A Moment in the Reeds
13TH ANNUAL HUMP! FILM FESTIVAL
Sex advice columnist Dan Savage offers up a sex-positive, rough-around-the-edges assortment of homemade pornography — gay, straight, fetish, you name it. “Hump!” is less erotic than it is avant garde. While definitely not soft-core, it’s less about titillation than breaking down sexual barriers. Savage has curated the annual festival since 2005, with each year bringing a new batch of shorts, each clocking in at less than five minutes, featuring amateurs revelling in sexual expression. Thursday, April 19. Doors at 7 p.m. Also Friday, April 20, and Saturday, April 21. Doors at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Black Cat Mainstage, 1811 14th St. NW. Tickets are $20. Call 202-667-4490 or visit humpfilmfest.com.
A MOMENT IN THE REEDS
This month’s RA Xtra screening organized by Reel Affirmations is an intimate drama about the chance encounter of two men by a Finnish lakeside. Among the first queer-themed feature films made in Finland, Mikko Makela’s A Moment in the Reeds focuses on Leevi, who returns home from studying abroad to help renovate the family lake house with his father and hired help Tareq, a Syrian asylum seeker. Leevi and Tareq proceed to give into their mutual attraction and discover one another. Rayceen Pendarvis of The Ask Rayceen Show hosts the screening, which is preceded by a Cocktails and Cinema Open Bar Happy Hour with DJ Honey. Friday, April 20, starting at 6 p.m. HRC Equality Center, 1640 Rhode Island Ave. NW. Tickets are $12, or a VIP Pass for $25 including reserved seating, a complimentary cocktail, and candy or popcorn. Visit thedccenter.org.
CATVIDEOFEST 2017: ENCORE SCREENINGS
Filmmaker Will Braden (Le Chat Noir) assembled a 70-minute program that’s a fancy feast for cat lovers, chock-full of cat videos both popular and new and undiscovered. CatVideoFest, co-presented with the Bethesda-based, globally focused nonprofit Alley Cat Allies, also doubles as a fundraiser and networking event for feline fans. Friday, April 27, at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, April 28, at 4 p.m., and Sunday, April 29, at 11 a.m. AFI Silver Theatre, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. Tickets are $13 general admission. Call 301-495-6720 or visit afi.com/Silver.
FULL METAL JACKET
Matthew Modine and Vincent D’Onofrio star as two young Marine recruits struggling through boot camp, led by a foul-mouthed, headstrong drill instructor — whose dialogue was influenced by the real-life experiences of Vietnam-era training instructor-cum-actor R. Lee Ermey, who died this week aged 74. Stanley Kubrick’s film sheds light on the dehumanizing effects of combatants in the Vietnam War. Part of Angelika’s “Heeere’s Kubrick” series. Wednesday, April 25, at 7:30 p.m. Angelika Pop-Up at Union Market, 550 Penn St. NE. Call 800-680-9095 or visit angelikapopup.com. Also at the Angelika Film Center Mosaic, 2911 District Ave., Fairfax, Va. Call 571-512-3301 or visit angelikafilmcenter.com.
I FEEL PRETTY
Amy Schumer’s latest comedy has a simple premise: An “ordinary woman” falls at SoulCycle and wakes up believing she is the most beautiful woman in the world. Cue various scenes in which Schumer wears what she wants, flaunts her body, goes after men, and generally exudes the confidence we all wish we could have. However, the film’s trailers have generated backlash, with some arguing that, as a white, blonde, able-bodied woman, Schumer is already “conventionally” attractive by Hollywood standards. Opens Friday, April 20. Area theaters. Visit fandango.com. (Rhuaridh Marr)
No, not the Stephen King-sourced supernatural horror, but a silent rom-com from 1927 that turned actress Clara Bow into a star as Hollywood’s original “It Girl.” Based on writings by British novelist Elinor Glyn, Clarence Badger’s comedy celebrates the brash and unconventional “flapper” style of its shop-girl heroine as well as of other plucky women in the Jazz Age. That Jazz Age spirit — and especially its sound — will be brought to life via a new musical score by Andrew Earle Simpson. The curator and resident musician for the ongoing Silent Film Series at the Atlas Performing Arts Center will offer live piano accompaniment as the film screens overhead. Sunday, April 22, at 4 p.m. Lab Theatre II, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $18 to $20. Call 202-399-7993 or visit atlasarts.org.
MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED
A documentary examining the history of education in the United States that also highlights compelling new approaches intended to revolutionize the teaching profession. The Hill Center partners with Blyth-Templeton Academy, the recently established private “micro” high school in its neighborhood, for a special screening of Greg Whiteley’s feature-length documentary, which debuted at Sundance in 2015. The program includes a pre-screening reception with light fare and a post-screening open-ended discussion with the academy’s leaders Temp Keller and Lee Palmer. Wednesday, April 25, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Hill Center, Old Naval Hospital, 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. Free. Call 202-549-4172 or visit HillCenterDC.org.
STRANGERS ON A TRAIN
Alfred Hitchcock’s masterful 1951 thriller is well-known for its sly gay undertones. Farley Granger stars as an amateur tennis star unwittingly dragged into a murder scheme by a psychopathic Robert Walker. Fun fact: Parts of Strangers On A Train were filmed in D.C. It gets a big-screen revival as part of Landmark’s West End Cinema Capital Classics series. Wednesday, April 25, 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 landmarktheatres.com.
Documentaries focused on the Israel-Palestine conflict screen for free on select Sundays as part of Voices from the Holy Land series, now in its fourth year and sponsored by 41 area interfaith, interdenominational, and civic groups. Among the offerings this Sunday is a screening of Mordechai Vardi’s hopeful 2017 feature-length look at the Roots Project, followed by a moderated discussion with the audience. A first-of-its-kind initiative, Roots finds Palestinians and Israeli settlers working towards coexistence and peace not through politics but rather through a grassroots movement. All of it stems from the work of Ali Abu Awwad, who over the past few years has hosted regular sessions on his land at which people on both sides of the conflict share their stories and discuss their hopes and ideas for a better future. Screens Sunday, April 22, at 2:30 p.m. Unitarian Universalist Church, 4444 Arlington Blvd., Virginia. Visit voicesfromtheholyland.org for more details.
The Normal Heart — Photo: John MacLellan
AFTER THE REHEARSAL AND PERSONA
Celebrated Belgian director Ivo van Hove (the recent, stunning Broadway revival of A View From The Bridge) has brilliantly reimagined for the stage two Ingmar Bergman screenplays for a theatrical double-bill delving into the messy lives of stage artists. The Kennedy Center presents van Hove and his acclaimed ensemble Toneelgroep Amsterdam performing in Dutch with projected English titles as part of the “Bergman 100 Celebration” honoring the legendary Swedish artist, considered one of the most accomplished and influential auteurs of all time. Opens Thursday, April 19, at 8 p.m. To April 22. Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater. Tickets are $29 to $59. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
FLY BY NIGHT
Kim Rosenstock conceived of this darkly comic rock fable, developed with Will Connolly and Michael Mitnick, set during a New York City blackout in 1965 and focused on a man who becomes enchanted with two sisters. Kathryn Chase Bryer directs a local production of the bittersweet romance, a sweeping ode to young love, featuring Aaron Bliden, Tiziano D’Affuso, Ryan Manning, Sasha Olinick, Farrell Parker, Jamie Smithson, and Caroline Wolfson. Walter “Bobby” McCoy serves as musical director. Weekends to May 6. 1st Stage, 1524 Spring Hill Rd. Tysons, Va. Tickets are $38. Call 703-854-1856 or visit 1ststage.org.
In 1993, Matthew Sweet toured as an opening act for newly out lesbian rocker Melissa Etheridge. Sweet’s power-pop tunes — including 1991 alt-rock album Girlfriend — continue their LGBTQ appeal and connection, soundtracking a gay coming-of-age theatrical tale set in ’90s-era small-town Nebraska. Matthew Gardiner directs Lukas James Miller and Jimmy Mavrikes as a college-bound jock and his first boyfriend in the D.C. premiere of a chamber musical with music and lyrics by Sweet and a book by Todd Almond. To June 10. The Ark, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. Call 703-820-9771 or visit sigtheatre.org.
I DID IT MY WAY IN YIDDISH (IN ENGLISH)
MetroStage concludes its Spring Solo Series — “celebrating work by women, about women, starring women,” as a nod to the now-wrapped Women’s Voices Theater Festival — with a show by Canadian/New Zealand comic/musician Deb Filler, who strums her guitar and portrays a raft of lovable characters as she weaves tales about encounters with three Lennys. To April 29. 1201 North Royal St., Alexandria. Tickets are $45. Call 703-548-9044 or visit metrostage.org.
John — Photo: Margot Schulman
A quietly suspenseful and transfixing work by Annie Baker, one of today’s most celebrated up-and-coming playwrights. Joe Calarco directs legendary local actress Nancy Robinette as a slightly kooky innkeeper in Gettysburg, where a New York couple has taken up refuge to escape the hubbub of the holidays — only to be disturbed by a pesky ghost. Jonathan Feuer, Anna Moon, and Ilona Dulaski also star. To April 29. Signature Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. Call 703-820-9771 or visit sigtheatre.org.
“MASTER HAROLD”…AND THE BOYS
Ryan Rilette directs this semi-autobiographical masterpiece by South African playwright Athol Fugard. Set in a small tea shop in 1950, the story focuses on two black men (Craig Wallace and Ro Boddie) and a white boy (Nick Fruit), who spend an afternoon bonding together, temporarily defying the isolating brutalities of apartheid. Now to May 6 at Round House, 4545 East-West Highway, Bethesda. Tickets are $50 to $60. Call 240-644-1100 or visit roundhousetheatre.org.
Five gay Filipino guest workers care for elderly Orthodox men in Israel by day and headline a drag show by night. Philip Himberg’s “karaoke musical,” based on Tomer Heymann’s uplifting and thought-provoking 2006 documentary, makes its American premiere kicking off Mosaic Theater Company’s 2018 Voices From A Changing Middle East Festival. Mark Brokaw (Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella) directs a production with choreography by Jeff Michael Rebudal and a cast including Ariel Felix, Kevin L. Shen, Evan D’Angeles, Rafael Sebastian, Jon Norman Schneider, John Bambery, Chris Bloch, Lise Bruneau, Elan Zafir, Brice Guerriere, Chris Daileader, and Dallas Milholland. Extended to April 29. Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $20 to $65. Call 202-399-7993 or visit mosaictheater.org.
Co-written and co-performed by Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner, this “Unauthorized Harry Experience” is a loving parody of Hogwarts. “What we attempt to do is condense all seven Harry Potter books into 70 minutes,” Clarkson told Metro Weekly during a previous tour of the show. With Turner in the titular role, Clarkson is left to assume all the 360 other characters, plus they even throw in “a live game of Quidditch.” A critical and commercial success everywhere it’s played after its launch at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Potted Potter returns for another local run presented by the Shakespeare Theatre Company. To April 22. Sidney Harman Hall, Harman Center for the Arts, 610 F St. NW. Call 202-547-1122 or visit shakespearetheatre.org.
ROZ AND RAY
A gripping medical drama about a doctor at the onset of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s, as Dr. Roz Kagan offers a new miracle drug to save Ray Leon’s hemophiliac twins. Theater J’s Adam Immerwahr directs the East Coast premiere of Karen Hartman’s play exploring the complex issues surrounding biomedical ethics and starring two of D.C.’s greatest contemporary actors, Susan Rome and Tom Story. To April 29. Theater J, 1529 16th St. NW. Tickets are $39 to $69. Call 202-777-3210 or visit theaterj.org.
Caucasion Chalk Circle — Photo: Daniel Schwartz
THE CAUCASIAN CHALK CIRCLE
Few companies do epic adventure on an intimate scale as fantastically as Constellation Theatre Company. Bertolt Brecht’s story, with its vivid characters, high-stakes scenarios, and live music, should put that award-winning theatrical sleight of hand into sharp relief. Allison Arkell Stockman directs 14 actors playing more than 60 characters in a 360-degree theatrical experience — “no curtain, no back wall, no proscenium” — propelled by an original rock-inspired score by Brian Lotter and Matthew Schleigh and performed live by a three-piece band. Based on an English translation by Alistair Beaton, The Caucasian Chalk Circle finds the heroism of a woman who saves an abandoned baby put on trial during a time of corruption and violence in the Caucasus Mountains. To May 13. Source Theatre, 1835 14th St. NW. Tickets are $25 to $45. Call 202-204-7741 or visit constellationtheatre.org.
Arthur Miller’s opus on the Salem witch trials remains as timely and cautionary as ever: a reminder of what can happen when fear runs amok and truth is bent to political convenience. Eleanor Holdridge directs a 19-member cast led by Chris Genebach as John Proctor and also including Rachel Zampelli as Elizabeth Proctor, Michael Russotto as Reverend Parris, Dani Stoller as Abigail Williams, and Lilian Oben as Tituba. In previews. To May 20. Mainstage, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney, Md. Call 301-924-3400 or visit olneytheatre.org.
THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD
Quirky Landless Theatre is testing “its mettle and metal” approach with Rupert Holmes’ The Mystery of Edwin Drood. The 1986 choose-your-own-ending musical is a dark tale of deception, based on the unfinished novel by Charles Dickens. Landless brings together artists from the theater and music worlds to help give the show the power and punch of a rock concert. Melissa Baughman directs Lily Hoy in the title role. With Steve Wannall, Melissa LaMartina, and Andrew Lloyd Baughman. To April 29. Trinidad Theatre in the Logan Fringe Art Space, 1358 Florida Ave. NE. Tickets are $25. Call 202-737-7230 or visit landlesstheatre.com.
THE NORMAL HEART
George Boyd directs a production of Larry Kramer’s searing, Tony-winning drama about AIDS, a central work to the history of the LGBTQ movement and its theater. Presented by the Richmond Triangle Players as part of its 25th anniversary season, The Normal Heart is one of the most important plays of the modern era. To May 12. The Robert B. Moss Theatre, 1300 Altamont Ave., Richmond. Tickets are $10 to $30. Call 804-346-8113 or visit rtriangle.org.
The Wiz at Ford’s Theatre — Photo: Carol Rosegg
Friends of Dorothy, both young and young at heart, should find plenty to love in Ford’s Theatre’s The Wiz. And “plenty” is the operative word for director Kent Gash’s smile-inducing production, which amps up the camp fabulousness of the classic ’70s “super soul musical” journey to L. Frank Baum’s wonderful world of Oz. Featuring beloved music and lyrics by Charles Small, a book by William F. Brown, and one glorious number composed by then-rising talent Luther Vandross, this African-American spin on Dorothy’s adventures in Oz was plentiful long before Gash’s twister blew through Ford’s. Yet his staging expands the show’s varied palette of gospel, jazz, funk, and soul-infused Americana by adding a glossy layer of queer-friendly attitude. A gay cornucopia of music and fashion, The Wiz might allow Baum’s original story and themes to slip somewhat through the cracks of the dancefloor. The tale’s rougher edges of abandonment and anxiety have been smoothed over by a pithy comic sensibility ready to drop hip references to Siri and Wakanda. But what this rendering loses of the standard “no place like home” moral is compensated for by an affecting sincerity in the heroes’ pursuits of brains, heart, courage, and family. To May 12. Ford’s Theatre, 511 10th St. NW. Tickets are $20 to $73. Call 800-982-2787 or visit fords.org. (Andre Hereford)
TOP AND BOTTOM
Five years after its formation, the LGBTQ-focused Rainbow Theatre Project’s strong work is not going unnoticed — and as evidenced by being nominated as an Outstanding Emerging Theatre Company at this year’s Helen Hayes Awards. The company closes out its current season with a recent hit at the New York Fringe Festival exploring intimacy and identity in a gay world of labels and stereotypes. A comedy by Kevin Michael West (The DOMA Diaries), Top and Bottom focuses on an encounter between two guys who want to explore their sexual bondage fantasies, but they’re a bit klutzy, a bit nerdy, and a bit unsure of what they’re doing, and as a result everything goes a bit awry. Dimitri Gann and Ryan Townsend star. Production contains full male nudity. To April 29. District of Columbia Arts Center (DCAC), 2438 18th St. NW. Tickets are $35. Call 202-462-7833 or visit dcartscenter.org.
British army engineers arrive in 19th-century rural Ireland to draw new borders and translate local place names into the King’s English in a work dating to 1980 from celebrated Irish playwright Brian Friel (Dancing at Lughnasa). “Born out of a contested cultural moment,” says Studio’s David Muse, “Friel’s classic about language and all of its limits will have particular resonance in this town at this time.” Directed by the company’s Belfast-born Associate Artistic Director Matt Torney and starring Caroline Dubberly, Megan Graves, Martin Giles, Molly Carden, Matthew Aldwin McGee, Jeff Keogh, and Joe Mallon. Extended to Sunday, April 29. Metheny Theatre, 14th & P Streets NW. Call 202-332-3300 or visit studiotheatre.org.
TWO TRAINS RUNNING
Eugene Lee plays the owner of a soon-to-be-demolished diner in a changing black Pittsburgh neighborhood circa 1969 in this quintessential epic drama from the late Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson. Also reprising their roles from a celebrated Seattle Repertory Theatre production to Arena Stage’s theater-in-the-round are Carlton Byrd, William Hall Jr., Reginald Andre Jackson, Nicole Lewis, Frank Riley III, and David Emerson Toney. Juliette Carrillo directs this Wilsonian masterpiece, showing the impact of social change in the lives of everyday people. To April 29. Fichandler Stage, 1101 6th St. SW. Tickets are $50 to $99. Call 202-488-3300 or visit arenastage.org.
UNDERGROUND RAILROAD GAME
Jennifer Kidwell and Scott Sheppard perform as two middle school teachers who get shockingly down and dirty with a lesson about race, sex, and power in this unflinching comedy. The two actors, affiliated with Philadelphia’s avant-garde theater troupe Pig Iron Theatre Company, go round after round on the mat of our nation’s history in a far-reaching, unfiltered, and unflinching comedy that won the 2017 Obie Award as Best New American Theatre Work. Taibi Magar directs the production from New York’s Ars Nova company and presented at Woolly Mammoth. To April 29. 641 D St. NW. Call 202-393-3939 or visit woollymammoth.net.
USE ALL AVAILABLE DOORS
Dupont Underground, the former subterranean streetcar station, returns to its transit roots with this only-in-D.C. kind of play by Brittany Alyse Willis, performed on the stations’ real tracks and featuring seats made with cushions donated from a scrapped Metro car. A grieving operator re-evaluating her life’s path transports a revolving door of passengers in soon-to-be-decommissioned Metro cars traveling the length of the Red Line, from Shady Grove to Glenmont, with vignettes occurring between each stop showcasing the diversity of people, experiences, and happenings along the way. Toni Rae Salmi directs the production by local feminist theater company Pinky Swear Productions, co-presented by CulturalDC. The cast includes Lady Davonne, 2Deep Carter, Shane Marshall Solo, Ezra Tozian, Jay Sun, Darnell Eaton, Nexus, and Nicole Ruthmarie. Weekends to May 6. 19 Dupont Circle NW. Tickets are $20 to $35. Visit pinkyswear-productions.com.
WAITING FOR GODOT
Samuel Beckett’s absurd, anarchic exploration of time is considered one of theater’s greatest modern masterpieces. It’s brought to life in a production presented by Shakespeare Theatre Company and featuring the Irish acting ensemble Druid Theatre Company as directed by Tony-winner Garry Hynes (The Beauty Queen of Leenane), Druid’s co-founder and artistic director. In previews. To May 20. Lansburgh Theatre, 450 7th St. NW. Call 202-547-1122 or visit shakespearetheatre.org.
Stephen Gregory Smith and Matt Conner debut their fourth musical developed as part of the Bold New Works for Intimate Stages series for Virginia theater company Creative Cauldron. With a book and lyrics by Smith set to music by Conner, the insightful, provocative Witch channels the current #MeToo zeitgeist while also examining the roots of misogyny and inequality across centuries and cultures. Well-regarded local actors Florence Lacey and Iyona Blake lead an all-female cast also featuring Susan Derry and Catherine Purcell, plus student actors. To May 6. ArtSpace Falls Church, 410 South Maple Ave. in Falls Church. Tickets are $20 to $30. Call 703-436-9948 or visit creativecauldron.org.
I LOVE YOU, YOU’RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE
A celebration of the mating game from gay Tony-winning scribe and lyricist Joe DiPietro (Memphis) and composer Jimmy Roberts, this musical comedy revue takes on the truths and myths behind modern love and relationships, as presented in the form of a series of vignettes. Touted as the second-longest running musical Off Broadway (after The Fantasticks), I Love You… sees a Baltimore community version directed by Fuzz Roark, with Mandee Ferrier Roberts as musical director and a cast of six taking on over 30 characters, all in search of love. Closes Sunday, April 22. Spotlighters Theatre, 817 St. Paul St., Baltimore. Tickets are $18 to $22. Call 410-752-1225 or visit spotlighters.org.
The Decemberists — Photo: Holly Andres
BSO: TCHAIKOVSKY WITH BALANCHINE
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s Marin Alsop leads an all-Tchaikovsky program including the best known among the Russian romantic’s musical takes on Shakespeare — the Romeo and Juliet Fantasy-Overture. The BSO will also perform highlights from Swan Lake, arguably the second most popular ballet of all time — after Tchaikovsky’s own The Nutcracker. The standout of the program is Serenade for Strings, an orchestral composition dating to 1881 that was transformed into yet another Tchaikovsky ballet 50 years later by George Balanchine. While the orchestra plays the composer’s graceful score, dancers from the Baltimore School for the Arts will perform the choreography developed by Balanchine, co-founder of the New York City Ballet. And the production is overseen by two former dancers from the NYC Ballet: Deborah Wingert with staging and Heather Watts with coaching. Thursday, April 26, at 8 p.m. Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St., Baltimore. Also Sunday, April 29, at 3 p.m. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda.
Additionally, the BSO and BSA dancers perform at two Alsop-led Off The Cuff discussions solely focused on Serenade for Strings. Friday, April 27, at 8:15 p.m., at Strathmore. And Saturday, April 28, at 7 p.m., at the Meyerhoff, which ends with an after-party featuring food and drink specials and live music by Tongue in Cheek. Tickets for either presentation range from $35 to $99. Call 410-783-8000 or visit bsomusic.org.
D.C.’S DIFFERENT DRUMMERS: DC SWING!
“Groovin’, Soulin’, and Swingin'” is the name of the game for the the swing and jazz band part of the LGBTQ musical umbrella organization Different Drummers. The Big Band Era-loving ensemble performs a special Sunday afternoon show out in the ‘burbs of Virginia. Sunday, April 22, at 2 p.m. Jammin Java, 227 Maple Ave. E. Vienna. Tickets are $10. Call 703-255-3747 or visit jamminjava.com.
FOLGER CONSORT: MUSIC OF THE FRENCH BAROQUE
In 18th-century France, the florid stories in Ovid’s Metamorphoses were an inspiration to composers, including Monteclair and Rameau. Their cantatas, along with instrumental works by J.S. Bach and Telemann among others, will be brought to life in a performance featuring the Consort’s Robert Eisenstein on violin and viol and Christopher Kendall on lute, plus other instrumentalists and soprano Rosa Lamoreaux. Friday, April 27, at 8 p.m., Saturday, April 28, at 4 and 8 p.m., and Sunday, April 29, at 2 p.m. Folger Theatre, 201 East Capitol St. SE. Tickets are $42. Call 202-544-7077 or visit folger.edu.
Although best known from her ongoing portrayal of rebellious high school senior Erica Goldberg on ABC’s The Goldbergs, this 24-year-old native of Arlington, Texas, was a professional singer-songwriter years before she turned to acting. Orrantia got her start writing songs and singing backup for various Disney projects, including High School Musical and Hannah Montana. She followed that up by competing on the first season of X-Factor, making it into the Top 10 as a member of the Paula Abdul-assembled girl group Lakoda Rayne. Orrantia is now performing as a solo artist and will preview new songs written with producers in Nashville on her Strong, Sweet, and Southern Tour. The show opens with a set by Brennley Faith Brown, another budding country artist. Wednesday, April 25. Doors at 6:30 p.m. The Hamilton, 600 14th St. NW. Tickets are $15 to $20. Call 202-787-1000 or visit thehamiltondc.com.
JOHN CORIGLIANO 8.0
A birthday spectacular honoring one of today’s finest living classical composers. Corigliano will be feted in a concert featuring violinist Lara St. John, pianist Martin Kennedy, cellist Sterling Elliott, soprano Melinda Whittington, and the PUBLIQuartet. Excerpts from Corigliano’s Sonata for Violin and Piano and Phantasmagoria for cello and piano will be performed, along with “Irish Songs” and “Dylan Songs.” Sunday, April 22, at 3 p.m. The Barns at Wolf Trap, 1635 Trap Road, Vienna. Tickets are $45. Call 877-WOLFTRAP or visit wolftrap.org.
Last fall this D.C.-based singer-songwriter became one of the first acts to perform at the intimate Pearl Street Warehouse in Southwest’s Wharf development. Tsaggaris is a strong live performer, as evidenced by her 2014 locally recorded set, Live at the Atlas, featuring acoustically reworked tracks from her impressive bluesy rock catalog and funded by fan contributions and pre-order sales. For her return, she shares a bill with folk singer-songwriter Todd Wright, while up-and-comer Kathryn Rheault opens this showcase of all-local talent. Sunday, April 22. Doors at 6:30 p.m. 33 Pearl St. SW. Tickets are $12. Call 202-380-9620 or visit pearlstreetwarehouse.com.
NATIONAL PHILHARMONIC: NORTHERN LIGHTS
Stan Engebretson conducts a program of a cappella singing and mystical New Age music, from Rachmaninoff’s Vespers to several energetic works by Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo, including the composition that gives the program its title. Gjeilo will join as a guest pianist for the concert also featuring a world premiere by the Philharmonic’s young composer-in-residence Alistair Coleman. I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud features the National Philharmonic Chorale. The Montgomery County Chorus and the Strathmore Children’s Chorus will add further vocal power. Saturday, April 28, at 8 p.m. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Tickets are $30 to $76. Call 301-581-5100 or visit strathmore.org.
SIMONE DINNERSTEIN WITH THE FSO
The star New York-based pianist and Sony Classical artist joins with the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra to perform the regional premiere of a new concerto written for her by renowned composer Philip Glass, his Piano Concerto No. 3. “There are almost no concertos written for piano and strings since Bach’s time,” Dinnerstein says in the program’s official note, explaining the significance of Glass’ work, and the reason it’s paired with Bach’s Keyboard Concerto in G Minor, to show “how his music impacts us today [and] enabling the listener to create bridges between the old and new.” Christopher Zimmerman conducts a program also including Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis and Elgar’s Introduction and Allegro for Strings. Saturday, April 21, at 8 p.m. George Mason University Center for the Arts, 4373 Mason Pond Drive, Fairfax. Tickets are $39 to $65. Call 703-563-1990 or visit fairfaxsymphony.org.
THE CITY CHOIR OF WASHINGTON
Artistic Director Robert Shafer closes out his 50th season with a concert featuring guest soloists including Metropolitan Opera-affiliated soprano Danielle Talamantes, soprano Crossley Danielle Hawn, countertenor Geoffrey Silver, tenor Allan Palacios Chan, and baritone Erik Grendahl, plus baroque dancer Brynt Beitman. The program includes Handel’s Laudate pueri dominum, Finzi’s Magnificat, Charpentier’s Te Deum, and the world premiere of Bartoldus’ Magnificat. Sunday, April 22, at 4:30 p.m. National Presbyterian Church, 4101 Nebraska Ave. NW. Tickets are $65. Call 202-495-1613 or visit thecitychoirofwashington.org.
At first listen, you might think Colin Meloy and company were a contemporary Irish folk-rock act, not just an American one of strong British and Irish influence. Meloy often sings in a vaguely Irish accent, over minor-key melodies and harmonies and slightly driving rhythms that only fan the embers burning in his hyper-literate lyrics weaving grand, occasionally to the point of grandiloquent, stories. Meloy and his four fellow Portland, Oregon-based bandmates tour in support of eighth studio album I’ll Be Your Girl, which occasionally turns to synth-pop to add a little levity, even absurdity, to the proceedings. Saturday, April 21. Doors at 6:30 p.m. The Anthem, 901 Wharf St. SW. Tickets are $45 to $199. Call 202-888-0020 or visit theanthemdc.com.
THE IN SERIES: MARIA & CECILIA
A sizzling double bill of Cuba’s most famous zarzuelas — Lecuona’s Maria la O and Roig’s Cecilia Valdes — both of which revolve around stories of forbidden interracial romance and inevitable betrayal and tragedy. Abel Lopez and Jaime Coronado direct and choreograph the production featuring Spanish-language songs and English dialogue performed by noted local playwright Karen Zacarías and Anna Deeny Morales, accompanied by Music Director Carlos César Rodríguez and percussionist Iván Navas. Opens Sunday, April 22, at 7 p.m. To April 29. GALA Theatre at Tivoli Square, 3333 14th St. NW. Tickets are $22 to $45. Call 202-204-7763 or visit inseries.org.
THE WASHINGTON CHORUS: CARMEN IN CONCERT
Experience the famous story through the eyes of the killer’s mother in John Constable’s wickedly smart narration of the famous opéra comique. The Washington Chorus’s new Artistic Director Christopher Bell leads a concert version of Bizet’s masterpiece starring mezzo-soprano Aleks Romano and featuring the Washington National Opera Orchestra and members of the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program. Saturday, April 21, at 2 p.m. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Tickets are $18 to $72. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
A former Top 13 finalist on American Idol who became a bona fide star via YouTube, Hall has more recently stepped into the more traditional limelight of Broadway, taking on the lead role of Lola in Kinky Boots and more recently playing Billy Flynn in Chicago. Hall returns to D.C. with Todrick Hall American: The Forbidden Tour. Thursday, April 26, at 7:30 p.m. at the Fillmore Silver Spring at 8656 Colesville Rd. General Admission is $25, with Meet & Greet/VIP packages ranging from $131.50 to $223.50. Call 301-960-9999 or visit fillmoresilverspring.com.
DISSONANCE DANCE THEATRE: ALLOY
Local gay-run company offers a mixed-bill concert of riveting contemporary ballet featuring world premieres by urban dance-inspired classical choreographer Kameron N. Saunders and Shawn Short, Dissonance’s principal choreographer. The program bonds classical form with present-day creative innovation. Saturday, April 21, at 7:30 p.m. The Sprenger Theatre in the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $15 to $30. Call 202-399-7993 or visit atlasarts.org.
EL TEATRO DE DANZA CONTEMPORÁNEA/DC CONTEMPORARY DANCE THEATRE
One of D.C.’s first multicultural repertory dance companies showcases internationally and nationally recognized choreography with dramatic appeal and universal messages. A resident company of Joy of Motion Dance Center, the troupe, led by Founder and Producing Artistic Director Miya Hisaka Silva, presents: an excerpt from Mockingbird by Terra Firma Dance’s Stuart Loungway and featuring guest performing artist Morgann Rose; Songs Without Words by Lloyd Whitmore, formerly of the Atlanta Ballet’s Philadanco, and set to the music of Brandenberg, Bach, and Bobby McFerrin; and excerpts from Spectra, reflecting the sensations of the color spectrum through neoclassical dance, by company member Therese Gahl, also of the Washington School of Ballet. Friday, April 20, at 8 p.m. The Sprenger Theatre in the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $20 to $25. Call 202-399-7993 or visit atlasarts.org.
UPRIGHT CITIZENS BRIGADE
Like the funniest extroverts at the party, the improv troupe Upright Citizens Brigade riffs on D.C. and audience-members alike. The brigade has many famous alumni, including Amy Poehler and Ed Helms. They return for a biannual performance at Sixth and I Historic Synagogue. Saturday, April 21, at 7 p.m. 600 I St. NW. Tickets are $20 in advance, or $25 day-of show. Call 202-408-3100 or visit sixthandi.org.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe
Photo by governor.virginia.gov
LUCY COOKE: THE TRUTH ABOUT ANIMALS
It doesn’t resort to the level of, say, The Crazy Nastyass Honey Badger or similar such crass and colloquial — and hysterical — parodies of traditional nature documentaries. Yet this zoolist’s book is also more playful and entertaining than the type of prim, proper, and earnest fare you associate with institutions such as National Geographic. The proof is right there in the book’s subtitle: Stoned Sloths, Lovelorn Hippos, and Other Tales from the Wild Side of Wildlife. Why do ostriches eat stones? Why are bats thought of as unclean when they spend a fifth of their time grooming themselves? Why is it so hard to discern the sex of eels? Cooke — who, in fact, has developed documentaries for National Geographic, notably the series Freaks and Creeps — explores the answers to those questions and others through her examination of the surprising behaviors of 13 different animal species. She also shares some of the equally startling ways humans have set about understanding other earthly species. Saturday, April 21, at 1 p.m. Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Call 202-364-1919 or visit politics-prose.com.
TALK OF THE HILL WITH BILL PRESS: GOV. TERRY MCAULIFFE
His run as Virginia Governor ended in January. What will be the next move for the former Clinton operative and Democratic National Committee chairman? Terry McAuliffe will discuss that, including whether he’s considering running for president, with veteran Washington journalist and commentator Bill Press. Tuesday, April 24. Doors at 6:30 p.m. Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital, 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. Tickets are $10. Call 202-549-4172 or visit HillCenterDC.org.
BEYOND WORDS: BOOK ILLUSTRATION IN THE AGE OF SHAKESPEARE
Images in early modern books are as full of meaning as the text they illustrate. Caroline Duroselle-Melish curates a display of artifacts from the collection of the Folger Shakespeare Library: 80 richly varied drawings, portraits, and maps, some of them rarely shown, from the 15th to 18th centuries, as well as video and period illustrations showing how images were made and printed. To June 3. Folger Shakespeare Library, 201 East Capitol St. SE. Call 202-544-7077 or visit folger.edu.
BRAND NEW: ART AND COMMODITY IN THE 1980S
The Hirshhorn Museum presents an expansive exhibition exploring the pivotal moments in the 1980s, when artwork became a commodity and the artist, a brand. Sharp, witty, satirical, and deeply subversive, the nearly 150 works in this exhibition examine the the origins and rise of counterculture artists in New York who appropriated modern commercial strategies to create an entirely new artistic language — a revolutionary shift that continues to define contemporary art today. Artists represented in Brand New include Gran Fury, Jessica Diamond, R.M. Fischer, Guerrilla Girls, Peter Halley, Jeff Koons, Barbara Kruger, Joel Otterson, Richard Prince, Erika Rothenberg, Sarah Charlesworth, Haim Steinbach, Meyer Vaisman, and Julia Wachtel. To May 13. Independence Avenue and Seventh Street SW. Call 202-633-1000 or visit hirshhorn.si.edu.
DAVID FEBLAND: STORIES RED AND BLUE
Issues of privacy, conflict, and isolation in contemporary urban life are underlying themes in this American/British artist’s paintings, which draw upon his experiences and observations over a wide range of geographical locations. FeBland has a colorist’s eye and a strong sense of formal compositional structure. Through April 21. Susan Calloway Fine Arts, 1643 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Call 202-965-4601 or visit callowayart.com.
MIKE KELLEY: MEMORY WARE FLAT #27
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. Closes Saturday, April 21. Lockheed Martin Lobby, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Call 301-581-5100 or visit strathmore.org.
NO SPECTATORS: THE ART OF BURNING MAN
The Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery is going whole hog, turning over its entire building to present the first major national exhibition focused on Burning Man, in particular the annual Nevada desert event’s maker culture and creative spirit. In fact, the exhibition even extends “Beyond the Renwick,” with six sculptural works from Burning Man installed nearby on Pennsylvania Avenue west of the White House as well as on Connecticut Avenue and other major corridors. On view to Jan. 21, 2019. Renwick Gallery, Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street NW. Free. Call 202-633-1000 or visit renwick.americanart.si.edu.
The latest group show at Transformer features artworks in various media examining the notion of the tropics in the Global South as sites of leisure, sensuality, and play, by a variety of artists, not all of them LGBTQ. Original conceived of and presented by New Orleans-based Pelican Bomb Gallery X, Queer Tropics also sheds light on how the concept of the tropics as a palm-framed oasis has been variously created, reinforced, and confronted. Artists — all based in the U.S. — represented in the exhibition include Ash Arder, Kerry Downey, Madeline Gallucci, Victoria Martinez, Joiri Minaya, Carlos Motta, Pacifico Silano, and Adrienne Elise Tarver. To April 21. Transformer, 1404 P St. NW. Call 202-483-1102 or visit transformerdc.org.
THE ARTISTIC TABLE
Marjorie Merriweather Post’s gift for bringing art to everyday dining inspired the latest exhibition at Post’s former estate Hillwood, featuring table settings from a handful of contemporary interior designers. Timothy Corrigan, Barry Dixon, Charlotte Moss, Alex Papachristidis, P. Gaye Tapp, Hutton Wilkinson, and Josh Hildreth look to Post and her finest table settings to curate a feast for the eyes. The exhibition includes a selection of historic tablewares from Hillwood’s collection along with the designer’s own contemporary treasures. To June 10. Hillwood Estate, 4155 Linnean Ave. NW. Suggested donation is $18. Call 202-686-5807 or visit HillwoodMuseum.org.
THE GREAT MYSTERY
Baltimore’s American Visionary Art Museum is letting its curiosity run wild in its 21st year-long exhibition curated by founder and director Rebecca Hoffberger. Partly inspired by Albert Einstein, who once referred to the concept of life as “the Great Mystery,” the show celebrates mysteries big and small, the ultimate source of artistic creativity, scientific inquiry and social progress. On display are works by 44 visionary artists, research scientists, astronauts, mystics and philosophers. On exhibit through Sept. 2, 2018. American Visionary Art Museum, 800 Key Highway. Baltimore. Tickets are $20 for Preview Party, $15.95 for regular daily admission. Call 410-244-1900 or visit avam.org.
UP IN THE AIR
Before it became a traditional spring pastime, kites were used for ceremonies, military campaigns, and scientific experiments. Featuring innovative kitemakers and flyers, this exhibition at the Mansion at Strathmore explores the artistry of kites in their abundant color and sculptural design, with a view to how modern-day kitemakers use state-of-the-art materials, complex construction, and intricate designs to elevate kites into fine aerial art. To April 29, with Strathmore’s Kite Fly Day set for Sunday, April 22. The Mansion at Strathmore, 10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda. Call 301-581-5100 or visit strathmore.org.
Taqueria del Barrio, Photo: Jai Williams
FOOD & DINING
TAQUERIA DEL BARRIO: DRAG BRUNCH
The Petworth Mexican eatery from the DC Empanadas crew now offers its popular Saturday drag brunch twice monthly, hosted by Kristina Kelly and featuring a cast of local performers all while guests enjoy French toast, chilaquiles, and Taqueria’s signature tacos, among other dishes, all washed down with mimosas, Bloody Marys, and Absolut vodka cocktails. But any day of the week is a treat at Chef/Owner Anna Bran-Leis Mexican retreat, whether eating in a colorful dining room, at the horseshoe bar, or on one of the sunny sidewalk tables. Drag brunch is served next on April 28 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. 821 Upshur St. NW. Reservations required. Call 202-723-0200 or visit taqueriadelbarrio.com.
Light City: Prismatica — by Creation
ABOVE AND BEYOND
LIGHT CITY BALTIMORE
Also called “A Festival of Light, Music and Innovation,” Light City returns for a third year to illuminate Charm City as the first, free, large-scale international light festival in the U.S. The main part of the festival takes place on a winding, 1.5-mile stretch of the Inner Harbor and Harbor East and featuring 21 large-scale, temporary light installations brand new to Light City developed by national and international artists, including 10 from Baltimore. One such display is truly mobile and will be seen all around: Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang’s Fireflies, with 900 handcrafted lanterns attached to the top of 27 pedicabs transporting festivalgoers around the BGE Light Art Walk, which can also be explored this year on self-guided audio tours offering detailed descriptions of the light installations by Live Baltimore. Highlights among remaining free performances this year include G. Love & Special Sauce on Friday, April 20, and Kimbra on the festival’s closing day Saturday, April 21. Display hours are 7 to 11 p.m. weeknights, 7 p.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. The festival ends with the Labs@LightCity series of social innovation conferences grouped by subject area, from EduLab to SocialLab, MakerLab to FoodLab running through Saturday, April 21, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 410-752-8632 or visit lightcity.org for a map and details on all events.
MARYLAND PSYCHIC FAIR
Late last summer ushered in a Maryland Paranormal Conference in a small, tucked away town outside of Baltimore. Now, the very same Elks Lodge welcomes back all of those interested in activities and phenomena going beyond explanations of science (and reason). This time around, the focus is on psychics, mediums, and healers and those interested in readings, sessions, and discussions, or in buying related crafts, books, oils, crystals, and ephemera. More than 30 vendors are scheduled to participate, including: Anne Miller & Tony Stevens of the readings-focused Spiritual Information Center; Rev. Ella Fales, “Healing & Spirit Messages with Ella”; Intuitive Life Coach and Clairvoyant Dr. Gwen MacGregor aka The Medium of Maryland; Baltimore-based diorama artist Jim Doran; mystic Joanne Amorosi of Mary Magdalene Medicine; mixed-media tarot deck artist Jo Offduty; Reiki master/reader Lou Foster and her Herb Fancy line of healing teas, soaps, and jewelry; angel readings/healings from Rev. Mary Perry of Wings Unfurled; Robin Strom of the Delaware Paranormal Research Group and author of Anatomy of a Ghost: A Guide to Analyzing the Dead; Rosalyn Kincaid of the Karmic Wellness Center in Woodbridge, Va.; and mediums Terri Rodabaugh, Sharon Galloway, and Rhonda Russo giving collective “The Haunted View” readings. Sunday, April 22, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Bowie Elks Lodge No. 2309, 1506 Defense Highway, Gambrills, Md. Tickets are $5 plus $1.22 in service fees bought in advance, or $10 in cash only at the door. Call 301-261-3260 or visit maryland-psychic-fair.eventbrite.com.