston Hughes’s retelling of the Biblical Christmas story from an Afrocentric perspective, incorporating gospel, blues, funk, jazz and dance, with griot-style storytelling from an ensemble cast. Black Nativity was one of the first plays written by an African American to appear on Broadway over 50 years ago. The winner of three Helen Hayes Awards last year, the Theater Alliance production is directed and choreographed by Princess Mhoon with music director e’Marcus Harper-Short. Tony Thomas as Joseph and Danielle Glover as Mary lead a 12-member cast. To Dec. 31. Anacostia Playhouse, 2020 Shannon Place SE. Tickets are $40 to $50. Call 202-241-2539 or visit

1/2 Molly Smith modeled Carousel after her successful revival of Oklahoma almost a decade ago. In addition to Nicholas Rodriguez as Billy Bigelow, Smith brings back that show’s E. Faye Butler, a scene-stealing presence the owner of the amusement park in the small coastal Maine town where Billy works. Though we never actually see the show’s namesake ride, it is evoked in Todd Rosenthal’s imaginative set, centered in the in-the-round Fichandler Stage, complete with a rotating platform installed as part of a whitewashed wood floor. The show features two of the greatest songs in the musical theater canon: the cleverly seductive “If I Loved You,” and the heart-swelling “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” If you give in to its power, the latter’s uplifting sentiment — to keep pushing ahead even when life deals you a setback — might help you persevere through the problems in our present-day political reality. Closes Saturday, Dec. 24. Arena Stage, 1101 6th St. SW. Tickets are $84 to $99. Call 202-488-3300 or visit (Doug Rule)

Baltimore’s Everyman Theatre presents a new holiday comedy by Colman Domingo, (Fear the Walking Dead) which explores the shifting dynamics in an African-American family. With everyone home in West Philly for Christmas, aging matriarch Dotty (Sharon Hope) is seen slowly losing her mind amid her three brawling adult children. Directed by Vincent M. Lancisi. To Jan. 8. Everyman Theatre, 315 West Fayette St. Baltimore. Tickets are $43 to $49. Call 410-752-22508 or visit

Becky Mode’s one-man tour-de-force, directed by Alan Paul and starring indomitable local actor Tom Story, is set in the basement office of a trendy Manhattan restaurant. Story uses multiple phones to give voice to the story’s 32 characters, save Sam, who is always front and center. To Jan. 8. MetroStage, 1201 North Royal St., Alexandria. Tickets are $55 to $60. Call 800-494-8497 or visit

A decade after its Broadway debut, Timothy Mason’s musical adaptation of the Dr. Seuss holiday classic makes its D.C. debut. With original music by Mel Marvin, including the hit “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” How the Grinch Stole Christmas is the heartwarming tale of the endlessly cheerful Whos from Whoville, who foil even the Mean One in his efforts to dim their spirits. Philip Bryan is the Grinch while Bob Lauder and Andreas Wyder play the Old and Young versions, respectively, of narrator Max the Dog. To Dec. 31. National Theatre, 1321 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Tickets are $48 to $108. Call 202-628-6161 or visit

1/2 Fiasco Theater’s stripped-down approach to Stephen Sondheim’s Into The Woods is missing a full-fledged pit orchestra but you won’t miss them, as the 10-member ensemble effectively pulls double duty, performing as supporting musicians. It’s an audacious approach, with directors Noah Brody and Ben Steinfeld rethinking the musical from top to bottom. The ensemble is enthusiastic and dedicated, and ideally poised to lead the audience on an enlightening and revealing journey, one in which the lyrics are as front and center as they’ve ever been. To Jan. 8. Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater. Tickets are $45 to $175. Call 202-467-4600 or visit (DR)

Helen Hayes Award-winning costume designer Frank Labovitz makes his D.C. directorial debut with a Pointless Theatre Company adaptation of French pioneer Alfred Jarry’s early avant-garde 1896 work Ubu Roi. According to Pointless, King Ubu offers “lowbrow humor, ludicrous language and full-bore puppet carnage all wrapped up into a funhouse take on Macbeth and classical tragedy.” Haely Jardas is Ma Ubu and Colin Connor is Pa Ubu in an ensemble production featuring music by Mike Winch. Costume-making duty falls to another local veteran, Ivania Stack. To Jan. 7. Mead Theatre Lab at Flashpoint, 916 G St. NW. Tickets are $15 to $30. Call 202-733-6321 or visit

Two French aristocrats challenge each other to seduce unsuspecting innocents in Christopher Hampton’s bracing drama of control and betrayal drawn from the novel by Choderlos de Laclos. Hana S. Sharif directs a production starring Suzzanne Douglas and Brent Harris that offers a sneak peek into Center Stage’s Pearlstone Theatre, in the final stages of a year-long renovation. Closes Saturday, Dec. 23. 700 North Calvert St., Baltimore. Tickets are $20 to $64. Call 410-332-0033 or visit

The holidays at Olney Theatre this year are brought to you by the musical version of the Disney favorite. Julian Fellowes (Downton Abbey) wrote the book to the adaptation featuring many of the standards from the movie by Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman and incorporating new songs by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe. Jason King Jones directs, with choreography by Tara Jeanne Vallee. Patricia Hurley stars. To Jan. 1. Olney Theatre Center, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney, Md. Call 301-924-3400 or visit

Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon’s holiday play is set two years after Pride and Prejudice, with the focus (unsurprisingly) on Mary Bennet. Eleanor Holdridge directs favorite characters as they gather at Pemberley, the home of Mr. and Mrs. Darcy, played by Danny Gavigan and Erin Weaver. Katie Kleiger is Miss Bennet. Now in previews. Closes Friday, Dec. 23. Round House Theatre, 4545 East-West Highway, Bethesda. Tickets are $55 to $70. Call 240-644-1100 or visit

Visually and aurally enchanting, and very much a work of physical theater, this is storytelling as magical dream. Blended with the extraordinary eye of adapter and director David Catlin, music, sound, movement, and an artful quotient of aerial acrobatics draw us into a beautifully gloomy world above and below the sea. The watery depths are filled with mysterious life — natural, metaphorical, perhaps even supernatural. To Dec. 24. Kreeger Theater in the Mead Center for American Theater, 1101 6th St. SW. Call 202-488-3300 or visit (Kate Wingfield)

Talk about a starry cast: D.C. leading ladies Donna Migliaccio, Nova Y. Payton, Ilona Dulaski, Naomi Jacobson and Sandy Bainum help ensure this new holiday musical becomes a must-see affair, particularly for a certain segment of the theatergoing community. Married musical writing duo and local stage actors Matt Conner and Stephen Gregory Smith developed lyrics set to Conner’s score, with a book by fellow D.C. playwright Allyson Currin. Billed as Golden Girls meets Designing Women, Silver Belles, directed by Signature’s Eric Schaeffer, focuses on a small town in Tennessee struggling to keep a beloved holiday pageant alive after the sudden death of its longtime director. To Dec. 31. Signature Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. Call 703-820-9771 or visit

Closer to Brothers Grimm than Disney, Synetic Theater presents a darkly elegant — and, as you would expect from Synetic, wordless — adaptation of the classic tale. To Jan. 8. Theater at Crystal City, 1800 South Bell St., Arlington. Tickets are $45 to $55. Call 800-494-8497 or visit

1/2 Given the current nationwide white-geist, Studio Theatre should be applauded for their prescience in bringing Young Jean Lee’s ballsy comedy Straight White Men to the capital. An artist who’s fearless in tackling touchy subjects, Lee delivers in one tight 85-minute play a surgical dissection of the rites and rights of the straight white male. Helmed by director Shana Cooper, this warmly accessible production doesn’t disappoint in eliciting laughs and sparking insight, with its story of three adult sons at home for what could be a testy Christmas with their widower father. Extended to Dec. 31. Studio Theatre, 14th & P Streets NW. Tickets are $20 to $97. Call 202-332-3300 or visit (Andre Hereford)

Apart from their clever arrangements and vibrant, precise vocals, the secret to the dragapella group the Kinsey Sicks’ popularity lies in its biting, satiric take on everything from sex to politics. Their songs are funny, filthy, and often unexpectedly poignant. To Dec. 28. The Aaron and Cecile Goldman Theater, Edlavitch DCJCC, 1529 16th St. NW. Tickets are $19.13 to $52.88. Call 202-777-3210 or visit

Tom Story directs a two-person cast in the classic tale of three children who venture into the magical realm of Narnia. To Dec. 31. Adventure Theatre MTC, 7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo. Tickets are $19.50. Call 301-634-2270 or visit

An all-African American troupe of sketch and stand-up artists satirize what it means to be black in our soon-to-be post-Obama era. The show’s Second City ensemble consists of Angela Alise, Sonia Denis, Dave Helem, Torian Miller, Felonious Munk and Dewayne Perkins. To Jan. 1. At Woolly Mammoth, 641 D St. NW. Tickets range from $20 to $59. Call 202-393-3939 or visit

AND ONE HALF Twenty-five years after its debut on Broadway, The Secret Garden remains Daisy Eagan’s show. The youngest-ever female Tony Award-winner for her work as Mary, Eagan now assumes the role of chambermaid Martha, a motherly supporting character and the first to show any kindness to the quite-contrary Mary (Anya Rothman), described early on as “the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen.” Marsha Norman won a Tony Award for a book about a precocious girl that remarkably doesn’t pander to either children or adults. And yet, it also doesn’t provoke or veer from predictability enough to register more than passing interest. Lucy Simon’s rather plain, tender, tempered score is also not particularly noteworthy, save for some subtle Indian flourishes to give it a bit of exotic oomph. To Dec. 31. Sidney Harman Hall, Harman Center for the Arts, 610 F St. NW. Tickets are $44 to $123. Call 202-547-1122 or visit (DR)

Eric Schaeffer has opted to make Peter Stone and Maury Yeston’s Tony-winning musical from two decades ago the latest epic classic to get Signature’s signature intimate spin. The result is a 360-degree, three-story staging intended to make the audience feel as if they are aboard the “ship of dreams” on its fateful maiden voyage. Schaeffer leads a cast, crew and orchestra of more than 50 artists. To Jan. 29. The Max Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. Call 703-820-9771 or visit

Stephen Schwartz’s hit musical about the witches of Oz, with book by Winnie Holzman, returns once again to the Kennedy Center for another month-long run. Popular! To Jan. 8. Kennedy Center Opera House. Tickets are $99 to $359. Call 202-467-4600 or visit

Washington Improv Theater’s annual holiday extravaganza features shows based on audience suggestions, showing you the good, the bad and the ugly of the season — all laughs to get you through. Each show is different, but all offer a grab bag of spontaneous comedy and long-form improv. This year’s show also includes the new Citizens’ Watch, an original production based on the TV series Broadchurch and featuring members from various WIT ensembles as well as new faces to the WIT stage, directed by Mike Hendrix. Weekends to Dec. 30. Source Theater, 1835 14th St. NW. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door, or $30 for reserved, front-row seats. Call 202-204-7770 or visit


Among the many jazzy jingle balls on offer this season, it’d be hard to beat the Kennedy Center’s free Christmas Day treat, the All-Star Christmas Day Jazz Jam. The 18th annual event features host/vibraphonist Chuck Redd, drummer Lenny Robinson, pianist Robert Redd, trumpeter Tom Williams, bassist James King, and vocalist Delores Williams. Sunday, Dec. 25, at 6 p.m. Kennedy Center Millennium Stage. Free. Call 202-467-4600 or visit

“The Clown Prince of Hip-Hop,” as MTV once called him, will again relive his glory days hosting and spinning for another “80s vs 90s Dance Party.” Local cover bands New Romance (the ’80s) and Here’s To The Night (the ’90s) join Markie, a Maryland resident known for “Just A Friend.” Friday, Dec. 23, at 8 p.m. Fillmore Silver Spring, 8656 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. Tickets are $15.50. Call 301-960-9999 or visit

Next September, Bruno Mars will perform two shows at his usual spot in the area, the Verizon Center, part of his 24k Magic World Tour. But next week the 31-year-old offers a more intimate concert at the new 3,000-seat theater at MGM National Harbor. Mars tours in support of 24K Magic, his third album and first not produced by the Smeezingtons. The result is an uninspiring mix of bland synthy R&B jams and syrupy ballads straight out of the cheesy and dated New Edition/Bell Biv DeVoe playbook. Yet somehow, we have a feeling the magnetic performer Mars won’t have any trouble selling us on all of the tunes, both new and all-too-familiar, when he renders them live. Tuesday, Dec. 27, at 9 p.m. Theater at MGM National Harbor, 7100 Harborview Ave., Oxon Hill, Md. Call 844-346-4664 or visit

More than two decades after forming in London, Nirvana-mimicking grunge band Bush is the rare British act not only to find mainstream success in the U.S., but one that actually registered greater success across the pond — for a few years, anyway. Still led by Gavin Rossdale, Bush tours in support of its sixth set, Man on the Run, the 2014 album that indirectly referenced Rossdale’s relationship troubles with his now ex-wife Gwen Stefani. Friday, Dec. 30. Doors at 8 p.m. Fillmore Silver Spring, 8656 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. Tickets are $43.50. Call 301-960-9999 or visit

Grammy-nominated D.C. jazzy soul singer and spoken word poet/rapper, Carolyn Malachi is a cross between Jill Scott and Erykah Badu, though her clear, pretty voice is more akin to Natalie Cole’s. Performing a free concert at the Kennedy Center, Malachi tours in support of her new album, Rise [Story 1], the first part in a planned trilogy, Rise of the Modern Natural, featuring original jaunty songs with various guest musicians. Friday, Dec. 30, at 6 p.m. Kennedy Center Millennium Stage. Free. Call 202-467-4600 or visit

“The best jazz pianist of his generation,” Time music critic Josh Tyrangiel wrote earlier this year about Baltimore’s versatile virtuoso Cyrus Chestnut, who 20 years ago portrayed a Count Basie-inspired pianist in Robert Altman’s film Kansas City. He returns to D.C.’s leading jazz venue for a weeklong run of shows with a bassist and drummer, culminating in New Year’s Eve performances, both offering a three-course meal — with a midnight glass of champagne at second seating — and featuring vocalist-led Integriti Reeves Band. Monday, Dec. 26, through Friday, Dec. 30, at 8 and 10 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 31, at 6:30 and 10 p.m. Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Tickets are $35 to $45, or $110 to $150 for New Year’s Eve dinner/show packages, plus $12 minimum purchase. Call 202-337-4141 or visit

The legendary British pop band, minted in the ’80s MTV era, returns to the area after its April blowout at the Verizon Center in support of new album Paper Gods. Duran Duran offers two New Year concerts in the 3,000-seat theater at the new waterfront resort that’s been the talk of the town over the past few weeks. Saturday, Dec. 31, at 10:30 p.m., and Sunday, Jan. 1, at 9 p.m. Theater at MGM National Harbor, 7100 Harborview Ave., Oxon Hill, Md. Remaining tickets are $150 to $602. Call 844-346-4664 or visit

Last year, Broadway’s Emily Skinner (Side Show, Billy Elliot) took to AMP by Strathmore to perform “Broadway Her Way,” a cabaret of standards from Rodgers and Hammerstein, Lerner and Lowe, and Kander and Ebb as well as newer musical theater tunes from her repertoire and beyond. Skinner will close out 2016 by offering two performances of her cabaret at one of the leading theater companies in her hometown. Saturday, Dec. 31, at 8 and 10:30 p.m. Richmond Triangle Players, 1300 Altamont Ave. Richmond. Tickets are $45 to $70. Call 804-346-8113 or visit

Alexandria’s premiere music hall offers the 20th annual tribute to one of the most heralded and influential country singers of all time, this year including performances by Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer, Bill Kirchen, Robin & Linda Williams, Patrick McAvinue, and Mark Schatz. Thursday, Dec. 29, at 7:30 p.m. The Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. Tickets are $29.50. Call 703-549-7500 or visit

One of the most touted female talents in contemporary jazz, Jane Monheit has a sound that blends “natural elegance with potent yet impressively controlled presentation,” as the All Music Guide has put it. After a spring run of shows celebrating The Songbook Sessions: Ella Fitzgerald, the first release on her label Emerald City Records, Monheit returns to Blues Alley for a special Christmas show. Thursday, Dec. 22, and Friday, Dec. 23, at 8 and 10 p.m. Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Tickets are $40 to $45, plus $12 minimum purchase. Call 202-337-4141 or visit

The folk legend who popularized Sondheim’s “Send in the Clowns” will perform that showtune standard and many others from her Grammy-winning repertoire, including the Joni Mitchell-penned “Both Sides, Now” and covers of “Someday Soon,” “Chelsea Morning,” “Amazing Grace,” and “Cook with Honey.” Tuesday, Dec. 27, and Wednesday, Dec. 28, at 7:30 p.m. The Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. Tickets are $59.50. Call 703-549-7500 or visit

Two ’80s-steeped tribute acts, one a New York-based eight-piece band playing songs by David Byrne and Talking Heads — and led by Jon Braun — the other a Pennsylvania duo portraying the famous R&B/pop Keystone state hitmakers Hall & Oates. The venue promises a dance floor for the event in front of the stage, in case concertgoers feel moved to burn down the house. Wednesday, Dec. 28, at 7:30 p.m. The Hamilton, 600 14th St. NW. Tickets are $18 to $25.50. Call 202-787-1000 or visit

One of the more popular local cover bands, the 19th Street Band rings in 2017 at the Hamilton by “playing all your favorite tunes” in the Americana and folk genres. Caolaidhe Davis leads the trio also including his fiddle-playing wife Meghan Davis and bassist Brian White. Saturday, Dec. 31. Doors at 8:30 p.m. In the Loft at the Hamilton, 600 14th St. NW. Tickets are $35, including a complimentary champagne toast at midnight. Call 202-787-1000 or visit

Formed over 40 years ago in Bethesda, progressive bluegrass band Seldom Scene remains especially popular in its hometown region. They return to Alexandria’s seated show palace after presenting a Black Friday treat, this time for a New Year’s Eve toast with special guests the Locust Honey String Band and Cabin Creek. Saturday, Dec. 31, at 8 p.m. The Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. Tickets are $39.50. Call 703-549-7500 or visit

A four piece based in D.C., the Split Seconds delivers a raw, energetic, old-school sound inspired by late ’70s punk bands the Buzzcocks, the Clash, and the Heartbreakers. Dot Dash, Canker Blossom open. Friday, Jan. 6. Doors at 6 p.m. DC9, 1940 9th St. NW. Tickets are $8. Call 202-483-5000 or

Imre Kollar conducts the Strauss orchestra and a fellow Hungarian performer, tenor Zoltan Nyari, and Berlin-based Polish soprano Katarzyna Dondalska, plus dancers from the National Ballet of Hungary and the International Champion Ballroom Dancers in “Salute to Vienna,” inspired by the Austrian capital’s famed Neujahrskonzert and offering Strauss waltzes, polkas and operetta excerpts. Attila Glatz Concerts presents the 16th annual concert. Monday, Jan. 2, at 3 p.m. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Remaining tickets are $49 to $125. Call 301-581-5100 or visit

“D.C.’s all ’90s party band,” cheekily named after O.J. Simpson’s notorious failed getaway car, sings through that decade’s songbook in all styles of popular music, and will close out 2016 at its next area concert. The five-member ensemble consists of singer/guitarist Diego Valencia, singer Gretchen Gustafson, guitarists Ken Sigmund and McNasty, and drummer Max Shapiro. Saturday, Dec. 31. Doors at 9 p.m. Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U St. NW. Tickets are $45. Call 202-328-6000 or visit

Pauline Anson-Dross’ popular lesbian all-covers party-rock band Wicked Jezabel has been rocking — as well as raising money for various good causes — all over the region for a decade now, originally under the name The Outskirts of Town. Next up is a concert to ring in 2017. Saturday, Dec. 31, at 9 p.m. JV’s Restaurant, 6666 Arlington Blvd. in Falls Church. Tickets are $50 and include hors d’oeuvres, party favors and midnight champagne toast. Call 703-241-9504 or visit

Earlier this year, one of hip-hop’s most influential artists — as a solo rapper and member of the group Black Star — announced he would retire to pursue painting and to run A Country Called Earth, his new arts, culture and lifestyle collective in Africa. Also known from work as as an actor (Spike Lee’s Bamboozled, Suzan-Lori Parks’ Topdog/Underdog), the artist formerly known as Mos Def — and born Dante Terrell Smith 43 years ago — will retire from the performing arts only after a blowout run of concerts. Co-presented by New York’s Apollo Theater, the shows feature different special guests and focus on songs from a different album each night. Saturday, Dec. 31, through Monday, Jan. 2, at 8 p.m. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Tickets are $35 to $159, which includes, on Saturday, Dec. 31, entrance to the Grand Foyer Party starting at 10 p.m. with sets by Shannon Gunn and the Bullettes and Queen Esther and the Hot Five. Call 202-467-4600 or visit


The dance-theater piece Red Bull Flying Bach is set to J.S. Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, only remade using piano, harpsichord and electronic beats, allowing the Berlin-based “b-boy,” or breakdance, crew Flying Steps to show off its style, merging classical music and urban culture. Flying Steps first staged the 70-minute work, directed by Christoph Hagel, in its native Germany in 2010, followed by successful tours throughout Germany and Europe — with a performance at the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest, no less — as well as other parts of the world. Set within the world of dance, Red Bull Flying Bach explores the tensions between tradition and modernity, teacher and students — and two strangers falling head over heels. Friday, Jan. 6, at 8 p.m. Warner Theatre, 513 13th St. NW. Tickets are $32 to $77. Call 202-783-4000 or visit

Artistic Director Michelle Lees choreographs a family-friendly, full-length production. Remaining dates Friday, Dec. 23, at 7 pm., Monday, Dec. 26, and Tuesday, Dec. 27, at 1 and 5 p.m. Montgomery College’s Robert E. Parilla Performing Arts Center, 51 Mannakee St., Rockville. Tickets are $26 to $31 in advance, or $31 to $36 at the door. Call 240-567-5301 or visit

The energetic Tony Award-winning hoofer (Bring in da Noise, Bring in da Funk) returns to the area to help 2017 get a move on. Savion Glover will show off his dancing dexterity in everything from the classic tap he made his name with as a child to his more contemporary, improvisational choreography as an adult. In 2016, Glover earned another Tony nomination as best choreographer for Shuffle Along, or, the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed. Wednesday, Jan. 4, at 8 p.m. The Howard Theatre, 620 T St. NW. Tickets are $37.50 to $77.50. Call 202-588-5595 or visit

Local dance company Step Afrika!, dedicated to the tradition of stepping, presents its fifth annual holiday step show. The focus is on getting animals associated with the holidays — polar bears, penguins — to step. And all to music by “Frosty the Snowman,” putting the needle on the record as special guest DJ. Through Dec. 30. Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $18 to $40. Call 202-399-7993 or visit

Dubbed the “Great Russian Nutcracker,” this version of the holiday ballet staple pays tribute to Marius Petipa, who developed the Nutcracker choreography — and, for good measure, that of Swan Lake — and is credited as “The Father of Russian Ballet.” The Moscow Ballet has been touring its Nutcracker in the United States for more than 20 years and returns for another annual run at Strathmore. Thursday, Dec. 22, and Friday, Dec. 23, at 8 p.m. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Tickets are $48 to $88. Call 301-581-5100 or visit

Every year for the past 12 years, Washington Ballet’s artistic director Septime Webre has offered his own twist on the family favorite, setting it in D.C.’s historic Georgetown neighborhood with George Washington as the titular figure and King George III as the Rat King. After two weekends in the intimate THEARC space in Southeast D.C. as part of the company’s efforts to spread and diversify its audience, the production sets up shop for nearly all of December at downtown’s Warner Theatre. Remaining performances Thursday, Dec. 22, and Friday, Dec. 23, at 2 and 7 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 24, at 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Warner Theatre, 513 13th St. NW. Tickets are $30 to $164. Call 202-889-5901 or visit


“Santiago Sent Us” features the Tenderloins, the four-member troupe behind the Impractical Jokers brand. Wednesday, Dec. 28, at 7:30 p.m. The Theater at MGM National Harbor, 7100 Harborview Ave., Oxon Hill, Md. Tickets are $50 to $90.91, or $125 for Official Platinum Seats. Call 844-646-6847 or visit

The Comment Section on E! deconstructs the daily goings-on of pop culture via social media, as led by host Michael Kosta, who is the show’s co-executive producer along with Joel McHale. In addition to standup appearances on various late night talk shows, Kosta is also known from his work with Regis Philbin leading a panel of experts on Fox Sports’ Crowd Goes Wild. Thursday, Dec. 29, at 7 p.m., Friday, Dec. 30, at 8 and 10 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 31, at 7 and 9 p.m. Drafthouse Comedy, 1100 13th St. NW. Tickets are $20. Call 202-750-6411 or visit

From his TV debut on Comedy Central in Gabriel Iglesias’ Stand Up Revolution to NBC’s Last Comic Standing to a recent appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Nick Guerra is definitely an up-and-comer. He’ll skewer relationships, family and everyday life in his signature cool and energetic style as part of the Comedy at the Kennedy Center series, with opener Sarah Tiana. Thursday, Dec. 29, at 6 p.m. Millennium Stage. Free. Call 202-467-4600 or visit

Tiny Tim is sickly, Marley is dead, and other plot points remain the same, but the Baltimore Improv Group offers An Improvised Christmas Carol, with performers using audience suggestions and interaction to inspire wild deviations from the standard script. Thursday, Dec. 22, and Friday, Dec. 23, at 7:30 and 10 p.m. Arlington Cinema N’ Drafthouse, 2903 Columbia Pike, Arlington. Tickets are $20. Call 703-486-2345 or visit

The Kennedy Center offers the D.C. premiere of the comedy troupe’s twist on A Christmas Carol, an irreverent and interactive parody featuring a Second City cast including Frank Caeti, Jamie Moyer, Aaron Bliden, Anne Bowles, John Lescault, Tia Shearer and Jamie Smithson. Marc Warzecha directs a largely improvised tale with a script based on Dickens but adapted by former The Colbert Report writers Peter Gwinn and Bobby Mort. To Dec. 31. Kennedy Center Theater Lab. Tickets are $49 to $79. Call 202-467-4600 or visit


Alexandria’s Torpedo Factory Art Center presents its annual show featuring holiday-themed handmade gifts and keepsakes from local clay artists. Think candleholders, lamps, ornaments, dishware, sculpture and more. To Dec. 31. Scope Gallery in Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 North Union St. Alexandria. Free. Call 703-548-6288 or visit

Tokyo is probably not the first place that pops to mind when one thinks of Art Deco, a style of architecture and design that flourished in the Jazz Age, yet this exhibit shines a rare light on Japanese expressions of Art Deco style, boasting objects drawn from the collections of private citizens in Japan. The traveling exhibit, organized by Art Services International, also offers a glimpse at the changing roles for women, particularly in Hillwood founder Marjorie Merriweather Post’s time. Through Dec. 31. Hillwood Estate, 4155 Linnean Ave. NW. Suggested donation is $12. Call 202-686-5807 or visit

Strathmore hosts the 83rd annual show featuring more than 700 intricately detailed works of art, painstakingly produced in miniature. The exhibition, presented by the Miniature Painters, Sculptors & Gravers Society of Washington, D.C., draws viewers into a concentrated universe that traces it roots to the 7th century. Through Dec. 31. The Mansion at Strathmore, 10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda. Call 301-581-5100 or visit

Maryland’s modern art and architecture-focused Glenstone Museum offers an exhibition featuring examples of drawing, wooden relief and wire and yarn sculpture from this late New York artist. Fred Sandback was best known for immersive installations made out of simple, store-bought yarn, which he used to outline geometric volumes within otherwise empty rooms. Glenstone, set on 200 acres of rolling pasture and woodland in Montgomery County, Md., also offers hourly guided outdoor sculpture tours of works by Andy Goldsworthy, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Ellsworth Kelly, Jeff Koons, Charles Ray, Julian Schnabel and Richard Serra. Through Dec. 31. Glenstone Museum, 12002 Glen Road, Potomac, Md. Call 301-983-5001 or visit

A vibrant collection of photography and painting by Charlie Gaynor and Michael Crossett that explores area neighborhoods through layered compositions of architecture and design affected by time. The exhibit celebrates and documents modern urban culture. Through Dec. 30. Hill Center Galleries, Old Navy Hospital, 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. Call 202-549-4172 or visit

“An Exhibition of Portraits Inspired by Literature” is the subtitle for an exhibit from this Silver Spring-based painter, scholar and classical musician with artworks inspired by everyone from Shakespeare to James, Austen to Wilde, with an emphasis on strong female characters. Many of Maud Taber-Thomas’s drawings and paintings are said to “exist within a peaceful conversation between the many art forms that she loves.” Through Jan. 7. Susan Calloway Fine Arts, 1643 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Call 202-965-4601 or visit

A popular draw at Long View Gallery, Chicago-based lesbian artist creates large, hanging-wood sculptures made from reclaimed wood, often found in dumpsters and back alleys. Many of her latest works on display pay tribute to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, bearing some resemblance to the museum’s facade. Through Dec. 31. Long View Gallery, 1234 9th St. NW. Call 202-232-4788 or visit

The centennial of the National Park Service and 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act is the centerpiece at this year’s holiday exhibit at the U.S. Botanic Garden. Trains in this year’s model train show chug around, below, through and above re-creations of iconic national parks and sites in the National Register of Historic Places — everything from the Grand Canyon to the Gateway Arch to a 7-foot-tall Statue of Liberty, all made from plants and other natural materials. One of the largest indoor trees in D.C. will be decorated with ornaments celebrating national parks, while miniature models of the nation’s capital landmarks will also be on display. Through Jan. 2. United States Botanic Garden, 100 Maryland Ave. SW. Call 202-225-8333 or visit


Once again, the Kennedy Center offers two nights of a variety show of holiday entertainment hosted by Cajun cellist Sean Grissom and featuring modern Klezmer quartet the Alexandria Kleztet performing traditional Eastern European/Jewish music with modern influences. Also on tap this year is juggler Cindy Marvell. Monday, Dec 26, and Tuesday, Dec. 27, at 6 p.m. Millennium Stage. Free. Call 202-467-4600 or visit

Touted as an out-of-the-ordinary experience, Alexandria’s Medieval Madness blends art and history — and not simply by way of historical reenactment. It’s an adventure set in 15th-century England and featuring court jesters, men in tights, and battling knights trained by the European Martial Arts Academy. But above all else, Medieval Madness is a comedy show. Four-course “feasts” on Fridays and Saturdays, with an additional feast Thursday, Dec. 29, at 7 p.m., as well as a New Year’s Eve Party, including a feast, live DJ and dancing and midnight champagne toast, Saturday, Dec. 31, at 8 p.m. John Strongbow’s Tavern, 710 King St. Alexandria. Tickets are $65, or $125 for feast with open bar at New Year’s Eve party. Call 703-329-3075 or visit

Every year the Smithsonian’s National Zoo presents ZooLights, in which more than 500,000 colorful Christmas lights illuminate life-sized animal silhouettes, dancing trees, buildings, and walkways, plus a light show set to music. All that, plus select animal houses will be open and displaying nocturnal creatures, including the Small Mammal House, the Great Ape House and Reptile Discovery Center. Every night except Dec. 24 and 25 until Jan. 1. National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free, courtesy of Pepco. Call 202-633-4800 or visit

What was once known as the Reston Zoo presents a Chinese Lantern Festival with authentic Chinese “lanterns” that are far beyond the simple, traditional hand-held candle-lit lamps, made out of silk and paper, that the term might conjure. There are 40 lantern sets of 800 displays in all, portraying animals from around the world. Presented by Hanart Culture, a company focused on bringing the art and culture of China to America, the festival also includes other forms of Chinese art and entertainment — handicrafts, live kung fu performances — to create an enchanting, multicultural experience in the 30-acre park. There are also animatronic dinosaurs for kids to ride. Daily from 5 to 9 p.m. until Jan. 15. Roer’s Zoofari, 1228 Hunter Mill Rd., Vienna, Va. Tickets are $12.50 for children and $22 for adults online, or $15 and $25 at the gate. Call 703-757-6222 or visit

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