Metro Weekly

Out On the Town: DC arts & entertainment highlits — May 17-23

Everything arts and entertainment in the D.C. area this week

Deadpool — Photo: 20th Century Fox

FILM

2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY

A brilliant meditation on man and the mysterious universe, Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 visionary saga features a thoughtful, spare script by Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke and Oscar-winning special effects by visual effects pioneer Douglas Trumbull, also known for his work on sci-fi classics Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Blade Runner. Trumbull will introduce and take part in a post-screening Q&A in a “Sci-Fi Sundays Special Event” at the National Air & Space Museum’s Lockheed Imax Theater. Sunday, May 20, at 1:45 p.m. Independence Ave at 6th St. SW. Tickets are $20.01. Call 202-633-2214 or visit airandspace.si.edu.

BOOK CLUB

If Deadpool 2‘s R-rated superhero antics aren’t your thing this weekend, what about watching Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen, and Mary Steenburgen read 50 Shades of Grey and reignite their sexuality? That’s literally the plot of first-time feature director Bill Holderman’s film, which sees the four friends try dating, explore new passions, and generally enjoy life more. And all because of badly written erotica. Who knew? Opens Friday, May 18. Area theaters. Visit fandango.com. (Rhuaridh Marr)

DEADPOOL 2

Few could have predicted that Deadpool would become one of 2016’s best films — a relatively small budget for a superhero flick, a character not well known among mainstream audiences, and the dreaded R-rating that ensured parents wouldn’t be increasing box office returns by bringing their kids along for the ride. And yet, it went on to become a global smash, breaking records, earning critical praise, and giving Ryan Reynolds a role he seemed perfectly crafted for. The sequel sees Deadpool facing off against Josh Brolin’s cybernetic soldier Cable. Opens Friday, May 18. Area theaters. Visit fandango.com. (RM)

ON THE TOWN

Next up in the weekly Capital Classics series at Landmark’s West End Cinema is screenings of this 1949 musical film starring Frank Sinatra, Betty Garrett, and Ann Miller. Based on the Broadway musical but largely stripped of Leonard Bernstein’s original musical score — Bernstein famously boycotted the film — On The Town was co-directed by Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, who also choreographed the tale about sailors on shore leave. Wednesday, May 23, 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.

POPE FRANCIS – A MAN OF HIS WORD

The latest documentary from venerated German director Wim Wenders (Buena Vista Social Club) strays from traditional biographical territory to be more of a “personal journey” with the Pope — and a rare co-production with the Vatican, at that. Wenders shines a spotlight on the message and the work of a man who has earned the trust and respect of many around the world in a time and era otherwise characterized by deep distrust and downright contempt for people in power. Opens Friday, May 18. Landmark’s E Street Cinema, 555 11th St. NW., and Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema, 7235 Woodmont Ave. Call 202-452-7672 or visit landmarktheatres.com.

Waitress the Musical

STAGE

10 MILLION

Havana’s Argos Teatro brings to the Kennedy Center an autobiographical theater piece, performed in Spanish with projected English supertitles, by its founder Carlos Celdrán and part of the Artes de Cuba festival. 10 Million depicts Celdrán’s experience coming of age and coming out in Cuba during a tumultuous era that wreaked havoc on his family and also complicated his personal journey and identity. Featuring Argos company members Caleb Casas, Daniel Romero, Maridelmis Marín, and Waldo Franco. Saturday, May 19, and Sunday, May 20, at 7:30 p.m. Family Theater. Tickets are $19 to $39. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.

1984

Robert McNamara directs Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan’s staged version of George Orwell’s classic novel of a dystopian vision of the future. The play revolves around the story of Winston, a man forced to confess his thoughts before an unseen inquisitor and jury — aka Big Brother — which condemn him to unspeakable punishment. Through May 27. The Lab Theatre II in the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $25 to $45. Call 202-399-7993 or visit scenatheatre.org.

FLOOD CITY

Set amid the Great Flood of Pennsylvania in 1889 as well as the drying up of the state’s steel industry a century later, Gabrielle Reisman’s hopeful dark comedy traverses time and space to look at the impacts disasters and corporate irresponsibility have on a community. Flood City shines a light on the community’s resilience in the wake of the unimaginable. Jenna Duncan directs the Theater Alliance production. To June 17. Anacostia Playhouse, 2020 Shannon Place SE. Call 202-241-2539 or visit theateralliance.com.

FOUR DAYS OLD

Stricter gun control is not the panacea to what ails society in terms of curtailing suburban mass shootings and urban violence. That’s the gist of this new play by Michael Leroy Harding, that points to mental illness and addiction, more than guns, as the central common threads among contemporary violent acts. Presented by the Baltimore-based OTR Theatre Company. Remaining performance is Saturday, May 19, at 7 p.m. Mt. Zion United Methodist Church, 3050 Liberty Heights, Baltimore. General admission is $25. Call 410-466-1364 or visit otrtheater.org.

GIRLFRIEND

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. Lukas James Miller and Jimmy Mavrikes star as a college-bound jock and his first boyfriend. Directed by Matt Gardiner. To June 10. The Ark, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. Call 703-820-9771 or visit sigtheatre.org.

HOODED, OR BEING BLACK FOR DUMMIES

A nominee for the Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding Original New Play at the upcoming Helen Hayes Awards, this irreverent comedy is being remounted by Mosaic Theater Company after its original sold-out run last year. All but one of the cast members as well as all of the designers return to the show, a deft examination of two young black teens from vastly different circumstances. Metro Weekly‘s André Hereford praised the voice of playwright Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm as “authentic and original,” further noting the “smart, funny staging” of director Serge Seiden. But he heaped the most praise on lead actor Jeremy Keith Hunter as “the engine that keeps the show humming along.” To June 3. The Sprenger Theatre in the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $20 to $65. Call 202-399-7993 or visit mosaictheater.org.

PALINDROME: SPHERE AND PENTZ

The lives of Thelonious Monk and Marvin Gaye are examined in two one-acts by Max Garner presented together in a world premiere by Baltimore’s Rapid Lemon Productions. David D. Mitchell, Lance Bankerd, and Lee Conderacci direct. To May 20. Baltimore Theatre Project, 45 West Preston St. Baltimore. Tickets are $20 to $21. Call 410-752-8558 or visit theatreproject.org.

PETER PAN

Not just the standard fantasy foray to Neverland, Baltimore’s adventurous, innovative professional company Single Carrot Theatre has put an up-to-date, localized queer spin on the classic tale. Los Angeles-based writer Joshua Conkel (Off Broadway’s MilkMilkLemonade, Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events) has drawn inspiration and source material from stories shared by local LGBTQ residents for a world-premiere adaptation with contemporary conversations about gender, sexuality, and identity, and in which Neverland becomes a modern-day safe-haven — a place where Peter and the Lost Boys can finally be themselves. To May 20. 2600 N Howard St., Baltimore. Tickets are $25 to $29. Call 443-844-9253 or visit singlecarrot.com.

RITE OF SPRING

The puppetry-enhanced Pointless Theatre assembles an all-female cast for a new adaptation of Igor Stravinsky’s ballet, one that imagines a future wrought by ecological collapse and human desperation. Rite of Spring is told through dance, puppetry, mask, Stravinsky’s iconic score, and no words. Developed by the company’s co-founders Patti Kalil and Matt Reckeweg, who also directs an 11-member cast. Weekends to May 27. Dance Loft on 14 Theater, 4618 14th St. NW 2nd Floor. Tickets are $18 to $30. Call 202-621-3670 or visit pointlesstheatre.com.

SAINT JOAN

New York’s brilliant theater company Bedlam, responsible for last year’s Sense & Sensibility, returns for another stripped-down production, this time of George Bernard Shaw’s Joan of Arc tale. Four actors perform over 25 roles in the special engagement. Now in previews. To June 3. Folger Theatre, 201 East Capitol St. SE. Call 202-544-7077 or visit folger.edu.

SNOW CHILD

The world premiere of a magical, epic musical featuring a book by John Strand adapted from Eowyn Ivey’s novel, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, with a score combining backcountry string-band traditions and contemporary musical theater by composers Georgia Stitt and Bob Banghart. Set in 1920s Alaska, Snow Child focuses on a couple reeling from the loss of an unborn child and the growing fissures in their relationship — until they’re visited by a wild, mysterious girl from the dark woods surrounding their cabin. To May 20. Kreeger Theater in the Mead Center for American Theater, 1101 6th St. SW. Tickets are $51 to $66. Call 202-488-3300 or visit arenastage.org.

SOUL THE STAX MUSICAL

Kwame Kwei-Armah concludes his tenure as artistic director of Baltimore Center Stage with a world-premiere musical about the storied Memphis-based label Stax Records, which created the very foundation of American Soul Music through its star roster. Stax launched the careers of Otis Redding, the Staple Singers, Isaac Hayes, Wilson Pickett, and Booker T & the MG’s. Matthew Benjamin wrote the book for what is essentially a jukebox musical featuring a huge 21-member cast. Choreography by Chase Brock. To June 10. 700 North Calvert St., Baltimore. Tickets are $20 to $79. Call 410-332-0033 or visit centerstage.org.

THE CHERRY ORCHARD

Celebrated local commedia dell’arte troupe Faction of Fools puts its physical comedy stamp on this classic, their first adaptation of Anton Chekhov. Paul Reisman directs a cast led by Sara Barker, Julia Klavans, Amber James, and Jesse Terrill (pulling double-duty as the show’s composer) in this mix of high art and low comedy, complete with secret plots, wily servants, tortured lovers, and a sprawling family estate on the chopping block. Opens Friday, May 18. To June 10. Eastman Studio Theater in the Elstad Annex at Gallaudet University, 800 Florida Ave. NE. Tickets are $18 to $22. Call 800-838-3006 or visit factionoffools.org.

THE CRUCIBLE

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. To May 20. Mainstage, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney, Md. Call 301-924-3400 or visit olneytheatre.org.

THE FREDERICK DOUGLASS PROJECT

Solas Nua, billed as the nation’s only organization exclusively dedicated to contemporary Irish arts, commissioned this site-specific production to commemorate Douglass’s 1845 voyage to Ireland as well as the bicentennial of his birth. To be staged on a wharf in Southeast, just a stone’s throw from his historic home at Cedar Hill, the project includes live music and dancing in a blend of African-American and Irish culture. It consists of two short plays offering a dual perspective on the trip to Ireland: An Eloquent Fugitive Slave Flees to Ireland by budding local theater artist Psalmayene 24, and Wild Notes by Irish playwright Deirdre Kinahan. To May 24. The Yards Marina, 1492 4th St. SE. Tickets are $35. Call 202-484-0309 or visit solasnua.org.

THE UNDENIABLE SOUND OF RIGHT NOW

A hilarious and heartbreaking work by Laura Eason, the focus is on a Chicago man trying to keep his legendary rock club afloat. Set during the early 1990s, when grunge was popular but DJs and electronic/dance music were ascending, Keegan’s production stars Chris Stezin, Susan Marie Rhea, Josh Sticklin, and Ryan Sellers. To May 27. 1742 Church St. NW. Tickets are $35 to $45. Call 202-265-3768 or visit keegantheatre.com.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

Synetic founder Paata Tsikurishvili tackles the revenge-driven tragedy as the 13th entry in the company’s celebrated “Silent Shakespeare” series — meaning no words, all fiery action, energy, and violence, with choreography led by Irina Tsikurishvili, who also portrays Tamora. Philip Fletcher is Titus in the large ensemble show including Irina Kavsadze, Audrey Tchoukoua, Dallas Tolentino, and Alex Mills. To May 27. 1800 South Bell St., Arlington. Tickets are $15 to $55. Call 800-494-8497 or visit synetictheater.org.

VIETGONE

Vietnamese-American playwright Qui Nguyen recreates his parents’ 1975 refugee camp romance in a high-octane comedy. Natsu Onoda Power directs Marc delaCruz and Regina Aquino as lovers in the production part of Studio Theatre’s more experimental series Studio X. To May 20. 14th & P Streets NW. Call 202-332-3300 or visit studiotheatre.org.

Waiting for Godot — Photo: Matthew Thompson

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. To May 20. Lansburgh Theatre, 450 7th St. NW. Call 202-547-1122 or visit shakespearetheatre.org.

WAITRESS

Based on the 2007 movie, Waitress focuses on Jenna, a diner employee with a passion for baking pies that helps her cope with a loveless marriage and the malaise of her small town. Diane Paulus (Pippin) directs a show with music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles, book by Jessie Nelson, and choreography by Lorin Latarro. To June 3. National Theatre, 1321 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Tickets are $48 to $108. Call 202-628-6161 or visit thenationaldc.org.

Priscilla — Photo: McLaughlin photography

COMMUNITY STAGE

HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE

The metaphor of driving is used by noted playwright Paula Vogel in her Pulitzer Prize-winning drama focused on an adolescent girl and her struggles to get past a strained, sexual relationship with her step-uncle. The play has lighter moments, but due to its tackling of serious issues — from pedophilia and incest to manipulation and control — it’s ultimately best for only those aged 17 and up, and hardly typical fare for a community theater company, even one with the tagline “Anything But Predictable.” To May 19. Theatre Two in Gunston Arts Center, 2700 South Lang St. Arlington. Tickets are $25. Call 571-DS-SHOWS or visit dominionstage.org.

JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical reimagining of the Biblical tale of Joseph and his kin written with lyricist Tim Rice was a Broadway hit exactly 50 years ago. Michael Hartsfield leads a community production with musical direction by Mimi McGinniss and choreography by Kristin Rigsby. To May 20. Laurel Mill Playhouse, 508 Main St., Laurel, Md. Tickets are $17 to $22. Call 301-617-9906 or visit laurelmillplayhouse.org.

PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT

It’s not the Outback, but Kensington, the leafy Maryland suburb, is a pretty unexpected place to find drag queens all the same. Yet that’s exactly what you’ll find on stage at the Kensington Arts Theatre this month, starring Larry Munsey as Bernadette, Gregory Wilczynski as Tick, and Jon Simmons as Adam in the community-based company’s production, directed by John Nunemaker, of the hit Broadway musical — based of course on the hilarious cult Australian film from 1994. Weekends to May 26. 3710 Mitchell St., Kensington, Md. Tickets are $19 to $27. Call 206-888-6642 or visit katonline.org.

The American Pops Orchestra

MUSIC

AMERICAN POPS: COLE PORTER AFTER DARK

Betty Who will make her orchestral debut with a tribute to some of the loveliest and cheekiest songs composed and written by legendary gay composer Cole Porter (“Anything Goes”). The concert also features musical luminaries Liz Callaway, Ali Ewoldt, Bobby Smith, Vishal Vaidya, and Luke Hawkins. Kelly Crandall D’Amboise directs the show, which also includes dramatic readings from over-the-top online dating profiles. Saturday, May 19, at 8 p.m. Fichandler Stage in the Mead Center for American Theater, 1101 6th St. SW. Tickets are $20 to $110. Call 202-488-3300 or visit theamericanpops.org.

BETTYE LAVETTE

Very little has been straight, traditional, or predictable in the life of LaVette, who grew up in Motown-era Detroit and became a recording artist at 16. She even had what she calls “dalliances” with other women when she was young — something that has given her “keen insight” into the LGBTQ experience, as well as several enduring LGBTQ friendships. “I have a complete understanding and comfortability with people who are not necessarily, quote-unquote, straight,” she told Metro Weekly last fall. The good-humored soul singer is in what she refers to as her “fifth career,” capped by Things Have Changed, her album of Bob Dylan covers released in March by Verve Records. “Now, I don’t have any thoughts of becoming Justin Bieber,” she laughs, “but I certainly would like to see [her memoir] turned into documentary form, and I would like to see what’s going to happen over the hurdle with this new CD. All the ducks are in a row right now for the very first time in my entire career. So if this shit don’t work, I’m going to start taking it personally.” Saturday, May 19. Doors at 6:30 p.m., at The Hamilton, 600 14th St. NW. Tickets are $20 to $50. Call 202-787-1000 or visit thehamiltondc.com.

BRANDI CARLILE

Twins Phil and Tim Hanseroth write, sing and play with lesbian frontwoman Brandi Carlile, whose music is an intriguing country-rock blend, with additional influence from gospel and folk — think Indigo Girls blended with Johnny Cash and a touch of Elton John. And then there’s Carlile’s eminently captivating voice, supple and expressive, not too dissimilar from Sia’s. Carlile tours in support of sixth set By The Way, I Forgive You, full of dramatic story-songs. One, “The Joke,” even got a nod from former President Obama, who listed it as one of his favorite songs of 2017. Darlingside opens. Tickets remain for the second show next weekend, on Sunday, May 20. Doors at 6:30 p.m. The Anthem, 901 Wharf St. SW. Tickets are $38 to $78. Call 202-888-0020 or visit theanthemdc.com.

CECILY

Increasingly known by mononym, young soprano and D.C. native Cecily Bumbray’s sound is rooted in a deep appreciation for mid-century soul and jazz, ’90s-era R&B, and contemporary folk. More specifically, it’s rooted in influences from her forebears, from Duke Ellington to Gil Scott-Heron, Roberta Flack to Meshell Ndegeocello. An Artist-in-Residence at Strathmore this season, Cecily performs a solo concert as part of a series showcasing the program’s sonically diverse 2018 class. Wednesday, May 23, at 7:30 p.m. The Mansion at Strathmore, 10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda. Tickets are $17. Call 301-581-5100 or visit strathmore.org.

JAZZ IN THE GARDEN: THE JOGO PROJECT

A summertime staple, the National Gallery of Art offers free outdoor concerts immediately after work every Friday through late August. Bands offering a range of jazz styles, from swing to Latin to ska, perform amidst the museum’s collection of large-scale sculptural works while patrons enjoy food and drink, including beer, wine, and sangria, as sold by the Pavilion Cafe and outdoor grill. The 2018 series launches with the JoGo Project, a thoroughly D.C.-based go-go/jazz fusion band formed by former Chuck Brown Band saxophonist Elijah Jamal Balbed, on Friday, May 18, and continues with Tony Craddock Jr. & Cold Front on Friday, May 25. Evenings from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Sculpture Garden, between 7th and 9th Streets NW. Call 202-289-3360 or visit nga.gov.

JUSSIE SMOLLETT

Before Smollett, primetime television hadn’t quite seen a gay black man like the heartthrob Jamal Lyon, the middle child in the dynastic musical family led by Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson on Fox’s Empire. Also an attractive and out entertainer in real life, Smollett comes to town for a concert that happens to take place over Black Pride Weekend. With his Usher-esque smooth tenor, the 35-year-old is finally getting some attention outside of the show, touring in support of his new solo album Sum of My Music. The independently released set is full of catchy, contemporary R&B tunes with gay-affirming, socially conscious lyrics. Victory Boyd opens for a show co-presented by the 9:30 Club and Trillectro. Saturday, May 26. Doors at 7 p.m. 1115A U St. NW. Tickets are $20. Call 202-588-1880 or visit ustreetmusichall.com.

NATIONAL MEMORIAL DAY CONCERT

Now in its 29th year, this concert on the U.S. Capitol grounds, airing live on PBS, features the National Symphony Orchestra led by Jack Everly performing patriotic classics. Joe Mantegna (Criminal Minds) and Gary Sinise (CSI: New York) co-host for the 13th year, and Colin Powell also returns for a special tribute to our men and women in uniform. Other featured performers this year include Charles Esten, Allison Janney, Leona Lewis, Graham Greene, John Corbett, Mary McCormack, Brian Tee, Cynthia Erivo, Charles Esten, Megan Hilty, Alfie Boe, and Gary Sinise & the Lt. Dan Band. Sunday, May 27, at 8 p.m. U.S. Capitol Building, West Lawn. Free. Call 202-467-4600 or visit pbs.org/memorialdayconcert.

NATIONAL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

Music Director Gianandrea Noseda takes to the NSO podium for his final appearances this season, leading three concerts featuring music composed or influenced by J. S. Bach — including Berio’s completion of Bach’s unfinished Contrapunctus XIX, Berg’s Violin Concerto featuring violinist James Ehnes, and Brahms’s Symphony No. 4. Thursday, May 17, at 7 p.m., Friday, May 18, at 9 p.m., and Saturday, May 19, at 8 p.m. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Tickets are $15 to $89. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.

PATTI LUPONE, TITUSS BURGESS: WNO OPERA GALA CONCERT

Naturally, the 2018 Washington National Opera Gala, like so many others, is a celebration of Leonard Bernstein in his centennial year. It certainly doesn’t get much starrier than this one-night-only fete with the incomparable Broadway sensation LuPone, plus Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), baritone Nathan Gunn, pianist Julie Gunn, Isabel Leonard, Kathryn Lewek, members of WNO’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artists Program, the WNO Orchestra conducted by John DeMain, and Bernstein’s eldest daughter, Jamie. Sunday, May 20, at 6 p.m. Kennedy Center Opera House. Tickets are $49 to $250. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.

RISING APPALACHIA, BE STEADWELL

Led by harmonizing sisters Leah and Chloe Smith accompanied by percussionist Biko Casini and bassist/guitarist David Brown, Rising Appalachia is a globally inspired American roots/folk act with a social justice mission — founders of what they call a DIY-driven, independent-based “Slow Music Movement.” A sensitive, world-weary, thinking person’s variation on Americana, the New Orleans-based band is joined by D.C.’s original folk- and hip-hop-flavored “queer pop” artist Steadwell, touring in support of her strong, full-fledged studio debut Queer Love Songs. Also on the bill is Arouna, a singing griot from West Africa and masterful string and keyboard instrumentalist. Friday, May 27. Doors at 7 p.m. 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. Tickets are $20. Call 202-265-0930 or visit 930.com.

THE AIRMEN OF NOTE

Every Saturday night this summer, National Harbor will host free concerts by military bands in a “Salute the Sunset” series. On the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend comes the first of three engagements featuring the premier jazz ensemble of the US Air Force. Saturday, May 26, at 7 p.m. Plaza Stage, 150 National Plaza, Oxon Hill, Md. Free. Call 877-628-5427 or visit nationalharbor.com.

WASHINGTON NATIONAL OPERA: CANDIDE

Straddling the divide between musical theater and opera, and as complicated and tricky as you’d expect from composer Leonard Bernstein, this funny, fast-paced take on Voltaire’s biting satire is not produced as often we’d like. The WNO’s Francesca Zambello directs a production from the Glimmerglass Festival for the Kennedy Center’s “Leonard Bernstein at 100” series. Denyce Graves stars as The Old Lady alongside Alek Shrader in the title role, Emily Pogorelc as Cunegonde, and Wynn Harmon as Pangloss/Voltaire. Lyrics by Richard Wilbur, plus additional lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, John Latouche, Lillian Hellman, Dorothy Parker, and Bernstein himself. Select dates to May 26. Kennedy Center Opera House. Tickets are $45 to $275. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.

WASHINGTON NATIONAL OPERA: THE BARBER OF SEVILLE

Boasting sparkling melodies, high-flying vocal fireworks, and tour-de-force showstoppers, Rossini’s comedy is one of the most beloved operas of all time. Peter Kazaras directs Andrey Zhilikhovsky as Figaro, Isabel Leonard as Rosina, and Taylor Stayton as Count Almaviva, performing Cesare Sterbini’s Italian libretto with projected English titles. Emily Senturia leads the WNO orchestra while Rosa Mercedes oversees the choreography. To May 19. Kennedy Center Opera House. Tickets are $45 to $150. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.

WICKED JEZABEL

Pauline Anson-Dross’ popular lesbian all-covers party-rock band Wicked Jezabel has been rocking — as well as raising money for various good causes — all over the region for a decade now, originally under the name The Outskirts of Town. The ladies return to their main stomping grounds in Virginia on Friday, May 18, at 9 p.m., performing a concert that also doubles as a birthday celebration for Pauline. Before the show, starting at 6 p.m., the band’s bassist Martha Capone will offer a supper-serenading solo acoustic set. JV’s Restaurant, 6666 Arlington Blvd., Falls Church. Call 703-241-9504 or visit jvsrestaurant.com.

Sean Dorsey Dance — Photo: Lydia Daniller

DANCE

DANCETHOS WITH WEST SHORE PIANO TRIO, MOVEIUS

The D.C.-based contemporary dance company presents another collaborative concert, this time with a piano trio and a contemporary ballet company. The program features choreography by Tiffany Haughn, the artistic director of DancEthos, as well as by Diana Movius, the director of Moveius and founder of Dance Loft on 14, Sylvana Christopher of Joy of Motion Dance Center, and Emmanuel Williams. Saturday, May 19, at 3 p.m. Lang Theatre at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $15 to $25. Call 202-399-7993 or visit dancethos.org.

SEAN DORSEY DANCE: BOYS IN TROUBLE

In recent years, Dance Place has presented dance-theater works from the San Francisco-based company stemming from Dorsey’s two-year research initiative, the LGBT Elders Oral History Project. Now, comes a world premiere that’s as au courant and timely as the previous productions were notable reflections on the past. By unpacking notions of masculinity with unflinching honesty from trans and queer perspectives, Boys In Trouble is also more personal to Dorsey, the trailblazing transgender choreographer. Expect an evening of full-throttle dance, raw emotion, irreverent humor, exaggerated, homoerotic physicality, exquisite queer partnering, and vulnerable storytelling. Saturday, May 19, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, May 20, at 7 p.m. Dance Place, 3225 8th St. NE. Tickets are $25 in advance, or $30 at the door. Call 202-269-1600 or visit danceplace.org.

READINGS

JONATHAN RAUCH: THE HAPPINESS CURVE

A senior fellow at Brookings and contributing editor of The Atlantic offers his insights as a gay man of a certain age in a new book subtitled Why Life Gets Better After 50. Rauch details the concept of an aging “happiness curve” in which the bottom of the curve represents that period in one’s life commonly known as the midlife crisis. Rauch argues that the emotional slump one goes through in their forties can be more constructively viewed as a time in which the focus shifts from competition to compassion, and when skills including wisdom, gratitude, and supportiveness are primed for the third and final stage of life. Rauch will be in conversation with his fellow Atlantic editor Scott Stossel, author of My Age of Anxiety. Sunday, May 20, at 5 p.m. Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Call 202-364-1919 or visit politics-prose.com.

PAULA MCLAIN: LOVE AND RUIN

Considered one of the greatest war correspondents of the 20th Century, Martha Gellhorn had a passionate and stormy marriage to Ernest Hemingway during the final years of World War II — in the Hemingway annals, she’s Wife No. 3. Gellhorn is the heroine of the latest work of historical fiction by the New York Times best-selling author of The Paris Wife, an account of Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley Richardson. McLain will take part in a book signing and Q&A with NPR’s Petra Mayer, with light bites and drinks, all part of a “Girls’ Night Out” event atop 14th Street’s largest modern furniture store. Tuesday, May 22, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Fourth Floor of Room & Board, 1840 14th St. NW.

Naked Eyes @ Artechouse — NONOTAK, Signals

GALLERIES

AMANDA BURNHAM: BLOCK WATCH

Photographs submitted by residents and drawings inspired by the physical landscape and history of Anacostia form the basis for the fifth incarnation of CulturalDC’s year-long Space4: Mobile Art Gallery, a roving former 40-foot shipping container. Through gestural acrylic paintings and image collages, artist Amanda Burnham has created playful, abstracted representations of the neighborhood. To May 26. Parked outside Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum, 1901 Fort Place SE. Call 202-633-4820 or visit culturaldc.org.

ARTES DE CUBA VISUAL ARTS INSTALLATIONS

As part of its celebration of Cuban culture, the Kennedy Center will be decked out with displays of artists from the island. The displays include Esterio Segura’s slyly humorous installation Hybrid of a Chrysler, with metal airplane wings attached to the roof of a vintage car similar to those used daily in Cuba, on the River Terrace; Santería-influenced Afro-Cuban artist Manuel Mendive’s universe-as-one dreamscapes Fragmento de Paisaje as well as his festival-commissioned three-dimensional sculptures La Naturaleza, El Espíritu, y El Hombre, in the Hall of States; and The Art of Celia Ledón, featuring 11 show-stopping costume art pieces often using reclaimed and repurposed materials, in the Atrium. To May 20. Free. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.

BLACK OUT: SILHOUETTES THEN AND NOW

The National Portrait Gallery presents the first major museum exhibition to explore silhouettes. Curated by Asma Naeem, Black Out reveals the complexities of this relatively unstudied artform’s rich historical roots and the contemporary relevance of silhouettes today. Ranging in scale from three inches to nearly 40 feet, the exhibit features mixed-media installations in a presentation of approximately 50 unique objects, dating from 1796 to the present, in particular with the inclusion of large works by four contemporary women artists: Kara Walker, with her panoramic wall murals, Camille Utterback via an interactive digital installation that reacts to visitors’ movements and shadows, Kristi Malakoff’s life-size cutouts of children dancing around a Maypole, and Kumi Yamashita’s intricate, shadowy installations. Also notable is a section illuminating silhouettes previously “blacked out” in historical narratives — those featuring same-sex couples, cooks, activist women, enslaved individuals, and the disabled. On display to March 24, 2019. National Portrait Gallery, 8th and F Streets. NW. Call 202-633-8300 or visit npg.si.edu.

CONTEMPORARY PORTRAITS OF THE BLACK EXPERIENCE

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. Through May 26. 4519 Rhode Island Ave. North Brentwood, Md. Call 301-809-0440 or visit pgaamcc.org.

CULTIVATING AMERICA’S GARDENS

An examination of gardening in the U.S., from early horticulture practices to Victory gardens to the romance of the American lawn. Co-presented by the Smithsonian Libraries, Smithsonian Gardens, and the Archives of American Gardens, this traditional museum exhibition — about gardens but not any kind of garden tour — looks at gardening’s history in America broken down into seven main segments. It starts with the creation of botanical gardens in the 18th Century — as one example of how the early focus on “Gardening for Science” was brought to fruition — and ends with today’s increasing concern over organic and sustainable practices, or “Gardening for the Environment.” Whether the genetically modified, chemically enhanced plant breeding days of the last century or so are truly on the way out — and with them, the focus on “Gardening as Enterprise” — certainly longgone are the large, showy private gardens of the Gilded Age and a “Gardening to Impress” outlook. On display through August. Smithsonian Libraries Exhibition Gallery, National Museum of American History, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Call 202-633-2240 or visit library.si.edu/exhibition.

EVOLVING TRADITIONS – PAINTINGS OF WONDER FROM JAPAN

Captivating works by modern artist Yuki Ideguchi are shown alongside rarely seen masterpieces of traditional Japanese paintings, dating as far back as the 6th Century, in this exhibit, a collaboration with the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Whether new or old, all paintings in the exhibit make use of traditional and unique pigments, materials, and techniques, and all are also undergirded by the perspectives of Japanese aesthetic principles and motifs. To May 28. Japan Information & Culture Center, Embassy of Japan, 1150 18th St. NW. Ste. 100. Call 202-238-6900 or visit us.emb-japan.go.jp/jicc.

MARK BRADFORD: PICKETT’S CHARGE

Referred to as the most significant living American painter by the Hirshhorn, this gay African-American artist certainly works on a scale commensurate with that kind of stature. Take, for example, his huge, 400-foot installation created for his debut at the Smithsonian’s modern art museum as well as in D.C. A timely, commissioned “cyclorama” of eight large, site-specific collages, Bradford was inspired by Paul Philippoteaux’s same-named masterpiece depicting the loss of the Confederate Army at the Battle of Gettysburg. Covering the curved walls of the Hirshhorn’s third level inner circle, the work presents 360-degrees of abstracted historical narrative using Bradford’s signature practice of collage, juxtaposed with reproductions of the 19th-century original in a way that intentionally disrupts, messes up, and confuses. The end result is a work that invites reconsideration of how narratives about American history have been shaped and contested. To Nov. 12. Independence Avenue and Seventh Street SW. Call 202-633-1000 or visit hirshhorn.si.edu.

NONOTAK: NAKED EYES

The latest immersive show at ArTecHouse, D.C.’s innovative science-meets-art gallery, is billed as a “celebration of light” and presented in partnership with the Optical Society, the American Physical Society, and the American Institute of Physics. Developed by illustrator Noemi Schipfer and musician Takami Nakamoto working together as Nonotak, the Paris-based duo’s first solo exhibition in the U.S. transports viewers into a dreamlike environment where they’re encouraged to follow the lights as they see them — exploring the medium in three-dimensional fashion across four sculptural light and sound installations. During evening hours, the gallery once again offers specially made, technology-enhanced cocktails from what is touted as “the first Augmented Reality Cocktail Bar in the United States.” To June 30. ArTecHouse, 1238 Maryland Ave. SW. Tickets for 60-minute, timed-entry sessions are $12 for daytime or $15 for evening admission, not including drinks. Visit artechouse.com.

PHILIP LIVINGSTON: A NATURAL HISTORY OF WASHINGTON DC

Described as “a visual poem using images found near, or inspired by, the Hill Center,” the parts of this special installation vary in scale and representation. A recent transplant to D.C., Livingston took the large Ash on the property as his starting point, building out from there in terms of time and space. Now to June 23. Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital, 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. Call 202-549-4172 or visit HillCenterDC.org.

TARGET GALLERY’S 2018 EMERGING ARTISTS

The contemporary exhibition space in Alexandria’s Torpedo Factory Art Center is championing up-and-coming regional artists in this new annual exhibition series. Four stylistically diverse artists were selected by a jury panel to be featured in the first year: abstract painter Katie Barrie of Richmond, figurative artist Ronald Jackson of Spotsylvania, Va., reclaimed-material sculptor Hollis McCracken of Richmond, and D.C.’s HOlly Trout, another artist using repurposed cast-off materials. Through May 20. Target Gallery, 105 North Union St. Alexandria. Free. Call 703-838-4565 or visit torpedofactory.org.

FOOD AND DRINK

BAR ROUBAIX: SASSY DRAG BRUNCH

Over the past year, the local Hilton brothers have expanded well beyond Marvin and The Brixton and their original U Street base. None of the additions, however, stand out as much as Bar Roubaix in Columbia Heights with its racing bike theme, complete with chains dangling behind the bar and wheels serving as light fixtures. Named after the French city sponsoring one of the world’s oldest and most iconic professional bike races and housed in the former Acre 121 space, Roubaix features a menu of European-inspired bites from Chef Rafael Nunez. And now, Roubaix stands out even more thanks to a drag brunch the third Sunday of each month, organized by Josael Abraham Gutierrez. Sassy Drag Brunch features host Latina diva Sylvanna Douvel, Desiree Dik, Laronica Vegas, and other special guests. Drink specials include unlimited mimosas for $18. Sunday, May 20, from 12:30 to 2 p.m. 1400 Irving St. NW. Ste. 109. Tickets are $21 including show plus one entree and 18-percent gratuity, or $10 for show with no food. Call 202-560-5721 or search “Sassy Drag Brunch” on eventbrite.com.

SHAW’S TAVERN: DINNER-N-DRAG, SERVED!

Sometimes you’re dragging and you just can’t make it to brunch. And sometimes you want a regular, more traditional kind of meal — you know, at night, over wine. Well, these days, you can have just that with one of D.C.’s leading ladies of drag. Every Sunday night at Shaw’s Tavern, Kristina Kelly hosts a show over supper with half-priced bottles of wine and different dinner specials each week. Seating at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m. 520 Florida Ave. NW. Reservations required via shawsdinnerdragshow@gmail.com. Call 202-518-4092 or visit shawstavern.com.

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 — one entree and one cocktail costs $25 per person. 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 May 26 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. 821 Upshur St. NW. Reservations required for brunch. Call 202-723-0200 or visit taqueriadelbarrio.com.

Sleaze DJs — Photo: Angie Chamberland

NIGHTLIFE

SISSY THAT TUESDAY: RIRI V BEY

Rihanna and Beyonce will be channeled (and dragged) at the next edition of this monthly show organized and hosted by Jason Barnes. His drag alter ego Pussy Noir is less glam and far more punk rock than Rihanna, but his guest for the evening, KC Cambrel, has got Bey covered right down to his drag name: KC B. Yoncé. Together, the two will duel as “music’s most powerful divas,” aided and abetted by Wes the DJ. Tuesday, May 22. Doors at 8 p.m. Trade, 1410 14th St. NW. Call 202-986-1094 or visit tradebardc.com.

U SLEAZE: DJS LEMZ, KEENAN, OUTPUTMESSAGE

A little over a year ago, Steve “Lemz” Lemmerman launched what has become a popular first-Thursday party on the cozy dance floor at Wonderland Ballroom in Columbia Heights. “The second you hear the name,” Lemz says of Sleaze, “you just kind of know you’re going to be getting into something different.” For the month of May, Lemz is offering a second — and bigger — Sleaze, this time at U Street Music Hall. There is every reason to think U Sleaze will retain the original’s sleazy sensibility, per a dimly lit and foggy intimate dance floor and an eclectic musical mix focused on dark disco throwbacks and disco-inspired dance tracks — “bathhouse music…and future techno.” Lemz and Keenan Orr will DJ along with D.C.-based artist Bernard Farley, aka Outputmessage. Friday, May 25, starting at 10:30 p.m. U Street Music Hall, 1115A U St. NW. Tickets are $5 before midnight, $10 after. Call 202-588-1880 or visit ustreetmusichall.com.

Road Show Interplay

ABOVE AND BEYOND

ROAD SHOW: INTERPLAY

The Washington Improv Theater presents a mix of vignettes featuring different ensembles, with each plot developed on-the-fly, spurred by a single audience suggestion. With Interplay, WIT’s own improvisers create mash-up performances with special guests from the worlds of music, puppetry, poetry, dance, and more — a new artistic collaboration creating interdisciplinary hybrids every week. Each night offers a different mix of WIT ensembles, including Hellcat, Martinez, Nox!, and Bear Trap. Performances this weekend include collaborations with additional improvisers from the live art competition known as Super Art Fight. Artists with the kids-oriented PuppetCo. are featured in shows over Memorial Day. Weekends to June 17. District of Columbia Arts Center (DCAC), 2438 18th St. NW. Tickets are $15 in advance, or $20 at the door. Call 202-462-7833 or visit witdc.org.

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