Metro Weekly

Out On the Town: DC arts and entertainment highlights — February 14-20

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



The AFI Silver Theatre returns a selection of last year’s most distinctive films to the big screen in time for awards season. The nearly two dozen films includes Roma, No. 3 on Metro Weekly critic André Hereford’s year-end best list, which screens Saturday, Feb. 23, and Sunday, Feb. 24, at 4:20 p.m. There’s also BlacKkKlansman, the comedy-drama that is — surprisingly — the first Best Picture and Best Director nominations for Spike Lee, on Saturday, Feb. 16, at 9:30 p.m., and Monday, Feb. 18, at 7:15 p.m.; the Bradley Cooper- and Lady Gaga-led A Star Is Born, on Friday, Feb. 22, at 4:20 p.m., as well as Saturday, Feb. 23, and Sunday, Feb. 24, at 11 a.m.; plus what is billed as the “deliciously dark flipside to A Star Is Born,” the Natalie Portman- and Jude Law-starring Vox Lux, on Tuesday, Feb. 26, at 9:20 p.m., and Wednesday, Feb. 27, at 9:45 p.m. The series continues to March 21. 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. Call 301-495-6720 or visit


Joshua Vogelsong, aka drag performer/punk rocker Donna Slash, continues the queer Screen Queen series at the 35-seat, living-room cozy Suns Cinema in Mount Pleasant. Films in February offer some of the most raw and brutally honest stories about trans experiences. On Monday, Feb. 18, comes another one of legendary Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar’s over-the-top comedic romps focused on strong Spanish women. Cecilia Roth, Marisa Paredes, and Penélope Cruz are among the cast of the 2000 Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film, which centers around the influence of and legacy borne out by transgender woman Lola, portrayed by male actor Toni Cantó and referred to as a transvestite at the time. (That’s how much progress has been made in a mere two decades.) Newsweek reviewed All About My Mother as “Almodovar’s passionate redefinition of family values.” Patrons can enjoy snacks, including fresh offerings from Suns’ vintage popcorn machine, as well as drinks from the full-service bar, which will remain open afterwards to encourage post-show discussion. 3107 Mount Pleasant St. NW. Tickets are $5. Visit


Through the series “The Film Music of Erich Korngold,” the Library of Congress honors one of the earliest and most influential composers in the history of Hollywood. Next up in the series is a double bill of two classic pirate films, released half a century apart. Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland star in Michael Curtiz’s Captain Blood, the 1935 film that made the two actors household names and solidified the swashbuckling genre. Based on a story written by Steven Spielberg, Richard Donner’s 1985 film The Goonies carries on the tradition established by Curtiz and Korngold, who heavily influenced the work of composer Dave Grusin. An hour before the double feature, Saturday, Feb. 23, at noon, comes a related lecture by Paul Sommerfeld of the Library’s Music Division. “In Search of Korngold” reviews the famous composer’s work and his lingering influence on composers from John Williams to the late James Horner. Pickford Theater in the James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave. SE. Tickets are free but required for both the screening and the lecture. Call 202-707-5502 or visit


After spending Valentine’s Day with a loved one — self-love counts, too — the organization that puts on the DC Shorts Film Festival hopes you’ll spread the love into the weekend amongst strangers in a darkened theater. All the stages and shades of love will be explored through four “Shorts & Sweets” showcases, each running approximately 90 minutes in length and featuring shorts from around the world grouped around a particular theme — from “This Is Love” at 7 p.m. to “Love Hurts” at 9 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 15, and from “Love Lies Bleeding” at 8 p.m. and “No Love Lost” at 10 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 16. To sweeten the deal — literally — DC Shorts promises sweet treats at the screenings at the historic Miracle Theatre in Eastern Market, where wine and beer is also available if you wish. 535 8th St. SE. Tickets are $15 per showcase, or $45 for all four. Call 202-400-3210 or visit for more information and to see the full film lineup.


George Cukor’s 1964 film adaptation of the Lerner and Loewe stage musical, based on George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion, won eight Oscars — although its star, America’s sweetheart Audrey Hepburn, was completely slighted by the academy. Fathom Events returns the movie musical — featuring the standards “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “The Rain in Spain,” and “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?” — to the big screen for two select performances as part of its Big Screen Classics series. Fathom honors My Fair Lady‘s 55th Anniversary with pre- and post-screening insights by TCM Primetime Host Ben Mankiewicz. Sunday, Feb. 17, at 1 and 5 p.m., and Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 3 and 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


In the week leading up to the 91st Academy Awards, set for Sunday, Feb. 24, you have multiple chances to see this year’s nominated films, including those that rarely get the big screen treatment. This German drama by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck is a nominee in two categories: Best Foreign Language Film and Best Cinematography, the latter honoring the work of Caleb Deschanel. Set in the former East Germany and starring Tom Schilling, Sebastian Koch, and Paula Beer, Never Look Away was inspired by the life of Gerhard Richter, although the famous German painter and musician has criticized the film, being distributed internationally by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, as “grossly distorting” his biography. Opens Friday, Feb. 15. Area theaters. Visit


At their best, short films are often regarded as the launching pads for the directing stars of tomorrow, allowing for a remarkable variety of inspiration and technique. Every year, the Academy Awards nominates a dozen or so shorts, and Landmark Theatres offers cineastes the chance to see the nominees, which screen in three separate programs. This year’s animated category includes Bao by Domee Shi and Becky Neimann-Cobb, Weekends by Trevor Jimenez, and One Small Step by Andrew Chesworth and Bobby Pontillas, all from the U.S, plus Ireland’s Late Afternoon by Louise Bagnall and Nuria Gonzalez Blanco and Canada’s Animal Behaviour by Alison Snowden and David Fine. The program is rounded out with a couple of additional animated works. Now playing. Landmark’s E Street Cinema, 555 11th St. NW. Also Bethesda Row Cinema, 7235 Woodmont Ave. Call 202-452-7672 or visit


At its West End Cinema, Landmark Theatres presents this year’s nominees in the Documentary Shorts category, which includes a Netflix-released short highlighting medical practitioners helping to change perceptions about end-of-life care. That film, End Game, is the latest from the gay, Oscar-winning duo of Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman (Common Threads: Stories from the QuiltThe Celluloid Closet). The 143-minute program also includes Black Sheep by Ed Perkins and Jonathan Chinn from the U.K. and Period. End of Sentence. by Rayka Zehtabchi and Melissa Berton from India, plus Lifeboat by Skye Fitzgerald and Bryn Mooser and A Night at the Garden by Marshall Curry, both from the U.S. 2301 M St. NW. Call 202-534-1907 or visit


There are five live action shorts nominated at the 91st Academy Awards, all of which screen locally in advance of the Sunday, Feb. 24, televised ceremony courtesy of Landmark Theatres. The nominees are: Madre by Rodrigo Sorogoyen and Maria del Puy Alvarado from Spain, Detainment by Vincent Lambe and Darren Mahon from Ireland, Skin by Guy Nattiv and Jaime Ray Newman from the U.S., and Fauve by Jeremy Comte and Maria Gracia Turgeon and Marguerite by Marianne Farley and Marie-Helene Panisset, both from Canada. Sunday, Feb. 24 Now playing. E Street Cinema, 555 11th St. NW. Also Bethesda Row Cinema, 7235 Woodmont Ave. Call 202-452-7672 or visit


Leo is an aspiring drag superstar stuck working in a fish cannery in Alaska who takes up boxing as a self-protective hobby in Shaz Bennett’s darkly comic, literal fish-out-of-water tale that evolves into a mystery about why Leo and his twin sister Tristen — played by Martin L. Washington and Maya Washington — are stuck in Alaska. Originally a short that was a festival-circuit favorite, Bennett expanded the work into a full-length feature through a successful crowdfunding campaign. The film screens as part of Reel Affirmations’ monthly series hosted by Rayceen Pendarvis of The Ask Rayceen Show. Friday, Feb. 15, at 7 p.m. HRC Equality Center, 1640 Rhode Island Ave. NW. Tickets are $12, or $25 for VIP seating as well as one complimentary cocktail, beer or wine and popcorn. Call 202-682-2245 or visit


Filmmaker Richard Yeagley’s emotional and psychological drama chronicles two years of a young man’s struggle to change his sexual identity to better fall in line with the conservative Christian convictions of his upbringing. Yeagley, who previously profiled Mike Rowe of Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs in The Tradesmen: Making an Art of Work, was given unfettered access to private conversion therapy sessions for this intimate portrait of Nathan. The documentarian joins for a discussion after The Sunday Sessions screening. Sunday, Feb. 17, at 3 p.m. Creative Alliance at the Patterson, 3134 Eastern Ave. Baltimore. Tickets are $10 in advance, or $13 at the door. Call 410-276-1651 or visit


Carrie Fisher doesn’t likely spring to mind when thinking of Rob Reiner’s 1989 rom-com written by the late Nora Ephron. Instead, you probably think of Meg Ryan’s legendary dinner scene, in which she demonstrates to Billy Crystal her ability to fake an orgasm. (Fun fact: Reiner let his mother speak the film’s most famous line, “I’ll have what she’s having.”) But the late Fisher plays one of the pair’s best friends, and gets a return to the the big screen with the film as part of the Capital Classics series at Landmark’s West End Cinema. Wednesday, Feb. 20, 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 $12.50. Call 202-534-1907 or visit

Ain’t Misbehavin’ — Photo: Christopher Mueller



Maryland’s Greenbelt Arts Center, a community theater organization, presents Topher Payne’s comedy focused on the Lavender Scare, the antigay federal witch hunt of the 1950s that provided an inadvertent early spark to the gay rights movement. Jonathan Meeker and Susan Harper lead the volunteer cast, directed by Ann Lowe-Barrett, playing two State Department employees who have been ordered to root out “sexual deviants” in their office — all the while hoping no one discovers that they’re not actually the married couple they pretend to be, nor are they straight. In fact, they live together in a Georgetown duplex with their respective same-sex partners, played by Win Britt and Ronda Ansted. Weekends to Feb. 23. Greenbelt Arts Center, 123 Centerway. Greenbelt, Md. Tickets are $22. Call 301-441-8770 or visit


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. Extended to March 10. Mead Theatre, 14th & P Streets NW. Call 202-332-3300 or visit


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. To March 10. 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. Call 703-820-9771 or visit


An athletic, commedia dell’arte retelling of Edmond Rostand’s world-famous story that, in true Synetic Theater fashion, is also wordless — brought to the stage by Vato Tsikurishvili, the son of Synetic’s founders in his directorial debut. Cyrano revolves around the plight of Cyrano de Bergerac, a brilliant poet and soldier who decides to woo his beloved Roxane with the help of his charismatic and confident friend Christian. What could possibly go wrong? To March 10. 1800 South Bell St., Arlington. Tickets are $20. Call 800-811-4111 or visit


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, Molly Lyons, Jeffry Denman, and Michelle Dawson. To Feb. 24. 700 North Calvert St., Baltimore. Tickets are $20 to $74. Call 410-332-0033 or visit


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 were 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 or call 202-488-3300.


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

Nell Gwynn — Photo: Brittany Diliberto


A darling of the Restoration theater becomes the mistress of King Charles II in Nell Gwynn, Jessica Swale’s heartwarming and hilarious portrait of a rare woman from the 17th century, originally commissioned by Shakespeare’s Globe and the recipient of the 2016 Olivier Award for Best New Comedy. Alison Luff heads a cast that includes Regina Aquino, Christopher Dinolfo, Catherine Flye, Quinn Franzen, Michael Glenn, and R.J. Foster as King Charles II. Musicians Kevin Collins and Zoe Speas will bring to live the original music composed by Kim Sherman. Robert Richmond directs. To March 10. Folger Theatre, 201 East Capitol St. SE. Tickets are $42 to $79. Call 202-544-7077 or visit


One of those quiet, understated shows that will sneak up and surprise you, Once deservedly won a whopping eight Tony Awards in 2012. Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova’s romantic folk rock score is what surprises you most about the show, featuring a book by celebrated Irish playwright Enda Walsh and based on John Carney’s small indie film from 2006. The focus is on a man and a woman who make hauntingly beautiful music — which is all the more powerful because their songs express their love for each other in a way that the two, each already in complicated relationships, never fully realize otherwise. Gregory Maheu and Malinda Kathleen Reese lead a large cast of actors playing their own instruments in an Olney Theatre Center production directed and choreographed by Marcia Milgrom Dodge, with music director Christopher Youstra serving as the show’s emcee. To March 10. Mainstage, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney, Md. Call 301-924-3400 or visit


Founded by Strother Gaines and nurtured at Capital Fringe, TBD Immersive — which stands for Tradition Be Damned — is hardly theater as usual. The company’s variation on devised, participatory theater centers the audience, with each attendee becoming an active participant, choosing their own way into and around the chief story, such that they ultimately become a co-creator of what results, building on the work of the mainstage performers and the company’s devising playwright Jenny Splitter. Ouroboros, TBD’s latest work, is one of its darkest choose-your-own-adventure experiences yet; the show carries a warning of “dark and adult content including, but not necessarily limited to, violence, blood, death, sexually explicit costuming and suggestive language.” The setting is the annual extravagant birthday party for the Westcott family twins, which just so happens to fall on the anniversary of their mother’s mysterious death. As if that weren’t enough to weigh, the world outside is in an increasing state of turmoil, as the Republic grows violent and the Resistance struggles to stay alive. Behind every door in the historic, three-story Dupont Circle mansion where the action is set lies new secrets to uncover, puzzles to solve, and characters — more than 30 in all — to interact with. Furthermore, theatergoers who come appropriately attired — per the party’s theme of “Gods and Goddesses” — are likely to have stronger interactions and a richer experience, according to the promotional material. To March 2. Whittemore House, 1526 New Hampshire Ave. NW. Tickets are $65, or $85 for VIP, including early entry, a complimentary champagne toast, and pre-show interactions with the cast. Visit


Colin Speer Crowley’s screwball farce features mad Germans, fancy Frenchmen, and “a secret in a suitcase.” Stan Levin directs a Best Medicine Rep Theatre production starring Terence Aselford, Terence Heffernan, Rebecca A. Herron, John Morogiello, and Khaleshia Thorpe-Price. To Feb. 24. Lakeforest Mall – Second Floor, 701 Russell Ave., Gaithersburg. Tickets are $20 to $25. Visit


The challenges that two actors — one Israeli, the other Palestinian — faced while staging the embattled world premiere of the play The Return is the central focus of a provocative theatrical interrogation of censorship, loyalty, intimidation, and resistance. Mosaic Theater’s Ari Roth leads an adaptation of this work of documentary theater by Einat Weizman with Morad Hassan that incorporates performance excerpts, the actors’ testimonies, social media messages, and telephoned threats. John Vreeke directs Colleen Delany, Lynette Rathnam, and Hassan in A world premiere workshop production, part of Mosaic’s 18th annual Voices from a Changing Middle East Festival. To Feb. 17. Lang Theatre in the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $15 to $35. Call 202-399-7993 or visit


Before he wrote the work that inspired the Oscar-winning film Moonlight, Tarell Alvin McCraney offered this compelling story of family, devotion, and belonging, set deep in the Louisiana bayou. Weaving in flights of poetry, music, and West African mythology, The Brothers Size focuses on the relationship between the hardworking and steady Ogun Size and his aimless younger brother, recently released from prison. Virginia’s 1st Stage offers a production starring Gary-Kayi Fletcher, Thony Mena, and Clayton Pelham, Jr., and directed by José Carrasquillo. The design team includes Giorgos Tsappas on sets, Moyenda Kulemeka on costumes, William K. D’Eugenio on lights, and Sarah O’Halloran on sound. To Feb. 24. 1st Stage, 1524 Spring Hill Rd., Tysons. Tickets are $39. Call 703-854-1856 or visit


The eccentric Landless Theatre Company returns with two shows staged in repertory at the District of Columbia Arts Center. There’s Bruce Arnston’s parody The Doyle and Debbie Show, which simultaneously lampoons and idolizes country music’s tradition of iconic duos and their subsequent battle of the sexes, starring Andrew Lloyd Baughman and Karissa Swanigan-Upchurch and directed by John Sadowsky (Gutenberg! The Musical!). And then there’s Puffs, or Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic & Magic, Matt Cox’s tale of those who just happened to attend Wizard School at the same time as a certain boy wizard, dedicated to “anyone who has never been destined to save the world.” Performances of The Doyle and Debbie Show begin Friday, Feb. 15, while Puffs starts Friday, Feb. 22. To March 30. District of Columbia Arts Center (DCAC), 2438 18th St. NW. Call 202-462-7833 or visit


Arena Stage’s Deputy Artistic Director Seema Sueko directs a new production, staged in the round, of this classic thriller suggested by the Henry James novel Washington Square and focused on a 19th-century young woman’s journey to find her voice. Laura C. Harris portrays Catherine Sloper while Jonathan David Martin is her possible suitor in a production also featuring Lise Bruneau, Lorene Chesley, Janet Hayatshahi, Nancy Robinette, Kimberly Schraf, James Whalen, and Nathan Whitmer. Opens Thursday, Feb. 14. To March 10. In the round in the Fichandler Stage, Mead Center for American Theater, 1101 6th St. SW. Tickets are $40 to $95. Call 202-488-3300 or visit


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. To Feb. 24. 1201 North Royal St., Alexandria. Tickets are $55. Call 800-494-8497 or visit


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. Ford’s Theatre, 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


Maryland’s rebellious classics-focused nonprofit theater troupe The Rude Mechanicals, a mix of professional and amateur artists, restages Anton Chekhov’s late 19th-century Russian classic in the 1930s early Dust Bowl era of the American West — more specifically, a small Russian immigrant community in Anton, Colorado. As ever, the focus is on the spell cast by Professor Serebryakov and his beautiful and bored young wife Yelena in a return visit to the family estate, and all the chaos that ensues. Melissa Schick directs an original new translation of Uncle Vanya and a community theater production featuring Claudia Bach, Bill Bodie, Leah DeLano, Joshua Engel, Eric Honour, Erin Nealer, Moira Parham, and Nathan Rosen. Performances are Friday, Feb. 15, Saturday, Feb. 16, Friday, Feb. 22, and Saturday, Feb. 23, at 8 p.m. West Arundel Creative Arts, 1788 Dorsey Rd., Hanover, Md. Tickets are $12 to $15. Visit

Narek Hakhnazaryan



A four-piece band with a self-titled PBS special to its credit and acclaim from Rolling Stone as “the best Beatles tribute ever,” the popular 1964 The Tribute returns as a Valentine treat to the vibe of the Fab Four’s early ’60s concerts, from the instruments to clothing to onstage banter. Thursday, Feb. 14, and Friday, Feb. 15, at 8 p.m. The Barns at Wolf Trap, 1635 Trap Road, Vienna. Tickets are $38 to $42. Call 877-WOLFTRAP or visit


After wowing audiences performing with the Baltimore Symphony last season, the Armenian cellist and Tchaikovsky International Competition winner returns to perform English composer Edward Elgar’s beautiful and elegiac concerto. Associate conductor Nicholas Hersh leads the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in an all-20th Century program also featuring Rondes de printemps from Claude Debussy’s Images and Sergei Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 6, reminiscent of the Russian Soviet composer’s famous romantic ballet music. Thursday, Feb. 21, at 8 p.m. Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St., Baltimore. Also Sunday, Feb. 24, at 3 p.m. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Tickets are $25 to $90. Call 410-783-8000 or visit


Modern a cappella versions of hits from classic and contemporary Disney films are on tap on the first North American tour of this group of seven vocalists put together by the Disney Music Group and Deke Sharon. Sometimes called “the father of contemporary a cappella,” Sharon was one of the leading forces behind NBC’s The Sing-Off reality competition show, which gave the world Pentatonix, and also served as arranger and music director of the Pitch Perfect franchise. (He’s said to be the inspiration for the character of Benji, portrayed by Ben Platt.) DCappella features soprano Morgan Keene, mezzo Shelley Regner (Ashley from Pitch Perfect), alto Sojourner Brown, tenor RJ Woessner, baritone Orlando Dixon, bass Joe Santoni, vocal percussionist Antonio Fernandez as vocal percussionist, bass Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 8 p.m. Warner Theatre, 513 13th St. NW. Tickets are $33 to $73 before fees, or $129 for the “‘Friend Like Me’ Meet & Greet Experience” including front-row seats. Call 202-783-4000 or visit


Heralded as a vital part of New York City’s early 21st century rock renaissance, this Brooklyn trio is so steeped in British post-punk/new wave, they sound like the second coming of Joy Division. And that’s possibly truer two decades into their career as dark and dramatic rockers than ever, as captured on Interpol’s sixth studio album Marauder, which pounds as well as it pouts, and batters as well as it broods. Assisted by lead guitarist Daniel Kessler and drummer Sam Fogarino, Paul Banks has never been so upfront — not only by virtue of his frayed, earnest baritone that has always characterized the band, or that of his work as the band’s bassist ever since the departure earlier this decade of Carlos Dengler, but also through his songwriting, which is more autobiographical and less detached and evocative than ever. The indie psych-pop band Sunflower Bean, also from Brooklyn, opens. Friday, Feb. 15. Doors at 6:30 p.m. The Anthem, 901 Wharf St. SW. Tickets are $40 to $55. Call 202-888-0020 or visit


Inspired by the words of painter Georgia O’Keeffe, iconoclastic American pianist Downes has channeled her creativity and sound into an intimate program of solo and ensemble works paying tribute to female composers and poets past and present. She couldn’t be better paired in that pursuit than with special guest singer and multi-instrumentalist Giddens, a MacArthur “Genius Award” winner and founding member of the Grammy-winning black bluegrass band Carolina Chocolate Drops — best known to some as the social worker with “the voice of an angel” from CMT’s Nashville. Presented by Washington Performing Arts, the concert at Sixth and I Historic Synagogue will feature songs by, among others, Nina Simone, Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, and Abbey Lincoln, plus world premieres from Sarah Kirkland Snider, Elena Ruehr, Julia Adolphe, Angelica Negron, Reena Esmail, Laura Karpman, and Eve Beglarian. Saturday, Feb. 23, at 8 p.m. Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. 600 I St. NW. Tickets are $35. Call 202-408-3100 or visit


Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and federal holiday may have already passed, but you can sing his praises at any time. On Sunday, Feb. 17, at 7 p.m., Washington Performing Arts will do just that with the presenting organization’s annual choral tribute. Men, women and children of the WPA Gospel Choirs team up with the Choral Arts Society of Washington — 300 voices strong — to perform in honor of King. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Tickets are $25 to $75. Call 202-467-4600 or visit


A few years removed from opening for Bryan Ferry and his Jazz Orchestra at the Lincoln Theatre, I.M.P. Productions presents a return engagement of the lesbian rocker Laura Pergolizzi, who goes simply by her initials. While her slightly snarled, full-throated voice eerily echoes Gwen Stefani’s, LP’s style is very rooted in the sincere and passionate style of arguably her two greatest influences, Janis Joplin and Melissa Etheridge. (Fun fact: LP co-wrote Rihanna’s “Cheers (Drink To That)” and Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful People,” both from 2010.) LP tours in support of her fifth LP — that is, full-length long player — Heart to Mouth, which includes one candidly honest autobiographical track after another and is led by the effervescent garage-rock first single “Girls Go Wild,” introducing LP as “the outlaw of outside.” Wednesday, Feb. 20. Doors at 7 p.m. 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. Tickets are $25. Call 202-265-0930 or visit


Two British girls can be heard raving about Zara Larsson’s “I’ll Never Forget You” as that international hit collaboration with the artist known as M-N-E-K plays in the background. And that serves as the perfect cue for the gay, black British artist to introduce himself. “I’ve been in the background. I just stepped to the front now, so you can hear me out,” MNEK sings on “Background,” the second track of his stellar, incredibly au courant full-length debut Language. Talk about overdue: Although only aged 24, MNEK has spent the better part of the past decade as a writer/producer for hire for pop stars and starlets, from Madonna and Beyonce to Little Mix and Dua Lipa. Language is as strong as you’d expect from that pedigree, featuring one standout song after another, from “Colour,” his uptempo duet with Hailee Steinfeld, to his latest single “Girlfriend,” in which he berates his lover on the DL: “Neither you nor your story is straight.” If only more people would give him a chance and his music a whirl — MNEK deserves to be every bit as much of a superstar as Troye Sivan and the ever-growing crop of young pop stars who live and sing openly and fully out. Raja Kumari opens. Wednesday, Feb. 20. Doors at 6:30 p.m.. Union Stage, 740 Water St. SW. Tickets are $17 to $19. Call 877-987-6487 or visit


Grammy-winning cellist Zuill Bailey and Grammy-nominated violinist Roberto Díaz join for another concert this season celebrating the centennial of Leonard Bernstein, this time by recreating the musical program that catipulated the late, great composer into the spotlight. A 25-year-old Bernstein took the podium at Carnegie Hall on Nov. 14, 1943, to lead the New York Philharmonic in an ambitious program, filling in for his ailing mentor Bruno Walter at the last minute, with no time for rehearsal. As with that concert, “The Debut” features Richard Schumann’s Manfred Overture, Miklós Rózsa’s Theme, Variations and Finale, Op. 13, Richard Strauss’s Don Quixote, and Richard Wagner’s Prelude to Die Meistersinger. The former Bernstein student Piotr Gajewski leads Strathmore’s resident symphony in the program. Saturday, Feb. 23, at 8 p.m. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Tickets are $32 to $84. Call 301-581-5100 or visit


Named after ’60s jazz saxophonist Rahsaan Roland Kirk, the openly gay Patterson may be still best known as “The Kid” from the popular ’80s television show Kids Incorporated — starring alongside Fergie, Mario Lopez, and pop singer Martika, who gave Patterson his start as a backup singer. But in recent decades Patterson has established himself as one of the sturdiest neo-soul singer-songwriters around, sometimes sounding like the original “Kid,” aka Prince, as on his stupendous release from 2011 Bleuphoria. Saturday, Feb. 16, at 6:30 and 9:30 p.m. City Winery DC, 1350 Okie St. NE. Tickets are $50 to $68. Call 202-250-2531 or visit


The Washington Opera Society co-presents this Valentine’s Day-themed recital featuring courtly songs of the Elizabethan era as well as delights from the Great American Songbook. An award-winning soprano hailed for her radiant, engaging, and effortless singing and the diversity of her repertoire, Lamoreaux will be accompanied by two local music educators and composers, guitarist Michael Bard and and pianist Andrew E. Simpson. Saturday, Feb. 16, at 8 p.m. Dumbarton United Methodist Church, 31311 Dumbarton St. NW. Tickets are $39 to $42. Call 202-333-7212 or visit


It’s a crowded stage whenever the headline act is this Jacksonville, Florida-based blues/rock supergroup, with a large, 12-member ensemble formed from the merger of bands led by married couple Derek Trucks — formerly of the Allman Brothers Band — and Susan Tedeschi. It’ll be crowded all around at the Warner Theatre this weekend and next, when the Birchmere presents another four-night run that, just as with last year, is close to selling out. Tickets remain for only the Friday night shows, Feb. 15, and Feb. 22, at 8 p.m. Warner Theatre, 513 13th St. NW. Tickets are $67 to $123 before processing fees. Call 202-783-4000 or visit


For the third year in a row the Hamilton Live! hosts concerts dubbed the official after-parties for two Tedeschi Trucks Band shows taking place around the corner at the Warner Theatre (see separate listing). First up, on Saturday, Feb. 16, is D.C.’s seven-piece “saxy funk machine” with soaring female vocals from Black Betty and Rachel Ann Morgan and led by namesake tenor saxophonist Ron Holloway, a member of the former Susan Tedeschi Band and a frequent guest of the Tedeschi Trucks Band, among many others. The following Saturday, Feb. 23, offers what some consider New Orleans’s “best kept secret,” the boisterous blend of funk, jazz, rock, and hip-hop known as the Funky Nation, a six-piece outfit led by “Big Sam” Williams, a former member of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band who had a recurring role on the HBO series Treme. Doors for both shows at 11:30 p.m. 600 14th St. NW. Tickets are $10. Call 202-787-1000 or visit

National Ballet of China: Raise the Red Lantern — Photo courtesy of the Company



A greater understanding of both visual art and dance is the ultimate aim of a new work of dance and movement from local choreographer Jane Franklin finding beauty in that which inspires a look back. Developed in cooperation with local artist Fax Ayres and presented in conjunction with an exhibition of Ayres’s work from the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Association (see more under Arts & Exhibits), Second Glance builds from the words Ayres uses to describe her process and her art and is set to music by Handel and Bach as recorded by US Army Band clarinetist Martin Gold. Excerpts from other recent repertory by the company will also be performed. Friday, Feb. 15, at 7:30 p.m. 201 Prince St., Alexandria. Tickets are $15. Call 703-548-0035 or visit


This distinguished company, renowned for its hybrid of western ballet and Chinese culture, returns for the first time since the Kennedy Center’s Festival of China in 2005 to perform an award-winning, evening-length work based on the powerful 1999 film. Raise The Red Lantern is a powerful story of love and jealousy, focused on the haunting, tragic tale of a concubine who must compete for her master’s favoritism over a rival. Adapted by acclaimed director Zhang Yimou working with choreographers Wang Xinpeng and Wang Yuanyuan, the production includes traditional cheongsam outfits, elements of shadow puppet theater and Chinese opera, and mesmerizing melodies performed to live accompaniment from the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra and guest musicians. The performances come as the cornerstone of the Kennedy Center’s fourth annual Lunar New Year Celebration. To Feb. 16. Opera House. Tickets are $25 to $99. Call 202-467-4600 or visit



Comedians from New York relive their most awkward sex/dating/relationship moments on stage at this raunchy annual storytelling event, which returns to the Black Cat. Comedian and Towleroad columnist Bobby Hankinson will add his awkward gay tales on an otherwise all-female show featuring Jen Keefe, Anita Flores, and Karolena Theresa, with host Natalie Wall. Saturday, Feb. 16. Doors at 8 p.m. 1811 14th St. NW. Tickets are $15. Call 202-667-4490 or visit


Inspired by Michelle Obama’s memoir Becoming, the bestselling book of 2018, Novel Comedy presents a program of stand-up, readings, and reminiscences about the “good ol’ days” of pre-Trump Washington. Area comedians will share stories about the Obamas and read excerpts from the book, as well as recount attempts to follow the former First Lady’s eating guidelines. The event is being advertised as “the next best thing to a Michelle Obama book tour.” Friday, Feb. 22. Doors at 7:30 p.m. Solid State Books, 600 H St. NE. Tickets are $5 for a guaranteed seat. Call 897-4201 or visit


In its black box space, D.C.’s Drafthouse Comedy presents a variety show offering stand-up comedy, music, and sketches by a diverse group of local female, minority, and LGBTQ performers — all hosted by a comedian who has shared the stage with DL Hughley, Todd Glass, Fortune Feimster, and Judy Gold, among others. Thursday, Feb. 21, at 8:45 p.m. 1100 13th St. NW. Tickets are $5 online, or $10 at the door. Call 202-750-6411 or visit


An annual night of stand-up featuring established African-American comedians is once again headlined by Sommore, the brashest, most sexually frank, and most animated of the four Original Queens of Comedy. (In that 2001 documentary special, Sommore was the one who raved about “good dick” while warning against getting “dickmatized” to do or allow things you otherwise wouldn’t — and ultimately shouldn’t — in a relationship.) This year’s lineup also includes stand-up from Chris Rock’s younger brother Tony Rock, as well as George Wallace, DC Young Fly, Mark Curry, Joe Clair, and Guy Torry. Friday, Feb. 15, at 8 p.m. D.A.R. Constitution Hall, 1776 D St. NW. Tickets are $52 to $75. Call 202-628-1776 or visit


Once a month at the comedy club a few blocks from Logan Circle comes a stand-up show featuring comics mostly drawn from around the region and all geared as a fundraiser for a different charity. Presented by comics Gigi Modrich and Andie Basto and hosted by Basto, the next event features Abby Mello, Allan Sidley, Anna Phillips, and Plain Ol DLo. And the beneficiary is City Dogs Rescue & City Kitties, which helps find forever homes for dogs and cats rescued from overcrowded and high-kill shelters — many, if not most, of them on track to being euthanized for no reason other than lack of space. Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 7 p.m. Drafthouse Comedy, 1100 13th St. NW. Tickets are $10. Call 202-750-6411 or visit


Bloomingdale’s small improvisational comedy organization offers a movie-focused program featuring two different casts of practiced improvisers a week before the 91st Academy Awards take place. On Saturday, Feb. 16, Unified presents the third annual Faux-Cademy Awards Show in which improvisers concoct an entire Oscars ceremony on the fly, all based on audience suggestions for who and what gets nominated, what wins, and who gets a lifetime achievement award. Organizers boast: “It will be intentionally disastrous as the Academy Awards are unintentionally disastrous — though much, much shorter.” That will be followed by the headline show Fish Outta Water, featuring a cast of improvisors who will act out scenes and classic movie narratives from films they haven’t seen or know little about. (The show is based on one in which Star Wars nerds are paired with unknowing, uncaring improvisors to act out famous scenes that go inevitably, and hilariously, awry.) “Movie geeks of all stripes will love this,” Unified promises. Doors at 7:30 p.m. 80 T St. NW. Tickets are $12 in advance, or $15 at the door. visit



Regarded as one of the West’s leading intellectuals, the renowned French philosopher, writer, and filmmaker Lévy returns with a new book whose full title is The Empire and the Five Kings: America’s Abdication and the Fate of the World. The five kings come from Russia, China, Turkey, Iran, and Sunni-radical Islamism, all of which are taking steps to assert power and influence and undermine the liberal values that have been a hallmark of Western civilization. Lévy will be in conversation with Robert Kagan, a senior fellow at Brookings who served in the Reagan State Department, followed by a book signing. Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 7 p.m. Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. 600 I St. NW. Tickets are $15, or $30 including one book, or $42 with two tickets and one book. Call 202-408-3100 or visit


Fresh out of high school, Ari intends to leave the struggling family bakery to pursue his dreams of becoming a rock star in the big city. But in this gay young adult romance novel, things get complicated when Ari meets aspiring baker Hector. Soon enough, the dough in the oven isn’t the only thing hot and rising, as love between the two begins to bloom. Comic artist Savanna Ganucheau’s illustrated baking scenes complement the baking adventures and blushing tale of young love written by comic book writer Kevin Panetta. Friday, Feb. 15, at 6:30 p.m. East City Bookshop, 645 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. Call 202-290-1636 or visit


Shortest Way Home: One Mayor’s Challenge and a Model for America’s Future is billed as both an inspiring story of how politics can and should work, as well as an introduction to one of today’s rising political figures — one of the first Democrats to announce plans to run for president in 2020, in fact. The gay Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, will discuss his just-published memoir in a conversation with NBC News reporter Jonathan Allen. Sunday, Feb. 17, at 5 p.m. Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Call 202-364-1919 or visit

Perfume & Seduction: Perfume Bottle and Case in the Shape of an Egg, courtesy of Hillwood Museum & Gardens — Photo: Brian Searby



The Colombian-American artist Mayorga spurred development of this multimedia project after a year of artistic investigation on issues of home and homelessness — colored by the artist’s infatuation with a certain red hue. By applying the pigment to new works of her own as well as others from the permanent collection of the Organization of American States’ Art Museum of the Americas, Mayorga offers her bicultural interpretations of those living in exile, displacement, dislocation, relocation, and eviction. The artist puts a “pink” spin on works by Ignacio Iturria, Eduardo Giusiano, Ricardo Supisiche, Rubens Gerchman, Amelia Peláez, Consuelo Gotay, Dora Ramírez, Roser Muntañola, and Roberto Matta. The exhibition includes a series of public programs, including Cambuche Party: A Pink Musical featuring performances by Mayorga and Daniela Zuluaga with musician Juan Felipe Mayorga plus “piano intervention by” Alberto Gaitán, described as “a performance composed of three musical numbers inspired by life in cambuches, ranchos, and other ephemeral zip codes.” The world premiere of the musical factors into the

Exhibition’s Opening Reception Thursday, Feb. 14, from 6 to 8 p.m. Additional performances and discussions about performance art in Latin America will take place during the run of the exhibition, which is on display to May 19. 1889 F St. NW. Call 202-370-0149 or visit


Logan Circle’s small but mighty gallery Transformer presents a new series of paintings from Ibata in its 16th Annual DC Artist Solo Exhibition. A copyist at the National Gallery of Art educated at the Corcoran College of Art & Design as well as New York Academy of Art, Ibata reflects the complexities of growing up in an American culture steeped in violence and focuses on the psyches of hardened men. On display to Feb. 23. Transformer, 1404 P St. NW. Call 202-483-1102 or visit


The Charlottesville-based artist Fax Ayres combines the aesthetics of photography and painting with a focus on everyday objects and scenes, presenting the mundane in new ways and in unlikely, whimsical compilations, imbuing subjects with an almost surreal quality. Through his “lightpainting” technique, Ayres tries to extract beauty and personality from everyday things by staging still-life vignettes in the dark, then carefully painting individual components with light, and finally assembling multiple images together to create the final photograph. What results are surprising compositions hinting at dramatic back stories, or suggesting larger, and sometimes darker, uses for the piece or pieces of equipment, food, gourd, or toy depicted. To Feb. 24. The Athenaeum, 201 Prince St., Alexandria. Call 703-548-0035 or visit


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. Through Feb. 17. First Floor Galleries in the Mansion, 10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda. Call 301-581-5100 or visit


The captivating evolution of perfume bottles and accessories from the 18th through the mid-20th centuries is told through the display of nearly 150 pieces, those taken from Hillwood’s collection as well as from Givaudan, the Swiss manufacturer of fragrances and cosmetics. Complementing the exhibition are a “scented suite of workshops,” such as the Hands-on Workshop: Fragrant Floral Design in which participants will create an arrangement of blooms, offered on Saturday, Feb. 23, at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Exhibition opens Saturday, Feb. 16. On display to June 9. Hillwood Estate, 4155 Linnean Ave. NW. Suggested donation is $18. Call 202-686-5807 or visit


Karen Joan Topping, a founding member of the Sparkplug Collective, curates an exhibition of 10 artists who literally and symbolically employ light and darkness, as well as explore themes of communication and empathy, in painting, drawing, sculpture, and photography. On display at the District of Columbia Arts Center will be works by Tom Greaves, Sarah J. Hull, Shana Kohnstamm, Alanna Reeves, Azadeh Sahraeian, Elizabeth H. Sampson, Alexandra Silverthorne, Sarah Stefana Smith, Madeline A. Stratton, and Steve Wanna. Opening Reception is Friday, Feb. 22, from 7 to 9 p.m. On display to March 24, with a Closing Reception with Artists & Curator Talk set for Sunday, March 17. 2438 18th St. NW. Call 202-462-7833 or visit


Depictions of slavery in America often left out of history books are the focus of the paintings and prints currently on display in Strathmore’s Invitational Gallery. Specifically, through his works in The Railroad, Sorrells presents fictional yet truthful and accurate representations of African Americans as they sought to escape slavery — highlighting their resolve, resiliency, unity, and fearlessness through intimate scenes of individuals secretly comforting one another in prayer, huddling together to evade hunting dogs and slave masters, and plotting paths to freedom. To Feb. 17. The Mansion, 10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda. Call 301-581-5100 or visit

Disney on Ice: Worlds of Enchantment



Gather the family around, or at least the little tykes, who are sure to delight in seeing four favorite animated Pixar/Disney stories brought to ice this weekend at Capital One Arena. In a production from Feld Entertainment, see Lightning McQueen and crew from Cars race around, explore the undersea kingdom with Ariel from The Little Mermaid, follow the daring adventure back to Andy’s room with Buzz, Woody, Jessie, and the Toy Story gang, and enter the wintry world of Arendelle with sisters Anna and Elsa and pals Olaf and Kristoff from Frozen. And don’t miss the mouse who started it all, with Mickey’s Dance-Along Pre-Show show. Performances are Thursday, Feb. 14, at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 15, at 10:30 a.m., and 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 16, at 10:30 a.m., and 2:30 and 6:30 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 17, and Monday, Feb. 18, at 12:30 and 4:30 p.m. 601 F St. NW. Call 202-628-3200 or visit


Among its free attractions in honor of Black History Month, the National Park Service concludes its commemoration of the bicentennial year of Frederick Douglass’ birth with a program onsite in Anacostia. Taking place Saturday, Feb. 16, at 1:15 p.m., the program features the Washington Revels singing historic African-American spirituals, local youth reading Douglass’ poetry, and winners of the annual Frederick Douglass National Historic Site Oratorical Contest giving dramatic recitations of the man’s most famous speeches. Park rangers will also lead house tours at 1:15, 2:15, and 3:15 p.m. D.C. Prep Academy, 1409 V St. SE. Free, but registration for the house tours required at the visitor center. Call 202-426-5961 or visit


The Kennedy Center presents the U.S. premiere of a daring, multi-genre, multimedia work that dramatizes for the stage a broad range of environmental issues, from climate change and soil erosion to urbanization and the digitalization of human life. NeoArctic is a visual music performance that weaves in classical voice, electronica, dramatic staging, and movement, with the dynamic backdrop of photography from NASA, to explore “Nature’s Titanic” and the Anthropocene, a new geological age characterized by the harsh impact of humanity on the ecosystem. The story of planet Earth and its future is told in English through 12 unique songs and soundscapes covering 12 different landscapes. Kirsten Dehlholm, founder and artistic director of the Danish Hotel Pro Forma, leads this World Stages production featuring the 16-person Latvian Radio Choir performing music by Andy Stott and Krists Auznieks, with musical direction from Kaspars Putnins. To Feb. 16. Terrace Theater. Tickets are $35 to $49. Call 202-467-4600 or visit


Per the Chinese calendar, the new year begins on the new moon — which in 2019 appeared on Feb. 5. Fortunately, the traditional celebration lasts two weeks, and the Kennedy Center follows suit with its fourth annual Lunar New Year slate of (mostly free) activities, which ends with the return of the National Ballet of China. Between now and then (the third weekend in February), the complex is festooned with a Chinese Lantern Light Installation in the Hall of States and on the River Terrace, and also displays, in its two grand halls, two porcine sculptures as a tribute to the new Year of the Pig. Call 202-467-4600 or visit


The Busboys & Poets in the Takoma neighborhood of D.C. hosts this evening event fusing the performance of burlesque and poetry by local LGBTQ writers and artists. Curated and hosted by spoken word artists Regie Cabico and C. Thomas and set for the third Friday of each month, Stoked is intended to be a “whimsical, sexy, and poetic” evening, designated as a safe and nurturing space for performers, both established and up-and-coming, and from all across the rainbow spectrum. At this month’s show, on Friday, Feb. 15, at 9 p.m., Madamme Seduction will perform burlesque while Jeanette “MsNightLyfe” Irvin will present her spoken-word poetry. 234 Carroll St. NW. Tickets are $5. Call 202-726-0856 or visit

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