Metro Weekly

Out On the Town: DC arts and entertainment highlights — April 4-10

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

Ramen Shop

FILM

EYES WIDE SHUT

“Heeere’s Kubrick” is an annual celebration of the late, legendary filmmaker Stanley Kubrick, with select films screening on Wednesdays at both area locations of the Angelika movie theater chain. The series continues with the director’s last directorial effort, having died six days after completing his final cut. Eyes Wide Shut was three decades in the making from the time Kubrick first obtained the rights to adapt Arthur Schnitzler’s Austrian novella, Dream Story. Written with Frederic Raphael, the 1999 screen adaptation stars Tom Cruise as a man who pursues a night of sexual adventure, culminating in a massive, masked orgy, in reaction to his wife (Nicole Kidman) revealing her past interest in a premarital affair. The provocative, sumptuous drama and its explorations of extramarital sexual desire, jealousy, and the fragility of the masculine ego is generally considered among Kubrick’s greatest cinematic achievements. Barry Lyndon and Lolita will follow in subsequent weeks. Wednesday, April 10, at 7 p.m. Angelika Pop-Up at Union Market, 550 Penn St. NE. Also Angelika at Mosaic, 2911 District Ave., Fairfax, Va. Tickets are $10.50 to $14.50. Call 571-512-3311 or visit www.angelikafilmcenter.com.

PET SEMATARY

Stephen King’s 1983 novel about a cemetery with the power to reanimate the dead (with predictably horrific consequences) gets a second film treatment after 1989’s quirky but mediocre adaptation. John Lithgow, Jason Clarke, and Amy Semeitz star as adults who really should know better when they start burying dead pets and people to bring them back to life. Opens Friday, April 5. Area theaters. Visit www.fandango.com. (Rhuaridh Marr)

RAMEN SHOP

Called “a mouthwatering family drama,” Eric Khoo’s Ramen Shop relates a young man’s efforts to trace his family’s roots over bowls of soup and a shared love of good food. Takumi Saito plays an aspiring young ramen chef in Japan who embarks on a culinary journey to Singapore to meet his deceased Chinese mother’s family. Similar to Ang Lee’s 1994 Eat Drink Man Woman, Ramen Shop is filled with scenes of gorgeous food and dining as it becomes a sweet tale of reconciliation. Opens Friday, April 5. Landmark’s E Street Cinema, 555 11th St. NW. Call 202-452-7672 or visit www.landmarktheatres.com.

SHAZAM!

Originally known as Captain Marvel until a 2011 rebrand, Shazam takes center stage in the latest cinematic effort from DC Comics, albeit in a smaller-scale standalone affair than the excellent Wonder Woman and the okay Aquaman. Teenager Billy Batson (Asher Angel) gains the power to transform into adult superhero Shazam (Zachary Levi), which comes in handy when Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong) gains similar powers and — unsurprisingly — uses them for nefarious purposes. It looks to be a lighter, breezier effort than other Justice League films — a curiosity, given director David F. Sandberg made his name on low-budget horrors. Opens Friday, April 5. Area theaters. Visit fandango.com. (RM)

THE BEST OF ENEMIES

The pretty incredible true-life tale of Ann Atwater, a civil rights activist, and C.P. Ellis, a Ku Klux Klan leader, who battled one another for ten years over various issues until, in 1971, they agreed to co-chair a series of meetings to tackle desegregation in the schools of Durham, North Carolina. What followed was a surprising friendship, which ultimately led to Ellis quitting the Klan. Based on Osha Gray Davidson’s novel, writer-director Robin Bissell’s film stars Taraji P. Henson as Atwater and Sam Rockwell as Ellis. And if everything clicks, don’t be surprised to see this pop up again come awards season. Opens Friday, April 5. Area theaters. Visit fandango.com. (RM)

THE MALTESE FALCON

Capital Classics, the popular hump-day film series at Landmark’s West End Cinema, present John Huston’s 1941 film noir classic, based on Dashiell Hammett’s novel. Humphrey Bogart plays a detective investigating why a jewel-encrusted avian statute is so desirable and who will take the fall for his partner’s murder. With Peter Lorre, Syndey Greenstreet and Mary Astor. Wednesday, April 10, 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 www.landmarktheatres.com.

THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW

Landmark’s E Street Cinema presents its monthly run of Richard O’Brien’s camp classic, billed as the longest-running midnight movie in history. Landmark’s showings come with a live shadow cast from the Sonic Transducers, meaning it’s even more interactive than usual. Friday, April 12, and Saturday, April 13, at midnight. Landmark’s E Street Cinema, 555 11th St. NW. Call 202-452-7672 or visit www.landmarktheatres.com.

Dead Dogs Bone 1 — Photo: Mara Sherman

STAGE

DEAD DOG’S BONE: A BIRTHDAY PLAY

Nu Sass Productions, the female-focused local theater company, presents Veronica Tjioe’s family drama that’s equal parts irreverent and heartbreaking in its exploration of familial relationships, the melancholia of birthdays, and the goodness of dogs. Mara Sherman directs a cast including Dannielle Hutchinson, Schuyler Atkins, Karen Lange, Aubri O’Connor, Erik Harrison, and Andy De. To April 14. Caos on F, 923 F St. NW. Tickets are $20. Call 202-215-6993 or visit www.nusass.com.

DINNER WITH FRIENDS

A Pulitzer Prize-winning modern dramedy from Donald Margulies challenging everyday presumptions about the people we think we know is brought to life at Baltimore’s Everyman Theatre in a 20th-anniversary production helmed by founding artistic director Vincent M. Lancisi. In the deliciously funny, sharply observed Dinner with Friends, two couples find themselves grappling with questions of loyalty, individuality, and commitment over dinner as one wife drops the bomb that her husband wants out of their 12-year marriage. The four-person cast features Megan Anderson, Danny Gavigan, Beth Hylton and M. Scott McLean. To April 7. Everyman Theatre, 315 West Fayette St. Baltimore. Tickets are $43 to $65. Call 410-752-2208 or visit www.everymantheatre.org.

GRAND HOTEL THE MUSICAL

Eric Schaeffer directs one of his favorite musicals, a multiple Tony-winning work from 1989 with a book by Luther Davis and music and lyrics by Robert Wright, George Forrest, and Maury Yeston. Based on the 1929 novel by Vicki Baum that also spawned two World War II-era movies, Grand Hotel The Musical is set in a lavish hotel in Weimar Republic Berlin — and staged in such a way at Signature Theatre that audiences will feel like they are sitting in the hotel’s lobby. A fading ballerina, a destitute baron, a wannabe starlet, and an ailing bookkeeper are just a handful of the many characters who come and go in the show, with Signature stars Bobby Smith and Natascia Diaz leading a large cast also featuring other Signature veterans including Nicki Elledge, Kevin McAllister, Crystal Mosser, and Lawrence Redmond. Jon Kalbfleisch leads the orchestra while Kelly Crandall D’Amboise helms the choreography. In previews. Opens Tuesday, April 9. Runs to May 19. MAX Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. Call 703-820-9771 or visit www.sigtheatre.org.

HANDS ON A HARDBODY

Keegan Theatre presents the regional premiere of a recent Broadway show featuring music written by Phish’s Trey Anastasio and lyricist Amanda Green (Bring It On: The Musical), with a book by Doug Wright. Based on a real-life competition, captured in a 1997 documentary of the same name, Hands on a Hardbody focuses on ten Texans struggling to keep at least one hand on a brand-new truck in order to win it. Elena Velasco and Mark A. Rhea direct the Keegan production featuring a large, 19-member ensemble, with Jake Null directing an eight-piece pit orchestra. To April 6. Keegan Theatre, 1742 Church St. NW. Tickets are $52 to $62. Call 202-265-3767 or visit www.keegantheatre.com.

INTO THE WOODS

★★★★

Somebody’s hauled a fabulous eight-piece orchestra into the enchanted forest of Ford’s Theatre’s production of Into the Woods, and the brilliant, Tony-winning score, conducted by music director William Yanesh, sounds great. The mostly sharp delivery of director Peter Flynn’s talented cast can keep the listener hanging on every word of Stephen Sondheim’s winding lines. These are treacherous woods, less an idyll for peaceful strolls to grandma’s house than a fateful crossroads of change. Milagro Ponce de León’s forest set, rippling layers of flattish trees and vines, definitely carries through Sondheim and frequent book writer James Lapine’s image of the woods as a foreboding place and time, a field of dark unknowing. Flynn and company do a marvelous job delineating every major and minor character in this vast storybook population of kings, commoners, cows and chickens — as derived from fairy tales — even with some actors performing several roles. Flynn’s absorbing staging marches with gusto into the second act, which examines, or pokes holes in, the contentment that comes after Happily Ever After. But the show hits a few roadblocks. The pace slackens, and the fire wanes, until a hardy finish. As a whole, Ford’s production beautifully conveys the weight and lightness of Sondheim and Lapine’s journey into the woods, where characters forced to coerce, deceive, or steal from strangers can find whatever they believe might bring them happiness. To May 22. 511 10th St. NW. Tickets are $20 to $83. Call 888-616-0270 or visit www.fords.org. (André Hereford)

Into the Woods at Ford’s Theatre — Photo: Carol Rosegg

MASTERPIECES OF THE ORAL AND INTANGIBLE HERITAGE OF HUMANITY

Holly Twyford, Felicia Curry, and Yesenia Iglesias star in Heather McDonald’s drama as three women trapped in a ravaged museum during a catastrophic hundred years war. Nadia Tass directs a world premiere at Signature Theatre that comes as part of the Heidi Thomas Writers’ Initiative, a multi-year commitment to presenting works by female playwrights with female directors. The play sees the three women, including an art restorer and her military captor, struggling for common shreds of humanity as they try to save a small symbol of beauty in their broken world. To April 7. The Ark Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. Call 703-820-9771 or visit www.sigtheatre.org.

PANTHEON

Happenstance Theater, the Helen Hayes Award-winning devised theater troupe, is now delving into ancient Greek mythology for its latest work. Set in the 1940s, Pantheon revolves around a chorus of factory workers brought to life by Happenstance’s married co-founders Mark Jaster and Sabrina Mandell along with Gwen Grastorf, Sarah Olmsted Thomas, and Alex Vernon, and Craig Jaster providing a live musical score. “With an ample smattering of amusement,” reads the company’s synopsis of what transpires, “the performers invoke the Muses, offer Sacrifice, suffer Hubris, consult Oracles, and meet Fate as they portray an array of mortals and Gods whose flaws reflect their own.” Opens Thursday, April 4. Runs to April 14. Baltimore Theatre Project, 45 West Preston St. Baltimore. Tickets are $15 to $25, except for a Pay-What-You-Can performance on Monday, April 8. Call 410-752-8558 or visit www.theatreproject.org.

THE JEWISH QUEEN LEAR

Mirele Efros is a wealthy widow and clever businesswoman whose children turn against her, causing a fall of Shakespearean proportions. Wildly successful at the turn of the 20th century and considered a masterpiece of Yiddish theater, Theater J presents Jacob Gordin’s play in a new English translation by Nahma Sandrow. Adam Immerwahr directs a large cast including Tonya Beckman, Valerie Leonard, Alana Dodds Sharp, Charlie Trepany, Christopher Warren, and Frank X. To April 7. The Gonda Theatre, Georgetown University’s Davis Performing Arts Center, 3700 O St. NW. Tickets are $30 to $70. Call 202-777-3210 or visit www.theaterj.org.

TOPDOG/UNDERDOG

WSC Avant Bard presents the tragicomedy about two African-American brothers-in-struggle that earned playwright Suzan-Lori Parks a Pulitzer Prize 17 years ago. Jeremy Keith Hunter, a regular at Mosaic Theater, takes on the role of older brother Lincoln, a grifter-gone-straight, while Louis E. Davis, previously seen in Avant Bard’s King Lear, plays the younger brother Booth, seeking to become the greatest con man of all time. DeMone Seraphin directs. To April 14. Gunston Arts Center, 2700 South Lang St. Arlington. Tickets are $40. Call 703-418-4804 or visit www.wscavantbard.org.

Into the Light

MUSIC

CARLOS SIMON & SARA SOMMERER
SYDNEY FRANKLIN & ADAM O’FARRILL

The music industry’s ASCAP Foundation teams up with the Kennedy Center to present four new and “rising star” composer/songwriters via two free showcases. First up, Wednesday, April 10, at 6 p.m., are performances by Carlos Simon, who has served as music director for Jennifer Holliday and is a former Sundance Institute Composer Fellow whose recent works have honored victims of police violence as well as examined figures and moments from the past. Jared Bailey, Joshua Cameron, and Danny Henderson will perform with Simon, who will share his showcase with Sara Sommerer, a budding songwriter from Kansas City who won the 2018 ASCAP Expo Factor judged by Jason Mraz and will perform alongside Josh Bailey, Drew X Coles, and Peter Wise. The next evening, Friday, April 11, brings new R&B/soul artist and five-octave chanteuse Sydney Franklin, accompanied by Markelle Abraham, Frankey Grayton, Branden Jacobs, and Brendan Mills, and Adam O’Farrill, a trumpeter/composer carrying on his substantial Latin jazz lineage and will perform with his brother Zach along with Xavier Del Castillo and Walter Stinson, members of his band Stranger Days. Millennium Stage. Free. Call 202-467-4600 or visit www.kennedy-center.org.

CHORAL ARTS SOCIETY, NEW ORCHESTRA OF WASHINGTON: INTO THE LIGHT

The Choral Art Society of Washington and its Choral Arts Youth Choir have teamed up with the New Orchestra of Washington and its ensemble in residence the Aeolus Quartet to expand the limits of classical music by offering a new, interactive, and immersive experience. Directed by Jay D. Brock, Into The Light will make use of the shimmering acoustics and the entire subterranean space of the Dupont Underground, the former belowground streetcar station that is particularly apt for the performance of Steve Reich’s Different Trains, a three-movement piece inspired by Reich’s train travel while living as a young American Jew during the time of the Holocaust. The performers will begin on one end of the space and gradually move toward the other, emphasizing the transition from darkness into light — simultaneously enhanced with lighting effects and projections by designer JD Madsen. There will also be movable barriers used to guide the audience through the space. Works by Hildegard von Bingen, Gregorio Allegri, Samuel Barber, Ben Parry, Sarah Hopkins, and Knut Nystedt will also be performed, along with The Moon and Her Maidens, a new piece by Choral Arts’ Scott Tucker inspired by the acoustics of the venue and paired with R. Murray Schafer’s Epitaph for Moonlight. Friday, April 5, and Saturday, April 6, at 8 p.m. 1500 19th St. NW. Tickets are $20. Call 202-244-3669 or visit www.dupontunderground.org.

CHUCHO VALDÉS

The Afro-Cuban jazz icon and towering virtuosic pianist Jesús “Chucho” Valdés comes to Sixth and I for an intimate performance presented by Washington Performing Arts. When this multi-Grammy and multi-Latin Grammy winner tickles the ivories, the result, per the New York Times, is “great hydraulic fountains of notes, each drop sparkling as it falls.” Saturday, April 6, at 8 p.m. 600 I St. NW. Tickets are $45. Call 202-408-3100 or visit www.sixthandi.org.

DREAMERS’ CIRCUS

Scandinavian folk music blended with elements from classical music and other world music traditions is the stock in trade of this Danish acoustic trio. Violinist Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen — also a member of the acclaimed Danish String Quartet — string instrumentalist Ale Carr, and pianist/accordion player Nikolaj Busk got their start together jamming after-hours in a pub and have gone on to perform with Sarah Jarosz and the Copenhagen Philharmonic and at the celebrated Roskilde Festival. Wednesday, April 10, at 8 p.m. Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. 600 I St. NW. Tickets are $25. Call 202-408-3100 or visit www.sixthandi.org.

ELI CONLEY

Folk and roots music has been a lifelong passion and pursuit for this native of central Virginia, who identifies as an openly gay, transgender man. An earnest yet amiable artist, Conley’s music stands out by virtue of his forthright way of tackling queer themes and issues — with his self-released sophomore set Strong and Tender touching on everything from gender confusion and dysphoria to struggles with aging and financial matters. And yet the music itself is pure homespun folk in the traditional singer-songwriter mold. The San Francisco-based artist straddles binaries beyond gender, such as notions associated with city vs. country and contemporary vs. traditional. He is joined by Joel Price on mandolin, violin, and harmonies. Wednesday, April 10, at 7:30 p.m. Gypsy Sally’s Vinyl Lounge, 3401 K St. NW. Free. Call 202-333-7700 or visit www.gypsysallys.com.

EMANCIPATION DAY CONCERT & FESTIVITIES 2019

The D.C. government has organized a star-studded celebration on Freedom Plaza to commemorate the day in history — April 16, 1862 — when more than 3,000 enslaved persons were freed in D.C. a full eight months before the Emancipation Proclamation liberated those in the South. The festivities take place Saturday, April 13, or three days before the actual date, kicking off at 2 p.m. with a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue from 10th to 14th Streets NW. An all-afternoon, multi-artist concert follows with performances by Faith Evans, Doug E. Fresh, Kenny Lattimore, Mýa, Master Gee of the Sugar Hill Gang, E.U. featuring Sugar Bear, Frédéric Yonnet, Spur of the Moment, Ayanna “Daughter of Dick” Gregory, and Passion Band, with DJ Rico from Majic 102.3 FM and host Little Bacon Bear from WKYS 93.9 FM. The day ends in a fireworks display starting at 8:30 p.m. Visit www.emancipation.dc.gov.

Lizz Wright — Photo: Jesse Kitt

LIZZ WRIGHT

A blues-fired R&B singer with a countrified bent and gospel and jazz background, this New Yorker by way of Georgia sometimes powers her smoky contralto to its full-throttle extremes, but the point is never to showboat. Wright will knock you out with lyrical power, stun you with beautiful, elegantly crafted melodies, and shock you with vocal subtlety. Thursday, April 11, at 7:30 p.m. The Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. Tickets are $39.50. Call 703-549-7500 or visit www.birchmere.com.

WASHINGTON CONCERT OPERA: ZELMIRA

Gioachino Rossini’s stunning Zelmira, the last of his “Neapolitan Operas” never before presented on the East Coast, comes to vivid life in a production with Rossini specialist Lawrence Brownlee, one of the world’s leading bel canto tenors. Brownlee plays the husband of the title character, portrayed by celebrated Spanish mezzo-soprano Silvia Tro Santafe, in this season-closing production. Friday, April 5, at 7 p.m. GW Lisner, The George Washington University, 730 21st St. NW. Tickets are $40 to $110. Call 202-994-6851 or visit www.concertopera.org.

WHITE FORD BRONCO

Cheekily named after O.J. Simpson’s notorious failed getaway car, people just can’t seem to get enough of this local ’90s-era party band. Playing through that decade’s songbook in all styles of popular music is a five-member ensemble consisting of singer/guitarist Diego Valencia, singer Gretchen Gustafson, guitarists Ken Sigmund and McNasty, and drummer Max Shapiro. White Ford Bronco seems to turn up at a different local venue practically every other week. Friday, April 12. Doors at 8 p.m. Rock and Roll Hotel, 1353 H St. NE. Tickets are $25. Call 202-388-ROCK or visit www.rockandrollhoteldc.com.

Mariinsky Ballet: Le Corsaire; Viktoria Tereshkina , Andrei Yermakov — Photo: Valentin Baranovsky

DANCE

KISTA TUCKER INSIGHTS: THE FACTORY PROJECT, PITTED POST, WY

The Chantilly, Va.-based Kista Tucker Insights comes to Dance Place to perform two new works, foremost among these a years-in-the-making epic The Factory Project. This story-based piece explores the kind of community that exists within the confines — among the employees — of a factory, and features a score by composing multi-instrumentalist Christian Cherry, also a noted dance professor. The second work, Pitted Post, WY, features KTI dancers striving to elicit the essence of rural Wyoming, from the gently sloping and wide-open landscape, to “the critters (in the air and on the ground).” The aim, here as with other KTI productions, is to provide a naturalistic, “transformative experience,” akin to “watching a piece of art or painting come to life.” Saturday, April 13, at 8 p.m, and Sunday, April 14, at 2 p.m. Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Theater, 3225 8th St. NE. Tickets are $20 to $25. Call 202-269-1600 or visit www.danceplace.org.

DIMENSIONS CONTEMPORARY DANCE FESTIVAL SHOWCASE

Presented as part of the NextLOOK Series by the University of Maryland’s The Clarice in partnership with Joe’s Movement Emporium, the choreographer Tariq Darrell O’Meally is joined by Ronya-Lee Anderson, Candace Scarborough, Krystal Collins, and Jamal Abrams, plus the UNUM Dance Collective. All will take part in this week-long festival for area artists of color culminating in two showcase performances. Thursday, April 4, and Friday, April 5, at 7 p.m. 3309 Bunker Hill Road, Mount Rainier, Md. Tickets are $5 to $25 plus fees. Call 301-699-1819 or visit www.joesmovement.org.

MARIINSKY BALLET: LE CORSAIRE

The famed Russian company returns to the Kennedy Center with Marius Petipa’s swashbuckling adventure featuring bold pirates, passionate maidens, shocking betrayal, and a dramatic shipwreck rescue. Touted as “a crown jewel of the art form,” the Mariinsky Ballet dazzles with trademark attributes, including breathtaking choreography, virtuosic dancing, and spectacular scenery and costumes. Artistic director Valery Gergiev leads the ballet company with conductor Vladislav Karklin leading the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra. Performances begin Tuesday, April 9. To Sunday, April 14. Opera House. Tickets are $49 to $209. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.

NEW YORK CITY BALLET: 2 PROGRAMS

This year’s annual engagement at the Kennedy Center offers two different programs, both performed with live accompaniment by the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra. “New Works & New Productions,” performed Thursday, April 4, through Saturday, April 6, is a program as varied as it is new, juxtaposing the kind of classically minded works you would expect — Easy, a Leonard Bernstein-based dance from the company’s resident choreographer Justin Peck — with others straying far beyond traditional ballet — such as the aptly titled The Runaway, an imaginative work by Kyle Abraham incorporating modern movement as well as modern sounds — most notably with tracks by hip-hop artists Jay-Z and Kanye West. The program also continues the centennial celebration of the late, legendary Jerome Robbins, recognized as the company’s co-founding choreographer alongside George Balanchine, by presenting two pieces that are nearly as varied as those previously mentioned: In The Night, a romantic ballet set to Frédéric Chopin’s elegant nocturnes, and the high-energy revue Something to Dance About featuring excerpts of dance sequences from nine musicals choreographed by Robbins, including West Side Story, Peter Pan, Fiddler On The Roof, and Gypsy.

On Sunday, April 7, the company presents “Balanchine, Robbins & Reisen,” a program celebrating a promising artist of today — namely 18-year-old choreographer Gianna Reisen, via a performance of her debut ballet Composer’s Holiday, set to Lukas Foss’s Three American Pieces — with two modern dance masters, including another Robbins’ piece, Opus 19/The Dreamer, a tale about the search for an elusive soulmate propelled by Sergei Prokofiev’s feverish Violin Concerto No. 1. The program is rounded out with two very different works by Balanchine: Kammermusik No. 2, a stylized piece set to Paul Hindemith’s modernist score, and Symphony in C, his inspiring, grand classical masterpiece in which over 50 dancers perform to Georges Bizet’s dazzling score. Opera House. Tickets are $29 to $99. Call 202-467-4600 or visit www.kennedy-center.org.

Falling Out — Photo: Richard Termine

PHANTOM LIMB COMPANY: FALLING OUT

This New York company is known for its work with marionette puppetry, per co-founder Erik Sanko, and for its focus on collaborative, multimedia theatrical production and design, per co-founder Jessica Grindstaff. Phantom Limb makes its Kennedy Center debut as part of the Direct Current series with a work, developed in collaboration with butoh dancer Dai Matsuoka, a member of Japan’s famed Sankai Juku troupe, that serves as a response to the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. Falling Out represents the final installment in an environmental trilogy exploring our changing relationship to nature over time, and urging greater awareness and advocacy on the issue. Post-show discussions with a wide range of experts have also been planned. Thursday, April 4, and Friday, April 5, at 7:30 p.m. Kennedy Center Terrace Theater. Tickets are $19. Call 202-467-4600 or visit www.kennedy-center.org.

THE WASHINGTON BALLET: THREE WORLD PREMIERES

Reaffirming the organization’s commitment to the creative process and original masterworks that define the future of the genre, the Washington Ballet presents its annual program of exclusively commissioned works by emerging and globally acclaimed choreographers. This year’s program features three never-before-seen works, including Wood Work, a story ballet exploring the relationships of a small Nordic village community by American Ballet Theatre star Ethan Stiefel that is set to music by the Danish String Quartet, which will be performed live, and Shadow Lands by former San Francisco Ballet soloist Dana Genshaft, set to Omnivorous Furniture by Mason Bates, a work that showcases ballet technique and plays with angles, momentum, and abstract movement to show that when broken pieces come together, the whole is better and stronger than when apart. The most anticipated piece is Teeming Waltzes by renowned choreographer Trey McIntyre, touted as taking Strauss’ waltz music to another level, a piece that uses ball pits, bubbles, and other geometric shapes that come from a circle “to show that a shape can break a line in another way.” Remaining performances are Thursday, April 4, through Saturday, April 6, at 7:30 p.m. Also Saturday, April 6, and Sunday, April 7, at 1:30 p.m. Sidney Harman Hall, Harman Center for the Arts, 610 F St. NW. Tickets are $25 to $100. Call 202-362-3606 or visit www.washingtonballet.org.

COMEDY

DC COMEDY FESTIVAL

Intended in part to shine a light on D.C.’s burgeoning comedy scene, including work in improv and sketch comedy, this five-day festival expands in its second year to present more events — nearly 20 — at more venues, most of which now offer comedy shows on a regular basis year-round, including the just-opened, gay-owned Red Bear Brewing Company, Wonderland Ballroom, Ivy City Smokehouse, and the Dew Drop Inn, among others. The festival kicks off on Tuesday, April 9, at 7:30 p.m. at the Dupont Underground, with a DC Opening Ceremony Showcase hosted by Franqi French and featuring 11 comedians, including Tony Woods, Fernando Madrigal, Elizabeth Norman, and Anthony Oakes.

Other highlights include: A special round of the “Hot Beef” happy hour humor show held every Tuesday at Desperados Burgers & Bar on U Street, on April 9, at 6:30 p.m., featuring seven comedians including Tristin Sims, Ryan Nesser, and Bunny Themelis; an Estrogenius Showcase featuring seven female comedians led by French, Kandace Saunders, and Woo Woo, on Wednesday, April 10, at 7:30 p.m., at Red Bear; a stand-up show with actor Alice Wetterlund from HBO’s Silicon Valley on Thursday April 11, at 7:30 p.m., at Drafthouse Comedy; a show headlined by Alex Scott and Omar Terrill along with eight local comedians, on Friday, April 12, at 11 p.m., at Drafthouse; a show by D.C. native Tony Woods, an original member of Russell Simmons’ Def Comedy Jam as well as a Comedy Central staple, on Saturday, April 13, at 7:30 p.m., at the 14th Street Busboys & Poets; and “Jordan Carlos and Friends,” featuring a headliner known from MTV’s Girl Code and Guy Code as well as Samantha Bee’s Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, joined by Carmen Lynch, Ray Devito, and Reese Walters, on Saturday, April 13, at 8 p.m., at the Miracle Theatre. Ticket prices vary, with many events free. Visit www.dccomedyfestival.com for more details and the full lineup.

THE TIME MACHINE ROAST

A comedy roast of nerdy, historic proportions, with a focus on dead celebrities — particularly heretofore hallowed, Hall of Famer-types, from emperors to inventors to entrepreneurs, more often than not straight, white men. That’s the name of the game at this show created by D.C.-based comedian and writer Benjy Himmelfarb with the late Dylan Meyer. Also a kind of sober, live version of Drunk History, fellow nationally touring comedians join Himmelfarb for the roasting pursuit, getting into character and costume for “the meanest, funniest, most historically accurate jokes you’ve ever heard.” The lineup next weekend at the Kennedy Center includes additional local comics Denise Taylor, Eddie Morrison, Rahmein Mostafavi, and Lafayette Wright (also known from his work on Kevin Hart’s Hart of the City), plus former D.C. residents Linsay Deming and Landon Letzkus, who previously teamed up for the provocative live comedy/variety show Church Night. Martin Amini, another up-and-coming local comedian, opens. Saturday, April 13, at 7 and 9 p.m. Kennedy Center Terrace Gallery. Tickets are $20. Call 202-467-4600 or visit www.kennedy-center.org.

Matt and Ted Lee — Photo: EV Day

READINGS & DISCUSSIONS

KRISTEN HUNTER, HALEY RIVERO

“Mid-Century Fashion and First Ladies: From Ready-to-Wear to Haute Couture” is the full title to the latest issue, No. 52, of the White House History Quarterly, published by the privately funded nonprofit the White House Historical Association. Highlighting the fashions of First Ladies from Eleanor Roosevelt to Betty Ford, the publication includes the chapters “The Mamie Look: The Americanness of First Lady Mamie Eisenhower’s Off-the-Rack Fashions” written by Hunter, and “The Jackie Look: Oleg Cassini and the Creation of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy’s Signature Style” by Rivero. The two writers will discuss and sign copies of the journal, which will be available for purchase along with the Official 2019 White House Easter Eggs and other new gift items. Friday, April 12, at noon. White House History Shop, 1610 H St. NW. Free and open to the public. Call 800-555-2451 or visit www.shop.whitehousehistory.org.

MATT AND TED LEE

Hotbox: Inside Catering, the Food World’s Riskiest Business presents a vivid insider’s account of the vaguely understood world of high-end catering that covers a range of events and venues — from white-tented Hampton cookouts to industrial park galas — accompanied by lively profiles of the creative and resilient people who organize and staff them. Hotbox is the latest from the James Beard Award-winning authors of The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook. The Lees will be in conversation with Edward Lee (no relation), author of Buttermilk Graffiti and chef behind the Succotash restaurants in Penn Quarter and National Harbor. Wednesday, April 10, at 7 p.m. Politics & Prose at Union Market, 1270 5th St. NE. Call 202-544-4452 or visit www.politics-prose.com.

STORY DISTRICT: FAKE IT ‘TIL YOU MAKE IT

A pre-selected and rehearsed group of nine locals will share original true tales, all under seven-minutes and centered on the theme of “Stories about Trying to be Something You’re Not.” Expect a mix of hilarious and heartwarming, light and heavy, at this monthly second-Tuesdays showcase from D.C.’s leading storytelling outfit. The show is hosted by Vijai Nathan and will feature Miriam Berg, Zuzana Cepla, Colleen Delany, Laura Feiveson, Mike Kane, John La Rue, Daniel Pedowitz, Antwan Perry, and Adam Stanzione. Tuesday, April 9. Doors at 6:30 p.m. Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. Tickets are $20. Call 202-667-4490 or visit www.blackcatdc.com.

ART & EXHIBITS

IN PEAK BLOOM: SEASONAL CELEBRATION

ArTecHouse celebrates spring and women in the arts and sciences with its annual cherry blossom-inspired exhibition featuring five interactive and immersive digital art installations inspired by the beautiful yet fleeting blossoms and all from women artists or women-led collectives. The Main Gallery features Hana Fubuki, Akiko Yamashita’s immersive installation developed with Sachiko Yamashita and Mikitype combining the woodblock print techniques of traditional Ukiyo-e art with 3D animations and interactive technology bringing the landscape to life. Secondary galleries are set up with Lisa Park’s Blooming, powered by biometric sensors, Scenocosme’s Akousmaflore an interactive small garden composed of living musical plants that react to gentle contact by producing specific sounds, and Design Foundry’s Enchanted Garden (2019), composed of a mix of natural and recycled artistic mediums to serve as a respite. And as ever, the Mezzanine Bar becomes an AR Cocktail Bar with II Sakaba, serving blossom-inspired, AR-enhanced cocktails and mocktails. Now to May 27. ArTecHouse, 1238 Maryland Ave. SW. Tickets range from $8 to $20. visit www.artechouse.com.

KALEIDOSCOPES: SPECTRUM

The Brewster Kaleidoscope Society returns to the Mansion at Strathmore with another juried exhibition showcasing the enchantment as well as the diversity of kaleidoscopes. Artists from around the world display custom-made kaleidoscopes or kaleidoscope-inspired works, varying in size from standalone sculptures to handheld and exquisite pieces of jewelry — but all of them employing “the magic of mirrors” to create a continually changing and endless display of two- and three-dimensional images. Opens Saturday, April 6, with Opening Reception set for Sunday, April 14, at 1 p.m. On display through May 26. 10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda. Call 301-581-5100 or visit www.strathmore.org.

MICHELLE PETERSON-ALBANDOZ: NEW WORK

One of the most popular artists regularly presented by LGBTQ-run Long View Gallery, this Chicago-based lesbian artist creates large, hanging-wood sculptures made from reclaimed wood, often found in dumpsters and back alleys in revitalizing urban neighborhoods. Opening Reception is Thursday, April 11, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Runs to May 26. 1234 9th St. NW. Call 202-232-4788 or visit longviewgallery.com.

ORCHIDS: AMAZING ADAPTATIONS

Right now, the Smithsonian Gardens offers an attractive alternative to Washington’s cherry blossom madness with the 24th annual orchid show. And unlike those fickle, fleeting cherry trees, you don’t have to wait for, or make last-minute arrangements to see, the hundreds of orchids in brilliant bloom as part this joint collaboration with the U.S. Botanic Garden. From now through the end of April you can see the stunning variety of orchids filling eight large marble planters in the Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard, nestled between the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery in the former Old Patent Office Building complex. For optimal viewing, officials recommend you visit either as soon as the courtyard opens at 11:30 a.m., in hopes of catching the whiff that orchids give off to attract pollinators in the morning, or in the hour or two before it closes at 7 p.m., when there should be fewer people and more chances of catching an orchid bloom popping open. To April 28. 8th and G Streets NW. Free. Call 202-633-2220 or visit www.gardens.si.edu.

SAKURA ORIHON: DIARY OF A CHERRY BLOSSOM JOURNEY

Landscape architect Ron Henderson kept detailed notes of his pilgrimages to visit famous old cherry trees in Japan, including horticultural practices — pruning techniques and root grafting, for example — that are extending the lives of the trees. And he captured it all in folding sketchbooks, or orihon, that celebrate cherry blossom culture in Japan and are now on display at the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum, part of the U.S. National Arboretum. To April 7. The Special Exhibits Wing 3501 New York Ave. NE. Call 202- 245-4523 or visit www.usna.usda.gov.

SUPERHEROES

The National Museum of American History presents a nearly year-long exhibition showcasing artifacts from its collections relating to animated protagonists, including comic books, movie and TV costumes and props and assorted memorabilia — from George Reeves’ Superman costume circa 1951 to Halle Berry’s Storm costume from 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past. On display through Sept. 2. 14th St. and Constitution Ave. NW. Call 202-633-1000 or visit www.americanhistory.si.edu.

TODD G. FRANSON

A few memorable photos that you may remember from covers of this very magazine — Jim Graham as Elizabeth Taylor’s Cleopatra, say, or the infamous Leather Kewpie for MAL — will be on display as part of the latest exhibition at the DC Center for the LGBT Community, all from Franson, Metro Weekly‘s central portrait photographer for most of the past 23 years as well as the magazine’s longest-serving Art Director. Yet the focus is on artworks the professional photographer and graphic designer has created for other projects and pursuits, all of which are available for sale. The exhibition goes as far back as Franson’s days as a student at the Savannah College of Art and Design, with four stylized gloves from the series Wear & Tear: Inspired by Irving Penn, newly reborn and printed on aluminum. A more recent passion of Franson’s has been capturing artistic shots of foliage, blooms, and landscapes at the National Arboretum. And then there are the dazzling and quirky photographs that come closest to conveying Franson’s personal sensibility — perhaps none more so than Dancing Bear, a vividly colored image of a bustling amusement park at dusk foregrounded by a giant-sized teddy bear wearing a propeller beanie. Ongoing. The Center Arts Gallery, 2000 14th St. NW. Call 202-682-2245 or visit www.thedccenter.org.

ABOVE & BEYOND

DIRECT CURRENT: A CELEBRATION OF CONTEMPORARY ART

The Kennedy Center presents its second annual, two-week, citywide celebration of contemporary art and culture — with a focus on new works, interdisciplinary creations in which artistic worlds collide, and on innovative responses to topical concerns. The result is a lineup with some of the most provocative, original, and pioneering voices in the arts today. Remaining highlights include: Phantom Limb Company’s Falling Out (see separate entry under Dance); Tanya Tagaq, an Inuit throat singing electronica/metal/punk artist, on Friday, April 5; Henry Threadgill, a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and saxophonist/flautist, who will showcase his avant-garde musical innovations with his ensemble, on Friday, April 5; the Vijay Iyer Sextet, led by the MacArthur Award-winning keyboardist/composer, performing selections from Far From Over, named among 2017’s best jazz recordings by several leading publications, on Saturday, April 6; Bruce Dessner’s Triptych (Eyes of One on Another) (see Sidebar on page XX); Du Yun w/OK Miss, an “indie pop diva” per the New York Times who takes the stage with her experimental band for excerpts from her musical Dim Sum Warriors, on Saturday, April 6; Brownout, “The Keepers of Latin Funk,” a nine-piece ensemble from Austin, on Sunday, April 7; and Brooklyn Rider and Magos Herrera, the famed string quartet and acclaimed jazz singer paired up for the genre-blurring, series-closing concert “Dreamers,” featuring reinterpretations of classic songs from throughout Latin America and Spain. Call 202-467-4600 or visit www.kennedy-center.org.

HILLWOOD’S FABERGÉ EGG FESTIVAL

The former estate of Marjorie Merriweather Post hosts an annual two-day festival in which guests can take part in a traditional Russian egg-rolling game, decorate their own Fabergé-inspired egg, take in performances from the Samovar Russian Folk Music Ensemble and Kalinka Dance Ensemble, and listen to stories of Russian Easter traditions in a fun family play produced by Happenstance Theater. All that in addition to admiring all of the finer things Post collected, including many exquisite Russian imperial eggs and other fanciful Fabergé creations. You can also take a tour of Hillwood’s working greenhouse most days. Saturday, April 6, and Sunday, April 7, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Hillwood Estate, 4155 Linnean Ave. NW. Suggested donation is $18. Call 202-686-5807 or visit HillwoodMuseum.org.

NATIONAL CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL

Blink and you’ll miss the Tidal Basin at its pink-hued blossom peak, which is occurring right now! Yet the official four-week festival goes on before and carries on well after all the blooms are gone. There are two signature events remaining: Petalpaloooza, an afternoon of live music on multiple outdoor stages plus a beer garden and a fireworks display, in Southwest’s Wharf complex, Saturday, April 6, from noon to 9:30 p.m.; and the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade, a star-studded processional of giant balloons, elaborate floats, marching bands, and celebrity entertainers this year led by Grand Marshal Anthony Anderson of ABC’s black-ish, and featuring Miss America Nia Franklin, ’90s dance/club singer CeCe Peniston, plus several finalists from TV singing competitions, on Saturday, April 13, from 10 a.m. to noon, Constitution Avenue between 7th and 17th Streets NW.

Additional highlights among the many featured and affiliated events taking place this weekend and next week, all free unless noted otherwise, include: the Blossom Bash, iHeartRadio’s concert headlined this year by Capital Pride veteran Meghan Trainor with Max and Jake Miller, on Friday, April 5, at the Anthem, 901 Wharf St. NW (tickets are $37.50 to $95); the Japanese Jazz Series with one-night-only performances by the Rina Yamazaki Trio on Monday, April 8, and Yuko Mabuchi Trio on Monday, April 15, at Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW (tickets are $22 plus fees per performance); the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run and 5K Run-Walk, on Sunday, April 7, from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. on the grounds of the Washington Monument; a Japanese Kimono Fashion Show, featuring traditional and modern kimonos as well as kimono-inspired dresses, Thursday, April 11, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at the Freer Sackler Gallery of Art’s Meyer Auditorium, 12th Street and Independence Avenue NW; Cherry Blossom Yoga and Sunset Celebration, a yoga and dance party experience presented by the DowntownDC BID, Thursday, April 11, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., on Freedom Plaza, 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW; the 27th Annual National Japan Bowl, an academic competition for U.S. high school students studying Japanese language as well as history, culture, and society, on Friday, April 12, from 2 to 4 p.m., at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center, 7100 Connecticut Ave., in Chevy Chase, Md.; Newseum Nights: In Bloom, an evening of Japanese sights, sounds, and tastes from Wolfgang Puck’s The Source, plus all-night open beer and wine bar, and access to current exhibitions, Friday, April 12, from 8 to 10:30 p.m., 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. (tickets are $50 to $65); and the Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival, the largest one-day celebration of Japanese culture in the U.S., with performances on four stages, plus arts vendors and food booths, all presented by the Japan-America Society of Washington DC, on Saturday, April 13, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Pennsylvania Avenue between 3rd and 7th Streets NW (tickets are $10 to $50). Visit www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org for more information and additional events.

SHAKESPEARE’S BIRTHDAY OPEN HOUSE

The Folger Shakespeare Library goes all out with its annual birthday celebration of the bard in a way that might be best described as Shakespearean. “You could learn to fight like Hamlet, dance like Romeo, eat some empanadas or some BBQ, [then] take a garden or a paintings tour,” the Folger’s Garland Scott told Metro Weekly last year. You could even hit the stage for “spontaneous Shakespeare” recitations. “I’ve seen people come in with dog-eared copies of their favorite play,” she says. “I think the opportunity to speak Shakespeare from the Folger stage is a powerful one that means a lot to people.” The Open House features free performances and activities for all ages. Jugglers and jesters join other theatrical performers and musicians in celebrating the bard’s big day, which culminates in a cake-cutting ceremony at 4 p.m. by an actor dressed as Queen Elizabeth I. Celebrants can also stroll around the building — including perusing the new temporary exhibition A Monument to Shakespeare, which will open the day before — as well as the Elizabethan garden. There will also be a smattering of food trucks on site. Sunday, April 14, from noon to 5 p.m. Folger Shakespeare Library, 201 East Capitol St. SE. Free. Call 202-544-7077 or visit folger.edu.

URBANARIAS: OPERA IMPROV WITH JIVE TURKEY

Acclaimed local contemporary opera company UrbanArias presents another installment in its novel gimmicky series adapted from the world of comedy in which professional opera singers perform mini-operas they create on the spot per audience suggestions, assisted by a professional pianist. And local comedy improv group Jive Turkey joins the company for both the April and May iterations in the series, for a cast including Melissa Wimbish, Britt Olsen-Ecker, Ian McEuen, Jeffrey Gates, Joe Randazzo, and Chris Ulrich. Sunday, April 7, at 5:30 p.m. Busboys & Poets, 4251 South Campbell Ave. in Arlington. Tickets are $15. Call 703-379-9757 or visit www.urbanarias.org.

Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly.

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