Metro Weekly

Out On the Town: Arts and entertainment highlights — Feb 1-7

The Insult



Billed as A New Breed of Hero,” Bilal ibn Rabah, the 7th century companion of the Islamic prophet Muhammad known for his beautiful voice is the focus of this 3D computer-animated action-adventure film from, directed by Ayman Jamal and Khurram H. Alavi. Bilal won “Best Inspiring Movie” during Animation Day at Cannes. Opens Friday, Feb. 2. Area theaters. Visit


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)


The Washington Jewish Film Festival presents the latest critical reflection on military culture from Israeli filmmaker Samuel Maoz. Foxtrot examines both the strength and the absurdity of military service from multiple points of view, and relates a terrible tragedy at its heart with many moments of mordant humor, irony, and sincere emotional connection, in addition to beautiful cinematography. Tuesday, Feb. 13, at 7:30 p.m. The Aaron and Cecile Goodman Theater, 1529 16th St. NW. Tickets are $13.50 for each film. Call 202-777-3247 or visit


Joan Crawford snagged her only Oscar with this Michael Curtiz-directed classic from 1945. “She was a queen at MGM for many years, and then they kicked her out very unceremoniously,” “Movie Mom” film critic Nell Minow says of the film. “I think that a large part of why that is her best performance is that she really was suffering in real life. She really was very humiliated. And that comes across in the role.” The film screens as part of the Landmark Capital Classics series on Wednesday, Feb. 7, at 1:30, 4:30, and 7:30 p.m., at the West End Cinema, 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


One of five nominees for Best Foreign Language Film at this year’s Academy Awards, this powerful and revealing Lebanese film focuses on an insult blown out of all proportion, exacerbating already-high tensions between Muslims and Christians in modern-day Beirut. Kamel El Basha won Best Actor at the 2017 Venice Film Festival for his portrayal of Yasser, a Palestinian refugee facing off in a media-hyped court case against Adel Karam’s Tony, a Lebanese Christian. Directed and co-written by Ziad Doueiri (The Attack). Opens Friday, Feb. 2. Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema, 7235 Woodmont Ave. Call 301-652-7273 or visit

Everything Is Illuminated — Photo: C. Stanley Photography



Two families are changed forever when a selfie is sent to one person but shared by another in Gustavo Ott’s timely play, in a world-premiere production by GALA Hispanic Theatre. Performed in Spanish with English surtitles projected above the stage. Abel Lopez directs a cast including Luz Nicolas, Carlos Castillo, Karen Morales, Jose Gonzalez, Samantha Rios, and Maria Peyramaure. Opens Thursday, Feb. 1. Runs to Feb. 28. GALA Theatre at Tivoli Square, 3333 14th St. NW. Tickets are $30 to $45. Call 202-234-7174 or visit

4,380 NIGHTS

Playwright Annalisa Dias offers a critique of power, humanity, and what it means to be an American in her examination of the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center and our post 9/11 world. The title refers to the length of time — translating to a deplorable 12 years — that Malik Djamal Ahmad Essaid has been held without charge at Guantanamo, in a play that explores the effects of his detention. Kathleen Akerley directs Ahmad Kamal as El Kaim, plus Michael John Casey, Rex Daugherty, and Lynette Rathnam in this Signature Theatre production. To Feb. 18. Ark Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. Call 703-820-9771 or visit


Martin Blank has adapted talks that Booker T. Washington gave his students at Tuskegee University, sharing his wisdom for people of any age or race about how to have a productive life. The founding artistic director of Theater J, Blank now leads the American Ensemble Theater, which will produce this one-man show starring Greg Burgess as Washington, with accompaniment by pianist and music director Scott Farquhar, both of the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company. A tribute to Black History Month, the production doubles as a benefit for the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop and its tuition assistance program for low-income and homeless children to make art. Saturdays, Feb. 3, Feb. 10, Feb. 17, and Feb. 24, at 1 p.m. CHAW, 545 7th St. SE. Tickets are Pay-What-You-Will. Call 202-547-6839 or visit


It transpires that everyone — or almost everyone, anyway — wants to fuck British explorer Harry Bagley, who’s welcomed with open arms into the family at the heart of Caryl Churchill’s mischievously provocative comedy, which was written in 1978. Churchill was notably prescient on matters of gender identity and sexual orientation, and the gender-blurring Cloud 9 is every bit as gay-friendly and sex-positive as today’s most enlightened comedies. It’s a struggle to keep things straight, in every sense of the word, in a deliberately confounding work — and the confusion only adds to the excitement. Natka Bianchini directs a cast that includes Kathryne Daniels, Tavis Forsyth, Nick Fruit, Jonas Grey, Barbara Hauck, Matthew Payne, and Kristina Szilagyi. Closes Sunday, Feb. 4. Theatre Project, 45 West Preston St. Baltimore. Tickets are $15 to $30. Call 410-752-8558 or visit


Aaron Posner directs a stage adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer’s best-selling debut novel about a young man who sets out to find the woman who might or might not have saved his grandfather in Nazi Germany. The journey into an unexpected past, where reality collides with fiction, is brought to life on stage with a cast featuring Alex Alferov, Billy Finn, Eric Hissom, Daven Ralston, and Nancy Robinette. Closes Sunday, Feb. 4. The Aaron and Cecile Goldman Theater, Edlavitch DCJCC, 1529 16th St. NW. Tickets are $39 to $69. Call 202-777-3247 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. Closes Sunday, Feb. 4. Sprenger Theatre in Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $10 to $50. Call 202-399-7993 or visit


Hamlet is a monumental role for any actor, and a few years after personifying Barbra Streisand in the one-man tour-de-force Buyer & Cellar, Michael Urie returns to the Shakespeare Theatre Company to take on the troubled Danish prince, one of the hallmarks of Western literature. Yet if anyone knows Urie is up to such a serious, dramatic challenge, it’s Michael Kahn, who directs his former Julliard student directs Urie in a production that includes Robert Joy, Madeleine Potter, Keith Baxter, and Oyin Oladejo as Ophelia. Extended to March 4. Harman Hall, 610 F St. NW. Call 202-547-1122 or visit


An adaptation of Shakespeare’s Cymbeline by local artist Charlie Marie McGrath, Imogen is noteworthy as one of the first productions of the second Women’s Voices Theater Festival. McGrath, a directing fellow at the Shakespeare Theatre Company, has reimagined Shakespeare’s original adventure with Princess Imogen examining her expectations when the fairytale strays from the tried and true. Also, because it’s from Pointless Theatre Company, you can expect puppets. To Feb. 11. Dance Loft on 14 Theater, 4618 14th St. NW, 2nd Floor. Tickets are $30. Call 202-621-3670 or visit


A one-man show tracing a bittersweet journey of self-discovery, writer/performer W. Allen Taylor portrays a wide-range of colorful characters in addition to sharing personal stories and memories. As it happens, the father he never got the chance to know was the first black DJ in Cleveland. Director Ellen Sebastian Chang helped the Bay Area-based Taylor hone a show that pays posthumous tribute to his father by celebrating the rich cultural legacy of black radio, with inclusion of standout tracks from his father’s era. Taylor, who has performed the work all over for more than a decade now, brings it to D.C. for a run presented by the Atlas Performing Arts Center. To Feb. 10. Lab Theatre II, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $20 to $35. Call 202-399-7993 or visit


Set during the American Revolution, Timberlake Wertenbaker’s sweeping drama follows the journey of a pacifist (Christopher Dinolfo) and a slave (Felicia Curry) as they cross paths with Thomas Jefferson (Michael Halling), George Mason (Christopher Bloch), and Sally Hemings (Kathryn Tkel). Produced by Ford’s Theatre as its contribution to the Women’s Voices Theater Festival, Jefferson’s Garden explores the contradictions between our founding fathers’ ideals and the realities of freedom in America. Nataki Garrett directs a standout local cast also featuring Kimberly Gilbert, Thomas Keegan, Michael Kevin Darnall, and Maggie Wilder, and a design team including Milagros Ponce de Leon on sets, Ivania Stack on costumes, Laura Mroczkowski on lights, and John Gromada with original music and sound. Closes Thursday, Feb. 8. Ford’s Theatre, 511 10th St. NW. Call 800-982-2787 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. 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. Closes Sunday, Feb. 4. Lang Theatre in Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Call 202-399-7993 or visit


Having staged Last Train to Nibroc last season, Washington Stage Guild offers the second in Arlene Hutton’s “Nibroc Trilogy,” following a couple in the aftermath of World War II and beyond. Lexi Langs and Wood Van Meter return as May and Raleigh, and we see them at home in Kentucky with their very different mothers, who have plenty of ideas for how they should proceed with their lives. To Feb. 11. Undercroft Theatre of Mount Vernon United Methodist Church, 900 Massachusetts Ave. NW. Tickets are $50 to $60. Call 240-582-0050 or visit


Dominique Morisseau’s timely drama is set in Detroit during last decade’s Great Recession and vividly portrays the modern labor struggle in a changing America, revealing the real people on the factory line. Nicole A. Watson directs Brittany Bellizeare, Stephanie Berry, Sekou Laidlow, and Gabriel Lawrence in this contribution to the Women’s Voices Theater Festival. Opens Thursday, Feb. 1. Runs to March 4. 700 North Calvert St., Baltimore. Call 410-332-0033 or visit


The fictitious Bottom brothers (Rob McClure and Josh Grisetti) set out to write the world’s very first musical in an attempt to finally one-up their astoundingly successful contemporary William Shakespeare. Adam Pascal (Rent) stars as the Bard in the touring production of 2015’s Tony-nominated musical by brothers Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick, with a book co-written by John O’Farrell. Directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw (Mean GirlsThe Book of Mormon), New York Magazine referred to the romp as “The Producers Spamalot The Book of Mormon squared!” Opens Tuesday, Feb. 6, at 7:30 p.m. To Feb. 18. National Theatre, 1321 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Call 202-628-6161 or visit


As its contribution to the Women’s Voices Theater Festival, Arena Stage offers a world premiere of Mary Kathryn Nagle’s exploration into the state of Native American affairs. Focused particularly on Washington’s historical treatment of the Cherokee Nation and the present-day consequences, as examined through the work of a young Cherokee lawyer fighting for her people while confronting the ghosts of her grandfathers. To Feb. 18. Mead Center for American Theater, 1101 6th St. SW. Call 202-488-3300 or visit


Thornton Wilder’s other Pulitzer Prize-winning play, less well-known than Our Town, is an epic saga, dating to 1943, that was far ahead of its time in mixing farce, burlesque, satire and absurdism. Who better than Constellation Theatre Company to bring that to life in the 21st century? Mary Hall Surface directs an ensemble cast acting out the time-traveling tragicomedy about the Eternal Family, led by a couple who have been married 5,000 years, with a baby dinosaur and a woolly mammoth saved from extinction as family pets. To Feb. 18. Source Theatre, 1835 14th St. NW. Tickets are $25 to $55. Call 202-204-7741 or visit


Two unidentified agents from an unspecified agency arrest a man for an unspecified crime in Kafka’s century-old work, given an underground interpretation by Paata Tsikurishvili, the founding artistic director of Synetic Theater. Shu-nan Chu leads the cast as Josef K, with support from Synetic company members Tori Bertocci, Kathy Gordon, and Ryan Tumulty, plus Chris Willumsen, Thomas Beheler, and Lee Liebeskind. Now to Feb. 18. Synetic Theater, 1800 South Bell St., Arlington. Call 800-494-8497 or visit


Theresa Rebeck (TV’s Smash) loosely adapts William Congreve’s 17th-century comedy of manners by exposing the foibles of the one-percenters. Presented by Folger Theatre as part of the Women’s Voices Theatre Festival, The Way of the World is set in modern-day Hamptons and stars noted Broadway actress Kristine Nielsen (Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike). To Feb. 11. 201 East Capitol St. SE. Call 202-544-7077 or visit

The Wolves — Photo: Teresa Wood


As its contribution to the Women’s Voices Theater Festival, Studio Theatre commissioned this play from Sarah DeLappe following a pack of 16-year-old girls who are the stars of their school’s soccer team. Marti Lyons directs a work about the “contact sport of adolescence” as told from the female perspective. “I wanted to see a portrait of teenage girls as human beings,” DeLappe says. “As complicated, nuanced, very idiosyncratic people who weren’t just girlfriends or sex objects or manic pixie dream girls but who were athletes and daughters and students and scholars and people who were trying actively to figure out who they were in this changing world around them.” To March 4. Studio Theatre, 14th & P Streets NW. Call 202-332-3300 or visit


In a cheap motel room, an embezzling mayor is supposed to meet with his female accountant, while in the room next door, two undercover cops wait to catch the meeting on videotape. Confusion ensues in Paul Slade Smith’s farce, directed by Ray Ficca in a D.C. premiere featuring Jon Townson, Noah Shaefer, Mario Baldessari, Karen Novack, Emily Levey, Jenna Lawrence, and Christopher Herring. Now to Feb. 10. Keegan Theatre, 1742 Church St. NW. Tickets are $35 to $45. Call 202-265-3768 or visit

Beauty Pill — Photo: giovannini



Soul-pop singer-songwriter Alice Smith is understated, sophisticated and every bit as vocally talented as fellow four-octave ranger Christina Aguilera — except her music is better. Case in point is her most recent album, the astonishing She, which charts the ups and downs and ins and outs of love, even just friendship, with musical twists and lyrical turns as sharp and surprising as they come. Smith returns to her hometown of D.C. in a double-bill concert at the Kennedy Center with Bilal, the Grammy-winning neo-soul pioneer from Philadelphia. Saturday, Feb. 10, at the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater. Tickets are $29 to $69. Call 202-467-4600 or visit


Dr. Cornel West is the special guest for a performance of the Cornel West Concerto by the jazz band originally formed at the behest of Wynton Marsalis at New York’s Lincoln Center. The scholar/activist will share innovative spoken-word text as part a piece exploring the importance of music in the fight for social change, with music composed by the Grammy-winning O’Farrill, son of Cuban jazz bandleader Chico O’Farrill. The 18-piece ensemble will also perform other pieces written by its leader, including Clump, UnclumpA Wise LatinaAfro Latin Jazz Suite, and The Three Revolutions. Part of Strathmore’s Windows to the World series of international performances. Friday, Feb. 2, at 8 p.m. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Tickets are $25 to $65. Call 301-581-5100 or visit


A decade ago, the experimental, cinematic-sounding, electronic/rock band was touted as a harbinger of a new era of homegrown D.C. music. And then its lead producer, singer-songwriter and guitarist Chad Clark fell ill to a rare virus that infected his heart. After two open-heart surgeries and several years recuperating, Clark revived the group in part to record and perform scores for theatrical productions by Taffety Punk and Woolly Mammoth , as well as create novel sound art installations at the Arlington Arts Center and the former Artisphere complex. The latter included an “Immersive Ideal” exhibition in which the group recorded live its most recent album, Beauty Pill Describes Things As They Are, named to Best Albums lists by NPR Music and Rolling Stone in 2015. Beauty Pill members Basla Andolsun, Jean Cook, Drew Doucette, and Devin Ocampo join Clark in a rare live concert. Puff Pieces and Pearie Sol open. Saturday, Feb. 3. Doors at 7 p.m. Rock and Roll Hotel, 1353 H St. NE. Tickets are $15. Call 202-388-ROCK or visit


D.C.’s nine-piece Balkan and funk brass band is focused on having a whole lot of fun in a whole lot of different ways — as evidence, there’s the three separately released, widely varying collections of remixes drawing from the 2015 set I Love You Madly. Black Masala also puts on one heck of a live show, which comes as no surprise given that the group consists of members of the incredibly lively Thievery Corporation. A regular at venues all around the region, Black Masala next performs a T.G.I.F. show as part of the band’s debut at Pearl Street Warehouse on the District Wharf. Philadelphia’s fiery funk/soul act Swift Technique opens. Friday, Feb. 2. Doors at 7 p.m. 33 Pearl St. SW. Tickets are $15. Call 202-380-9620 or visit


In the Gothic nave of Washington National Cathedral, the acclaimed early music ensemble based at the Folger Shakespeare Library performs soaring and ecstatic melodies of this great 12th-century visionary and composer. Notably, the program also includes works by living female composers — Susan Botti, Kate Soper, and Pulitzer Prize-winner Shulamit Ran — performed in new arrangements for female voices and medieval instruments. The female vocal ensemble Trio Eos and vocalists Shira Kammen and Christa Patton join Robert Eisenstein on viol and violin and Christopher Kendall on lute. Friday, Feb. 2, and Saturday, Feb. 3, at 8 p.m. Washington National Cathedral, Massachusetts and Wisconsin Avenues NW. Tickets are $30 to $60. Call 202-544-7077 or visit


Known for fiery live shows complete with a full light show that diehard fans called the Campers travel far and wide to see, the progressive bluegrass band from Kalamazoo, Michigan, makes their debut at The Anthem this weekend, with support from fellow Michigander Billy Strings, picked as one of “10 New Country Artists You Need to Know” by Rolling Stone in 2017. Saturday, Feb. 3. Doors at 6 p.m. The Anthem, 901 Wharf St. SW. Remaining tickets are $40. Call 202-265-0930 or visit


The Grammy-winning a cappella group from South Africa still dazzles after more than 50 years together. Must it’s the “sheer joy and love that emanates from their being,” as their most famous booster Paul Simon put it. The group tours in support of last year’s Songs of Peace & Love for Kids & Parents. Monday, Feb. 5, and Tuesday, Feb. 6, at 8 p.m. The Barns at Wolf Trap, 1635 Trap Road, Vienna. Tickets are $40 to $42. Call 877-WOLFTRAP or visit


The two-time Tony-nominated stage starlet (Bonnie & ClydeRodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella) ventures from Broadway to North Bethesda to perform a cabaret as part of a series featuring “Broadway’s finest voices” selected by Michael Feinstein. The creative force behind Feinstein’s/54 Below in New York as well as the leading champion of the Great American Songbook, the gay singing pianist has partnered with Strathmore for this Cabaret Supper Club series at its intimate dinner/concert venue in the Pike & Rose development. Osnes, the 32-year-old Minnesota native, first came to fame after winning the role of Sandy in NBC’s competition show Grease: You’re the One That I Want for the 2007 Broadway revival of the musical. Wednesday, Feb. 7, at 8 p.m. Amp by Strathmore, 11810 Grand Park Ave. North Bethesda. Tickets are $37 to $57. Call 301-581-5100 or visit


Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and federal holiday may have already passed, but you can sing his praises at any time. On Sunday, Feb. 11, Washington Performing Arts will do just that with an annual choral tribute. Men, women and children of the WPA Gospel Choirs team up with the Choral Arts Society of Washington — 300 voices strong — to perform in honor of King. Sunday, Feb. 11, at 7 p.m. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Tickets are $25 to $70. Call 202-467-4600 or visit


East Texas blues meets southwest Louisiana swamp rock in the music of this Grammy-nominated pianist and singer-songwriter, who offers tastes of roadhouse rock, jump blues, R&B, soul, and zydeco. Ball is also a regular attraction at celebrated area concert venues from the Hamilton to the Birchmere to the Barns at Wolf Trap, where she returns for a pre-Valentine show. Friday, Feb. 9, at 8 p.m. 1635 Trap Road, Vienna. Tickets are $35 to $45. Call 877-WOLFTRAP or visit

Mary Gauthier — Photo: Jack Spencer


In a career spanning over two decades, the lesbian country/folk artist has had her songs covered by everyone from Jimmy Buffett (“Wheel Inside The Wheel”) and Blake Shelton (“I Drink”) to Bettye LaVette (“Worthy”) and Candi Staton (“Mercy Now”). A native of New Orleans now based in Nashville, Gauthier returns to the area for an intimate concert supporting her powerful new concept album Rifles & Rosary Beads, a collection of 11 deeply personal songs that she co-wrote with U.S. veterans and their families. Saturday, Feb. 10. Doors at 6:30 p.m. Jammin Java, 227 Maple Ave. E. Vienna. Tickets are $20 to $22. Call 703-255-3747 or visit


Carl Orff’s dramatic classic gets a modern twist with an arrangement for two pianos and five percussionists in the latest concert from the small chamber ensemble led by the husband-and-wife team of artistic director Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez and executive director and pianist Grace Cho. The Washington Master Chorale, the Children’s Choir of Washington, and Six Degree Singers join NOW to perform Carmina Burana as the centerpiece of a program that also includes a rarely heard masterwork, George Crumb’s Selections from American Song Books featuring vocalist Lena Seikaly accompanied by four percussionists and prepared piano. Saturday, Feb. 10, at 7 p.m. Live! at 10th and G, 945 G ST. NW. Also Sunday, Feb. 11, at 3 p.m. Westmoreland Unitarian Christian Church, 1 Westmoreland Circle NW. Bethesda. Tickets are $15 to $30. Call 240-235-5088 or visit


Part of the international series “Bernstein at 100,” this all-Bernstein program is led by Steven Blier and Michael Barrett, both Bernstein protégés and co-artistic directors of the New York Festival of Song. The pianists will present a tribute in their organization’s typically informative way to the legendary composer’s genius with selections from Bernstein’s Arias and Barcarolles and featuring up-and-coming vocalists Rebecca Jo Loeb and Wolf Trap Opera alum Joshua Jeremiah. Friday, Feb. 2, at 7:30 p.m. The Barns at Wolf Trap, 1635 Trap Road, Vienna. Tickets are $40. Call 877-WOLFTRAP or visit


Billed as “A Very Intimate Acoustic Evening,” this concert featuring the ’80s hitmaker and her husband and right-hand-man as band lead guitarist is a different animal than the powerhouse performances you may have caught at Wolf Trap in previous years. For fans, this will register as an early Valentine’s treat, the chance to sing-along to stripped-down versions of “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” “Love Is A Battlefield,” and “We Belong,” among her standout hits. Monday, Feb. 5, at 7:30 p.m. The Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave. Tickets are $115. Call 703-549-7500 or visit


The Ensemble-in-Residence of the Washington Conservatory offers an early Valentine with a concert highlighting two beloved piano works from the Romantic period, Dvorak’s Piano Quartet in E-flat Major and Brahms’ Piano Quartet in G Minor. Pianist Read Gainsford is joined by other Pressenda members violinist Aaron Berofsky, violist Amadi Azikiwe, and cellist Tobias Werner. Saturday, Feb. 3, at 8 p.m. Westmoreland Congregational Church, 1 Westmoreland Circle, Bethesda. Tickets are free, donations welcome. Call 301-320-2770 or visit


Virginia’s Creative Cauldron offers the final performance in its eighth annual Passport to the World Concert Series celebrating the music and dance of cultures around the world, with performances by artists representing a broad spectrum of genres: jazz, Latin, opera, klezmer and more. The series closes with a performance by a band composed of musicians from Senegal, Nigeria, Colombia, and the U.K., in a performance with special guest vocalist and curator of the whole series. Friday, Feb. 2, at 7:30 p.m. ArtSpace Falls Church, 410 South Maple Ave. Tickets are $20 to $22 per performance. Call 703-436-9948 or visit


A Broadway pioneer and Great American Songbook original is given his due in another lightly scripted, song-focused revue from stalwart vocal/cabaret presenting outfit the InSeries. Directed by Brian J. Shaw, All The Things You Are: Jerome Kern features soloists including tenor Cornelius David, soprano Suzanne Lane, bass-baritone Jarrod Lee, baritenor Garrett Matthews, and mezzo-sopranos Elizabeth Mondragon and Krislynn Perry. Musical direction comes from pianist Reenie Codelka, who accompanies the singers in showtunes including “Ol’ Man River” and “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man” from Kern’s most enduring musical Show Boat and also “The Way You Look Tonight” from the lesser-known Swing Time, in addition to standards including “A Fine Romance,” “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes,” and “All The Things You Are.” Remaining shows are Friday, Feb. 2, at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 3, at 2:30 and 8 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 4, at 2:30 p.m. Sprenger Theatre in the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $20 to $40. Call 202-399-7993 or visit


Opera buffs can see budding next-generation stars — specifically those from the WNO’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program — in a concert now in its 15th year at the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery. Staged and hosted by director Nicholas Olcott, this program, Transformations and Revelation, focuses on excerpts from operatic classics spanning three centuries as composed by five heavyweights, from Mozart to Rossini to Stravinsky. The roster includes soloists Alexandria Shiner, Eliza Bonet, Alexander McKissick, Michael Hewitt, Arnold Livingston Geis, Christopher Kenney, Allegra De Vita, Frederick Ballentine, Leah Hawkins, and Timothy J. Bruno. Sunday, Feb. 4, at 2 p.m. Bette Rubenstein Grand Salon, 1661 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Free. Call 202-633-1000 or visit


The ’90s party band, cheekily named after O.J. Simpson’s notorious failed getaway car, returns to the 9:30 Club for an early Valentine’s Day concert. Playing through that decade’s songbook in all styles of popular music is a five-member ensemble consisting of singer/guitarist Diego Valencia, singer Gretchen Gustafson, guitarists Ken Sigmund and McNasty, and drummer Max Shapiro. Friday, Feb. 9. Doors at 8 p.m. Doors at 7 p.m. 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. Tickets are $22. Call 202-265-0930 or visit

Dragon Boat Racing



The celebrated dance company returns for its annual engagement at the Kennedy Center kicking off Tuesday, Feb. 6, with two new productions: Members Don’t Get Weary, a blues-inspired work from Ailey star Jamar Roberts identified as “a response to the current social landscape in America” and set to music by John Coltrane, and The Golden Section, a sizzling ensemble work by Twyla Tharp with breathtaking leaps, fine partnering, and a rocking score by David Byrne. Works by the company’s Artistic Director Robert Battle as well as Talley Beatty, Gustavo Ramirez Sansano, and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar are also included in this year’s mixed-repertory programs, all of which end, per tradition, with Revelations, the masterpiece by the company’s namesake, who died of AIDS-related complications in 1989. Opening Tuesday, Feb. 6, at 7 p.m., followed by a Black-Tie Gala on the Terrace. To Feb. 11. Kennedy Center. Opera House. Tickets are $49 to $175, or $1,000 for the gala. Call 202-467-4600 or visit


The highlight of the New York-based company’s annual run of dates at the Kennedy Center is the D.C. premiere of a full-length ballet from the company’s Artist in Residence Alexei Ratmansky. A “light-as-meringue” production featuring a “lost ballet” score by Richard Strauss, performed live by the Opera House Orchestra, with sets and costumes by pop surrealist Mark Ryden, Whipped Cream follows the plight of a young boy who overindulges in pastries and has to rely on Princess Praline and her court to save him by whipping up a satisfyingly sweet ending. Thursday, Feb. 1, and Friday, Feb. 2, at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 3, at 1:30 and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 4, at 1:30 p.m. Kennedy Center Opera House. Tickets are $49 to $249. Call 202-467-4600 or visit


Last year, the focus was on Confucius. Now another award-winning Chinese dance-drama comes to the Kennedy Center courtesy of the China Performing Arts Agency. Set against the backdrop of the Japanese occupation in 1930s China that helped spark World War II, Dragon Boat Racing is an epic ballet that shares the love story that would go on to inspire a particularly famous and noteworthy musical composition in Cantonese — and later, the entire nation. Zhou Liya and Han Zhen direct and choreograph the show, written by Tang Dong with music by Du Ming, and is a production from the leading Cantonese arts organization in Guangdong Province, the nation’s most populous. Although an entirely different outfit than the one behind Confucius, CPAA’s latest touring show is every bit as large in scale and size — six featured performers with an ensemble of 38 dancers — as it is in ambition, weaving messages about Chinese history and culture into a dazzling state-of-the-art spectacle of showmanship and stagecraft. Friday, Feb. 2, at 8 p.m., and Saturday, Feb. 3, and Sunday, Feb. 4, at 2 and 8 p.m. Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater. Tickets are $30 to $110. Call 202-467-4600 or visit


Explore human flight through stories of relocation in a work part of a larger multimedia series. Jane Franklin Dance members Emily Crews, Kelly Hogan, Carrie Monger, Amy Scaringe, Brynna Shank, and Rebecca Weiss perform to music by Mark Sylvester and David Schulman at a free Happenings at the Harman Happy Hour event that includes a complimentary drink at the Forum bar. Wednesday, Feb. 8, at 6 p.m. Sidney Harman Hall, Harman Center for the Arts, 610 F St. NW. Tickets are free, but reservations required. Call 202-547-1122 or visit


Billed as “the world’s foremost all-male comic ballet company,” the Trocks, as they’re known, have only gotten better, bigger, and more popular in the 44 years since they first donned drag for a show in a tiny loft space in New York’s Meatpacking District. “The dancing is better, more technically secure,” the company’s longtime artistic director Tory Dobrin told Metro Weekly. “And that has allowed the comedy also to broaden out a lot, to be less subtle and more campy.” The troupe has been nearly all gay from the beginning, and continues to perform mostly for a mix of gays and gay-friendly aficionados of dance and theater, with the recent addition of a totally new demographic: “Now we have a lot of children.” Over the years, the Trocks have performed for larger audiences and in bigger and more prestigious venues — notably the Kennedy Center Opera House last year, and now the Concert Hall at George Mason University. Friday, Feb. 2, at 8 p.m. GMU Center for the Arts, 4373 Mason Pond Drive, Fairfax. Tickets are $30 to $50. Call 888-945-2468 or visit



Best known from her stint as a writer and performer on Saturday Night Live from 2014 to 2017, Zamata is a regular on the standup circuit and is regarded for her work as an ACLU’s Celebrity Ambassador for Women’s Rights. Friday, Feb. 9, and Saturday, Feb. 10, at 7 and 9 p.m. Drafthouse Comedy, 1100 13th St. NW. Tickets are $20. Call 202-750-6411 or visit


D.C.’s leading company for longform improv offers a “Wintry Mix,” a series of vignettes featuring different ensembles, with each plot developed on-the-fly, spurred by a single audience suggestion. 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

Kramerbooks: Raising America’s Zoo



Local journalist Kara Arundel tells the story of her father-in-law, Arthur “Nick” Arundel, a gorilla hunter-turned-activist who played an instrumental part in transforming the National Zoo into one of the world’s leading conservation centers. (Fun fact: Arundel published the Times Community Newspapers, for whom Metro Weekly‘s editor-in-chief served as a film critic for 15 years.) Tuesday, Feb. 6, at 6:30 p.m. Kramerbooks, 1517 Connecticut Ave. NW. Call 202-387-1400 or visit


On the day before what would have been the 73rd birthday of Bob Marley, the Folger Shakespeare Library features two lauded Jamaican poets to celebrate the musician and his reggae music. The evening includes a reception and book signing after readings and a conversation with the poets moderated by poet, jazz scholar and Vermont Public Radio host Reuben Jackson. Monday, Feb. 5, at 7:30 p.m. 201 East Capitol St. SE. Tickets are $15. Call 202-544-7077 or visit


Bullets into Bells: Poets & Citizens Respond to Gun Violence is a new anthology of poems by celebrated writers — Patricia Smith, Natalie Diaz, Mark Doty, and Rita Dove, among them — complemented by responses from gun violence activists, including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jody Williams, survivors of shootings at Columbine, Sandy Hook, Charleston Emanuel AME, and Virginia Tech, and Samaria Rice, mother of Tamir, plus a foreword by former U.S. Rep Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and an introduction from Irish writer Colum McCann. Contributors to the anthology and others working to prevent gun violence will share readings and reflections, followed by a panel conversation with the Democratic Senator from Connecticut and the anthology’s editor Brian Clements, poets Kyle Dargan and Taray Bray, Aimee Tavares of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, activists Sarah Clements, Dennis Henigan, and Kate Ranta, and Daniel Webster of the Johns Hopkins University Center for Gun Policy and Research. Tuesday, Feb. 5, at 7 p.m. Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. 600 I St. NW. Tickets are $10, or $20 including a copy of the anthology, or $28 for two tickets and a book. Call 202-408-3100 or visit



Transformer’s 15th Annual DC Artist Solo Exhibition features paintings and collage works recounting the artist’s personal recovery from traumatic events in her life. A series of lively, varied, and imaginative works, with undertones of violence and trauma, and shapes and colors recalling specific emotions. Artist Talk on Feb. 3. On exhibit to Feb. 24. Transformer, 1404 P St. NW. Call 202-483-1102 or visit


Elements That Define Us is a new exhibition showcasing 21 artists working in various mediums and styles on display at the Prince George’s African American Museum and Cultural Center. Tomora Wright curated this exhibition with works by regional artists, among them Alonzo Davis, Gina Marie Lewis, Taryn Harris, Ylysses Marshall, James Terrell, Toni Lane, Ronald Jackson, Elana Casey, Shawn Lindsay, and Zsudayka Nzinga Terrell. Opening reception is Friday, Feb. 2, from 6 to 9 p.m. On display through May 26. 4519 Rhode Island Ave. North Brentwood, Md. Call 301-809-0440 or visit


The latest group show at the downtown gallery was inspired by the notion of a nation and people constantly on the move — in the physical sense, per various means of transport, as well as in the figurative sense, by striving to get ahead in life through advanced education and career shifts. Member artists explore transitions and mobility in their works, ranging from photographs and hand-pulled prints, to paintings and drawings, to collages and sculptures. Opening Reception is Friday, Feb. 2, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. On display through Sunday, Feb. 25, with a Closing Reception featuring painting and collage demonstrations. Touchstone Gallery, 901 New York Ave. NW Call 202-347-2787 or visit


The winter edition of the seasonal art series at the Coldwell Banker Dupont/Logan office focuses on a series of large paintings by this Mid City Artist grouped under the title The Art of Evolution. Murphy’s work is an exploration of the mysteries of evolution from the Big Bang to our big brains, with a more recent focus on images reflecting large cosmic interactions and small neurons in the brain. On display through February. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, 1617 14th St. NW. Call 202-387-6180 or visit


For this immersive installation, artist Marion Colomer collaborated with New York-based perfumer Dana El Masri to create an original scent reflecting the melancholy of lost desire. With notes of green leaves and rainforest, the smell is of a lost paradise, an effluvia of dampness and decomposing soil. The scent is intended to add a layer of sense to Colomer’s often contradictory large-scale watercolors on display, where beauty oscillates between daydreaming and doubt. Sometimes the artist portrays the Edenic lush jungle, while other times, an all-consuming and dangerous jungle of doom. Soft renderings of human bodies with glum expressions further paint a scene in which carnal desire and hope for humanity have faded from view. The installation is presented at an Atlas District gallery started by collectors Dolly Vehlow and Steve Hessler. Opening Reception is Friday, Feb. 2, from 7 to 9:30 p.m. On display through Feb. 23. Gallery O on H, 1354 H St. NE. Call 202-649-0210 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


A new juried artist show in Old Town features personal works in various media exposing the lasting effects migration can have on one’s cultural identity and individual experiences, even when a generation or two removed from being immigrants. The 16 artists represented in this Target Gallery exhibition are either immigrants themselves or were raised in immigrant families, and their works, in painting, sculpture, collage, and video reveal, as juror Adriana Ospina of the Art Museum of Americas puts it, “a multi-layered personal and complex process of journeys, cultural exchange, assimilation, rejection, transculturation, and preservation.” Nine of the 16 artists are from the region: Abiodun Eniyandunni, Kanika Sircar, Marite Vidales, and Helen Zughaib of D.C., Bahar Jalehmahmoudi of Adelphi, Md., Rafael Rodriguez of Hyattsville, Md., Jenny Wu of Alexandria, Ju Yun of Chantilly, Va., and WonJung Choi of Richmond. A public reception is Thursday, Feb. 8, from 6 to 8 p.m. On display through March 4. The Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 North Union St. Alexandria. Free. Call 703-838-4565 or visit


The King Street Gallery on Montgomery College’s Silver Spring campus presents a a collective of six artists working across media in their examinations of the hearty plants all around us. D.C.’s Valerie Wiseman, with polaroids of “cult status” plants, and Baltimore’s Suzy Kopf, with wallpaper featuring found imagery of popular, non-native houseplants, are represented in the exhibition otherwise focused on works by artists from Brooklyn: Ellie Irons and Anne Percoco, with a mobile display drawn from their Next Epoch Seed Library, Christopher Kennedy and his urban landscape art ‘zines, and Emmaline Payette and her rocks and boulders made out of post-consumer materials. Opens Monday, Feb. 5. An artist talk and reception is set for Thursday, Feb. 8, from 5 to 8 p.m. On exhibit through March 10. Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation Arts Center, 930 King Street. Silver Spring. Call 240-567-1368 or visit


Visitors to the National Geographic Museum are being transported to Jerusalem via an immersive 3D experience unlike anything seen in a museum before. Tomb of Christ offers a virtual tour of the holiest church in all of Christendom — built on the site where Jesus of Nazareth, according to tradition, was crucified, buried, and resurrected — to learn about its storied history and enduring mysteries. The exhibition also focuses on recent technological advances that have boosted ongoing research and restoration of the Holy Edicule, or tomb of Christ dating to the fourth century. But be forewarned: The 3D exhibition is not recommended for guests susceptible to motion sickness or dizziness. Now to Aug. 15. National Geographic Museum, 1145 17th St. NW. Timed-entry tickets are $15. Call 202-857-7588 or visit



Dinner at Bourbon Steak in Georgetown’s Four Seasons — not to mention an overnight stay at the luxury hotel — would make a lovely Valentine’s Day present all its own. Yet Head Bartender Torrence Swain and Pastry Chef Yudith Bustos are teaming up to offer another sweet option: A three-course dessert tasting and cocktail-making class. Swain will show participants how to make “Elixirs of Love with Chartreuse, Absinthe, and Benedictine” while Bustos will complement them with desserts. Saturday, Feb. 10, from 12 to 2 p.m. Bourbon Steak at Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC, 2800 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Tickets are $65 per person, exclusive of tax and gratuity. Call 202-944-2026 or visit


The winter edition of DC Restaurant Week 2018 features 250 restaurants offering three-course meals for $22 at lunch or brunch, and $35 at dinner. The price point makes many of the more expensive restaurants in town a bit more affordable and a more enticing way for those restaurants to make a good first impression with newcomers. Although the promotion officially ended Sunday, Jan. 28, a number of participating restaurants are making it a two-week affair and continuing it to Sunday, Feb. 4. Visit for a full list, to book reservations, and to enter for prizes including tickets, gift cards, and cookbooks.


In a rather inspired twist on Valentine’s Day, the upstairs area at the original Hank’s Oyster Bar becomes an oasis non-romantic types out there. In the runup to the Hallmark-manufactured holiday, the bar features a drinks menu to keep all the single lads and ladies company, ranging from a S.A.D. (Single Person’s Awareness Day) offering of a half-carafe of red wine to I Do Or Whatever with whisky, pineapple, and lychee syrup and garnished with a Ring Pop, plus a variety of liquors available for Love On The Rocks. You can also eat your feelings while there of course, and you can shed any gently used clothing you don’t want or need as part of the Bring Your Ex’s Clothing Drive for Martha’s Table. Nightly beginning Friday, Feb. 9. To Wednesday, Feb. 14. Up Bar, Hank’s Dupont, 1624 Q St. NW. Call 202-462-4265. Visit


Punxsutawney Phil may conjure up six more weeks of winter on Groundhog Day next week, but even if he does, that’s no reason to sulk in your shadow. Why not try your hand at a better future as part of an eccentric promotion at 14th Street’s Kimpton Mason & Rook Hotel (formerly Hotel Helix). On the one hand, psychic Ariana Lightningstorm will work to upstage the groundhog with personal prognostications via complimentary palm readings in Radiator, the hotel’s restaurant and bar. On the other hand, Radiator’s bar team helmed by Sarah Rosner wants to lift your spirits with a cocktail menu featuring both hot and cold offerings — ’tis the lingering season. Also on hand will be a winter menu of “elevated bar bites” from Executive Chef Jonathan Dearden. And speaking of, Dearden has been in the news of late, having won DC Refined‘s “Best Chef on the Block” cook-off, a feeder contest to a forthcoming new national chef competition on ABC’s The Chew. As the designated D.C. representative, that means national and TV exposure is in the cards for the Sterling, Va., native. Maybe he’ll be good luck on Groundhog Day, too. Friday, Feb. 2, with happy hour starting at 4 p.m., and the dining room open at 5 p.m. Mason & Rook, 1430 Rhode Island Ave. NW. Call 202-742-3100 or visit


As a kick-off to National Chocolate Lovers Month — aka February — Union Market will feature a weekend of retail pop-ups from several leading or up-and-coming artisanal chocolate purveyors. Among those selling gifts, treats, and more will be Harper Macaw, whose factory is just north of the Arboretum on Bladensburg Road in N.E. D.C., New Hampshire-based single-origin purveyor Vicuña, and Pacari and Cimarron Cocoa Estates, two companies based in Ecuador. Opens Thursday, Feb. 1. To Sunday, Feb. 4. Union Market, 1309 5th St. NE. Call 800-680-9095 or visit

La Boum Brunch



Launched seven years ago at L’Enfant Cafe, the incredibly popular boozy brunch/day party known as La Boum has only gotten bigger and boum-ier in recent years — even earning a nod as one of Bravo TV’s “Top 5 Raging Brunches in the U.S.” The self-billed “revolutionary-style brunch” welcomes patrons of all genders and sexual orientations for a multi-course dinner and four hours of drinking, dancing to a DJ, and doing “everything they weren’t allowed to do under pure parental supervision as young adults.” Yet you have to be very grown-up and plan ahead in particular for Saturday brunch, as those sell out weeks in advance — as of press time, Saturday, Feb. 24, is the first available, and with only a few seats left at that. Abigail Room, 1230 M St. NW. Tickets are $32.50 to $35 per person, plus 20-percent gratuity and drinks. Call 240-286-4286 or visit


Indefatigable local drag sensation Shi-Queeta-Lee and her troupe of local drag queens — and the occasional king — pay lip-synched tribute to pop divas ranging from Tina Turner — Shi-Queeta’s specialty — to Beyonce, Diana Ross to Adele, Chaka Khan to Fantasia. Earlier this month, Shi-Queeta flew the Nellie’s Drag Brunch coop that she started a decade ago, moving her drag home base to Chateau Remix in Northeast D.C. a few blocks down Benning Road from the DC Eagle. Yet she’s always on the go, and often on the road — to the point sometimes you wonder if she has a drag double allowing her to be in two places at once. On the day of the big game, she’ll take the field at her main Bethesda venue to perform a Halftime-esque show with her crew likely more entertaining than the real one later in the evening. Sunday, Feb. 4. Doors at 11 a.m., with show at 1 p.m. Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club, 7719 Wisconsin Ave. Tickets are $25. Call 240-330-4500 or visit


Penn Quarter’s Moulin Rouge-inspired restaurant Sax offers movement-based spectacles, including aerial stunts, hip-hop group routines, pole performances, and burlesque, to add excitement beyond the food. And male burlesque is the showcase every Sunday during brunch, as a group of male professional dancers, aerialists, and bodybuilders perform full-length shows, accompanied by unlimited mimosas delivered by by table service studs. Sundays at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Sax Restaurant & Lounge, 734 11th St. NW. Tickets are $50 to $65 including appetizers and unlimited mimosas. Call 202-737-0101 or visit

The Birchmere: Burlesque-a-Pades


New York’s Angie Pontani, billed as the “International Queen of Burlesque,” presents the 11th anniversary of a Valentine’s Day-themed show mixing performances in the revived art of striptease with magic, music and comedy. New York drag king and transgender comedian Murray Hill returns as host of an evening featuring performances by Potani, Baltimore performance artist Cherie Nuit, LGBTQ burlesque artist The Maine Attraction, The Evil Hate Monkey, Philadelphia’s Peek-A-Boo Revue featuring Goldi Fox, Ginger Leigh, and Cherry Bomb, and Cleveland’s musical husband-and-wife super-duo Pinch & Squeal. Friday, Feb. 9, at 7:30 p.m. The Birchmere, 3701 Mt. Vernon Ave., Alexandria. Tickets are $29.50. Call 703-549-7500 or visit


The Maryland-native mentalist and magician pulls out all manner of psychological tricks to wow audiences and “demonstrate the untapped powers of the mind.” The Atlas offers Major’s final show in D.C. before heading to New York and making his Broadway debut. Friday, Feb. 9, at 8 p.m., and Saturday, Feb. 10, at 5:30 and 8:30 p.m. Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $35 to $75. Call 202-399-7993 or visit


Several dozen manufacturers will cram more than 600 new models into the Convention Center for the annual showcase that is the largest public show in D.C. and touted as one of the biggest shows in the country. Once again, hosts LGBTQ Family Night on Thursday, Feb. 2, expanded to run from 5 to 9 p.m., followed by an after-party hosted by Toyota and Lexus at a nearby location TBA. With additional sponsorship from Cadillac and Mazda, the evening includes a private room to escape the crowds with snacks and iced tea. Among other highlights, there’s the 3rd annual “Art-of-Motion: A Visual Art and Fashion Exhibition,” an 8,000-square feet space on the third floor where avant-garde designers will paint vehicles and murals in real-time, in addition to other displays and discussions about their graphic styles. Opens Friday, Jan. 26. Runs to Feb. 4. The Walter E. Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Place, NW. Tickets are $12 per day, with various VIP Tours available. For more information, visit

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Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @ruleonwriting.

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