One Small Step — Image: TAIKO Studios
IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK
Tish is an African-American woman determined to clear the name of her husband Fonny, wrongfully accused of rape, before she gives birth to their child. The latest film from Moonlight screenwriter and director Barry Jenkins adapts James Baldwin’s 1974 novel, its themes of racism and injustice still concerningly relevant today. If Beale Street Could Talk stars Kiki Layne as Tish and Stephan James as Fonny. Critics are heaping praise on the film, which won a Golden Globe for Regina King. Now playing. Area theaters. Visit www.fandango.com. (Rhuaridh Marr)
THE ANIMATION SHOW OF SHOWS
Baltimore’s Creative Alliance presents the 20th annual program in this thought-provoking, eclectic, and international series of 15 animated shorts. Films included in past incarnations have gone on to win Oscars, so you could say curator Ron Diamond, a veteran animation producer, knows how to pick ’em. Four of the 15 films this year have merited Academy Award consideration including Andrew Chesworth and Bobby Pontillas’ One Small Step, about a Chinese-American girl’s dream of being an astronaut and centered on her evolving relationship with her father; John Kahrs’ Age of Sail, the latest in Google’s series of Spotlight Stories about an old sailor’s rescue of a teenage girl after she falls overboard; Trevor Jimenez’s beautifully designed Weekends, about the complex emotional landscape of a young boy and his recently divorced parents; and The Green Bird, a mordantly funny work of computer animation harkening back to classic mid-20th century cartoons with a slapstick-rich depiction of a female bird’s efforts to keep its egg safe. Sunday, Jan. 27, at 4:30 p.m. Creative Alliance at the Patterson, 3134 Eastern Ave. Baltimore. Tickets are $10. Call 410-276-1651 or visit www.creativealliance.com.
THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME
Charles Laughton and Maureen O’Hara star in this acclaimed 1939 version of the Victor Hugo classic. Rarely shown on the big screen, the film screens as part of Landmark’s weekly Capital Classics series, which is starting 2019 with a especially strong slate. Screenings are at Landmark’s West End Cinema, 2301 M St. NW, on Wednesday, Jan. 30, at 1:30, 4:30, and 7:30 p.m. Happy hour from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $12.50. Call 202-534-1907 or visit www.landmarktheatres.com.
THE WIZARD OF OZ
Fathom Events kicks off the 2019 TCM Big Screen Classics series with Victor Fleming’s timeless 1939 adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s children’s novel. Reportedly the most-watched motion picture in history, the film stars Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, Bert Lahr, and Margaret Hamilton, and features a world-class score by Harold Arlen and E.Y. “Yip” Harburg. The 80th anniversary presentation includes special recorded commentary before and after the screening by TCM Primetime host Ben Mankiewicz. Sunday, Jan. 27,, at 2 and 5 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 29, and Wednesday, Jan. 30, at 7 p.m. Area theaters including Regal venues at Gallery Place (701 7th St. NW), Potomac Yards Stadium (3575 Jefferson Davis Highway), and Ballston Common (671 N. Glebe Road). Visit www.fathomevents.com.
Jeffrey — Photo: RCG Photography
Studio Theatre presents the latest work from the playwright responsible for Bad Jews, the most successful production in the company’s history. This time, Joshua Harmon has white liberals in his crosshairs, offering a no-holds-barred look at privilege, power, and the perils of whiteness, all set at a New Hampshire boarding school. Mike Donahue directs Meg Gibson and Kevin Kilner as a husband-and-wife duo who are the boarding school’s proudly progressive leaders. Yet their hard-fought, years-long work to diversify the school’s mostly white population runs somewhat counter to their own private efforts to get their son into an Ivy League university. With Sarah Marshall, Marni Penning, and Ephraim Birney. To Feb. 17. Mead Theatre, 14th & P Streets NW. Call 202-332-3300 or visit www.studiotheatre.org.
Joe Calarco directs Signature Theatre’s production of Ain’t Misbehavin’: The Fats Waller Musical Show, for which he converted the Shirlington complex’s large Max Theatre into a 1930s-era Harlem nightclub in tribute. Iyona Blake, Kevin McAllister, and Nova Y. Payton lead an all-star cast performing the Waller-penned hits from the Tony-winning musical, including “The Joint Is Jumpin’,” “Honeysuckle Rose,” and “Handful of Keys.” Mark G. Meadows serves as musical director and onstage pianist, with choreography by Jared Grimes. In previews. To March 10. 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. Call 703-820-9771 or visit www.sigtheatre.org.
Keith Hamilton Cobb’s passionate and poetic exploration of Shakespeare, race, and America examines implicit bias in American theater and culture through the experience and perspective of black men and the metaphor of William Shakespeare’s character Othello. The play focuses on the audition of a seasoned African-American actor (Cobb) for a young white director (Josh Tyson) who presumes to know better than he how to maximize the iconic black character for believability. Weekends to Feb. 3. Anacostia Playhouse, 2020 Shannon Place SE. Tickets are $40 plus applicable charges. Call 202-290-2328 or visit www.anacostiaplayhouse.org.
AS FAR AS MY FINGERTIPS TAKE ME
In association with Georgetown University, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company presents an “intimate theater-for-one experience” that Tania El Khoury designed around a rap song she commissioned from musician and street artist Basel Zaraa, who was born a refugee in Syria. Theatergoers who want to experience the work have to give permission for Zaraa to draw on their arm while listening to his song, which tells of the migration of his sisters from Damascus to Sweden. After a designated 15-minute block of time, each patron will walk away with art on their body that they can wash away (or not). There will be 16 performances per day of As Far As My Fingertips Will Take Me, with tickets released exclusively via a digital lottery through www.TodayTix.com and winners notified weekly on Fridays by the Woolly Mammoth box office to confirm their performance time. Through Feb. 3. Woolly Mammoth, 641 D St. NW. Tickets range from $15. Call 202-393-3939 or visit www.woollymammoth.net.
Baltimore’s Center Stage offers a chance to see the stunning, heartfelt show based on the work of lesbian cartoonist Alison Bechdel (Dykes to Watch Out For). Hana Sharif directs the company’s production of this Tony-winning coming-of-age and coming-out musical with a cast that includes Andrea Prestinario, Medium Alison, Molly Lyons, Jeffry Denman, and Michelle Dawson. In previews. To Feb. 24. 700 North Calvert St., Baltimore. Tickets are $20 to $74. Call 410-332-0033 or visit www.centerstage.org.
In the coming years, it’s quite possible playwright Paul Rudnick will become best known as the book writer for the long-brewing musical adaptation of The Devil Wears Prada, working alongside composer Elton John. Yet it’s hard to imagine anything making as indelible a mark, at least among its target audience, as his breakthrough, Jeffrey. A notable early “comedy about AIDS,” Jeffrey was anything but an easy sell in the early 1990s during the worst of the AIDS epidemic. Yet once it found an audience in a tiny theater Off Off Broadway, it quickly became a sensation — so much so, in fact, Rudnick adapted the work for the screen, scoring a hit indie film in 1995. The Obie Award-winning play is about a gay actor and waiter who swears off sex for fear of contracting HIV — only to fall for an HIV-positive man. The Rainbow Theatre Project gives the romantic comedy new life in a different era. The cast includes Rinaldo Martinez, Reginald Richard, Matthew Pauli, Randyn Fullard, Emily Levey, Craig Houk, Joshua Street, and Rick Westerkamp. Robert Mintz directs. To Feb. 10. District of Columbia Arts Center, 2438 18th St. NW. Tickets are $35 plus service fees. Call 202-462-7833 or visit www.rainbowtheatreproject.org.
Arena Stage presents a world-premiere drama by Kenneth Lin, a House of Cards series writer. A fictional play based on reality, Kleptocracy is touted as a fearless political journey — as well as the most dangerous play of the season — which trains the spotlight on U.S. - Russia relations in the 1990s, when crude oil was the language of diplomacy and events that dominate today’s headlines are first set in motion. Jackson Gay directs. Tickets are $76 to $95. To Feb. 24. Kreeger Theater in the Mead Center for American Theater, 1101 6th St. SW. Visit www.arenastage.org or call 202-488-3300.
LA CAGE AUX FOLLES
The Riverside Center for the Performing Arts in Fredericksburg, Va., presents the 1983 Tony-winning Broadway musical by Jerry Herman and Harvey Fierstein, an adaptation of Jean Poiret’s 1973 uproarious French farce. The plot focuses on gay couple Georges and Albin, who pretend to be straight while entertaining the homophobic parents of their son’s fiancée. The Riverside production features a large, 17-person cast led by Christopher Sanders as George and Gabe Belyeu as Albin. And because Riverside is styled as a dinner theater, patrons partake in a three-course, prix-fixe meal prior to every performance. To March 3. 95 Riverside Parkway, Fredericksburg, Va. Tickets are $69 for dinner and show, or $50 for show only. Call 540-370-4300 or visit www.riversidedt.com.
Now in its 30th anniversary season, SCENA Theatre presents the U.S. premiere of a work based on French author Michel Houellebecq’s bestselling novel that imagines a Muslim political party winning the 2022 French presidential election with support from Europe’s Socialist party. Robert McNamara directs the thought-provoking dystopian satire, which mixes fictional characters with real French politicians, including Le Pen and François Hollande, depicted as capitulating to the Muslim Brotherhood as it seizes power and implements Sharia law. David Johnson, Ron Litman, Stacy Whittle, Kim Curtis, Greg Ongao, and Colin Davies comprise the cast for this darkly comic drama. To Feb. 10. Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $35 to $45. Call 202-399-7993 or visit www.scenatheatre.org.
The Baltimore Waltz — Photo: Cameron Whitman
THE BALTIMORE WALTZ
Pulitzer Prize-winning lesbian playwright Paula Vogel’s wry fantastical farce about a brother and sister on a European odyssey gets the Keegan treatment in a production directed by the company’s Artistic Director Susan Marie Rhea. When it premiered in 1992, the New York Times called the show “a crazy-quilt patchwork of hyperventilating language, erotic jokes, movie kitsch that spins before the audience in Viennese waltz time, replete with a dizzying fall.” With Michael Innocenti, Brianna Letourneau, and Ray Ficca. To Feb. 9. 1742 Church St. NW. Call 202-265-3767 or visit www.keegantheatre.com.
Chekhov meets gospel, rhythm & blues, bebop, and funk in a musical set at the height of the civil rights and anti-war movements 50 years ago. MetroStage presents its fourth revival of a show it calls an “iconic favorite” across its 35 seasons, this time with Roz White, Kara-Tameika Watkins, and Ayana Reed as the three strong women reflecting on their lives. Thomas W. Jones II returns to direct his own book and lyrics, with a story by Janet Pryce inspired by Chekhov. Music by William Hubbard. In previews. Opens Sunday, Jan. 27. To Feb. 24. To Nov. 9. 1201 North Royal St., Alexandria. Tickets are $55. Call 800-494-8497 or visit metrostage.org.
TWELVE ANGRY MEN
Tensions run high as a lone juror argues the innocence of a teenager accused of murder in Reginald Rose’s sizzling drama. The play ignites a conversation about how prejudice obstructs the quest for justice. Sheldon Epps directs Erik King, Christopher Bloch, Michael Russotto, Craig Wallace, Elan Zafir, and Paz López. To Feb. 17. 511 10th St. NW. Tickets are $17 to $64; those ages 35 and under can use code UNDER3519 for discounted tickets to select weeknight performances. Call 800-982-2787 or visit www.fords.org.
VISIONS OF LOVE
Pointless Theatre Company’s latest spectacle blurs the lines of puppetry, theater, dance, music, and the visual arts in a “nostalgic valentine” to Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights. Considered the highest accomplishment of Chaplin’s career and also featuring his first-ever film score, the 1931 silent classic follows the misadventures of The Tramp, who falls in love with The Blind Woman and develops a turbulent friendship with an alcoholic millionaire. Kerry McGee and Sharalys Silva lead a seven-member acting ensemble. Weekends to Feb. 9. Dance Loft on 14, 4618 14th St. NW, 2nd Floor. Tickets are $32, or $20 in previews. Call 202-621-3670 or visit www.danceloft14.org.
ARETHA FRANKLIN TRIBUTE: RESPECT THE QUEEN
Young, local musical theater powerhouses Ines Nassara, Crystal Freeman, and Shayna Blass team up to celebrate the monumental career of the recently, dearly departed Queen of Soul. The three will sing through the rich Franklin songbook, everything from “A Natural Woman” to “Son of A Preacher Man” to the ultimate “Respect,” with accompaniment by Deonte Haggerty-Willis on guitar, Andrew Musselman on bass, Joey Antico on drums, and Roderick Demmings, Jr., on keys. Friday, Jan. 25, at 8 p.m. Amp by Strathmore, 11810 Grand Park Ave. North Bethesda. Tickets are $18 to $35. Call 301-581-5100 or visit www.ampbystrathmore.com.
D.C.’s nine-piece Balkan and funk brass band is focused on having a whole lot of fun in a whole lot of different ways — as evidence, there are the three separately released, widely varying collections of remixes drawing from the 2015 set I Love You Madly. Black Masala also puts on one heck of a live show, which comes as no surprise given that the group consists of members of the incredibly lively Thievery Corporation. A regular at venues all around the region, Black Masala next performs an intimate show at the 180-seat Soundry, which the Clyde’s Restaurant Group opened this past summer in Columbia to be a sibling to the local chain’s downtown Hamilton Live. Friday, Feb. 1. Doors at 7 p.m. 10221 Wincopin Circle, Columbia. Tickets are $15. Call 443-283-1200 or visit www.thesoundry.com.
BRANDY WITH THE NSO POPS
Two years after she performed as Roxie Hart in the touring production of Chicago, Grammy-winning R&B singer Brandy returns to the Kennedy Center for a tour through hits from her career and others of those who inspired her. The difference, of course, is that these will be dazzling orchestral versions of the hits, with Steven Reineke leading the National Symphony in accompanying Brandy. Friday, Jan. 25, and Saturday, Jan. 26, at 8 p.m. Kennedy Center Concert Hall Tickets are $39 to $139. Call 202-467-4600 or visit www.kennedy-center.org.
BSO SUPERPOPS: RODGERS AND HAMMERSTEIN
Jack Everly leads the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in a performance of some of the biggest hits from Broadway’s most successful musical-making duo featuring Broadway vocalists Ben Crawford, Ted Keegan, and Ashley Brown further supported by the Baltimore Choral Arts. Expect showtune classics and American Songbook standards from The King and I, South Pacific, The Sound of Music, and Oklahoma! Thursday, Jan. 24, at 8 p.m. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Also Friday, Jan. 25, and Saturday, Jan. 26, at 8 p.m, and Sunday, Jan. 27, at 3 p.m. Tickets are $25 to $95. Call 877-276-1444 or visit www.bsomusic.org.
FINK, MARXER & GLEAVES
At last year’s Old Time Banjo Festival at the Birchmere, the gay bluegrass musician Sam Gleaves performed with his mentor Cathy Fink and her wife Marcy Marxer. In addition to organizing that acclaimed annual festival, the Grammy-winning couple and female folk pioneers also co-produced and played on Gleaves’ 2015 debut album Ain’t We Brothers. As it turns out, that festival appearance helped launch their debut as a cross-generational roots music trio offering tight vocal harmonies, wide-ranging string-based instrumental virtuosity, and lyrics with messages of social justice activism and empowerment. They’ll showcase their debut set, Shout and Shine on Thursday, Jan. 31, at 8 p.m. at Amp by Strathmore, 11810 Grand Park Ave. in North Bethesda. Chao Tian, an alumna of the Strathmore Artist In Residence program and a master of the Chinese hammered dulcimer, opens Tickets are $15 to $20. Call 301-581-5100 or visit www.ampbystrathmore.com.
A few years ago the singing multi-instrumentalist performed as part of a trio with Dom Flemons, a founder of the Grammy-winning black bluegrass Carolina Chocolate Drops. Now Pope kicks off a series of concerts featuring the 2019 class of Artists in Residence at Strathmore, hoping to follow in the footsteps of AIR alumni, including Grammy-nominated Christylez Bacon, The Voice contestant Owen Danoff, and Prince- and Stevie Wonder-collaborator Frédéric Yonnet, to name three of the 80-plus young musicians mentored through the program since 2005. Pope showcases his soulful sound, infused with elements of gospel, jazz, and R&B and incorporating vocals, piano, guitar, and drums, on Wednesday, Jan. 30, at 7:30 p.m. The Mansion, 10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda. Tickets are $17. Call 301-581-5100 or visit www.strathmore.org.
Diehard fans, known as the Campers, travel far and wide to catch the fiery live performances, complete with full light show, of this progressive bluegrass band from Kalamazoo, Michigan, which aptly describes its sound as “mixing the acoustic stomp of a stringband with the rule-breaking spirit of rock & roll.” After more than living up to expectations with its debut last year at the Anthem, the quintet returns for two more shows to warm up your winter and kick-start another February. Opening is Michigander Billy Strings, chosen as one of “10 New Country Artists You Need to Know” by Rolling Stone in 2017. Friday, Feb. 1, and Saturday, Feb. 2. Doors at 6 p.m. The Anthem, 901 Wharf St. SW. Tickets are $40 to $75. Call 202-265-0930 or visit www.theanthemdc.com.
JULIA NIXON SINGS BURT BACHARACH AND HAL DAVID
Veteran stage powerhouse Julia Nixon appeared on Broadway in the lead role of Dreamgirls and earned a Helen Hayes Award in Studio Theatre’s production of Caroline, Or Change. Nixon is also an R&B artist, and the recipient of multiple Wammies. “Julia Nixon Sings Burt Bacharach and Hal David” is a concert with accompaniment from longtime collaborator David Ylvisaker, a pianist leading his 12-person band. Saturday, Jan. 26, at 8 p.m. Dumbarton United Methodist Church, 31311 Dumbarton St. NW. Tickets are $39 to $42. Call 202-333-7212 or visit www.dumbartonconcerts.org.
She first came to fame as a 12-week winner on the 1987 season of TV’s Star Search, and went on to star in the original Broadway production of Jekyll & Hyde. Since then, Linda Eder has made singing pop standards and showtunes in a cabaret-style setting her thing. In 2005, teamed up with the London Symphony Orchestra to release the audacious and magnificent tribute to her childhood idol and fellow Minnesotan, By Myself: The Songs of Judy Garland. Eder has become one of the most gifted song interpreters and cabaret artists around, so much so that a Chicago Tribune reviewer has remarked, “Who needs a Broadway show when you’ve got Linda Eder?” Friday, Jan. 25, at 8 p.m. The Barns at Wolf Trap, 1635 Trap Road, Vienna. Tickets are $50 to $55. Call 877-WOLFTRAP or visit www.wolftrap.org.
LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR
Nick Olcott directs Donizetti’s seductively beautiful, tragic tale of love fraught with power and deception, which becomes the first fully staged production from the Maryland Lyric Opera, a five-year-old, singer-focused company founded by Brad Clark. Maeve Höglund and Nayoung Ban alternate in the title role, with Yi Li and Yongxi Chen alternating as Edgardo and Wei Wu and Hunter Epoch alternating as Raimondo, all leading a cast also featuring SeungHyeon Baek, Antonio Chase, Daiyao Zhong, and Yang Chen, accompanied by the MDLO Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Louis Salemno. Performed in Italian with English surtitles. Thursday, Jan. 24, and Friday, Jan. 25, at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, Jan. 26, at 2 p.m. Kay Theatre in the Clarice at the University of Maryland, University Boulevard and Stadium Drive. College Park. Tickets are $25 to $60. Call 301-405-ARTS or visit www.theclarice.umd.edu.
NATIONAL PHILHARMONIC: INFAMOUS BRAHMS
Strathmore’s resident orchestra continues its season-long Leonard Bernstein Centennial Celebration to focus on two of the late, great American legend’s favorite romantic composers: the namesake German and his Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, but also the great Russian romantic Tchaikovsky with his Symphony No. 5 in E minor. Internationally renowned pianist Haochen Zhang, who won the Van Cliburn Competition in 2009 when he was only 19, will perform Brahms with the philharmonic as part of a 60th birthday nod to to its music director and Bernstein protege Piotr Gajewski. Saturday, Jan. 26, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Jan. 27, at 3 p.m. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Tickets are $34 to $88. Call 301-581-5100 or visit www.strathmore.org.
NSO: BEETHOVEN’S “EMPEROR”
Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov, Musical America’s 2019 Artist of the Year, marks his first collaboration with NSO Music Director Gianandrea Noseda and the NSO performing Beethoven’s most famous piano concerto, the triumphant Fifth, known as “Emperor.” The program also features the symphony performing Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 6. Thursday, Jan. 31, at 7 p.m., and Friday, Feb. 1, and Saturday, Feb. 2, at 8 p.m. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Tickets are $15 to $89. Call 202-467-4600 or visit www.kennedy-center.org.
NILE RODGERS & CHIC
After successfully whipping up crowds into a frenzy opening for Duran Duran and Earth Wind & Fire in recent years, pioneering pop music legend Nile Rodgers brings his original disco/funk band back to the area for a headlining show at the Theater at MGM National Harbor. Saturday, Jan. 26, at 8 p.m. 7100 Harborview Ave., Oxon Hill, Md. Tickets are $69 to $89. Call 844-346-4664 or visit www.mgmnationalharbor.com.
PASSPORT TO THE WORLD 2019
Curated by Lynn Veronneau and Ken Avis of Wammie-winning jazz samba group Veronneau, this annual festival presented by Virginia’s Creative Cauldron celebrates the music and dance of cultures around the world, with performances by artists representing a broad spectrum of genres: folk to Latin, opera to bluegrass. The 2019 series continues with: a night of music of migration from South America with the guitarist-led Cristian Perez Quintet featuring Argentinian bandoneon player Emmanuel Trifilio, on Friday, Jan. 25, at 7:30 p.m.; the French gypsy jazz and swing the Bitter Dose Combo, on Saturday, Jan. 26, at 7:30 p.m.; the progressive bluegrass quartet the Big Howdy Band, on Sunday, Jan. 27, at 6:30 p.m.; and “Jazz Homage to the Beatles” by sultry Italian-American chanteuse Irene Jalenti and her band, on Friday, Feb. 1, at 7:30 p.m. The series concludes with a performance by Veronneau, featuring special guests violinist Dave Kline and Brazilian percussionist Bruno Lucini, on Saturday, Feb. 2, at 7:30 p.m. ArtSpace Falls Church, 410 South Maple Ave. in Falls Church. Tickets are $18 to $22, or $60 for tables of two with wine, $120 for tables of four with wine. Call 703-436-9948 or visit www.creativecauldron.org.
STEEP CANYON RANGERS
A Grammy-winning progressive bluegrass/rock sextet based in the liberal oasis of Asheville, North Carolina, Steep Canyon Rangers is going on two decades in the business. On a break from its decade-long work collaborating with actor/banjoist Steve Martin, the group tours in support of last year’s Out In The Open, produced by the famous Grammy-winning folk producer Joe Henry. Kaia Kater opens. Friday, Jan. 25. Doors at 6:30 p.m. The Hamilton, 600 14th St. NW. Tickets are $25.75 to $40.75. Call 202-787-1000 or visit www.thehamiltondc.com.
THE BUMPER JACKSONS
Formerly an Artist-in-Residence ensemble at Strathmore, the D.C.-based roots and folk act, which throws street jazz, early blues, and country swing into the mix, started out as a city-meets-country experiment between singing songstress and multi-instrumentalist Jess Eliot Myhre and banjoist Chris Ousley. The Saturday night concert at the Barns at Wolf Trap billed as one that will turn into “a party where the dancing never stops.” Saturday, Jan. 26, at 8 p.m. 1635 Trap Road, Vienna. Tickets are $22 to $27. Call 877-WOLFTRAP or visit www.wolftrap.org.
TONI BRAXTON W/SWV
Things have hardly gone as anyone expected or hoped for the eldest of the singing Braxtons from Maryland’s Anne Arundel County since she exploded on the music scene a quarter century ago. Honored as Best New Artist in 1994, Braxton scooped up six Grammy Awards in her first decade for her sauntering and sultry R&B hits “Another Sad Love Song,” “Breathe Again,” “Un-Break My Heart,” “You’re Makin’ Me High,” and “He Wasn’t Man Enough.” This year marks Braxton’s best showing at the Grammys in more than two decades, with three nods for last year’s Sex & Cigarettes. The album offers plenty of comfort soul food for any longtime fan, crowned by its two singles, the moving, Grammy-nominated ballad “Long As I Live” and the rousing mid-tempo jam “Coping.” Braxton will be ably supported by the reunited R&B trio SWV to properly mark the occasion. The concert will focus on hits from Braxton as well as SWV, the latter responsible for “Weak,” “Right Here (Human Nature Remix),” and “You’re The One.” Friday, Feb. 1, at 8 p.m. Theater at MGM National Harbor, 7100 Harborview Ave., Oxon Hill, Md. Call 844-346-4664 or visit www.mgmnationalharbor.com.
American Ballet Theatre: Harlequinade, Sarah Lane — Photo: Erin Baiano.
36TH ANNUAL CHOREOGRAPHERS’ SHOWCASE
A co-presentation with the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, the annual showcase at the Clarice features some of the region’s most talented established as well as emerging artists. In addition to free post-performance Q&As with the showcased choreographers, the program also features voting for the Audience Choice Award, a special trophy awarded by the presenting host organization at the University of Maryland. This year’s selected choreographers and their respective works are: Victoria Fink, Jen Stone, and Megan Thompson with Incorporeal; Sean McGinty’s Blue Night; Sarah Beth Oppenheim’s Of Oft Off Set; Sandra Lacy’s Giving Up The Ghost; Lola North’s Matthew 20:16 and Strange Fruit; Gabriel Mata-Ortega’s Dreaming, and Stephanie Dorrycott’s Turning Point. Saturday, Jan. 26, at 3 and 8 p.m. The Dance Theatre in the Clarice, University Boulevard and Stadium Drive. College Park. Tickets are $25. Call 301-405-ARTS or visit www.theclarice.umd.edu.
AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE: HARLEQUINADE
For its annual run of shows at the Kennedy Center, the New York company offers the D.C. premiere of its Artist in Residence Alexei Ratmansky’s retelling of Marius Petipa’s 19th century comic ballet. In this “lost” classic, inspired by Petipa’s archival notes and set to original music by Riccardo Drigo, here brought to life by the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, Harlequin fights for his true love, Columbine. Playful costumes and vivid sets create a charming tribute to the Italian commedia dell’arte style, known for its slapstick humor and rollicking characters. Performances begin Tuesday, Jan. 29. Runs to Feb. 3. Opera House. Tickets are $39 to $199. Call 202-467-4600 or visit www.kennedy-center.org.
JANE FRANKLIN DANCE: MOUSE IN HOUSE
A gust of wind blows one of reclusive 19th-century poet Emily Dickinson’s poems in the way of a mouse in this dance-theater piece adapted from Elizabeth Spires’ book The Mouse of Amherst. Moved by Dickinson’s evocative words, the mouse is determined to become a poet herself. Set to the music of Mark Sylvester and Paul Musso, with animation by media artist Bryan Leister developed from images of Dickinson’s actual home furnishings, Mouse in House is a family-friendly performance for the young and young-at-heart and features company dancers Emily Crews, Andie deVaulx, Amy Scaringe, and Kelsey Rohr. A brief performance by students from Perfect Pointe Dance Studio opens the show on Saturday, Jan. 26, and those from Melina’s Dancing Garden will follow suit on Saturday, Feb. 2. All shows at 4 p.m. Theatre on the Run, 3700 South Four Mile Run Dr. Arlington. Tickets are $10 to $15. Call 703-933-1111 or visit www.janefranklin.com.
MOMIX: OPUS CACTUS
One of the most innovative and imaginative modern dance companies returns to the George Mason Center for the Arts to perform another work melding dance and illusion along with spellbinding music and elaborate costumes. Opus Cactus offers a wildly inventive stage excursion to the American Southwest landscape, abounding with towering cacti and slithering lizards as brought to surreal and wondrous life by the minds and bodies of the MOMIX team. Friday, Jan. 25, at 8 p.m. George Mason University Center for the Arts, 4373 Mason Pond Drive, Fairfax. Tickets are $30 to $50. Call 888-945-2468 or visit www.cfa.gmu.edu.
NEDERLANDS DANS THEATER 2
One of the world’s most celebrated troupes brings its tour-de-force “young company” to the University of Maryland. Working with superlative choreographic talent, the international dancers in NDT2, aged 18 to 23, showcase their breathtaking exuberance, athleticism, and skill in a performance of Edward Clug’s mutual comfort, Sol León & Paul Lightfoot’s Sad Case and SH-BOOM!, and Marco Goeckep’s Wir sagen uns Dunkles. Wednesday, Jan. 30, at 8 p.m. Kay Theatre in the Clarice, University Boulevard and Stadium Drive. College Park. Tickets are $40. Call 301-405-ARTS or visit www.theclarice.umd.edu.
ORANGE GROVE DANCE: WAKING DARKNESS. WAITING LIGHT
Colette Krogol and Matt Reeves lead this troupe, known for its virtuosic athleticism and evocative multimedia design, in a production based on research into personal dreams and stories of one family’s migration from Cuba in 1980. Waking Darkness. Waiting Light employs sophisticated sensor technology and digital-media interaction to explore the nature of recurring dreams in relation to timely themes of migration, exodus, and transformation. Featuring an original score and sound design by Dylan Glatthorn and Jeff Dorfman. Saturday, Jan. 26, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Jan. 27, at 4 p.m. Dance Place, 3225 8th St. NE. Tickets are $25 in advance, or $30 at the door. Call 202-269-1600 or visit www.danceplace.org.
REESE WATERS: SAY WHAT?! FRIDAY NIGHT COMEDY
The host of Get Up DC! On WUSA 9 curates a new comedy series in the KC Jazz Club on the fourth Friday of every month, leading a night of stand-up and also engaging in conversations with friends from the comedic community, kicking off with Yamaneika Saunders, a former correspondent on The Tonight Show. Friday, Jan. 25, at 9 p.m. Kennedy Center Terrace Gallery. Tickets are $20 to $35. Call 202-467-4600 or visit www.kennedy-center.org.
UPRIGHT CITIZENS BRIGADE
Like the funniest extroverts at the party, the improv troupe Upright Citizens Brigade riffs on D.C. and audience-members alike. The brigade has many famous alumni, including Amy Poehler and Ed Helms. They return for a biannual performance at Sixth and I Historic Synagogue. Saturday, Jan. 26, at 7 p.m. 600 I St. NW. Tickets are $20 in advance, or $25 day-of show. Call 202-408-3100 or visit www.sixthandi.org.
WASHINGTON IMPROV THEATER: ROAD SHOW
D.C.’s leading company for longform improv offers a run of shows at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, each presenting a series of vignettes featuring different ensembles, with plots developed on-the-fly, spurred by audience suggestions. The run also features the debut production from WIT ensemble The Fourth Estate, offering a keen look at the media in the 21st century directed by Kate Symes. Weekends to Jan. 27. 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $15 in advance, or $20 at the door. Call 202-399-7993 or visit www.atlasarts.org.
ART & EXHIBITS
BIG AL CARTER: A RETROSPECTIVE
Allen “Big Al” Carter was a multi-talented, multimedia visual artist — painter, printmaker, sculptor, and muralist — whose work is in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian and the Corcoran. And yet, the D.C.-born, Arlington-based Carter chose to keep a low profile as a teacher throughout his lifetime, so much so that he’s only now getting the full retrospective treatment as an artist, 11 years after his death. Paintings and original artwork rarely seen from the private collection of his daughters, Flora O. Stone and Cecilia Carter, will be on display, with several pieces available for sale, as a way to kick off Black History Month at the year-old Fred Schnider Gallery of Art, part of the same-named, family-owned investment group in Arlington. Opening Reception is Friday, Jan. 25, from 6 to 8 p.m. On display through March 3. 888 N. Quincy St. Call 703-841-9404 or visit www.fredschnider.com.
DANNI O’BRIEN: PLAY DATE
An immersive set of candy-colored, fuzztastic objects echo forms of both playground equipment and the artist’s memory of her own awkward, pubescent body in this exploration of childhood landscapes through camp, craft, and humor. The nostalgic, kitschy, and laborious process of latch hook-rug making is used as a means to grapple with notions of femininity, domesticity, and craft, as well as for its titillating and tactile physical qualities. Identified as a queer womyn maker and art educator based in Baltimore, O’Brien’s work marries construction and woodworking skills with traditional feminized and domesticated systems, such as rug making, creating dually hard and soft objects. In Play Date, O’Brien sourced vintage wool on eBay and cheap plastic rope from the Dollar Store to create the fibrous segments of a peculiar framework with off-kilter color schemes and animated textural shifts. On display to Jan. 27. IA&A at Hillyer, 9 Hillyer Court NW. Call 202-338-0325 or visit www.athillyer.org.
Virginia’s Del Ray Artisans Gallery offers a group show of portraits, depicting faces and bodies as the artists portray them, whether realistic, impressionistic, surreal, or abstract. Curated by Rita Schooley and Kathy Turner, the exhibit features works celebrating faces spanning the ages, from a toddler, to a new mother, to an octogenarian. On display to Jan. 27. 2704 Mount Vernon Ave. Alexandria. Call 703-731-8802 or visit thedelrayartisans.org.
JASON MECIER: COMMUNITIES IN SCHOOLS
What We Are Made Of is an exhibition by CIS featuring the work of this renowned pop artist, who specializes in mosaic portraiture. Here, images of objects from the everyday lives of seven students from across the country are assembled to create portraits that showcase their journeys through school as well as highlight the communities of support that have played a role in their success. Now to Jan. 31. Touchstone Gallery, 901 New York Ave. NW Call 202-347-2787 or visit www.touchstonegallery.com.
ROOPKOTHA PHOTO EXHIBIT
Vibrant images captured by various photographers, along with historical artifacts and personal memorabilia, tell the story of Xulhaz Mannan and Mahbub 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 www.thedccenter.org.
NIGHT: STRATHMORE JURIED EXHIBITION
Strathmore’s 28th annual juried exhibition called on artists to submit works exploring the beauty, mystery, and phobic qualities of the hours from dusk to dawn. The resulting works include representational and abstract approaches, from literal depictions in the dark of night, to subconscious meanderings about night as metaphor and symbol. Among the 79 nocturnally inspired artists represented — selected via a blind process overseen by Adah Rose Bitterbaum of the Adah Rose Gallery and Erwin Timmers of the Washington Glass Studio and School — the lineup includes: Winifred Anthony, Michaela Borghese, Christopher Buoscio, Tory Cowles, Arnold d’Epagnier, CinCin Fang, Bill Firestone, Richard Foa, Julie Gross, Rebecca Hirsh, Glen Kessler, Lara Knutson, Robert LeMar, Larry Marc Levine, Timothy Lynch, Bruce Morgan, Irina Parshikova, Rawligh Sybrant, Nahid Tootoonchi, Carol Ward, Andrew Wodzianski, and Alexey Zoob. On display through Feb. 17. First Floor Galleries in the Mansion, 10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda. Call 301-581-5100 or visit www.strathmore.org.
TORY COWLES: HARD WIRED
Spread out in two galleries at downtown’s Touchstone Gallery are sculptures and installations celebrating the fierce joys of life. Cowles’ body sculptures can be worn and viewers are encouraged to dance — the installation is meant to be interacted with. On display to Jan. 31. Galleries B and C, 901 New York Ave. NW Call 202-347-2787 or visit www.touchstonegallery.com.
ABOVE & BEYOND
CAPITAL Q QUEER OPEN MIC NIGHT
Once a month, the local liberal bookstore and cafe chain Busboys & Poets presents a monthly gender and sexuality series specifically geared to those committed to the LGBTQ and feminist causes. Known as ZAMI, the next iteration is a Capital Q event during which patrons who identify along the LGBTQ spectrum are welcome to sign up for stage time. Anyone can do or perform whatever your queer voices happen to carry, from singing and speaking poetry, to telling stories and cracking jokes, to airing grievances and sharing opinions. Thursday, Jan. 31, at 7 p.m. 2021 14th St. NW. Tickets are $5. Call 202-387-POET or visit www.busboysandpoets.com.
LA-TI-DO’S 7TH ANNIVERSARY: LUCKY
Seven years ago, Regie Cabico and Don Mike Mendoza teamed up to launch a variety show featuring higher-quality singing than most karaoke, often from local musical theater actors performing on their night off, and also including spoken-word poetry and comedy. Held at Bistro Bistro in Dupont Circle, the next La-Ti-Do, on Monday, Jan. 28, is a toast to all those who have helped make the event and presenting organization such a thriving success that it has expanded to New York and Los Angeles. The evening will also honor Russwin Francisco, the owner of Bite The Fruit and fellow Filipino-American billed as La-Ti-Do’s “honorary co-founder” since he gave Cabico and Mendoza the space to start the event in his former Black Fox Lounge venue. Francisco will be given the Joel Markowitz Audience Award. The evening starts with a VIP Reception at 7 p.m., followed by the show at 8 p.m. with guest performers from the upcoming roster of 2019 Musical Features, accompanied by pianist Paige Rammelkamp and a small jazz ensemble consisting of guitarist Matty Montes, drummer Bill Georg, and bassist Danny Santiago. The event climaxes with an Afterparty hosted by DJ JDVBBS starting at 10 p.m. The dress code is cocktail attire. 1727 Connecticut Ave. NW. Tickets are $30 for VIP reserved seating and admission to reception and afterparty, or $20 general admission for show and afterparty; all ticket revenue goes toward 2019 programming. Call 202-328-1640 or visit latidoproductions.com.