BALTIMORE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: CIRQUE NUTCRACKER
Acrobats, contortionists, jugglers, strongmen, and high-flying aerialists join the musicians of the BSO for a holiday-themed show merging the aerial arts and contemporary theater with classical dance and music. Nicholas Hersh conducts the BSO performing from Tchaikovsky’s famous score while Aloysia Gavre leads Troupe Vertigo, the movement-focused organization the Cirque du Soleil veteran co-founded a decade ago. Thursday, Dec. 13, at 8 p.m. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Also Friday, Dec. 14, at 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 15, and Sunday, Dec. 16, at 3 p.m. Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St., Baltimore. Tickets are $12.50 to $90. Call 410-783-8000 or visit bsomusic.org.
DC DIFFERENT DRUMMERS: HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS
The Capitol Pride Symphonic Band, DC Swing! and smaller ensembles of the LGBTQ music organization perform concert versions of holiday tunes at their free annual holiday concert, which also doubles as a food drive for Food and Friends. Non-perishable food and travel-sized toiletry donations welcomed. Sunday, Dec. 9, at 3 p.m. The Lutheran Church of the Reformation, 212 East Capitol St. NE. Free, with request for food drive donations. Call 202-269-4868 or visit dcdd.org.
GAY MEN’S CHORUS OF WASHINGTON: THE HOLIDAY SHOW
Artistic Director Thea Kano leads an all-new show featuring tap dancers, silver bears, holiday drag, falling snowflakes, soaring vocals, and a special visit from Santa Claus. In other words, the kind of all-out eclectic extravaganza patrons come to expect from the Gay Men’s Chorus this time of year. The setlist includes “Jingle Bells,” “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” and “Puttin’ On The Holiday Drag.” Performances are Saturday, Dec. 8, at 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 15, at 3 and 8 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 16, at 3 p.m. Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U St. NW. Tickets are $25 to $65. Call 877-435-9849 or visit thelincolndc.com.
HILLWOOD’S FESTIVE FABERGÉ AND RUSSIAN WINTER FESTIVAL
This year, Hillwood has taken inspiration from the famed Russian design firm Fabergé to display resplendent Christmas trees and decor as part of its holiday festivities. In conjunction with the special exhibition Fabergé Rediscovered, on view through Jan. 13, five Christmas trees throughout Marjorie Merriweather Post’s estate reflect the opulence of Fabergé through decorations including jeweled ornaments, live flowers, and brilliant treasures. This Saturday, Dec. 8, and Sunday, Dec. 9, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., comes the main celebration of the season, Hillwood’s annual Russian Winter Festival. Actors from noted local professional companies Flying V Theatre and Happenstance Theater will bring to life traditional characters including Grandfather Frost and the Snow Maiden as well as enact the old Russian winter custom of mumming — dressing up in costume and visiting friends, singing, playing jokes, and fortune-telling. The festival also features live music from the Samovar Russian Folk Music Ensemble and festive dances from Kalinka Dance Ensemble. Hillwood is at 4155 Linnean Ave. NW. Suggested donation is $12, or $18 during the Russian Winter Festival. Call 202-686-5807 or visit HillwoodMuseum.org.
I LOVE/HATE THE HOLIDAYS CABARET
Regie Cabico and Don Mike Mendoza’s La-Ti-Do variety show features higher-quality singing than most karaoke, often from local musical theater actors performing on their night off, and also includes spoken-word poetry and comedy. Mendoza and Anya Randall Nebel host the next event, an annual holiday cabaret featuring guest performers — those who love as well as those who loathe seasonal merriment and melodies — and including spoken word in addition to music. Monday, Dec. 10, at 8 p.m. Mezzanine Level of Bistro Bistro, 1727 Connecticut Ave. NW. Tickets are $15, or $10 if you eat dinner at the restaurant beforehand. Call 202-328-1640 or visit latidodc.wix.com/latido.
Two traveling light installations add a little seasonal, illuminating whimsy as part of this year’s fourth annual holiday celebration in the Navy Yard area of Southeast D.C. — also increasingly known as the Capitol Riverfront. The Pool by New York’s Jen Lewin Studio, developed six years ago but making its D.C. debut here, features 106 interactive circular pads of light that react as visitors move on and around them, creating a giant canvas of shifting and fading colors. Meanwhile, Angels of Freedom by Israel’s OGE Group is a social sculptural installation where visitors pose with five giant, neon-colored wings and white halos, intended as a way to signify that we’re all angels and that “everybody counts and deserves love.” On display from 6 to 10 p.m. every night beginning Friday, Dec. 7 until Jan. 4. The Yards Park Boardwalk, 355 Water St. SE. Call 202-465-7093 or visit theyardsdc.com.
The adventures of a brave and resourceful precocious Parisian who takes her bed-ridden friends on an unforgettable Christmas journey via magic carpet ride. Virginia’s Creative Cauldron has had a hit with two previous iterations of this musical adaptation by writer/lyricist Jennifer Kirkeby and composer Shirley Mier and based on the book by author/illustrator Ludwig Bemelmans. Matt Conner directs. Opening night is Saturday, Dec. 8. Runs to Dec. 23. ArtSpace Falls Church, 410 South Maple Ave. in Falls Church. Tickets are $20 to $26, or $30 for opening night. Call 703-436-9948 or visit creativecauldron.org.
MIRACLE ON 8TH STREET: SCREENINGS OF CHRISTMAS CLASSICS
For a second year in a row the recently renovated Miracle Theatre in the Barracks Row section of Capitol Hill screens several holiday-themed favorites on the weekends leading up to Christmas. This year’s lineup includes: Macaulay Culkin as an boy stranded in Home Alone, screening Sunday, Dec. 9, at 3:30 p.m., and Friday, Dec. 21, at 6 p.m.; the James Stewart signature It’s A Wonderful Life on Friday, Dec. 14, at 7 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 16, at 3:30 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 22, at 8 p.m.; Robert Zemeckis’ animated The Polar Express starring Tom Hanks on Saturday Dec. 15 at 11 a.m., and Friday, Dec. 21, at 3:30 p.m.; Miracle on 34th Street, the classic Christmas drama from 1947 that put Santa Claus, or really the poser Kris Kringle, on trial, on Friday, Dec. 21, at 8:30 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 23, at 6 p.m.; and Will Ferrell’s 15-year-old Elf on Sunday, Dec. 23, at 3:30 p.m. Tickets are $6 to $8. 535 8th St. SE. Call 202-400-3210 or visit themiracletheatre.com.
THE STOOP STORYTELLING SERIES: HA-HA HOLIDAY SHOW
It’s seasonal schadenfreude time as a group of Baltimoreans offer personal tales about yuletides of yore in an annual holiday show dubbed “A Smörgåsbord of Seasonal Tale.” This year’s program includes a story about an only-in-Baltimore reindeer, a fateful Christmas Eve Ravens game, and an explosive New Years Eve abroad, plus a dispatch from “the world’s most famous Christmas block” — aka Baltimore’s Miracle on 34th Street. The evening kicks off with cocktails and live music from the Tongue and Cheek Jazz Band at 7 p.m. Tuesday Dec. 11, at 8 p.m. The Senator Theatre, 5904 York Rd. Baltimore. Tickets are $15 to $23. Call 800-838-3006 or visit stoopstorytelling.com.
A CHRISTMAS STORY
Bob Clark, who gave the world the teen raunchfest Porky’s, also improbably gave the world this beloved 1983 gem about a boy who longs for a “Red Ryder air rifle” for Christmas. With Darren McGavin and Melinda Dillon. Part of the Capital Classics series at Landmark’s West End Cinema. Wednesday, Dec. 12, 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.
AFI HOLIDAY CLASSICS
Over the next several weeks, the American Film Institute offers 16 Christmas films, from the classics — It’s A Wonderful Life, The Muppet Christmas Carol, and White Christmas — to curiosities like Die Hard and Trading Places. First up, MGM’s 1938 version of A Christmas Carol, starring Reginald Owen as Scrooge and featuring a score by the legendary Franz Waxman. AFI Silver Theatre, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. Tickets are $13. Call 301-495-6720 or visit afi.com/Silver for schedule and details.
The perfect film to put you in the holiday spirit, Fathom Events present the original theatrical version of the classic, starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and Rosemary Clooney, on Sunday, Dec. 9, and Wednesday, Dec. 12, at 2 and 7 p.m. Area theaters including Regal Gallery Place (701 7th St. NW), AMC Mazza Gallerie, (5300 Wisconsin Ave. NW), and Regal Potomac Yards Stadium (3575 Jefferson Davis Highway, soon to be Amazonland). Visit fathomevents.com.
EMILY DICKINSON BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE
An evening in tribute to Emily Dickinson at the Folger Shakespeare Library kicks off with a free screening of Madeleine Olnek’s new biopic, Wild Nights with Emily, starring Molly Shannon as the posthumously revered poet and focused on her long-term but furtive lesbian relationship with fellow aspiring writer Susan Ziegler. Afterwards comes the Folger’s annual reading from Dickinson’s work in a birthday tribute also part of the O.B. Hardison Poetry Series and co-sponsored with the Poetry Society of America. This year’s reading features author Martha Nell Smith of the Dickinson Electronic Archives at the University of Virginia and artist/poet Jen Bervin of The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson’s Envelope Poems, which reproduces the legendary poet’s experimental late work that was composed on scraps of envelopes. A moderated conversation about Dickinson featuring the two scholars along with filmmaker Olnek follows the reading, and the tribute ends in a book signing and reception where Suga Chef’s rum- and fruit-flavored “black cake,” made from Dickinson’s own recipe, will be served. Monday, Dec. 10. Screening at 5 p.m., reading at 7:30 p.m. 201 East Capitol St. SE. Reservations are required for the free screening, while the reading is $15. Call 202-544-7077 or visit folger.edu.
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.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL IN WASHINGTON
Celebrating its 70th anniversary, Maryland’s community stage Port Tobacco Players presents local author Kim Bessler’s retelling of the Dickens classic, set in the region during the Great Depression. Mike Gahan directs the non-professional world-premiere production. Weekends to Dec. 16. 508 Charles St., La Plata, Md. Tickets are $15 to $18. Call 301-932-6819 or visit ptplayers.com.
A CHRISTMAS STORY, THE MUSICAL
Benj Pasek and Justin Paul have been turning ears most recently with their work for film, including La La Land and The Greatest Showman. But the young songwriting duo is first and foremost a Tony-winning musical-generating team (Dear Evan Hansen), who made their Broadway debut in 2013 with this Tony-nominated stage adaptation — with writer Joseph Robinette — of the 1983 film. Levine Music Theatre presents a rare local production of the work. Kevin Collins, Theo Dematatis, Naia Albert, Lucy Newton, and Joshua Poole lead a cast of student actors accompanied by a small orchestra led by Jake Null. Carolyn Agan directs. Performances are Friday, Dec. 7, at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 8, at 2 and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 9, at 2 p.m. Kogod Cradle at Arena Stage, 1101 6th St. SW. Tickets are $19 to $25. Call 202-686-8000 or visit levinemusic.org.
AN INSPECTOR CALLS
A festive evening at the home of a well-heeled British family is suddenly punctured by a visit from a grim inspector investigating the death of a young woman that proceeds to upend their comfortable lives. Acclaimed stage and film director Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot) returns to J.B. Priestley’s chilling drama, which he first helmed in 1992 at London’s National Theatre, for a Shakespeare Theatre Company production starring Liam Brennan as Inspector Goole and Christine Kavanagh, Jeff Harmer, Lianne Harvey, and Hamish Riddle as the Birling family. To Dec. 23. Lansburgh Theatre, 450 7th St. NW. Call 202-547-1122 or visit shakespearetheatre.org.
Molly Smith puts her stamp on Cole Porter’s most famous show by enlisting two right-hand-men for staging musical classics in the round — choreographer Parker Esse (Oklahoma!) and music director Paul Sportelli (Carousel). Soara-Joye Ross, last seen in D.C. via the national tour of The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, makes her Arena debut as showboat sensation Reno Sweeney who sings several American Songbook standards, including “Anything Goes,” “I Get A Kick Out of You,” and “Blow, Gabriel, Blow.” Ross leads a cruise ship-sized cast also including Corbin Bleu as Billy Crocker, Lisa Helmi Johanson as Hope Harcourt, Jimmy Ray Bennett as Lord Evelyn Oakleigh, Lisa Tejero as Evangeline Harcourt, and Maria Rizzo as the vampy Erma. To Dec. 23. Fichandler Stage, 1101 6th St. SW. Call 202-488-3300 or visit arenastage.org.
Matthew Gardiner helms Signature Theatre’s take on the moving musical from writer/lyricist Lee Hall and composer Elton John about an 11-year-old boy who just wants to dance. The production features two Billys and two young ensembles performing in rotation, along with an adult crew featuring Nancy Anderson as Mrs. Wilkinson, Chris Genebach as Billy’s father, Crystal Mosser as his mother, Sean Watkinson as brother Tony, and Catherine Flye as Grandma. Pride Night is Dec. 14. To Jan. 6. The Ark, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. Call 703-820-9771 or visit sigtheatre.org.
CHRISTMAS AT THE OLD BULL AND BUSH
Catherine Flye’s cheery holiday tale centers on patrons at a pub telling corny jokes and singing British music hall songs and Christmas carols. Originally presented at the turn of the millennium by Arena Stage, some of the original cast members return for another holiday run at Alexandria’s MetroStage including sing-alongs and an abbreviated reenactment of Dickens’ Christmas Carol, plus a few surprises along the way. To Dec. 30. MetroStage, 1201 North Royal St., Alexandria. Call 703-548-9044 or visit metrostage.org.
CRY IT OUT
Studio Theatre presents Molly Smith Metzler’s candid comedy about the tinderbox of parenthood and class in today’s culture. Emjoy Gavino plays Jesse, a corporate lawyer, who befriends her working class neighbor Lina (Dina Thomas) while both are marooned at home on maternity leave. A wealthy couple from the neighborhood, played by Paolo Andino and Tessa Klein, intrudes on a naptime coffee date between the new mothers, pushing Cry It Out toward a dramatic climax. Directed by Joanie Schultz. To Dec. 16. Milton Theatre, 14th & P Streets NW. Call 202-332-3300 or visit studiotheatre.org.
DC QUEER THEATRE FESTIVAL
The annual showcase, presented by the DC Center, returns with seven stage works written by area playwrights, each under 10 minutes in length. The program includes Alan Sharpe’s Most Important Meal of the Day, Audrey Cefaly’s Consider the Ficus, Asabi Oke’s Out of Culture, Brittany Alyse Willis’s Son of Apollo, John Bavaso’s Plus One, Xemiyulu Manibusan’s Protect & Serve, and Xian Mao’s Fantasy Roadtrip. Performances are Friday, Dec. 7, at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 8, at 3 and 7:30 p.m. District of Columbia Arts Center, 2438 18th St. NW. Tickets are $20. Call 202-462-7833 or visit thedccenter.org/queertheatrefest.
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.
FANCY NANCY’S SPLENDIFEROUS CHRISTMAS
Nancy has enough money to buy a brand-new sparkly tree topper, but when things don’t turn out as she planned, will Christmas still be splendiferous? Adventure Theatre MTC presents a musical geared toward younger audiences. Stevie Zimmerman directs. To Jan. 6. 7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo Park. Call 301-634-2270 or visit adventuretheatre-mtc.org.
GEM OF THE OCEAN
The “American Century” dawns in Aunt Ester’s kitchen, where Citizen Barlow arrives to have his soul cleansed by the venerable, 285-year-old soothsayer. Round House Theatre presents the first chapter in the late August Wilson’s monumental decade-by-decade play series set in Pittsburgh’s African-American Hill District. Timothy Douglas directs a cast featuring Stephanie Berry as Ester, Justin Weaks as Barlow, Alfred Wilson as Solly Two Kings, and KenYatta Rogers as the constable Caesar. Now to Dec. 23. Round House Theatre, 4545 East-West Highway, Bethesda. Call 240-644-1100 or visit roundhousetheatre.org.
HOW TO CATCH A STAR
The Kennedy Center commissioned this stage adaptation of author and illustrator Oliver Jeffers’ beloved children’s book about chasing one’s dreams. Created and directed by Jared Mezzocchi, this work of theater for young audiences is a whimsical tale of discovery, friendship, and delightful surprises, enriched with music by Zak Engel, projections by Olivia Sebesky, and choreography by the Orange Grove Dance Company. Jonathan Hsu, Dallas Tolentino, Raven Wilkes, and Elan Zafir star. Performances are Saturday, Dec. 8 and 15, at 11 a.m., 1:30, and 5 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 9 and 16, at 1:30 and 4 p.m. Family Theater. Tickets are $20. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
HOW TO KEEP AN ALIEN
Solas Nua, the nation’s only organization exclusively dedicated to contemporary Irish arts, presents the regional premiere of a romantic comedy with a global perspective on immigration. An audience favorite from the D.C.-based company’s play reading series last season, How to Keep An Alien explores the real-life travails of Irish playwright Sonya Kelly in securing a visa for her Australian-born partner Kate by proving their love to the Irish government. With Tonya Beckman as Sonya. Directed by Tom Story. To Dec. 16. Dance Loft on 14 Theater, 4618 14th St. NW 2nd Floor. Tickets are $35 to $45. Call 202-621-3670 or visit solasnua.org.
Paula Vogel’s latest work tells the story of a group of artists who risked their careers to perform Sholem Asch’s God of Vengeance on Broadway in 1923, a work deemed “indecent” for tackling taboo themes of censorship, immigration, and anti-Semitism. Eric Rosen directs a cast that includes Ben Cherry, Susan Lynskey, John Milosich, and Max Wolkowitz. To Dec. 30. Kreeger Theater in the Mead Center for American Theater, 1101 6th St. SW. Call 202-488-3300 or visit arenastage.org.
MY FATHER’S DRAGON
As part of its Family Theater series, Synetic Theater produces a wordless adaptation of Ruth Stiles Gannett’s book starring Synetic’s Ryan Sellers and directed and choreographed by the company’s Tori Bertocci. My Father’s Dragon focuses on the attempts of Elmer Elevator to rescue a captive baby dragon on Wild Island. To Jan. 6. Theater at Crystal City, 1800 South Bell St., Arlington. Tickets are $20. Call 800-811-4111 or visit synetictheater.org.
ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Virginia’s Run Rabbit Run Theatre reprises Meredith Bean McMath’s adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic, amped up with original music and lyrics by Diane El-Shafey, instrumental music by Carma Oliverez, and a few traditional favorites. The show features 32 actors portraying over 120 characters relating the story of the redemption of the Grinch-like Ebenezer Scrooge, played by Phil Erickson. Weekends to Dec. 9. Franklin Park Arts Center, 36441 Blueridge View Lane, Purcellville, Va. Tickets are $20 online, or $25 at the door. Call 540-668-6779 or visit storyroot.com/RRRtickets.html.
Subtitled “The story Dr. Seuss didn’t want you to see,” Matthew Lombardo’s raucous, raunchy comedy is an unofficial sequel to the childhood favorite How The Grinch Stole Christmas. The story revolves around a very grown-up Cindy Lou Who recounting, from her cramped quarters on Mount Crumpit, the infamous night she met the mean, green one as well as tales from the wild life she’s led since. Dexter Ramey directs Kimberly Jones Clark in what is billed as a “trailer park Christmas Eve party.” Featuring a post-show cabaret led by pianist Joshua Wortham accompanying either Georgia Rogers Farmer or Shannon Gibson Brown. Weekends to Dec. 15. Richmond Triangle Players, The Robert B. Moss Theatre, 1300 Altamont Ave. Richmond. Tickets are $30 to $35. Call 804-346-8113 or visit rtriangle.org.
BALTIMORE SYMPHONY: HANDEL’S MESSIAH
The area’s three biggest orchestras will each perform one of the greatest choral masterpieces in the Western canon this season, with the National Symphony and the National Philharmonic both offering the monumental Messiah the weekend immediately before Christmas. But the Baltimore Symphony beats them to the punch with two performances this weekend led by conductor and harpsichordist Edward Polochick along with the Concert Artists of Baltimore Symphonic Chorale and soprano Jennifer O’Loughlin, mezzo-soprano Diana Moore, tenor Benjamin Butterfield, and bass Sidney Outlaw. The concert in part promotes a recent recording on Naxos of Handel’s masterwork as performed by the BSO under Polochick with the same chorale and all but one of the four soloists. Polochick will sign copies of the new CD after each performance. Saturday, Dec. 8, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 9, at 3 p.m. Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St., Baltimore. Tickets are $12.50 to $80. Call 410-783-8000 or visit bsomusic.org.
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. 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. Thursday, Dec. 13. Doors at 6 p.m. City Winery DC, 1350 Okie St. NE. Tickets are $30 to $45. Call 202-250-2531 or visit citywinery.com.
Literally translating as stereo bomb in English, this band’s name is said to refer to a “badass party” in its native Colombia. Just try to stand still as the fun, festive group, founded by bassist Simon Mejia and led by singer/rapper Liliana Saumet, performs its brand of modern-day, Latin electro-pop. The aptly named EDM gem “Fiesta” and especially the wild, bilingual EDM remake of Technotronic’s “Pump Up The Jam” — rechristened “Ponte Bomb” — will most definitely get the crowd jumping. Thursday, Dec. 13. Doors at 7 p.m. Fillmore Silver Spring, 8656 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. Tickets are $29 to $45. Call 301-960-9999 or visit fillmoresilverspring.com.
A five-piece from Richmond, Carbon Leaf has toured with the Dave Matthews Band, O.A.R., and Blues Traveler, while drawing its own fans with its slightly unusual blend of bluegrass and rock, officially pegged as “ether-electrified porch music.” The band tours in celebration of its 25th anniversary year. Friday, Dec. 7, at 8:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 8, at 3 and 8:30 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 9, at 1 p.m. Ram’s Head On Stage, 33 West St., Annapolis. Tickets are $39.50. Call 410-268-4545 or visit ramsheadonstage.com. Also Thursday, Dec. 13, at 7:30 p.m. The Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. Tickets are $39.50. Call 703-549-7500 or visit birchmere.com.
CHERYL WHEELER & JOHN GORKA
A Maryland native, Wheeler got her start performing at clubs in D.C. and Baltimore, though she has long made her home in Massachusetts with her wife. She returns for an annual show sharing the stage with John Gorka, whom Rolling Stone once dubbed the preeminent male singer-songwriter of the New Folk Movement. Sunday, Dec. 9, at 7:30 p.m. The Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. Tickets are $39.50. Call 703-549-7500 or visit birchmere.com.
The Washington Post has referred to this 12-piece band as “a storming powerhouse of big-band African funk…smart, tight and relentlessly driving.” The Afrobeat-driven group has won 13 Washington Area Music Association Awards, including Artist of the Year in 2008 and as best World Music Group the last nine years in a row. Chopteeth performs regularly throughout the region. Saturday, Dec. 8. Doors at 7 p.m. Pearl Street Warehouse
Pearl Street Warehouse, 33 Pearl St. SW. Tickets are $20. Call 202-380-9620 or visit pearlstreetwarehouse.com.
Featuring a cast of over 100, The Washington Revels performs their annual holiday tribute, this year a “Welcome Yule” journey to Renaissance England and the winter world of Queen Elizabeth I and Will Kemp, Shakespeare’s favorite Fool. A show blending music and dance and featuring children’s songs and games, seasonal sing-alongs, even a few lines from the Bard. Performances begin Saturday, Dec. 8. Runs To Dec. 16. GW Lisner, The George Washington University, 730 21st St. NW. Tickets are $12 to $60. Call 301-587-3835 or visit revelsdc.org.
Freddy Cole plays his own instruments, just like his late brother Nat King Cole, but his voice is raspier, smokier, even jazzier. The New York Times has hailed him as “the most maturely expressive male jazz singer of his generation, if not the best alive.” He drops by Blues Alley for another weekend run of his seasonal show, “Here for the Holidays.” Thursday, Dec. 6, through Sunday, Dec. 9, at 8 and 10 p.m. Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Tickets are $36, plus $12 minimum purchase. Call 202-337-4141 or visit bluesalley.com.
Joshua Vogelsong developed his alter-ego Donna Slash a few years back alongside the LGBTQ punk act Homosuperior. A few months after an opening set at Comet Ping Pong, where Vogelsong is a bar manager and the newly appointed Events Director, Homosuperior headlines one of the last shows on the Black Cat’s first floor stage, with opening sets from Jail Solidarity and Bust Down. Wednesday, Dec. 12. Doors at 7:30 p.m. Backstage, 1811 14th St. NW. Tickets are $10. Call 202-667-4490 or visit blackcatdc.com.
Born to a French father and a Cameroonian mother, Paris-born sisters Hélène and Célia Faussart helped shake up hip-hop at the turn of the millennium with their debut album, Princesses Nubiennes. They’re now one of the most successful French-language musical groups in the states. Saturday, Dec. 15. Doors at 6 p.m. The Howard Theatre, 620 T St. NW. Tickets are $22.50 to $65, plus $10 minimum per person for all tables. Call 202-588-5595 or visit thehowardtheatre.com.
MOTOWN: HITSVILLE U.S.A. CABARET
Jade Jones, Marc G. Meadows, and Ines Nassara perform songs popularized by the Supremes, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, the Jackson 5 and many more in a cabaret show directed by Kelly Crandall d’Amboise. This “Motown: The Reprise” cabaret is a sequel to the original sold-out Signature Theatre production. Now to Dec. 23. The Ark, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. Tickets are $38. Call 703-820-9771 or visit sigtheatre.org.
NATIONAL PHILHARMONIC: HOLIDAY POPS
Soprano Iyona Blake, a Helen Hayes Award-winning actress, will sing “O Holy Night” among other holiday favorites as the featured soloist at this year’s seasonal offering from Strathmore’s resident orchestra. Victoria Gau conducts the Philharmonic and National Philharmonic Chorale in seasonal classics and a sing-along or two. Friday, Dec. 7, at 7:30 p.m. The Music Center, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Tickets are $18 to $74. Call 301-581-5100 or visit strathmore.org.
NATIONAL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: MAHLER’S FIRST SYMPHONY
NSO Music Director Gianandrea Noseda leads a program of spirited and expressive works including a world premiere from Kennedy Center Composer-in-Residence Mason Bates. A 30-minute, three-movement work, Bates’ Art of War incorporates electronic instrumentation into more traditional orchestral scoring and explores the drama of human conflict from the perspective of soldiers, weaponry, and human loss. Noseda has paired Bates with Mahler, specifically Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, Titan, revered today as a sumptuous and groundbreaking work in the way it incorporates folk melodies and dances. The work was so groundbreaking, so shocking, that early audiences hissed and booed when they heard it — and their reaction prompted the German Jewish composer to spend a decade tweaking the work before finally publishing his score in 1898. Thursday, Dec. 6, at 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 8, at 8 p.m., and, Sunday, Dec. 9, at 3 p.m. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Tickets are $15 to $89. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
Founded two decades ago in Rockville, Of A Revolution continues to stir up audiences both at home and around the country. Singer/guitarist Marc Roberge, drummer Chris Culos, guitarist Richard On, bassist Benj Gershman, and saxophonist/guitarist Jerry DePizzo will perform from its great alt-rock repertoire in its second annual show right off the District Pier. Saturday, Dec. 15. Doors at 6:30 p.m. The Anthem, 901 Wharf St. SW. Tickets are $45 to $75. Call 202-888-0020 or visit theanthemdc.com.
Every so often, the star resident at the Blue Moon in Rehoboth Beach makes her way to the D.C. area to perform at D.C.’s beachiest venue around. It’s certainly worth washing ashore for, especially if you haven’t yet managed to see the belter live. Stanley, who had several dance hits in the mid-1980s, including “Coming Out Of Hiding” and “If Looks Could Kill,” ranks high among those former pop stars and disco divas who should have been a bigger deal. She puts on a heck of a show — including covers of popular jazz standards and Broadway showtunes. Friday, Dec. 7, at 8 p.m. Freddie’s Beach Bar, 555 South 23rd St., Arlington. Tickets are $20 to $30 plus a fee of approximately $3. Call 703-685-0555 or visit freddiesbeachbar.com.
There’s a sizable cadre of young, queer artists singing openly and honestly about their experiences in today’s landscape, but it was a different story 20 years ago, and Rufus Wainwright stood out in that regard as he launched his career with his 1998 self-titled debut and established himself with 2001’s Poses. The two albums felt rather groundbreaking then, and they still hold up two decades later, which is why a concert finding Wainwright performing songs from both registers as more than just a toast to his day-one or longtime fans. It’s all the more enticing given that he’ll revive the material locally in Strathmore’s large, acoustically rich concert hall. Saturday, Dec. 8, at 8 p.m. Music Center, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Tickets are $39 to $89, or $299 to $399 for VIP levels including a premium seat, pre-show meet and greet and photo, tour print, a photo book, and more. Call 301-581-5100 or visit strathmore.org.
SPECIAL AGENT GALACTICA: FAREWELL SHOW
It’s been a while since we last heard from Jeffrey Johnson’s spacey and pink-haired singing drag act. The bad news is that Galactica’s return also marks her last before a permanent move to Charleston, South Carolina. The good news, as far as it goes, is that the final show certainly lives up to the concept of going out with a bang. Galactica will essentially perform three shows in one, kicking off with a “greatest hits” set channeling the Happy Hour Variety Show she hosted at the now defunct Black Fox Lounge and featuring the Black Fox-minted trio of keyboardist Aaron Meyers, bassist Ethan Foote, and drummer Winston Johnson, plus a lip sync gem or two. Next up is a slightly truncated version of the original show A Romp Around Uranus, developed for Capital Fringe in 2016 and subsequently performed at New York’s iconic Stonewall Inn, and featuring Galactica, guitarist Peter Fields (aka Captain Satellite) and the Timeship Aurora (voiced by the B-52’s Fred Schneider). All the performers from the first two sets will come together for a finale featuring yet more Galactica standards, as well as some surprise curveballs and Johnson favorites. Sunday, Dec. 9, starting at 5:30 p.m. Pie Shop Bar & Patio, 1339 H St. NE. Pay-What-You-Can donations accepted. Call 202-398-7437 or visit dangerouspiesdc.com.
THE BARNES AND HAMPTON CELTIC CONSORT: A CELTIC CHRISTMAS
Georgetown’s Dumbarton United Methodist Church presents a candlelit holiday celebration that has been a D.C. institution for 40 years, transporting listeners to another time and place with its old instrumentation and setting. The concert features Linn Barnes on guitar and lute, Allison Hampton on Celtic harp, Joseph Cunliffe on pipes, flutes, and recorders, and Steven Bloom on percussion, with Dylan Thomas poetry read by Robert Aubry Davis. Saturday, Dec. 8, and Sunday, Dec. 9, at 4 p.m. 31311 Dumbarton St. NW. Tickets, remaining only for the Saturday concert, are $42. Call 202-333-7212 or visit dumbartonconcerts.org.
THE WASHINGTON CHORUS: A CANDLELIGHT CHRISTMAS
Artistic Director Christopher Bell directs the annual “A Candlelight Christmas,” featuring the 200-voice chorus singing familiar carols and holiday songs accompanied by brass ensemble plus organ, plus audience sing-alongs and a candlelight processional. Joining the chorus this year is Virginia Bronze, the Alexandria community-based, auditioned handbell ensemble. Friday, Dec. 7, at 8 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 16, at 4 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 22, at 2 p.m. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Also Thursday, Dec. 20, at 8 p.m., and Friday, Dec. 21, at 8 p.m. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Tickets are $18 to $75. Call 202-342-6221 or visit thewashingtonchorus.org.
THREEFER MADNESS: DAN NAVARRO, BRUCE SUDANO, CHAS SANFORD
Three music veterans better known as songwriters get a rare spotlight as singers in this triple bill concert presented by the Institute of Musical Traditions, which chiefly works to preserve and promote folk music traditions. Navarro, who regularly appears on the Hill advocating for artists’ rights, has written for a wide variety of artists, from Pat Benatar to Jackson Browne, Dionne Warwick to Austin outlaw Rusty Wier. Sudano is currently touring in support of recent album 21st Century World, yet he, too, is better known for hits he wrote recorded by Michael Jackson, Dolly Parton, and last but certainly not least his late wife Donna Summer. Finally, there’s Sanford, the owner of famed Nashville recording studio Secret Sound, whose hit list includes “Missing You” by John Waite and “Talk to Me” by Stevie Nicks. Saturday, Dec. 8, at 7:30 p.m. St. Mark Presbyterian Church, 10701 Old Georgetown Road, Rockville. Tickets are $20 in advance, or $25 at the door. Call 301-960-3655 or visit imtfolk.org.
BALLET WEST: THE NUTCRACKER
After a debut last year in Salt Lake City, Utah’s preeminent dance company brings to the Kennedy Center a whimsical new take on the enchanting holiday classic. Reimagined designs, from grand sets and fantastical costumes to special effects, add a glittering, opulent sparkle. The Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra and the Arlington Children’s Choir will offer live accompaniment. Remaining performances are Thursday, Dec. 6, and Friday, Dec. 7, at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 8, and Sunday, Dec. 9, at 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. Opera House. Tickets are 59 to $215. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
BOWEN MCCAULEY DANCE COMPANY
Lucy Bowen McCauley kicks off the 23rd season of her celebrated local contemporary dance company with a mixed program, including the premiere of a piece exploring circles and Pi at the intersection of dance and engineering. Commissioned by Drexel University, McCauley’s new Lissajous includes a special music composition written by Jordan Key. The performance opens with the late Eric Hampton’s UnRavel set to Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin and restaged by the company’s Alison Crosby. Ilana Goldman, the company’s Choreographer in Residence, will also share her new work Facile Manipulations as part of a program concluding with McCauley’s popular Lucy’s Local Playlist. Saturday, Dec. 8, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 9, at 4 p.m. Dance Place, 3225 8th St. NE. Tickets are $25 in advance, or $30 at the door. A “Winter Wonderland” After-Party with cast and crew follows the Saturday performance at 9:30 p.m. and is an additional $30. Call 202-269-1600 or visit danceplace.org.
CIRQUE DU SOLEIL: CRYSTAL: A BREAKTHROUGH ICE EXPERIENCE
The misfit heroine Crystal leads a tale of self-discovery and dives into and flies around a world of her own imagination in the latest Cirque show, which cracks through the ice this year in wintry Washington. Directed by Shana Carroll and Sebastien Soldevila, Crystal features the kind of movement and acrobatics you expect as well as astounding visual projections and a soundtrack incorporating popular music. Remaining performances Thursday, Dec. 6, at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 7, at 4 and 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 8, at 12:30, 4, and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 9, at 12:30 and 4 p.m. 601 F St. NW. Tickets are $60 to $140. Call 202-628-3200 or visit capitalonearena.com.
STEP AFRIKA!: MAGICAL MUSICAL HOLIDAY STEP SHOW
The local percussive dance company dedicated to the tradition of stepping presents its annual holiday step show intended for audiences aged four years and up. The focus is on getting North Pole animals — polar bears, penguins — to step. And all to music by “Frosty the Snowman,” putting the needle on the record as special guest DJ. In addition to the show featuring friendly, furry characters, this holiday tradition at the Atlas Performing Arts Center includes pre-show instrument-making workshops, photo ops, and a dance party. Opens Friday, Dec. 14. Runs to Dec. 30. The Sprenger Theatre, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $25 to $45. Call 202-399-7993 or visit atlasarts.org.
THE WASHINGTON BALLET: THE NUTCRACKER
The Washington Ballet’s former artistic director Septime Webre first staged his twist on the family favorite 13 years ago, setting it in D.C.’s historic Georgetown neighborhood with George Washington as the titular figure and King George III as the Rat King. As always, the production sets up shop for nearly all of December at downtown’s Warner Theatre. To Dec. 24. 513 13th St. NW. Call 202-889-5901 or visit washingtonballet.org.
The former late-night talk show host, a Scottish-born “American on Purpose” (per his memoirs), swings through the area on his extensive HOBO Fabulous Tour. “What the world needs now more than ever is an ageing unhinged vagrant travelling from place
to place ranting nonsense into a microphone,” Ferguson says in the tour’s press release. Saturday, Dec. 8, at 8 p.m. Theater at MGM National Harbor, 7100 Harborview Ave., Oxon Hill, Md. Tickets are $31.82 to $78.39. Call 844-346-4664 or visit mgmnationalharbor.com.
THE SECOND CITY: LOVE, FACTUALLY
The latest seasonal satire from the cleverly twisted minds of the legendary improv/comedy company gets to the truth of life, love, and romance during the holidays — all through a parody, as you might surmise from the production’s title, of a certain nauseating yet popular movie that is low-hanging-parody fruit. Expect original comedy, music, improv, and audience participation. To Dec. 31. Kennedy Center Theater Lab. Tickets are $59 to $85. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
THE SECOND CITY: SHE THE PEOPLE
An all-female team roasts the patriarchy, modern politics and pop culture in the latest revue from Chicago’s sketch comedy troupe. Carly Heffernan directs a Second City ensemble featuring Atra Asdou, Carisa Barreca, Alex Bellisle, Katie Caussin, Kazi Jones, and Maggie Wilder. To Jan. 6. Woolly Mammoth, 641 D St. NW. Tickets range from $20 to $85. Call 202-393-3939 or visit woollymammoth.net.
FOR BLACK TRANS GIRLS: A CHOREO POEM
Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company presents a special dramatic reading of a work by Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi, a D.C.-based playwright, performer, and choreographer touted as the first trans woman of color to be nominated for a Helen Hayes Award. Inspired by Ntozake Shange’s iconic work for colored girls who considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf, Edidi’s new work is intended as a celebration of trans women as well as “a challenge to white supremacy, structural oppression, and any who would dare try to erase us from existence.” Dezi Bing, Cece Suazo, and Kita Updike will join Edidi in reading from the play with the full title For Black Trans Girls Who Gotta Cuss A Mother Fucker Out When Snatching An Edge Ain’t Enough: A Choreo Poem. Paige Hernandez directs the reading, presented in association with the Second City’s She The People on the production’s night off, and followed by a discussion led by trans dramaturg Venus Di’Khadijah Selenite. Monday, Dec. 10, at 7:30 p.m. Woolly Mammoth Theatre, 641 D St. NW. Free. Call 202-393-3939 or visit woollymammoth.net.
STORY DISTRICT: SURPRISE!
Eight locals will share their true “Stories about Things You Weren’t Expecting” in seven-minute spurts as part of the December showcase from D.C.’s leading storytelling organization. Sarah Weber hosts a program featuring Wendy Low, Antwan Perry, Oana Leahu-Aluas, Obed Molina, Ryan Graves, Joani peacock, Lauren Landau, and Jenn Montooth. Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 7:30 p.m. Black Cat Mainstage, 1811 14th St. NW. Tickets are $20. Call 202-667-4490 or visit storydistrict.org.
Nearly 100 regional and national artists have donated more than 150 works for this fourth annual exhibition at Maryland’s Pyramid Atlantic Art Center. Every artwork is different, ranging in styles from prints to paintings to mixed-media, but all are the same size — 10 x 10 inches — and all are available at the same price: $50. The invitational is billed as a great opportunity for collectors of all levels to get interesting pieces by talented artists at a remarkable price, or at least serve as original holiday gifts. It’s also a constantly rotating stock, with new pieces put on display as works sell from the second floor gallery in Pyramid, the nonprofit contemporary art center located in the historic Arcade building in Hyattsville’s Gateway Arts District. The opening Reception is Friday, Dec. 7, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Through Jan. 4 at 4318 Gallatin Street. Call 301-608-9101 or visit pryamidatlanticartcenter.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. To March 24. National Portrait Gallery, 8th and F Streets. NW. Call 202-633-8300 or visit npg.si.edu.
The U.K.’s legendary 20th-century prime minister was a lifelong admirer of the 16th-Century Brit regarded as the greatest writer in the English language, and the Bard’s influence can be found in Churchill’s speeches and ideas. The Folger Shakespeare Library presents materials from its collection as well as those from Cambridge’s Churchill Archives Centre and Churchill’s home Chartwell, both of which collaborated on this special exhibition. To Jan. 6. 201 East Capitol St. SE. Call 202-544-4600 or visit folger.edu.
The late heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post has a renowned collection of pieces from the firm of Carl Fabergé, the legendary jeweler to the last court of Russia. A special exhibition at Post’s Hillwood Estate, nestled in a leafy section of Upper Northwest a few blocks from Van Ness, unveils new discoveries relating to the collection of about 90 Fabergé works, including two imperial Easter eggs. To Jan. 13. 4155 Linnean Ave. NW. Suggested donation is $18. Call 202-686-5807 or visit HillwoodMuseum.org.
ROOPKOTHA PHOTO EXHIBIT
Vibrant images captured by various photographers, along with historical artifacts and personal memorabilia, tell the story of Xulhaz Mannan and Mahbbub Rabbi Tonoy, two Bangladeshi LGBTQ activists and artists who were savagely murdered in their home two years ago. The Center Arts Gallery in the DC Center for the LGBT Community has set up this powerful installation as part of an ongoing campaign to protest the inaction of the Bangladeshi government to investigate the murders. 2000 14th St. NW. Call 202-682-2245 or visit thedccenter.org.
SEASON’S GREETINGS: ALL ABOARD
This year’s annual holiday show at the U.S. Botanic Garden spotlights the country’s historic railroad stations, more than 30 of which are recreated in miniature versions made from plants and natural materials and spread out along the tracks of an elaborate model train show. A botanical replica of Washington’s Union Station, meanwhile, has been added to the garden court’s collection of plant-based D.C. landmarks. Also on view throughout the conservatory are thousands of blooms, including a showcase of heirloom and newly developed poinsettia varieties. All that, plus live holiday music on Tuesdays and Thursdays in December, when the conservatory, which normally closes at 5 p.m., will stay open until 8 p.m. Next up in the live music series, which kicks off each night at 6 p.m., is the area-based Russian/Romani folk act Samovar on Tuesday, Dec. 11, followed by a seasonal twist on contemporary jazz by local collective Dial 251 for Jazz on Thursday, Dec. 13. Note: The website advises patrons that wait times, especially on weekends, may be longer than usual “due to the ongoing roof and facade project.” To Jan. 1. 100 Maryland Ave. SW. Call 202-225-8333 or visit usbg.gov.
STUDIO 54 FOREVER: PHOTOGRAPHY BY HASSE PERSSON
Right now, you can get a glimpse into the world’s most iconic disco by taking a stroll down to the Swedish Embassy on the Georgetown Waterfront. Inside the House of Sweden lies an exhibit featuring photos from inside Studio 54 captured by Swedish photographer Hasse Persson, who snapped images in the U.S. from 1967 to 1990, covering race relations, American presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, and iconic figures such as Andy Warhol. Persson was one of a handful of photographers granted permission to photograph inside the world’s most celebrated nightclub. On display to Dec. 16, with public access limited to Saturdays and Sundays from 12 to 5 p.m. 2900 K St. NW. Free. Call 202-467-2600 or visit swedenabroad.com/washington.
TOMB OF CHRIST
Visitors to the National Geographic Museum are being transported to Jerusalem via an immersive 3D experience unlike anything seen in a museum before. Tomb of Christ offers a virtual tour of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the holiest church in all of Christendom — built on the site where Jesus of Nazareth, according to tradition, was crucified, buried, and resurrected. The exhibition recounts the storied history and enduring mysteries of the site, with a particular focus on recent technological advances that have boosted ongoing research and restoration of the Holy Edicule, or tomb of Christ dating to the fourth century. But be forewarned: The 3D exhibition is not recommended for guests susceptible to motion sickness or dizziness. To Jan. 2. 1145 17th St. NW. Timed-entry tickets are $15. Call 202-857-7588 or visit ngmuseum.org.
Gallery Underground, the visual arts space for the Arlington Artists Alliance and part of Crystal City’s Art Underground, features new seasonally themed works in multi-genres by Gallery members, plus refined traditional still life paintings by George Bowels. Meet the Artists Reception Friday, Dec. 7, from 5 to 8 p.m. On display through Dec. 28. Crystal City Shops, 2100 Crystal Drive, Arlington. Call 571-483-0652 or visit galleryunderground.org.
DOWNTOWN HOLIDAY MARKET
Over 150 artisans rotate among sixty tents set up on two blocks in the heart of downtown. Now in its 14th year, the holiday market offers a vast, eclectic, and international assortment of gifts and souvenirs, collectibles and wearables — from prints and photographs, to pottery and glassware, to custom jewelry and accessories. Each day also brings free staged concerts by local musicians, and options for food and (non-alcoholic) drink. Open noon to 8 p.m. daily. Now to Dec. 23. F Street between 7th and 9th Streets NW. It’s open from noon to 8 p.m. Visit downtownholidaymarket.com.
GEORGETOWN GLOW 2018
Now in its fifth year, this light art exhibition presented by the Georgetown Business Improvement District features 10 displays by multidisciplinary artists. Billed as a way to “reimagine the season of light,” the commissioned works, curated by Deirdre Ehlen MacWilliams, offer a high-tech modern contrast with the surroundings of D.C.’s oldest neighborhood — which has been further illuminated by the stringing of white lights on street-facing buildings. The five-week event includes a GLOW All Night evening shopping and dining extravaganza on Dec. 7, a Winter Wonderland during the day on Dec. 8, plus a Christmas Tree Farm every weekend at the Ritz-Carlton Georgetown’s Yard and regular GLOW-inspired walking and food tours led by several local tour companies. GLOW runs every night from 5 to 10 p.m. through Jan. 6. Visit GeorgetownGlowDC.com for more information.
ICE! A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS
Snoopy, Lucy, and other classic cartoon characters created by Charles M. Schulz will be holding court at National Harbor in colorful, larger-than-life sculptures carved from two million pounds of ice. The Peanuts gang’s storied holiday antics are the focus of this year’s Ice! Display, accented by four, two-story tall ice slides and a Nativity scene. And that’s just the main draw at the annual series organized by the Gaylord National Resort. A Christmas Carousel, an ice skating rink, a short Potomac Express holiday train ride, a Build-A-Bear Workshop, 30-minute Christmas storytelling events led by Mrs. Claus, and a Gingerbread Decorating Center are among more than a dozen other kid-friendly activities on tap. There’s also Seasons Dreamings, a free, 25-minute aerial Cirque Dreams Unwrapped show that takes place daily in the Gaylord’s Garden Atrium. Through Jan. 1. 201 Waterfront St. Oxon Hill, Md. Tickets to Ice! are $27 to $38. Call 301-965-4000 or visit christmasonthepotomac.com.
OLD STONE HOUSE’S HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE
Closed for a year for fire suppression installation and structural rehabilitation, the Old Stone House and garden in Georgetown is slated to reopen with an all-ages afternoon event showcasing new exhibits, a new store, and featuring games, crafts, and more. Built in 1765 in the British colony of Maryland and a rare example of pre-Revolutionary architecture, the house was the site of a car dealership when the federal government purchased the property in 1953. It opened as a National Park Service facility in 1960. Saturday, Dec. 15, from 1 to 6 p.m. 3051 M St. NW. Call 202-895-6000 or visit nps.gov/rocr/index.htm.
RILEY KNOXX: AN ILLUSION OF QUEEN BEY
With a team of dancers and wind machines, plus her own work in mastering the moves, mannerisms, and even makeup of today’s biggest pop diva, this local illusionist gives one the feeling they’re watching Beyonce in concert. The transgender Knoxx, who in recent years has made moves to become a recording artist in her own right, has reportedly even garnered praise from Queen Bey herself. Sunday, Dec. 9. Doors at 6 p.m. City Winery DC, 1350 Okie St. NE. Tickets are $22 to $30. Call 202-250-2531 or visit citywinery.com.
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 among food and holiday vendors, plus a performance stage for local school groups. The second weekend in December ushers in the second annual Grump holiday market, a European-style outdoor fair featuring local artisans set up at the Zoo’s entrance. ZooLights runs nightly, except Dec. 24, 25, and 31, until Jan. 1. National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. Call 202-633-4800 or visit nationalzoo.si.edu.