Metro Weekly

Editor’s Picks: A Christmas Carol, GMCW’s Best Worst Thing, Nicole Byer, and more!

Our picks of the best arts and entertainment in D.C. this week!

Fords Theatre: A Christmas Carol

A CHRISTMAS CAROL

Craig Wallace returns for his third year as the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge in Ford’s Theatre’s cherished annual production of Dickens’ Yuletide classic. It really wouldn’t be Christmas in Washington without this music-infused adaptation, conceived by Michael Wilson and directed by Michael Baron. To Dec. 30. Ford’s Theatre, 511 10th St. NW. Tickets are $24 to $107. Call 800-982-2787 or visit fordstheatre.org.

THE AGITATORS

A look at the 45-year friendship and occasional rivalry between two great, rebellious, and flawed American icons: Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass. KenYatta Rogers directs Marni Penning as the pioneering women’s suffragist and Ro Boddie as the famed orator and abolitionist in Mat Smart’s play that shows how the two met as young activists in the 1840s and went on to help shape the course of American history. Produced by Mosaic Theatre. To Nov. 24. Lang Theatre in the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $50 to $65. Call 202-399-7993 or visit atlasarts.org.

The American Pops Orchestra: A Very Silly Vaudeville

AMERICAN POPS ORCHESTRA: A VERY SILLY VAUDEVILLE

Broadway tapping duo Mary Michael Patterson and Cary Tedder guide you through APO’s modern take on classic American vaudeville acts of yesteryear. Led by the orchestra’s Luke Frazier, the program also features musical theater performers Sam Hamashima and Hilary Morrow and is touted as one filled with “magic, dancing, singing, and lots of audience engagement.” Saturday, Nov. 17, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. The Molly Smith Study at the Mead Center for American Theater, 1101 6th St. SW. Tickets, remaining only for the 11 a.m. performance, are $17 to $32. Call 202-488-3300 or visit theamericanpops.org.

Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington DC: The Best Worst Thing

GAY MEN’S CHORUS OF WASHINGTON: THE BEST WORST THING

The first concert of GMCW’s new season, with the theme “Let Freedom Sing,” the cabaret explores the notion that every bad experience has a silver lining. The organization’s artistic director Thea Kano guides 15 soloists from the chorus as they share their personal stories while singing songs from pop and Broadway, including “Someone Like You,” “I’m Here,” “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered,” and “You Could Drive A Person Crazy.” Saturday, Nov. 17, at 5 and 8 p.m. Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $39. Call 202-399-7993 or visit atlasarts.org.

Nicloe Byer — Photo: William Morris Entertainment

NICOLE BYER

A comedic performer and writer known from her podcast Why Won’t You Date Me as well as from Fox’s short-lived sketch show Party Over Here, Byer was also a guest judge during an episode of this year’s RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars. Netflix subscribers, of course, know her as the quirky host from that quirkiest of bake-off competitions — the streaming platform’s wry Nailed It. Byer comes to town for two nights immediately after Thanksgiving. Friday, Nov. 23, and Saturday, Nov. 24, at 7 and 9 p.m. Drafthouse Comedy, 1100 13th St. NW. Tickets are $20. Call 202-750-6411 or visit drafthousecomedy.com.

CHARLINE VON HEYL: SNAKE EYES

More than 30 large-scale works from the influential German contemporary painter are on display at the Hirshhorn Museum in what is heralded as her largest U.S. museum survey. Part of a major multinational exhibition, Snake Eyes highlights von Heyl’s groundbreaking abstract output since 2005, with recent works pointing to new developments in her constantly evolving practice. Now to Feb. 24. Hirshhorn Museum, Independence Avenue and Seventh Street SW. Call 202-633-1000 or visit hirshhorn.si.edu.

Elf — Photo: Stan Barouh

ELF THE MUSICAL

An orphan leaves the North Pole to find his true identity in this musical based on the 2003 Will Ferrell movie and featuring songs by the team of composer Matthew Sklar and lyricist Chad Beguelin (The Wedding Singer) and a book by Thomas Meehan (Annie) and Bob Martin (The Drowsy Chaperone). Olney Theatre presents a holiday treat of a production with a powerhouse cast including Patricia Hurley, Kevin McAllister, Nova Y. Payton, and Bobby Smith, plus David Schumpf in the Ferrell role of Buddy. Directed by Michael J. Bobbitt and choreographed by Tara Jeanne Vallee. To Jan. 6. Mainstage, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney, Md. Call 301-924-3400 or visit olneytheatre.org.

Bernstein Choral Celebration: Danielle Talamantes, — Photo: Roy Cox,

NATIONAL PHILHARMONIC: BERNSTEIN CHORAL CELEBRATION

Stan Engebretson conducts Strathmore’s resident orchestra along with the National Philharmonic Chorale, soloists Danielle Talamantes, soprano, and Brian Cheney, tenor, and the Strathmore Children’s Chorus led by Michael Wu in a program featuring selections from MassCandide, and West Side Story. The late, great legend’s exuberance, panache, and joyful celebration of life were at their fullest display in his choral music, infusing his sacred and secular choral works with drama, pathos, and unfailing theatricality. Selections including “Almighty Father” and “Simple Song” from the extravagant Mass, “The Best of All Possible Worlds” and “Make Our Garden Grow” from the whimsical Candide, and “Tonight” and “One Hand, One Heart” from the passionate West Side Story. Saturday, Nov. 17, at 8 p.m. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Tickets are $28 to $76. Call 301-581-5100 or visit strathmore.org.

Zoolights

ZOOLIGHTS/BREWLIGHTS

More than 500,000 colorful Christmas lights illuminate life-sized animal silhouettes, dancing trees, buildings, and walkways, plus a light show set to music, during this annual holiday event at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. New at ZooLights this year is a Gingerbread Village, a magical land of frosted cookies and lollipops, giant gingerbread-people cutouts, and an Instagram-ready gingerbread throne, set in the Elephant Outpost amongst food and holiday vendors, plus a performance stage for local school groups. All that, plus select animal houses will be open, including the Small Mammal House, the Great Ape House and Reptile Discovery Center. And if you want to experience it all with a local beer buzz, on Thursday, Nov. 29, from 6 to 9 p.m., BrewLights offers snacks and unlimited tastings from more than 40 craft breweries — including samples from Atlas, Denizens, Flying Dog, Manor Hill, Port City, Right Proper, the Bruery, and Union Craft — plus exclusive access to sites throughout the park. ZooLights runs nightly starting Friday, Nov. 23, except Dec. 24, 25, and 31 until Jan. 1. National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. BrewLights tickets are $50 to $60. Call 202-633-4800 or visit nationalzoo.si.edu.

Randy Shulman is Metro Weekly's Publisher and Editor-in-Chief. He can be reached at rshulman@metroweekly.com.

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