Metro Weekly

Out On the Town: DC arts and entertainment highlights, January 4-10

General Leia (Carrie Fisher) in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Photo: Lucasfilm Ltd.



Oliver (Armie Hammer) is an academic who comes to stay at a family’s villa in 1980s Italy. There, he strikes up a bond with 17-year-old Elio (Timothée Chalamet), one that changes both men’s lives as their desire for one another takes over. Luca Guadagnino directs the coming-of-age tale, based on the book by André Aciman, and critics are falling head-over-heels for its intellectual eroticism. Could it be this year’s Moonlight? Now playing. Area theaters. Visit (Rhuaridh Marr)


One of those old-school movie musicals you see much of these days. Stanley Donen directed the 1954 Oscar-winning battle of the sexes, set on the frontier in the Oregon Territory. The film continues Landmark’s West End Cinema Capital Classics. Screenings are Wednesday, Jan. 10, at 1:30, 4:30, and 7:30 p.m., 2301 M St. NW. Happy hour from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 to $12.50. Call 202-534-1907 or visit



Despite what some of the fans are saying, The Last Jedi, thrillingly directed by Rian Johnson is magnificent. It’s easily the best Star Wars installment since 1980’s Empire Strikes Back, and if it doesn’t quite match that film’s narrative density, it’s certainly not for lack of trying. Johnson has crafted a storyline that pays tribute to the past but also stares headlong into an uncertain future, at times taking the story in powerful unexpected directions. The visuals are intense and strong, particularly during the final, dazzling 45 minutes, and the score, by John Williams, has never been more potent or meaningful. Carrie Fisher, in what would tragically become her final screen role, brings an essential heart and warmth to The Last Jedi. Similarly, Mark Hamill gives a finely honed, resonant performance and Last Jedi honors both the character of Luke, so vital to the series as a whole, and the actor himself. Torches, however, have been passed, and Daisy Ridley’s Rey is the new centerpiece. The film is two and a half hours long, making it the longest installment of the series. And yet, you never want it to end. Now playing. Area theaters. Visit (Randy Shulman)

On Your Feet — Photo: Matthew Murphy



The Kennedy Center presents the four-time Tony-winning musical from 2015 based on the classic film, directed by Christopher Wheeldon and featuring a magical George and Ira Gershwin score and a book by Craig Lucas. Closes Sunday, Jan. 7. Kennedy Center Opera House. Call 202-467-4600 or visit


The sun’ll come out tomorrow and every day this holiday season at Olney Theatre Center. Forty years after composer Charles Strouse, lyricist Martin Charnin, and book writer Thomas Meehan teamed up for the feel-good musical about a determinedly optimistic little orphan girl, countless other, real-life kids have been inspired by the popular work to become theater performers (or at least theater queens) in their own right. The latest is Noelle Robinson, who heads a cast of 32, including Rachel Zampelli as Miss Hannigan, Kevin McAllister as Daddy Warbucks, and Wilson Jermaine Heredia as Rooster Hannigan. Extended to Sunday, Jan. 7. Mainstage, Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney, Md. Call 301-924-3400 or visit


SCENA Theatre presents a world premiere, based on historical events, by John Shand. The story of a charming and clever philandering priest in the 17th Century, the provocative drama delves into the intolerance, xenophobia and persecution of the powers that be, depicting a collision between five people who cannot tell the truth from lies. Opens Friday, Jan. 5. Runs to Feb. 4. Sprenger Theatre in Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $10 to $50. Call 202-399-7993 or visit


The National Theatre plays host to a touring production of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s Tony-winning musical phenomenon, featuring new staging and reimagined scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo. Closes Sunday, Jan. 7. National Theatre, 1321 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Call 202-628-6161 or visit


Virginia’s 1st Stage presents Aaron Posner’s imaginative retelling of Chaim Potok’s beloved novel about a young Jewish painter torn between his Hasidic upbringing and his need to pursue his artistic voice. Nick Olcott directs a cast featuring Andy Brownstein, Hyla Matthews, and Lucas Beck. Closes Sunday, Jan. 7. 1st Stage, 1524 Spring Hill Rd. Tysons, Va. Tickets are $33. Call 703-854-1856 or visit


The Gloria Estefan story helmed by a powerhouse team: director Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots), choreographer Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys), and writer Alexander Dinelaris (Birdman). Opens Tuesday, Jan. 9. Runs to Jan. 28 in the Kennedy Center Opera House. Tickets are $59 to $149. Call 202-467-4600 or visit


Erika Rose plays a woman finding her place in war-torn Nigeria in this sequel from Caleen Sinnette Jennings to Queens Girl in the World, a New York Times-certified hit from the first Women’s Voices Theatre Festival two years ago. Now part of the second iteration of the festival, Mosaic Theater presents a world premiere and its first commission, becoming part of its series “Transformational Journeys: Inspired Singular Explorations.” Paige Hernandez directs. Opens Thursday, Jan. 4. To Feb. 4. Lang Theatre in Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Call 202-399-7993 or visit


Stephen Karam’s uproarious, hopeful, heartbreaking play, a keenly observed examination of our modern age of anxiety, won the 2016 Tony for Best Play. It now tours the country with a six-member cast including Richard Thomas, Pamela Reed, and Daisy Eagan, and directed by Joe Mantello. Opens Tuesday, Jan. 9. Runs to Jan. 28. Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater. Tickets are $49 to $139. Call 202-467-4600 or visit


Theresa Rebeck’s loose adaptation of William Congreve’s 17th-century comedy of manners illuminates the foibles of the one-percenters. Opens Tuesday, Jan. 9. To Feb. 11. Folger Theatre, 201 East Capitol St. SE. Call 202-544-7077 or visit

Jellybean Benitez



A year ago, Brooklyn’s funky 12-piece ensemble performed at the Black Cat for The Anti-Ball, part of a series of Counter-Inaugural Events. They return for two nights at the Hamilton that is likely to be less politically motivated but every bit as musically stirring. Antibalas is credited with introducing the genre Afrobeat to a wider global audience, most notably as songwriters and members of the house band for last decade’s hit Broadway musical, Fela! Thursday, Jan. 11, at 7:30 p.m., and Friday, Jan. 12, at 8 p.m. The Hamilton, 600 14th St. NW. Tickets are $20 to $25 per show, or $40 for a two-day pass. Call 202-787-1000 or visit


Baltimore-native composer Philip Glass’s rare classical showcase for kettledrum, the Concerto Fantasy for Two Timpanists, is performed by the BSO’s James Wyman and NSO’s Jauvon Gilliam. And that’s just the headline piece in a Marin Alsop-led program also featuring Saint-Saëns’ enchanting Carnival of the Animals, with added narration by Baltimore hip-hop artist Wordsmith. All that, and Debussy’s La Mer and Ravel’s La Valse, too. Thursday, Jan. 11, at 8 p.m. Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St., Baltimore. Also Sunday, Jan. 14, at 3 p.m. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Call 410-783-8000 or visit


“A Salute to Billie Holiday & Frank Sinatra” is the focus of a concert by two leading contemporary jazz stars, teaming up for the first time. The daughter of swing jazz veteran Carline Ray and Louis Armstrong’s music director Luis Russell, Catherine Russell is a Grammy-winning vocalist who toured with David Bowie before going solo. She’ll transport audiences to the glory days of the genre with jazz guitarist, vocalist and bandleader John Pizzarelli, who has worked with everyone from the Boston Pops to John McCartney. Friday, Jan. 5, at 8 p.m. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Tickets are $40 to $95. Call 301-581-5100 or visit


Known for playing a skilled blues guitarist in the 2000 Coen Brothers hit O Brother, Where Art Thou?, the Louisiana musician first emerged nearly a decade earlier with his experimental fusing of hip-hop with the blues, including producing the first rap/blues album for RCA, 1994’s 21st Century Blues…From Da Hood,. Also a supporting player in the Oscar-winning film Ray and HBO’s Treme, among others, King has continued to write songs built on the “old” blues foundation, including on his 2012 set Bona Fide. Thursday, Jan. 4, through Sunday, Jan. 7, at 8 and 10 p.m. Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Tickets are $31 to $36, plus $12 minimum purchase. Call 202-337-4141 or visit


Neither the singing percussionist Eddie Hartness nor any other Virginia-bred member of Eddie From Ohio actually has any ties to the Buckeye State. the folk act’s name is simply an obscure tribute to “Ed From Ohio” Crawford, the lead singer/guitarist of ’80s-era alt-rock act Firehose. Since its founding over a quarter century ago, Eddie From Ohio has gone on to tour regularly throughout the U.S. But the Wammie-winning act remains particularly popular in its native region, typically selling out weekend shows well in advance at big, lauded venues such as the Birchmere. This year is no different: As of press time, tickets remain only for shows Friday, Jan. 12, and Sunday, Jan. 14, at 7:30 p.m. The Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. Tickets are $42.50. Call 703-549-7500 or visit


For many, the name Jellybean Benitez is associated with Madonna. The DJ was integral to the rise of the artist atop the chart, having co-produced her first three Top 10 hits, “Holiday,” “Lucky Star,” and “Borderline.” While these days he’s “working with two multi-platinum superstar acts” that he couldn’t name in an interview with Metro Weekly last summer due to confidentiality agreements, his primary focus is on the music of his early days, when he was a marquee DJ at storied clubs like Paradise Garage and Studio 54. “I get to play a lot of disco records in their entirety — and in the original versions that could be anywhere from eight- to 15-minutes-long,” says the executive producer and program director of Sirius XM’s Studio 54 Radio. “There’s no other radio station doing that globally.” Benitez will offer another live version of his Sirius show this Saturday, “A Night at the U Street Disco.” He’ll spin alongside local house music legend Sam “The Man” Burns. Saturday, Jan. 6, after 10 p.m. U Street Music Hall, 1115A U St. NW. Tickets are $10. Call 202-588-1880 or visit


Every few months, the Washington Jewish Music Festival presents a concert served with a kosher buffet at the Edlavitch Jewish Community Center on 16th Street. Seth Kibel and fellow musicians will perform new arrangements of traditional Eastern European/Jewish melodies as well as original songs drawing upon jazz, classical, world beat, rock and other genres for an entertaining blend of music. Sunday, Jan. 7, at 11 am. The Aaron and Cecile Goldman Theater, Edlavitch DCJCC, 1529 16th St. NW. Tickets are $16.88 for the concert only, or $33.75 for concert with brunch. Call 202-777-3247 or visit


The famous Grammy- and Tony-nominated performer leads this year’s free musical celebration honoring Martin Luther King, Jr’s legacy, courtesy of the Kennedy Center and Georgetown University. Also on the bill is the Let Freedom Ring Choir with music director Rev. Nolan Williams Jr. The 16th annual John Thompson Legacy of a Dream Award will be presented to Steve Park, executive director and founder of D.C.’s Little Lights Urban Ministries. Monday, Jan. 15, at 6 p.m. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Free tickets will be given away two per person on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 4:30 p.m. Call 202-467-4600 or visit



As part of its annual presentation celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, Kankouran invites guests to explore Africa in Bolo (Bridge of Togetherness), a new work touted as a breathtaking journey into the influences that African dance and culture has had on contemporary dance styles. Led by the company’s co-founder and artistic director Assane Konte, the concert features the senior and junior companies of KanKouran as well as the children’s company and the community class. Saturday, Jan. 13, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Jan. 14, at 4 p.m. Dance Place, 3225 8th St. NE. Tickets are $25 in advance, or $30 at the door. Call 202-269-1600 or visit



Wendy Wrobeski, a DC Improv regular, offers jokes along with Franqi French and Matty Litwack in the latest of a monthly series in Maryland. Saturday, Jan. 13, at 8 p.m. Highwood Theatre, 914 Silver Spring Ave. Tickets are $20 online, or $25 at the door. Call 301-351-2096 or visit


As seen in appearances on NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, HBO’s Down & Dirty with Jim Norton and Comedy Central’s Comedy Underground with Dave Attell, Katz deftly combines highbrow and lowbrow humor. Sunday, Jan. 14, at 6 p.m. Kennedy Center Family Theater. Tickets are free, distributed in the Hall of States starting at approximately 5 p.m. on the day of the performance. Call 202-467-4600 or visit


D.C.’s leading company for longform improv offers a “wintry mix” of vignettes featuring different ensembles, with each plot developed on-the-fly, spurred by a single audience suggestion. Opens Thursday, Jan. 11. Weekends to Feb. 4. District of Columbia Arts Center (DCAC), 2438 18th St. NW. Tickets are $12 in advance, or $15 at the door. Call 202-462-7833 or visit



A collection of the finest drawings by Netherlandish artists born before 1585 are now on display at the National Gallery of Art. Drawn from Rotterdam’s Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, works on display include: Studies from the circle of Rogier van der Weyden, two sheets by Hieronymus Bosch, six drawings by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, and a selection of works by Abraham Bloemaert. Closes Sunday, Jan. 7. National Gallery of Art’s West Building, 6th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Free. Call or visit


You’ve likely seen striking work by this artist before, particularly if you’re a regular local theatergoer. Mosaic Theater Company, GALA Hispanic Theatre, and Theater J have all commissioned Ferrand for illustrations capturing key characters in key scenes used to promote specific productions. In his first solo show at Maryland’s contemporary Adah Rose Gallery, the focus is on stylized paintings portraying subjects who feel isolated, alienated or alone — even if surrounded by those they love, and despite the ever-connected state of modern-day life. Closes Friday, Jan. 5. 3766 Howard Ave. Kensington, Md. Call 301-922-0162 or visit


The Smithsonian American Art Museum presents a groundbreaking exhibition of 15 spellbinding, image-projecting light sculptures created nearly a century ago. This was a time, of course, well before technology made Thomas Wilfred’s colorful moving light creations an easy feat, and his contemporaries, including Jackson Pollock, László Moholy-Nagy and Katherine Dreier, recognized the Danish-American artist as an innovator. Yet the difficulty to maintain his sculptures is why, after faddish mid-20th century popularity, they’ve long been relegated to the storage archives of modern art museums, all-but forgotten along with the artist himself. With works shown together for the first time in nearly 50 years, Lumia, organized by Keely Orgeman of the Yale University Art Gallery, is helping to restore Wilfred’s works and reputation as a modern art pioneer. Closes Sunday, Jan. 7. Smithsonian American Art Museum, 8th and F Streets NW. Call 202-633-1000 or visit


A Black Artists of D.C. exhibition featuring 2D and 3D images by 12 artists declaring freedom through resistance, collected experience and past reflection. Daniel Brooking, James Brown, Jr., Summer Brown, Abiodun Eniyandunni, T.H. Gomillion, Francine Haskins, Esther Iverem, Magruder Murray, Alanzo Robles-Gordon, Russell Simmons, James Terrell, and Zsudayka Nzinga Terrell are all represented in the exhibition, curated by Rhea Beckett. Now to Jan. 14. District of Columbia Arts Center (DCAC), 2438 18th St. NW. Call 202-462-7833 or visit


From her very first Hollywood film — the Josef von Sternberg’s 1930 drama, Morocco, which earned the actress her only Academy Award nomination — Dietrich “was able to introduce to a very conservative, American, puritan population the idea of accepting women being attracted to other women,” says National Portrait Gallery historian Kate Lemay. Dressed for the Image charts the actress’s career, longevity, and influence on everyone from Madonna and Jane Lynch to Janelle Monae. It includes details about the 1955 outing of the German-born actress as bisexual. On exhibit through April 15, 2018. National Portrait Gallery, 8th and F Streets NW. Call 202-633-8300 or visit


Potomac’s Glenstone Museum loans a major wall sculpture for display at Strathmore, continuing a partnership that has brought works by Martin Honert, Lee Bontecou and Keith Haring to the Music Center. Part of the late Kelley’s series of 100 two- and three-dimensional works that imitate and subvert the folk-art tradition of preserving small, personally meaningful objects in mosaic-like decorations, Flat #27 is a large-scale, abstract assemblage of thousands of illegible political buttons and beads fixed with grout onto a wood panel and hung on the wall like a painting. On view through April 2018. Lockheed Martin Lobby, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Call 301-581-5100 or visit


The Smithsonian American Art Museum tapped the design practice FreelandBuck to create an immersive, ceiling-suspended structure in the Renwick Gallery, exploring the notion of craft in the field of architecture. The installation combines the practices of drawing, fabrication and architectural design in an innovative overlap of disciplines, embracing both Western and Eastern concepts of perspective. The resulting structure, consisting of hanging, overlapping synthetic fabric and depictions of nine iconic American ceilings, is meant to be a visual puzzle that reveals itself to visitors as they move throughout the room — creating a sense of parallax, where the distance and depth of the ceilings appear to vary when viewed from different lines of sight. Through Feb. 11. Renwick Gallery’s Bette Rubenstein Grand Salon, 1661 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Call 202-633-1000 or visit


Marjorie Merriweather Post had one of the most remarkable collections of jewelry of the 20th century. For its latest exhibition, her former estate displays and shares stories about more than 50 exquisite accessories from the late cereal heiress and the historic gems that went into making them. Leading designers Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Harry Winston and Verdura are represented in the collection, which includes pieces on loan from other museums and private collections. Closes Sunday, Jan. 7. Hillwood Estate, 4155 Linnean Ave. NW. Suggested donation is $18. Call 202-686-5807 or visit


Sketches and studies created by members of the Washington Society of Landscape Painters will be on display in an exhibition focused on the process of painting in the field and trying to capture the essence and important aspects of what might be included in the final work. A number of the final pieces will be exhibited alongside the rough and quick sketches. Closes Sunday, Jan. 7. The Athenaeum, 201 Prince St., Alexandria. Call 703-548-0035 or visit


The Dupont Underground brings together a cross-section of the artist’s recent work in digital media encapsulating the remarkable odyssey of his life and the many surprising twists and turns he has explored. Through Jan. 15. Dupont Underground, 1500 19th St. NW. Suggested donation of $5. Visit



To mark its 7th anniversary, the subterranean beer hall has opted to launch an annual cask competition among roughly two dozen craft breweries from across the country. Attendees will receive a keepsake glass and the ability to taste and vote on the best cask, with the winning brewery earning the plaque “The Best in Cask.” Participating area breweries include 3 Stars, Atlas, DC Brau, and Right Proper from D.C., Denizens from Maryland, and Crooked Run Brewing, Heritage, Mad Fox, and RedBeard Brewing from Virginia. Saturday, Jan. 6, from 2 to 10 p.m. Bier Baron Tavern, 1523 22nd St. NW. Tickets are $27.37, or $69.57 for VIP including a food voucher for $20, a complimentary ticket to a future beer event or dinner and other swag. Call 202-293-1887 or search “cask festival” at


James Beard Award-winning chef Vikram Sunderam’s newest dining concept reflecting the modern-day cuisine of his native India makes for a similarly satisfying and noteworthy experience as his original Rasika. A degree above fast-casual, Bindaas focuses on the kind of food one might find on the streets and in the food markets of Mumbai, yet offered in a more relaxed and refined environment. With this just-opened second outpost, the intimate, not-quite-secret Cleveland Park gem becomes a much bigger and more noticeable jewel in a younger, hipper, and more diverse part of town. Impressive dishes from the opening menu include “Roadside Sandwich” burgers made from either chicken or seasonal vegetables and served on a pao bun with chutney, a Butternut Squash lentil/rice pancake with green curry sauce, and a delicious and filling Chicken Curry with tomatoes, garam masala and saffron rice. Bindaas also features a full bar with wine, beer and creative cocktails made with spirits from local distilleries, including Green Hat Gin and Cotton & Reed Rum. Don’t even think of going without trying the Tamarind soda, house-made with honey, ginger, clove, nutmeg and sumac. 2000 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Call 202-516-4326 or visit

Three Kings Day — Photo: Stan Weinstein



GALA Hispanic Theatre offers its 41st annual Fiesta de los Reyes Magos (Three Kings Day Celebration). The timeless tale of the Magi is presented with song, dance, and storytelling in a celebration featuring Bienvenido Martinez as Balthasar, Delbis Cardona as Gaspar, and Hector Diaz as Melchior. Additional performers include Honduran singer Maria Isolina, the Mexican youth dance company Los Quetzalitos and the Bolivian dance group Caporales San Simon. Alejandro Negron returns as the emcee. Sunday, Jan. 7, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tivoli Square, 3333 14th St. NW. Free, though a small gift for a child is suggested. Call 202-234-7174 or visit


Now in its fourth year, this light art exhibition presented by the Georgetown Business Improvement District features eight displays by multidisciplinary artists. Billed as a way to “re-imagine the season of light,” the works, curated by Deirdre Ehlen MacWilliams and many presented in collaboration with Light Art Collection and the Amsterdam Light Festival, include: Aqueous by Jen Lewin of New York, an interactive, walkable landscape of meandering pathways in Georgetown Waterfront Park; Horizontal Interference by Joachim Sługocki and Katarzyna Malejka from Poland, a colorful cord structure connecting trees and light poles in Washington Harbour; Open Lounge by Géraud Périole, with 20 handcrafted chandeliers made of acrylic, plastic and rope hanging in Cady’s Alley; Glow Structural Remix by Robin Bell of D.C., a 15-minute looped video of historic imagery with holiday colors and shapes harkening the activities of the once bustling Old Georgetown Theater; and The Neighbors by OmbréLumen – Arthur Gallice & Herve Orgeas, four figures made of LED bent wires to create a clan of glowing people along Wisconsin Avenue. Ends Sunday, Jan. 7, every night from 5 to 10 p.m. Visit for more information, including a free Curator’s Audio Tour set to music.

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