Back in the ’70s, when Saturday Night Live was in its infancy — and still fresh — Gilda Radner stood out as one of the show’s most vibrant light. Her most iconic characters — Emily Litella, Lisa Loopner, and Roseanne Roseannadanna — were nuggets of explosive comic joy, although her transition to movies was less than smooth, with several of them directed by and co-starring her husband, Gene Wilder. (Radner had better success with a one-woman show on Broadway.) Without question, her untimely death in 1989 robbed the world of one of the greats. The film features interviews with Chevy Chase, Lorne Michaels, Laraine Newman, Paul Shaffer and Martin Short. Opens Friday, Sept. 21, at Landmark’s E Street Cinema.
More than two dozen theater companies offer discounted tickets to their current offerings as part of the TheatreWeek promotion, organized by TheatreWashington. For only $12, you can snag a seat to see Mosaic Theater’s Marie and Rosetta, while $15 gets you into Woolly Mammoth’s Gloria, Theater Alliance’s The Events, Ford’s Theatre’s Born Yesterday, and Rep Stage’s Sweeney Todd, to name four. Round House’s Small Mouth Sounds, GALA’s Like Water for Chocolate, Shakespeare Theatre’s The Comedy of Errors, Olney’s South Pacific, and Signature’s Heisenberg and Passion are among those that can be seen for $35. This year’s promotion also includes several free special events, including a Tour de Theaters Bike Ride with Theater J’s Adam Immerwahr on Saturday, Sept. 22, at 9:30 a.m. For more details, call 202-337-4572 or visit theatreweek.org.
Keegan Theatre remounts a thoroughly Washington play it first presented in 2009, about a speechwriter for a mediocre Congressman headed for defeat who enlists his brother, a psychiatric outpatient convinced he is the reincarnation of the 16th U.S. president, to write great oratory. Directed by Colin Smith, Keegan’s remount of John Strand’s comedy features original cast members Susan Marie Rhea, Stan Shulman, and Michael Innocenti. Opens Saturday, Sept. 22, with a post-show discussion featuring Strand on Sept. 30. Runs to Oct. 14. 1742 Church St. NW. Tickets are $36 to $46. Call 202-265-3768 or visit keegantheatre.com.
The Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour is as it sounds: The last trip around the world’s stadiums for the gay piano man, who comes to town for a last hurrah this weekend. The 71-year-old international superstar plans to go out with a bang, promising a full band and a new stage production taking fans on a musical and visual journey spanning his half-century career of hits “like no one has ever seen before.” Friday, Sept. 21, and Saturday, Sept. 22, at 8 p.m. Capital One Arena, 601 F St. NW. Available tickets are $199 to $555. Call 202-628-3200 or visit capitalonearena.com.
Bearing the title “Lost ’80s Live,” this concert features a parade of performers presumed left behind in the ’80s, including the headliners, with hits including “I Ran (So Far Away),” “Dance Hall Days,” “Everybody Have Fun Tonight,” and “I Want Candy.” Additional acts set to hit the stage include Animotion (“Obsession”), Farrington and Mann (original vocalists of When In Rome UK’s “The Promise”), Gene Loves Jezebel (“Jealous”), and Naked Eyes (“Promises, Promises,” “Always Something There To Remind Me”). Friday, Sept. 21, at 9 p.m. Warner Theatre, 513 13th St. NW. Tickets are $53 to $91.46. Call 202-783-4000 or visit warnertheatredc.com.
One of the funniest alums of the Chelsea Lately comedy family, this North Carolina native has been out as lesbian from her very first TV appearance as a contestant on NBC’s Last Comic Standing. More recently Feimster played the lovable nurse Colette on The Mindy Project, and she’s been a regular guest on Chelsea Handler’s Netflix show Chelsea. In addition to writing, her main focus is stand-up, where she’s reliably funny as all get out. Friday, Sept. 28, at 7:30 and 10 p.m., and Saturday, Sept. 29, at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Arlington Cinema N’ Drafthouse, 2903 Columbia Pike, Arlington. Tickets are $25. Call 703-486-2345 or visit arlingtondrafthouse.com.
Iron Crow Theatre, billed as “Baltimore’s award-winning queer theatre,” marks the 20th anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s death with a production of Moisés Kaufman’s groundbreaking research-driven examination into the Wyoming murder and its aftermath, developed with the Tectonic Theater Project. John Knapp directs the Iron Crow production featuring Kecia A. Campbell, Yvonne Erickson, William Goblirsch, Jr., Jonas David Grey, Warren C. Harris, Lezlie T. Hatcher, Johnna Leary, and Nicholas Miles. Post-performance talkbacks are planned for Thursday, Sept. 20, with Cathy Renna, the former communications director for GLAAD, sharing her experiences on assignment in Laramie 20 years ago, and Friday, Sept. 21, with Jeffrey LaHoste, co-founder of Tectonic Theater, providing rare insights into Moment Work, the company’s technique used to develop the play. Through Sept. 23. Theatre Project, 45 West Preston St. Baltimore. Tickets are $20 to $35. Call 410-752-8558 or visit ironcrowtheatre.org.
The NSO will be spacing out next weekend as the company launches its new season with salutes to NASA’s recent 60th Anniversary and the upcoming 50th Anniversary of the moon landing. Naturally, one of the spaciest symphonies, Gustav Holst’s The Planets, is a prominent part of the program, which also presents the soaring new work Voyage by Michael Giacchino, the prolific Oscar-winning composer behind the recent Star Trek titles. This year’s celebrity soloist is perennial gala favorite and superstar violinist Joshua Bell, joining for “Song to the Moon” from Antonín Dvořák’s Rusalka, as well as Manuel Ponce’s Estrellita, and Pablo de Sarasate’s Carmen Fantasy. Saturday, Sept. 22, at 7 p.m. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Tickets are $65 to $175. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
Led by married couple Lynn Veronneau and Ken Avis, the Wammie-winning international jazz fusion quartet — also featuring David Rosenblatt and Bruno Lucini — drops by Blues Alley in support of its new third album Love & Surrender. The multilingual collection of originals and standards features songs with the French accordion, the traditional Senegalese kora, fusion violin, and a touch of harmonica and electric guitar. Tuesday, Sept. 25, at 8 and 10 p.m. Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Tickets are $31, plus $12 minimum purchase. Call 202-337-4141 or visit bluesalley.com.
Having served as President Obama’s liaison to the LGBTQ, Asian-American, and Pacific Islander communities from 2011 to 2014, Raghavan had a front-row view at the movers and shakers in the Obama Administration, and particularly behind-the-scenes looks into the handling of Obamacare, marriage equality, and the Charleston shooting. The anthology he edited, West Wingers: Stories from the Dream Chasers, Change Makers, and Hope Creators Inside the Obama White House, presents a diverse group of former staffers and testifies to the power of committed public servants to make a true and lasting difference. Among those staffers joining Raghavan at this discussion are Heather Foster, former director of African-American outreach and advisor in the White House Office of Public Engagement, and Brad Jenkins, advisor on youth media during Obama’s 2008 campaign and also former White House liaison to the creative community. Thursday, Sept. 27, at 7 p.m. Politics and Prose at the Wharf, 70 District Square SW. Call 202-488-3867 or visit politics-prose.com.
This 10th annual arts event, taking place next week in Western Maryland, is a celebration of the region’s mountainous landscape and of the longstanding French philosophy of “painting in the open air.” Produced by the Allegany Arts Council, the festival selects a total of 30 artists from around the country to spend the week painting the scenery surrounding a particular area spot of their choosing. Among the D.C./Baltimore area artists participating this year are Lissa Abrams, Claudia Brookes, Henry Coe, David Diaz, Raymond Ewing, David Finnell, Jane Knighton, Mike McSorley, Chris Rapa, and J. Stacy Rogers. On Friday, Sept. 28, from 5 to 7 p.m., all participating artists will unveil their works during the 2018 Collector’s Reception and Awards, where $11,000 will be given out to winning artists and patrons will have the first opportunity to purchase the festival-created works. The general public gets that opportunity the next day, Saturday, Sept. 29, which also ushers in a judged Quickdraw competition, concluding with an awards ceremony, at the downtown Cumberland pedestrian mall. Proceeds of artwork sales go toward the Arts Council, based in Cumberland, Md. Call 301-777-2787 or visit mmpleinair.org for more information.
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