Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Critics haven’t been kind about Gaby Dellal’s earnest dramedy. Elle Fanning stars as Ray, a transgender teen who needs the legal consent of his estranged father (Tate Donovan) in order to start hormone treatments. Naomi Watts is Ray’s mother, while Susan Sarandon plays his lesbian grandmother. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone called the movie “completely DOA” and said Dellal allows her film to “drown in cliché and crude manipulation.” Opens Friday, May 12. Area theaters. Visit fandango.com.
BEST IN SHOW
Each Thursday in May, the Library of Congress screens one of Christopher Guest’s improv-informed mockumentary comedies — a form of filmmaking that came to define him with 1996’s deadpan satire of small-town community theater Waiting for Guffman (it screens at the end of the month). Next up is arguably the funniest and sharpest of the lot, the 2000 classic that satirized the world of championship dog breeding and competition. It’s hard to pick favorites among the stellar performances, though a handful stand out: Parker Posey and Michael Hitchcock as the Swans, the Starbucks-minted neurotic couple and worst-in-show yuppie parents of poor, frazzled Beatrice the Weimaraner; Fred Willard as the imbecilic, everyman TV co-host for the fictionalized Mayflower Kennel Club Dog Show; and, above all, Jennifer Coolidge and Jane Lynch as not-quite-secret lovers, connected by standard poodle Rhapsody in White, who together launch American Bitch magazine to address “issues of the lesbian purebred dog owner.” Thursday, May 18, at 7:30 p.m. Packard Campus Theater, 19053 Mount Pony Rd. Culpeper, Va. Free. Call 202-707-9994 or visit loc.gov/avconservation.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY 2
About two-thirds of the way through Guardians of the Galaxy 2 comes a moment that perfectly sums up the highly anticipated sequel. The sequence, like most of the 136 minutes that the film runs for, is utterly dazzling to behold. Writer-director James Gunn has a command of CGI-laden action that is almost effortless, while Marvel’s animators have truly excelled themselves at bringing to life this far-flung section of the universe. Yet it’s polish over performance, something Gunn consistently gets wrong throughout the film. Guardians maintains the scrappy, jokesy, lovable nature that made the first film such a huge success — and such a breath of fresh air compared with the slightly stale, formulaic nature of Marvel’s other franchises. With its bold colors, brilliant soundtrack and wonderful array of performances, it was a necessary jolt of adrenaline to the cinematic superhero canon. But three years and a bigger budget later, the originality has diminished. What’s here isn’t fresh, though it’s still very palatable. Now playing. Area theaters. Visit fandango.com. (Rhuaridh Marr)
KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD
$102 million. That’s how much Warner Bros. has spent on a film that has bomb written all over it. An “epic adventure drama” focused on the young King Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) who drew the sword Excalibur from the stone, the evil villain (Jude Law) who subsequently stole his crown, and the accountants who will ask what on earth Warner Bros. was thinking when they commissioned this Guy Ritchie-helmed film, the first in a planned series about the King Arthur legend. Watch Disney’s Sword in the Stone or John Boorman’s lustrous 1981 classic Excalibur, featuring Helen Mirren and Patrick Stewart, instead. Opens Friday, May 12. Area theaters. Visit fandango.com. (RM)
Amy Schumer, Goldie Hawn, and the producers of The Heat and Spy? Color us intrigued. Hawn and Schumer are mother and daughter on a vacation to South America when — predictably — everything goes wrong. If Hawn and Schumer nail the chemistry, and if the script, which Schumer co-wrote, sustains itself like her 2015 hit Trainwreck, this Jonathan Levine-helmed action comedy could be great. Opens Friday, May 12. Area theaters. Visit fandango.com. (RM)
THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW
Every Friday and Saturday, Landmark’s E Street Cinema shows films at midnight that are more risqué or campy than the usual fare. And once a month this “cinEinsomnia” program offers a certain cult classic. Each screening is accompanied by the “shadow cast” Sonic Transducers, who act out the film in front of the screen with props and costumes. Friday, May 12, and Saturday, May 13, at midnight. Landmark’s E Street Cinema, 555 11th St. NW. Call 202-452-7672 or visit landmarktheatres.com.
A KID LIKE JAKE
Jake is a precocious four-year-old with a fondness for dress-up and a preference for Cinderella over G.I. Joec in Daniel Pearle’s play about intimacy and parenthood. Keith Fitzgerald directs Nancy Callaway, Kelsey Cordrey, Heather Falks, and Fred Iacovo. Closes Saturday, May 13. Richmond Triangle Players, 1300 Altamont Ave. Richmond. Tickets are $15 to $30. Call 804-346-8113 or visit rtriangle.org.
ALADDIN AND THE WONDERFUL LAMP
Aladdin and princess Adora must outsmart an evil wizard who wants the genie in the lamp for his own schemes. A production for all ages — but particularly children — directed by Roberta Gasbarre. The play is based on Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp by James Norris. To May 21. Adventure Theatre MTC, 7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo. Call 301-634-2270 or visit adventuretheatre-mtc.org.
BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS
Theater J bills Neil Simon’s semi-autobiographical play about a Depression-era family trying to laugh through tears “a perfect escape from today’s never-ending news cycle.” The company’s Adam Immerwahr also calls it a worthy introduction to American theater for young theatergoers who graduated from Disney musicals but aren’t quite ready for Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller. Four local teen actors take on the lead roles, joined by adults Lise Bruneau, Michael Glenn and Susan Rome, in a production directed by Matt Torney. Extended to May 14. The Aaron and Cecile Goldman Theater, Edlavitch DCJCC, 1529 16th St. NW. Call 202-777-3210 or visit theaterj.org.
FIVE LESBIANS EATING A QUICHE
An award winner at the 2012 New York International Fringe Festival, Evan Linder and Andrew Hobgood’s interactive comedy is set in the closeted, claustrophobic mid-1950s. As a result, the women in the play self-identify as widows, even though some of them have never married. The audience acts as fellow mid-century quiche-eaters attending this coming-out party and guiding some of the evening’s improv-oriented developments. Kaitlin Kemp, Malinda Markland, Morgan Meadows, Geocel Batista, and Allie O’Donnell star. Jimmy Mavrikes directs. To May 22. Lab I in Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $30. Call 202-399-7993 or visit monumentaltheatre.org.
The warm and wonderful musical Fun Home pulls off the remarkable feat of capturing a child’s-eye view of the world, framed by a decidedly adult understanding of that kid’s upbringing. The show’s knowing voice originates at the source — cartoonist Alison Bechdel’s best-selling 2006 graphic memoir of the same name. Her piercing tale of her own coming out, which coincided with her beloved (and closeted) dad’s suicide, marries poignantly with Jeanine Tesori’s arresting melodies. The music is expressive throughout, but it’s not always matched in its transporting quality by the conversational style of the lyrics. It’s a journey full of fun and sadness, rendered with touching depth and clarity. Closes Saturday, May 13. National Theatre, 1321 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Tickets are $48 to $98. Call 202-628-6161 or visit thenationaldc.org. (André Hereford)
IN THE HEIGHTS
The U.S. Spanish-language premiere of Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first Broadway hit sizzles with the kind of urban energy you would expect from its setting in Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood. Performed in Spanish with English surtitles. To May 21. GALA Theatre, 3333 14th St. NW. Tickets are $40 to $60. Call 202-234-7174 or visit galatheatre.org.
JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR
Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s rock opera about Jesus gets a “sleek, modern” makeover in a Signature Theatre production helmed by Joe Calarco and starring Nicholas Edwards. The cast includes Signature standouts Natascia Diaz as Mary, Sherri L. Edelen as King Herod, and Bobby Smith as Pontius Pilate. In previews. Opens Wednesday, May 17, at 7:30 p.m. To July 2. Signature Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. Call 703-820-9771 or visit sigtheatre.org.
Florence Lacey stars in the latest “Bold New Work” world premiere from partners, in life and in show, Matt Conner and Stephen Gregory Smith (The Turn of the Screw). Presented by Creative Cauldron, the musical focuses on a legendary Broadway performer and her comeback one-woman show, foiled as she forgets her prepared anecdotes and attempts to make up new ones on the fly, as the insidious signs of Alzheimer’s become increasingly apparent. Opens Saturday, May 13, at 8 p.m. To May 28. ArtSpace Falls Church, 410 South Maple Ave. in Falls Church. Tickets are $20 to $30. Call 703-436-9948 or visit creativecauldron.org.
LAURA BUSH KILLED A GUY
Billed as a smart, surreal and surprising reexamination of the Bush years, upstart local theater collective Klunch offers a world premiere written by its artistic director Ian Allen. John Vreeke directs rising local actress Lisa Hodsoll in a one-woman show that imagines the former First Lady ruminating on killing a guy in 1963 and reminiscing about her Texas childhood and married life with George W. To June 4. Caos on F, 923 F St. NW. Tickets are $25 to $35. Call 202-215-6993 or visit theklunch.com.
The provocative Tony-nominated director Liesl Tommy (Eclipsed) helms a production of the Bard’s exploration of murderous ambition, fiendish equivocation, and a love of terrifying intimacy. Shakespeare Theatre Company regular Jesse J. Perez takes on the titular role alongside Nikkole Salter as Lady MacBeth. With Naomi Jacobson, Tim Getman and David Bishins. To May 28. Sidney Harman Hall, Harman Center for the Arts, 610 F St. NW. Call 202-547-1122 or visit shakespearetheatre.org.
Ilona Dulaski stars in Terrence McNally’s love letter to opera great Maria Callas in a new production at Virginia’s MetroStage. Ayana Reed is the Second Soprano (Sharon), a role made famous by Audra McDonald, and Joseph Walsh plays Accompanist while serving as music director. Emily Honzel, Ayana Reed, Daniel Noone and Michael Sharp round out the cast. Nick Olcott directs. To June 11. MetroStage, 1201 North Royal St., Alexandria. Tickets are $55 to $60. Call 800-494-8497 or visit metrostage.org.
Keegan Theatre harkens back to its Irish roots with a comedy by John Patrick Shanley that poses the question, is it ever too late to take a chance on love? The focus is on neighbors whose families have been squabbling for years over a patch of land in rural Ireland. Mark A. Rhea directs Rena Cherry Brown, Susan Marie Rhea, Brandon McCoy, and Kevin Adams. To May 28. Keegan Theatre, 1742 Church St. NW. Tickets are $35 to $45. Call 202-265-3768 or visit keegantheatre.com.
Ford’s Theatre’s new production, directed by Peter Flynn, shows the 20-year old, Tony-winning musical to be a capable workhorse that won’t necessarily set minds and hearts racing, but is sure to please. Flynn steers the titanic song machine towards an incisive, relevant interpretation, while contending with a book by playwright Terrence McNally that reduces E.L. Doctorow’s expansive novel to a CliffsNotes reading of an epic. Fortunately, Ragtime boasts some great songs by composer Stephen Flaherty and lyricist Lynn Ahrens. A large part of the success derives from the wonderful chemistry between Jonathan Atkinson’s silky-voiced immigrant artist Tateh and Tracy Lynn Olivera as Mother of a moneyed New Rochelle family. Backing up the performances, every aspect of stagecraft — from the lighting and sound design to the hair and makeup — resonates as soundly as the subject matter. Wade Laboissonniere’s costumes are especially ravishing, and do a fantastic job of identifying each character with their respective tribe and milieu — a quality beautifully complemented by Michael Bobbitt’s peppy choreography. To May 20. Ford’s Theatre, 511 10th St. NW. Call 800-982-2787 or visit fords.org. (AH)
Thoroughly over-egging the batter, Lydia R. Diamond’s Smart People is too much of a good thing. If the premise — the throwing of a highly-educated mix of races and genders into one another’s romantic paths — has potential, the execution does not. Written as a series of vignettes building to a contrived PC pseudo-crisis (at least for the two males), the play is an inch deep and a mile wide. Put simply, these characters don’t interact, they merely trigger one another into endless spirals of heavy-handed socio-gender-racial self-analysis and accusation. If there is the odd subtle moment in which perceptions are interestingly addressed, there are far more in which the messaging is scrawled in primary colors (pun fully intended). It’s the kind of PC cudgeling that makes two hours of Vin Diesel’s xXx: Return of Xander Cage, with its multi-cultural assassin brigade, look liked blessed relief. To May 21. Kreeger Theater in the Mead Center for American Theater, 1101 6th St. SW. Call 202-488-3300 or visit arenastage.org. (Kate Wingfield)
THE ARABIAN NIGHTS
Ten years ago, Constellation Theatre Company launched its first season with a production of Mary Zimmerman’s entrancing adaptation of The Arabian Nights. Now, Founding Artistic Director Allison Arkell Stockman closes out the 10th anniversary season by revisiting the company’s roots and reimagining the show, once again with live music by Tom Teasley. Veronica del Cerro leads the ensemble as famed storyteller Scheherazade. To June 4. Source, 1835 14th St. NW. Tickets $20 to $45. Call 202-204-7741 or visit constellationtheatre.org.
Ted Van Griethuysen stars as an 80-year-old man whose world starts unraveling in an original and moving play from Florian Zeller, one of France’s most prolific contemporary playwrights, translated by two-time Tony Award winner Christopher Hampton. The Father won a Moliere Award, the French equivalent of the Tony, in 2014. Kate Eastwood Norris, Caroline Dubberly, Erika Rose, Manny Buckley, and Daniel Harray also star. David Muse directs. In previews. Opens Sunday, May 14, at 2 p.m. To June 18. Studio Theatre, 14th & P Streets NW. Call 202-332-3300 or visit studiotheatre.org.
THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME
Synetic Theater’s Founding Artistic Director Paata Tsikurishvili brings his mind-bending, cinematic style to Victor Hugo’s gothic, heartbreaking epic — relayed, like many Synetic productions, in wordless fashion, stripped of Hugo’s dialogue. Vato Tsikurishvili is Quasimodo, Phillip Fletcher is Frollo, and Irina Kavsadze is Esmeralda. In previews. Opens Saturday, May 13, at 8 p.m. To June 11. Synetic Theater, 1800 South Bell St., Arlington. Tickets are $35 to $60. Call 800-494-8497 or visit synetictheater.org.
THE MAGIC PLAY
Olney Theatre offers the latest from playwright Andrew Hinderaker (Colossal) in a story about a magician losing control of his life. Halena Kays directs Brett Schneider, Jon Hudson Odom and Harry A. Winter. Closes Sunday, May 14. Olney Theatre Center, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney, Md. Call 301-924-3400 or visit olneytheatre.org.
Maryland’s Port Tobacco Players offers a community theater production of Shakespeare’s final work, adding gender-swapping to put women in a place of power and give the show a different, increasingly relevant feel. Rachel Wallace stepped up to direct the romantic comedy, full of magic, music and mayhem, in memory of Jim Kleyle, who died a month after being selected for the task. Weekends to May 21. Port Tobacco Players, 508 Charles St., La Plata, Md. Tickets are $15 to $18. Call 301-932-6819 or visit ptplayers.com.
TIMON OF ATHENS
Sparing no expense on lavish parties, expensive gifts and charity, the abundantly generous Timon suffers a downturn of fortune and friendship in Shakespeare’s tragic satire. Director Robert Richmond sets the action in modern times, where technology has taken over and high finance takes place online. Ian Merrill Peakes stars in the final production of Folger Theatre’s 25th anniversary season. In previews. Opens Sunday, May 14, at 7 p.m. Runs to June 11. Folger Shakespeare Library, 201 East Capitol St. SE. Tickets are $35 to $75. Call 202-544-7077 or visit folger.edu.
DC101 KERFUFFLE: KINGS OF LEON
What’s not to love about a multi-artist concert called a kerfuffle? In addition to the Tennessee brothers rock band, this year’s concert offers ’90s rock acts Weezer and Jimmy Eat Worldas well as Fitz and the Tantrums, the eclectic dance/soul sextet from L.A. Up-and-coming acts include British rockers Catfish and the Bottlemen, Highly Suspect, and two bands from Texas, electronic duo Missio and indie-rockers the Unlikely Candidates. Sunday, May 14. Doors at 12:30 p.m. Merriweather Post Pavilion, 10475 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, Md. Tickets are $55 to $95. Call 800-551-SEAT or visit merriweathermusic.com.
If Donna Summer was the Queen of Disco, Giorgio Moroder was her godfather. Among his prolific output in the ’70s and ’80s, the electronic music pioneer produced all of Summer’s dance classics, from “I Feel Love” to “Last Dance” to “Love to Love You Baby.” Daft Punk helped give the septuagenarian Italian DJ/producer a late-career revival. His first studio album in 23 years, 2015’s Deja Vu is full of appealing dance ditties featuring many latter-day disco princesses, from Kylie Minogue to Sia to Britney Spears. None will appear with him at the 9:30 Club next weekend, of course, but the concert is a bucket list moment for many nonetheless. Enamour opens. Friday, May 12. Doors at 8 p.m. 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. Tickets are $40. Call 202-265-0930 or visit 930.com.
KINGMAN ISLAND BLUEGRASS & FOLK FESTIVAL
Nearly 40 musical acts will perform on an island in the Anacostia River to benefit the Living Classrooms Foundation, which offers youth in the Baltimore-Washington region hands-on education and job training in the natural and maritime resources fields. The festival features a lineup including Town Mountain, Dom Flemons, formerly of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen, Nora Jane Struthers & the Party Line, the Honey Dewdrops, Charm City Junction w/Ken Kolodner, the Sligo Creek Stompers, Justin Trawick and the Common Good, the Coteries, Man About a Horse, and King Street Bluegrass. Organizers ask that guests only bring reusable water bottles and food containers onto the island, while a reusable Zero Waste cup will be given to each attendee to use at vendors and water stations. Rocklands Barbeque & Grilling Company will sell chopped BBQ pork, pulled BBQ chicken, and grilled portabella sandwiches. Saturday, May 13, at noon. Entrance to Kingman and Heritage Islands Park is behind RFK Stadium Parking Lot 6 south of Benning Road NE. Tickets are $30 for general admission, or $125 for VIP with unlimited beer and drinks and access into an exclusive viewing space next to main stage. Visit kingmanislandbluegrass.info.
A former Strathmore Artist-in-Residence, the local alto singer has won lots of praise in the past few years, with Duke Ellington’s biographer John Hasse touting her as “a major league young talent in jazz.” She returns with her band to D.C.’s top jazz club for another tribute to the “First Lady of Song,” aka Ella Fitzgerald. Tuesday, May 23, at 8 and 10 p.m. Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Tickets are $22, plus $12 minimum purchase. Call 202-337-4141 or visit bluesalley.com.
LOS AMIGOS INVISIBLES
Self-described as Jamiroquai meets Santana, the popular Venezuelan disco/funk band creates infectious, energetic music that the whole world can enjoy. The quartet, touring in support of El Paradise, offers an incredibly positive atmosphere that makes it impossible not to want to get up and dance. Saturday, May 13. Doors at 8 p.m. 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. Tickets are $25. Call 202-265-0930 or visit 930.com.
The iconoclastic, bisexual and D.C.-reared vocalist and bassist returns home for a Kennedy Center concert paying tribute to Nina Simone. Ndegeocello will draw from her 2012 release Pour Une Ame Souveraine: A Dedication to Nina Simone, which featured a selection of songs the legendary Simone either wrote or performed, including “Feeling Good” and “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.” Ndegeocello revamped the songs into her brooding, lower-register contemplative style, which can take a couple listens to fully appreciate. “I wanted to carry on her [legacy],” Ndegeocello told Metro Weekly after the set’s release. “What she did so well was take standards or songs from writers and make them her own [so they] become the definitive version …. You have to put something of yourself into it.” Saturday, May 13, at 8 and 10 p.m. Kennedy Center Atrium. Tickets are $35 to $55. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
Singer-songwriter Mike Hadreas has cited Rufus Wainwright as a key influence on his work, and you hear it in the flamboyance and drama of the music he makes as Perfume Genius. It’s a brash approach that might have seemed jarring just a year or so ago, but now is more welcome than ever in the queer-antagonistic Trump era. The 35-year-old with a penchant for lipstick and jungle red nail polish may be our most unapologetic, unabashedly gay artist to date, and his work, including new album No Shape, is defined by his own exploration of self. “I grew up my whole life thinking about my anxieties and my insecurities, thinking that the things that happened to me made me a wounded person,” Hadreas told Metro Weekly a few years ago. “[I learned] you can be a nervous, weird, tiny, feminine man and be a fuckin’ badass. It doesn’t need to be solved for you to be okay.” Monday, May 15. Doors at 6 p.m. 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. Tickets are $21. Call 202-265-0930 or visit 930.com.
PREAKNESS INFIELDFEST: SAM HUNT, ZEDD
Before the 142nd running of the Preakness Stakes comes music, this year headlined by one of Nashville’s newest superstars, Sam Hunt, and young German electronic-dance music producer Zedd on the Mug Stage. The smaller DeKuyper Stage will feature Baltimore’s own Good Charlotte, the Nashville duos Locash and High Valley. Saturday, May 20. Starting at 7 a.m. Pimlico Race Course, 5201 Park Heights Ave., Baltimore. Tickets are $100 in advance, or $110 day-of, or $155 for access to new The Mug & Vine Lounge with separate bar, private restrooms and picnic lounge. Call 877-206-8042 or visit preakness.com.
SIGNATURE THEATRE: PIANO MEN CABARET
Recent Signature Theatre performers Mark G. Meadows (Jelly’s Last Jam), Nick Lehan (Titanic) and Shayna Blass (Freaky Friday) perform the hits of multi-talented pop piano-playing singer-songwriters Elton John, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, and Ray Charles, to name four. Tickets are sold out for next week’s run except for an added matinee on Saturday, May 13, at 2 p.m. Signature Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. Tickets $35. Call 703-820-9771 or visit sigtheatre.org.
Over the past few years, singer Amelia Meath and producer Nick Sanborn have made some of the quirkiest and smartest pop music around, an electro-acoustic blend of tribal chants and folk melodies often unbridled, unhinged, sometimes even unadorned, and held together by spare, naturalistic production with accents from electronic/dance music. And the duo has never sounded more riveting or better than on What Now. The just-released sophomore set focuses on the dualities of life, love and progress — from the highest highs to the down-and-outs, the fleeting joys and lingering anxieties that come with impermanence. To hear them live, you’ll have to make a jaunt to Baltimore next week, since Sylvan Esso’s shows at the 9:30 Club later this month sold out almost as soon as they went on sale. Tuesday, May 16, at 8 p.m. Ram’s Head Live!, 20 Market Place, Baltimore. Tickets are $25. Call 410-244-1131 or visit ramsheadlive.com.
THE KENNEDY CENTER’S D.C. PARTNERSHIP SCHOOLS
Five D.C. public schools commit to boosting arts education through an initiative guiding development of individual strategic plans and providing access to Kennedy Center resources. The Kennedy Center also highlights each of the five institution’s artistic achievements through a free, weeklong concert series. The schedule is: Woodrow Wilson High School’s Concert Choir, Women’s Choir, Vocal Jazz Ensemble and the Wilson Singers, on Monday, May 15; Columbia Heights Educational Campus featuring the Lincoln Middle School Band, CHEC Orchestra, CHEC Concert Band and the CHEC Choir, on Tuesday, May 16; School Without Walls and its Stage Band and Concert Choir on Wednesday, May 17; Barnard Elementary School and its celebration of the artistic contributions of Africans and African Americans on Thursday, May 18; and a showcase of talented area high school scholarship winners of the Reston Chapter of Links, Inc. and Washington, D.C. Chapter of Society Inc, on Friday, May 19. All shows at 6 p.m. Millennium Stage. Free. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
THE WASHINGTON CHORUS WITH GAY MEN’S CHORUS, ARI SHAPIRO
Julian Wachner is going out with a bang — and not solely by virtue of Carl Orff’s bombastic Carmina Burana. For the final concert of his 10th and last season as music director of the Grammy-winning Washington Chorus, Wachner will lead the 200-voice group in a performance of Orff’s choral warhorse, further amplified with the addition of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, Children’s Chorus of Washington, and the Washington National Cathedral Boy and Girl Choristers. A celebratory nod to Washington’s unparalleled choral scene, the three groups aren’t the only guests for this monumental program. Six soloists will also take turns in the limelight, as will NPR’s Ari Shapiro. The All Things Considered co-host and sometimes Pink Martini singer will serve as special guest narrator in a performance of Igor Stravinsky’s dramatic oratorio Oedipus Rex, about the Sophocles tragedy. Sunday, May 14, at 5 p.m. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Tickets are $18 to $72. Call 202-342-6221 or visit thewashingtonchorus.org.
It sounds like a perfect fit: Eric Hilton and Rob Garza have teamed up with Kennedy Center Composer-in-Residence Mason Bates for a symphonic/electronic presentation of the D.C. musical duo’s classic Thievery Corporation sound. Teddy Abrams leads a 22-piece orchestra performing from the trendsetting act’s catalogue of experimental chillout music, merging world sounds such as bossa nova, dub reggae, Afrobeat and jazz with electronica. Launching with Bates and his instrumental/electronic work The Rise of Exotic Computing, the concert also features new arrangements from young classical composers. “It just blows my mind that we still have any sort of relevance,” Hilton told Metro Weekly in 2011. And yet, the one-time Eighteenth Street Lounge house band has garnered a Grammy nomination, released eight studio albums — including new album The Temple of I&I — and recorded with the likes of David Byrne, Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction, Lou Lou, Femi Kuti, and Anoushka Shankar. Monday, May 15, at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Tickets are $29 to $59. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
Halcyon Stage, the new performing arts presenting organization launched by former Washington Ballet director Septime Webre, welcomes one of the nation’s most intriguing contemporary ballet companies for two different programs at a different kind of dance venue, Union Market. On Sunday, May 14, from 12 to 2 p.m., the Philadelphia troupe offers a free series of short pop-up dance performances, presented as a sort of scavenger hunt to be found. The night before comes a more traditional evening of dances by Trey McIntyre and Matthew Neenan, set to the music of Amy Winehouse and indie-rock band Beirut, followed by a DJ Set and Meet-the-Artist Dance Party. Saturday, May 13. Doors at 8 p.m. Dock 5 at Union Market, 1309 5th St. NE. General seating tickets are $40. Call 202-796-4240 or visit halcyonstage.org.
A former writer for Late Night with Conan O’Brien as well as a former regular on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart — to say nothing of his own short-lived Comedy Central show — wry comedian Demetri Martin returns on his Let’s Get Awkward Tour. Saturday, May 13. Doors at 6 p.m. Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U St. NW. Tickets are $45. Call 202-888-0050 or visit thelincolndc.com.
UPRIGHT CITIZENS BRIGADE
Like the funniest extroverts at the party, the improv troupe Upright Citizens Brigade, from New York and Los Angeles, riffs on D.C. and audience-members alike. The brigade has many famous alumni, including Amy Poehler and Ed Helms. Sunday, May 21, at 7 p.m. Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. 600 I St. NW. Tickets are $20 in advance, or $25 day-of show. Call 202-408-3100 or visit sixthandi.org.
READING & DISCUSSION
JEFFREY GOLDBERG, ABDULLAH ANTEPLI
“Jews and Muslims in America: Political Challenges and Moral Opportunities” is this year’s focus at Sixth and I through its annual offering “The Ten: An Alternative Shavuot Experience.” Atlantic Editor-in-Chief Jeffrey Goldberg and Imam Abdullah Antepli discuss Jewish-Muslim relationships today and consider new solutions to difficult topics while studying ancient texts together. Monday, May 22, at 6:30 p.m. Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. 600 I St. NW. Tickets are $15 in advance, or $18 day-of event. Call 202-408-3100 or visit sixthandi.org.
Are You Anybody? is the new memoir from the well-regarded actor, known for his work on Arrested Development and Transparent — the latter of which has garnered him a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors’ Guild award, and two Emmys. Not too shabby for a man who grew up in San Francisco as a self-described overweight, Hungarian-Jewish kid with a lisp. Wednesday, May 17, at 7:30 p.m. Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. 600 I St. NW. Tickets are $35 for one ticket and one book. Call 202-408-3100 or visit sixthandi.org.
KHANH LE: WHILE WE WAIT
Cultural DC presents works by a D.C. interdisciplinary artist motivated by Syrian refugees and immigration issues to develop a mixed-media photography series reflecting on his personal experiences waiting with his Vietnamese family for permission to immigrate to the U.S. in the late ’80s. The resulting works are a mix of abstract and identity-based art. Opening reception Friday, May 12, from 6 to 8. On display through June 3. Flashpoint [Gallery], 916 G St. NW. Tickets are free. Call 202-315-1310 or visit flashpointdc.org. There’s also an Artist Talk Sunday, May 21, at 1:30 p.m., on the Third Floor of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, 8th and F Streets NW.
MARCIA COPPEL: CONNECT/DISCONNECT 2
A former speech pathologist, Coppel was inspired for her new series of paintings by a sign she saw at an outdoor cafe in Mexico, “Talk to Each Other. We don’t have Wi-Fi.” Some of the whimsical, colorful works in the show feature people talking to each other in cafes and at the beach, others are in their own worlds, floating in the air as well as sitting under umbrellas, and some are seated in a group with no interaction. Meet the Artist event Saturday, May 20, from 1 to 3 p.m. On exhibit through May 28. Gallery B in Touchstone Gallery, 901 New York Ave. NW Call 202-347-2787 or visit touchstonegallery.com.
MID CITY ARTISTS SPRING OPEN STUDIOS
Artists who are part of the 14th Street-centered Mid City Artists collaborative open their studios for the public to meet, learn, enjoy and buy art as part of this bi-annual event. The artists represented offer a range of work, from drawings to sculptures to photographs to mixed media, and include many of note to the LGBT community, including Charlie Gaynor, Michael Crossett, Robert Dodge, Gary Fisher, Betto Ortiz, Glenn Fry, Miguel Perez Lem, Branddave, Arthur Kwon Lee, Lucinda Friendly Murphy, Mark Parascandola, Jane Cave, Stephen Benedicto, and Indira Marin Dingledine. Evening preview show is Thursday, May 11, from 6 to 8:30 p.m., at the White Cloud Gallery, 1843 14th St. NW. Studios are open Saturday, May 13, and Sunday, May 14, from 12 to 5 p.m. Mid City corridor, from Dupont to Logan Circles and north to Florida Ave NW. Free. Call 202-506-3056 or visit midcityartists.com.
MIRROR TO THE WORLD: DOCUMENTARY PHOTOGRAPHY 2017
Photographer and Photoworks instructor Frank Van Riper juried the ninth and final installment of an annual showcase of emerging local photographic talent he started in 2009. Works by 11 local photographers made the cut, including Fred Zafran, Darrow Montgomery, Christine Pearl, Valerie Makepeace, Cherry Wyman, Ginger Werz-Petricka, Ron Petricka, Diana Hoppin, Steve Hoppin, Gana Browning and Penny Frates. The exhibit also features five in-depth “photo essays” on topics ranging from urban D.C. street photography to life in rural America and the “dying city of Civita di Bagnoregio. Closes Sunday, May 14. Photoworks Gallery, 1st Floor of the Arcade Building, 7300 MacArthur Blvd., in Glen Echo Park, Md. Call 301-634-2274 or visit glenechophotoworks.org.
An exploration into how Shakespeare’s words have inspired visual artists, as seen in pictures, oil sketches and paintings from the Folger’s collection. Why is there visual art in a library? Because collectors Henry and Emily Folger understood that it takes more than books and manuscripts alone to understand Shakespeare and his era. Opens Saturday, May 13. Through Feb. 17. Folger Shakespeare Library, 201 East Capitol St. SE. Call 202-544-7077 or visit folger.edu.
YAYOI KUSAMA: INFINITY MIRRORS
Only two weekends remain of the Hirshhorn’s insanely popular Instagram phenomenon, the first major traveling exhibition surveying the evolution of celebrated Japanese painter/sculptor’s immersive infinity rooms. The exhibition features six of Kusama’s rooms as well as Pumpkin, the whimsical, surrealy scaled sculpture, in a bold yellow-and-black pattern, displayed on the museum’s plaza. Closes Sunday, May 14. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Independence Avenue and Seventh Street SW. All free passes for the remainder of the show’s run are accounted for, but a limited number of same-day walk-up passes are available. Call 202-633-1000 or visit hirshhorn.si.edu.
FOOD AND DRINK
NOPA KITCHEN+BAR: $70 WEEKEND DINNER FOR TWO MENU
Across from the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Penn Quarter, this 160-seat American brasserie, part of the same family as Rasika, Bibiana and the Oval Room, should already be on your shortlist for brunch. On Sundays between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., each diner can choose between an appetizer and entree or sandwich, as well as a special mimosa or bloody Mary, for $28 to $30 each (or $38 with bottomless classic mimosas). Now Executive Chef Matt Kuhn is working to get Nopa on your radar earlier in the weekend as well, with a new dinner menu focused on composed dishes designed for couples, whether lovers or close friends, reasonably priced at $70 for two, before tax and tip. Though the menu changes weekly, regular options include: Nopa Spring Mixed Grill, with bites of quail, fennel sausage, ribeye, red prawns and grilled asparagus, plus garlic custard and ramp salsa verde; Crispy Chesapeake Soft Shell Crabs, three jumbo crustaceans served with Old Bay sweet corn and crab succotash, smoked new potatoes and pickled ramps; and the standout Maine Lobster Bake, a whole lobster with Old Bay-seasoned kielbasa, local clams and red prawns, and sides of roasted sweet corn, pee-wee potatoes and “smoked tomato butter.” Available exclusively on Fridays and Saturdays during dinner service, 5 to 11 p.m., subject to availability. Nopa Kitchen+Bar, 800 F St. NW. Call 202-347-4667 or visit nopadc.com.
PDT’s JEFF BELL AT COLUMBIA ROOM
New York’s PDT (Please Don’t Tell) bar earned a James Beard Award for “Outstanding Bar Program” in 2012, and the following year its head mixologist was deemed Bartender of the Year by the United States Bartenders’ Guild. Now Washington gets a chance to see what all the buzz is about as Bell takes over D.C.’s best cocktail bar, the Beard Award-nominated Columbia Room. For two nights, Bell will create a special cocktail menu paired with food from the venue’s chef Johnny Spero, temporarily replacing the usual three- or five-course prix-fixe menu developed by Spero and Head Bartender JP Fetherston in the swanky Shaw venue’s signature Tasting Room. Tuesday, May 16, and Wednesday, May 17, by timed reservations between 5:30 and 10:30 p.m. Columbia Room, 124 Blagden Alley NW. Tickets are $85 per person in the Tasting Room. Call 202-316-9396 or visit columbiaroomdc.com.
ABOVE & BEYOND
CONGRESSIONAL CEMETERY’S DAY OF THE DOG FESTIVAL
Known as one of the best places on Capitol Hill to walk your dog, the historic Congressional Cemetery typically only allows privileges to members of the K-9 Corps. But this festival, now in its fourth year, opens the grounds to the public and their pups. The free event features contests, games, demonstrations, plus representatives from pet adoption agencies and shelters with dogs and cats ready for adoption. There’ll also be vendors for pets and their owners, including brews from Port City Brewing Company and Atlas Brew Works and grub from various food trucks. It kicks off with a 5K race. Saturday, May 13, from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Congressional Cemetery, 1801 E St. SE. Free, though $40 to register for the race. Call 202-543-0539 or visit hccemetery.wixsite.com/dayofthedog.
FROM THE CANYONS TO THE STARS: FREE MULTIMEDIA CONCERT
Washington Performing Arts presents the East Coast premiere of a new production of Olivier Messiaen’s massive, 12-movement work, which the United States Air Force Band will perform, with pianist Peter Henderson, as still and moving images by Deborah O’Grady are screened. Messiaen’s From The Canyons to the Stars was inspired by the grandeur of Utah’s Bryce Canyon National Park, and the concert, led by conductor David Robertson, is designed as a commemoration of the National Park Service’s centenary in the nation’s capital. Friday, May 12, at 8 p.m. D.A.R. Constitution Hall, 1776 D St. NW. Free. Call 202-628-1776 or visit washingtonperformingarts.org.
LA-TI-DO’S ANNUAL DISNEY NIGHT
Timothy David Copney and the cast of Front and Center Stage’s Dragalicious: Love & War, coming in June to Virginia’s Lorton Workhouse, are the featured performers at the Disney-themed installment of this long-running variety series. Founded by Don Michael Mendoza and Regie Cabico, La-Ti-Do enlists professionals from the theater or opera worlds performing on their night off, and from time to time also welcomes spoken-word poets, storytellers and comedians. Mendoza and Anya Randall Nebel co-host the May show with additional performers Dwayne B, Carol Jean Clark, Madeline Cuddihy, Lizzie Dorman, Larry Grey, Courtney LeBlanc, Michelle Moses-Eisenstein, Lissa Peters and Michael Sandoval. Pianist Paige Rammelkamp provides accompaniment. Monday, May 15, at 8 p.m. Bistro Bistro, 1727 Connecticut Ave. NW. Tickets are $15, or only $10 if you eat dinner at the restaurant beforehand. Call 202-328-1640 or visit latidodc.wix.com/latidodc.
ZOOFARI: DINING FOR WILDLIFE
More than 100 area restaurants and 20 vintners and brewers offer samples at the annual culinary fundraiser benefitting Friends of the National Zoo. Chefs appearing at Zoofari 2017 include Jerome Grant of Sweet Home Cafe in the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Todd Gray of Equinox, Jeffrey Buben of Bistro Bis and Woodward Table, Rufino Bautista of Estadio, KN Vinod of Indique, Tony Chittum of Iron Gate and Jeff Tunks of Acadiana and District Commons. Radio broadcaster and emcee-about-town Tommy McFly is another special guest. Further adding to the ambiance: live music, a silent auction, giveaways from sponsors GEICO and Rosenthal Jaguar/Land Rover and naturally animal encounters along Olmsted Walk as well as in the Small Mammal House, Great Ape House and the Reptile Discovery Center — which will all be open during the event. Thursday, May 18, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW. Tickets are $200, or $500 to $1000 for VIP with a pre-party reception and lounge with champagne bar, valet parking and even a “Behind the Scenes” tour of the Panda House. Call 202-633-3045 or visit fonz.org.