A little Avengers weary? Fathom Events marks the 80th anniversary of the DC Comics Caped Crusader with screenings of the last two entries in the four-film franchise that started with Batman, Tim Burton’s 1989 blockbuster starring Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne/Batman — though that 30-year-old classic has already come and gone. In 1995, Warner Bros. aimed for a more mainstream affair with the third in the series. Batman Forever was directed by the openly gay Joel Schumacher and with Val Kilmer replacing Keaton, plus Chris O’Donnell as Robin, Jim Carrey as The Riddler, Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face, Nicole Kidman as Dr. Chase Meridian, and Drew Barrymore as Sugar. It screens Sunday, May 12, at 1 and 4 p.m. On Tuesday, May 14, at 4 and 7 p.m., comes Batman & Robin, Schumacher’s campy twist, with added gay innuendo, starring George Clooney opposite O’Donnell and also featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze, Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy, and Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl. The studio pulled the plug on the series after the 1997 offering due to its lackluster commercial performance and dreadful critical reception. All four films screen at area theaters including Regal venues at Gallery Place (701 7th St. NW), Potomac Yards Stadium (3575 Jefferson Davis Highway), and Snowden Square (9161 Commerce Center Dr., Columbia). Visit www.fathomevents.com.
POKÉMON DETECTIVE PIKACHU
With a trailer that launched a thousand memes due to its confusing array of “real-life” Pokémon, no one really seems to know what to make of this oddity, based on a 2016 video game about Pokémon franchise staple Pikachu solving a series of mysteries. Ryan Reynolds voices our titular detective, and Justice Smith (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom) is his partner. The film at least seems somewhat self-aware, so hopefully it’s not as nightmarish to watch as its character design would suggest. Opens Friday, May 10. Area theaters. Visit www.fandango.com. (Rhuaridh Marr)
Following on from last year’s Book Club, about a group of older women who rediscover the joys of life after reading Fifty Shades of Grey, writer-director Bill Holderman and writer Erin Simms return to a similar well with a comedy about a group of women in a retirement community who start a cheerleading squad. Diane Keaton stars here as well, alongside Jacki Weaver, Pam Grier, Rhea Perlman, and Celia Weston. Opens Friday, May 10. Area theaters, including Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema, 7235 Woodmont Ave. Call 301-652-7273 or visit www.landmarktheatres.com. (RM)
Next up in the popular Capital Classics series at Landmark’s West End Cinema is this 1973 nihilistic sci-fi film from Richard Fleischer (Fantastic Voyage). Charlton Heston stars as a NYPD detective in the dystopian distant future — actually, 2022, so not so distant now — investigating the murder of an executive at rations manufacturer Soylent Corporation. What he finds is responsible for one of the most famous shouted lines in cinema history. With Edward G. Robinson in his final screen role. Wednesday, May 15, 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.
Anne Hathaway (with an English accent, no less) and Rebel Wilson team up in a female-centred remake of 1988’s Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, itself a remake of 1964’s Bedtime Story. Directed by Chris Addison (Veep), The Hustle was apparently watered down from an R-rating to PG-13 — and the verdict is still out on whether that’s a good or bad thing. Opens Friday, May 10. Area theaters. Visit www.fandango.com. (RM)
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, May 10, and Saturday, May 11, at midnight. 555 11th St. NW. Call 202-452-7672 or visit www.landmarktheatres.com.
Just when you thought we’d exhausted ourselves of Tolkien-related material, here comes another film to mooch off the author’s legacy. This time it’s a biopic, with Nicholas Hoult starring as J.R.R. Tolkien, whose fantasy writings would go on to inspire millions of readers and billions of dollars in box office receipts. There’s a fairly starry cast, including Lily Collins, Derek Jacobi, and Colm Meaney, but the film will apparently also include fantasy elements, showing Tolkien’s imagination at work. Will producers just edit in The Lord of the Rings footage? Opens Friday, May 10. Area theaters. Visit www.fandango.com. (RM)
WILD NIGHTS WITH EMILY
Saturday Night Live alum Molly Shannon portrays Emily Dickinson in Madeleine Olnek’s humorous yet bold reappraisal of the iconic 19th-century American poet based on her private letters. Susan Ziegler plays Dickinson’s passionate, lifelong romantic lover, friend, and sister-in-law Susan. Wild Nights with Emily — billed as “a timely critique of how women’s history is rewritten” — shows a side of the poet that few knew existed, a marked contrast from her stoic, reclusive reputation. Opens Friday, May 10. Landmark’s E Street Cinema, 555 11th St. NW. Also Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema, 7235 Woodmont Ave. Visit www.landmarktheatres.com.
Folger Theatre: Love’s Labor’s Lost — Photo: Brittany Diliberto
ANNIE JUMP & THE LIBRARY OF HEAVEN
The edgy, innovative, and immersive local company Rorschach Theatre presents Reina Hardy’s play about finding one’s place in the universe and intelligent life in the neighborhood. Specifically, the play focuses on a small-town teen and science genius confronted by a popular girl at school who might be the disguise of an intergalactic supercomputer tasked with bringing humanity to the stars. Medha Marsten directs a cast including Zach Brewster-Geisz, Vanessa Chapoy, Robin Covington, Aron Spellane, and Emily Whitworth. Now to May 19. Lab Theatre II in the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $19.99 to $29.99. Call 202-399-7993 or visit www.atlasarts.org.
GOD OF CARNAGE
A playground altercation between two boys brings together two sets of upper-middle-class Brooklyn parents for a meeting to resolve the matter in Yasmina Reza’s Tony-winning play, a shrewd and vicious comedy. Shirley Serotsky directs the Keegan Theatre production starring the company’s artistic director Susan Rhea, Lolita Clayton, Vishwas, and DeJeanette Horne. To May 25. 1742 Church St. NW. Call 202-265-3767 or visit www.keegantheatre.com.
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. To May 19. MAX Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. Call 703-820-9771 or visit www.sigtheatre.org.
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. Ford’s production beautifully conveys the weight and lightness of Stephen Sondheim and James 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)
Jubilee — Photo: Margot Schulman
Arena Stage presents a world-premiere a cappella-infused play written and directed by Tazewell Thompson and featuring spirituals including “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” and “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen.” Dianne Adams McDowell serves as music director and vocal arranger for this chronicle of the world-renowned Fisk Jubilee Singers, an African-American troupe who shattered racial barriers as they captivated royalty and commoners alike while travelling the globe. The 13-person cast includes Shaleah Adkisson, Joy Jones, Zonya Love, Sean-Maurice Lynch, and Jaysen Wright. To June 2. Kreeger Theater in the Mead Center for American Theater, 1101 6th St. SW. Tickets are $41 to $95. Call 202-488-3300 or visit www.arenastage.org.
LOVE’S LABOR’S LOST
Shakespeare’s spry romantic comedy full of lovers and clowns, foolery and the follies of the heart closes out the season at the Folger Theatre in a production directed by Vivienne Benesch and designed by Lee Savage. Set at the time of the 1932 opening of the Folger Shakespeare Library — and pegged to the Folger’s current exhibition about the library’s founding, A Monument to Shakespeare (see separate entry under Art & Exhibits) — the production features a cast of 15 led by Amelia Pedlow from CBS’s The Good Wife as the Princess of France, Kelsey Rainwater as her witty companion Rosaline, Joshua David Robinson as the King of Navarre, and Zachary Fine as Berowne. To June 9. 201 East Capitol St. SE. Tickets are $42 to $85. Call 202-544-7077 or visit www.folger.edu.
Jason Loewith directs an Olney Theatre Center production of Friedrich Schiller’s bracing, 19th Century Shakespearean political drama about one of England’s most storied rivalries, that between Mary, Queen of Scots, and Queen Elizabeth I. Catholic Mary is a threat to Protestant Queen Elizabeth’s reign, but her murder isn’t a clear or easy way to eliminate the threat — especially considering the fact that the two are cousins. In previews. Runs to June 9. Theatre Lab, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney, Md. Call 301-924-3400 or visit www.olneytheatre.org.
In 1993, a husband-and-wife Norwegian duo assemble a motley band of would-be diplomats from the Middle East to attempt the unimaginable: negotiate peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Round House Theatre’s Ryan Rilette directs J. T. Rogers’ thrilling nail-biter, based on the true events surrounding the Oslo Peace Accords, with John Austin and Susannah Morgan Eig leading a strong 15-member cast featuring a number of local stage heavyweights, including Maboud Ebrahimzadeh, Kimberly Gilbert, Alexander Strain, and Erin Weaver. The production is presented at the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Lansburgh Theatre downtown while Round House renovates its Bethesda venue, with its box office transplanted as well. To May 19. 450 7th St. NW. Call 240-644-1100 or visit www.roundhousetheatre.org.
Single Carrot Theatre, Baltimore’s adventurous, innovative, experiental professional company, offers another production of significant queer relevance, a play centered on the life of Alan Turing. Despite his achievements, the renowned codebreaker and father of the modern computer was persecuted for committing homosexual acts in his native U.K. in the decade after World War II, and sadly a decade before decriminalization could have helped avoid a tragic fate. In Pink Milk, Ariel Zetina, a Chicago-based Latinx trans female playwright and composer/DJ, weaves together electrifying music and surreal text to create a rich, strange fantasy about a genius who longed for connection in a world he couldn’t understand. Mohammad R. Suaidi leads a seven-person cast bringing to life a deeply human story of love, loss, creation, and destruction directed by queer theater artist Ben Kleymeyer. To May 19. 2600 N Howard St. Tickets are $25 to $29. Call 443-844-9253 or visit www.singlecarrot.com.
An unearthly Guitar Man and Blues Speak Woman interweave three tales based on short stories by the Harlem Renaissance writer Zora Neale Hurston and adapted by Jelly’s Last Jam‘s George C. Wolfe. The Signature Theatre production is directed by Timothy Douglas and stars Jonathan Mosley-Perry and Iyona Blake, with Drew Drake, Marty Lamar, Ines Nassara, and KenYatta Rogers. Mark G. Meadows (Ain’t Misbehavin’) serves as musical director for the show, which is infused with live blues music composed by Chic Street Man. To June 23. The Ark, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. Call 703-820-9771 or visit www.sigtheatre.org.
THE 39 STEPS
Rep Stage closes out its 26th season with a production of Patrick Barlow’s Tony-winning spoof of Hitchcock’s 1935 classic thriller. A joy for anyone who loves the magic of theater, from virtuoso performances to inventive stagecraft, The 39 Steps features a cast of four portraying a multitude of characters in a madcap evening. Joseph W. Ritsch directs Robbie Gay as a man racing to solve a mystery and clear his name, aided and abetted by Kathryn Tkel, Michael Wood, and Noah Israel. To May 19. The Horowitz Center’s Studio Theatre at Howard Community College, 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, Md. Tickets are $15 to $40. Call 443-518-1500 or visit www.repstage.org.
Studio Theatre’s David Muse directs Lucy Kirkwood’s taut and disquieting thriller, a hit in London and New York, about responsibility and reparation, and what one generation owes the next. Jeanne Paulsen and Richard Howard play a married pair of retired nuclear physicists whose peaceful existence in a remote cottage on the British coast is upended by a former colleague, played by Naomi Jacobson, who offers a proposal that threatens more than their marriage. To June 2. Metheny Theatre, 14th & P Streets NW. Call 202-332-3300 or visit www.studiotheatre.org.
THE DUPONT UNDER(WORLD): THE LOST & THE FOUND
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, with additional assist from producing improvisation director Dana Malone Heiser. The current show is an intimate, hour-long guided experience through a series of interactive installations transforming the subterranean Dupont Underground into a passageway to the Underworld. A maximum of 10 patrons will explore at the same time, and they will journey from life to death or from death to life — depending on their assigned path, with no two journeys ever alike — exploring the wonder, pain, and beauty of the unknown along the way. To May 12. Dupont Underground, 1500 19th St. NW. Tickets are $35. visit www.tbdimmersive.com.
Shakespeare Theatre Company’s longtime artistic director Michael Kahn goes out with a big Greek bang as he directs a world-premiere interpretation of Aeschylus’ potent trilogy of epic Greek tragedies. Commissioned by the company and three years in the making, Ellen McLaughlin’s The Oresteia weaves together Aeschylus’ stories with stunning poetry. The production features Kelley Curran, Simone Warren, Kelcey Watson, Josiah Bania, Zoë Sophia Garcia, and Rad Pereira, plus an eight-person Chorus. To June 2. Sidney Harman Hall, 610 F St. NW. Call 202-547-1122 or visit www.shakespearetheatre.org.
THE WHITE SNAKE
In Mary Zimmerman’s adaptation of the ancient Chinese legend, a snake spirit transforms itself into a woman in order to experience the human world, and in the process falls in love with a pharmacist’s assistant. Allison Arkell Stockman directs a production from her company Constellation Theatre that features live original music from multi-instrumentalist Tom Teasley and dulcimer virtuoso Chao Tian, plus a signature bold acting ensemble led by Eunice Bae, Momo Nakamura, and Jacob Yeh. To May 26. Source Theatre, 1835 14th St. NW. Tickets are $19 to $45. Call 202-204-7741 or visit www.constellationtheatre.org.
Side Show — Photo: Ryan Maxwell Photography
COMMUNITY AND COLLEGE
John Nunemaker directs a community stage production at Kensington Arts Theatre of Lionel Bart’s nearly 60-year-old take on Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, a kind of imaginative, childlike fantasy of what it might be like to live in the netherworld. Paul Rossen serves as music director. Opens Friday, May 10. Weekends to May 26. 3710 Mitchell St., Kensington, Md. Tickets are $19 to $27. Call 206-888-6642 or visit www.katonline.org.
P.S. YOUR CAT IS DEAD
James Kirkwood, Jr.’s play was one of the first stage works to address gay themes. But it was also a flop in its original Broadway incarnation, and far overshadowed by its gay writer’s contribution to another, superior 1975 production that also tackled gay themes — the musical A Chorus Line. Virginia community theater company Dominion Stage revives the play about a man who catches a burglar in the act and proceeds to hold him hostage over a long New Year’s Eve. Weekends to May 18. Gunston Theatre Two, 2700 South Lang St. Arlington. Tickets are $20. Call 571-DS-SHOWS or visit www.dominionstage.org.
The Theatre Lab School of the Dramatic Arts presents the musical by Bill Russell and composer Henry Krieger (Dreamgirls) — with additional material by Bill Condon — as performed by adult students in its Creating a Musical Role class at the school’s Woodward Hall, a block north of the Old Patent Office Building. The company’s Deb Gottesman directs, with musical direction by Alex Tang, this show about famed entertainers and Siamese Twins Daisy and Violet Hinton. Remaining performances are Thursday, May 9, through Saturday, May 11, at 7:30 p.m. 733 8th St. NW. Tickets are 15. Call 202-824-0449 or visit www.theatrelab.org.
THE HEIDI CHRONICLES
The University of Maryland School of Theatre Dance and Performance Studies presents its students in a production of Wendy Wassterstein’s witty and heartfelt coming-of-age story, a Pulitzer- and Tony-winning play touted as newly resonant in our current #MeToo and #TimesUp era. Remaining performances Friday, May 10, at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, May 11, at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Kogod Theatre in the Clarice, University Boulevard and Stadium Drive. College Park. Tickets are $10 to $25. Call 301-405-ARTS or visit www.theclarice.umd.edu.
THE SAVANNAH DISPUTATION
Will Jarred directs a production from the community-oriented Little Theatre of Alexandria of Evan Smith’s theological comedy with a twist. The Savannah Disputation is a witty tale about the crisis of faith an odd-couple pair of sisters face courtesy of a young door-to-door evangelist. To May 18. 600 Wolfe St., Alexandria. Tickets are $21 to $24. Call 703-683-0496 or visit www.thelittletheater.com.
Ben Platt — Photo: Julian Broad
AMERICAN POPS ORCHESTRA: THE MUSIC OF JERRY HERMAN
Founding Music Director Luke Frazier closes out the APO season with the tribute show “I Am What I Am: The Music of Jerry Herman,” full of classic tunes from the musical theater legend’s musicals, from Hello, Dolly! to La Cage aux Folles to Mack and Mabel. The show, to be performed in the round at Arena Stage, features celebrity guests including Kathy Najimy from Sister Act, Paige Davis, aka the perky host from Trading Spaces, Mauricio Martinez from the Gloria Estefan-themed musical On Your Feet!, Alexis Michelle of RuPaul’s Drag Race, local stage powerhouse Tracy Lynn Olivera, and Paul Roeckell, the APO NextGen award winner. Further reinforcement comes from select members of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington and the Congressional Chorus, plus three accompanying pianists: Karen Walwyn, Scott Beard, and Chris Urquiaga. Saturday, May 18, at 8 p.m. Fichandler Stage in the Mead Center for American Theater, 1101 6th St. SW. Tickets are $35 to $75. Call 202-488-3300 or visit www.theamericanpopsorchestra.org.
BALTIMORE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: BRAHMS VIOLIN CONCERTO
The BSO Concertmaster Jonathan Carney takes center stage as the featured soloist performing a beloved Brahms masterwork, featuring some of the most beautiful melodies in classical music. Led by Peter Oundjian, this BSO program also includes Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 11, perhaps the most poignant and powerful of the Russian’s 15 symphonies. Saturday, May 18, at 8 p.m. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Also Sunday, May 19, at 3 p.m. Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St., Baltimore. Tickets are $10 to $90. Call 410-783-8000 or visit www.bsomusic.org.
“Love is good until it’s gone, that’s what you’ve learned,” Ben Platt sings on “Temporary Love,” an ode to love of the lasting kind. The dramatic song, the third track from Sing To Me Instead, is Exhibit A that the 25-year-old Tony-winning power-piped star of Dear Evan Hansen was inspired by the au courant pop sound of that musical and of its writers Benj Pasek and Justin Paul — the duo behind the gay-popular, affirming vocal anthems from the film The Greatest Showman. Platt’s marvelous debut registers more fully as a gay millennial artist’s modernized take on folk-pop in the classic singer-songwriter mold. Essentially, this is what might result from an unlikely pairing of Joni Mitchell with Elton John: Songs of bracing, unadorned sincerity, embellished by theatrical showmanship. Saturday, May 11. Doors at 6:30 p.m. The Anthem, 901 Wharf St. SW. Tickets are $50 to $130. Call 202-888-0020 or visit www.theanthemdc.com.
CHICK COREA & BELA FLECK
Longtime collaborators and multiple-Grammy winners return to the Music Center at Strathmore for a casual, intimate evening and another run through their genre-busting blend of rock and flamenco with jazz, bluegrass, and electric blues in support of the live duet double-album Two, featuring the pianist Corea and banjoist Fleck. Friday, May 10, at 8 p.m. 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Tickets are $35 to $75. Call 301-581-5100 or visit www.strathmore.org.
Singing guitarist Mary Timony leads this homegrown D.C. powerhouse female trio also featuring drummer Laura Harris and singing bassist Betsy Wright. The band tour in support of new sophomore set It’s Real, another punchy collection of timeless rock and roll full of amped up guitar chords and powerful harmonized vocals. Another local outfit, The Messthetics — a powerhouse instrumental rock trio featuring Fugazi’s drummer Brendan Canty and bassist Joe Lally along with guitarist Anthony Pirog — is one opening act (along with Clear Channel) for a sure-to-be-electric weekend-starting hometown show at the 9:30 Club. Friday, May 10. Doors at 8 p.m. 815 V St. NW. Tickets are $25. Call 202-265-0930 or visit 930.com.
Underappreciated as she may have become over the past dozen years in the mainstream, the Scottish singer-songwriter — best known for her swaggering, indelible early hits “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” and “Suddenly I See” — has charted new territory in recent years, after moving to Southern California and becoming a composer and songwriter for films including Winter’s Tale, About Ray, and Bad Moms. Tunstall returns to support the first two in a planned trilogy of upbeat-pop/rock albums, each focused around a different aspect of soul/body/mind: 2016’s soul-stirring KIN and 2018’s body-firing WAX. Maddie Ross opens. Saturday, May 11. Doors at 7 p.m. Union Stage, 740 Water St. SW. Tickets are $35 to $45, or $99 for VIP Meet & Greet. Call 877-987-6487 or visit www.unionstage.com.
MARY LOU WILLIAMS WOMEN IN JAZZ FESTIVAL
Now in its 24th edition, this festival, named after the pioneering female jazz pianist/composer, features two evenings of performances by some of contemporary jazz’s leading women, hosted by NEA Jazz Master Dee Dee Bridgewater. Friday night, May 10, is dedicated to the prolific pianist and composer Geri Allen, whose recent death at the age of 60 shocked and saddened the jazz world. Grammy-winning drummer Terri Lynne Carrington, a close friend of Allen’s, curates and performs this “Feed The Fire” tribute alongside NEA Jazz Master Dave Holland on bass, Jason Moran on piano, and Ravi Coltrane on saxophone, plus tapper Maurice Chestnut and DJ Val-Inc (Val Jeanty). Saturday, May 11, offers performances by two pianist-led ensembles: the Joanne Brackeen Quartet also featuring Ugonna Okegwo on bass, Rudy Royston on drums, and Greg Osby on saxophone, and the Renee Rosnes Quartet with Steve Wilson on saxophone, John Patitucci on guitar, and Lenny White on drums. Performances both nights start at 7 p.m. Kennedy Center Terrace Theater. Tickets are $40 to $45. Call 202-467-4600 or visit www.kennedy-center.org.
MY BRIGHTEST DIAMOND
Shara Worden, or Shara Nova, is another classically inspired baroque pop artist, a kindred spirit to her former labelmate Sufjan Stevens as well as Bryce Dessner of The National and not too far removed from Rufus Wainwright and, increasingly, Zola Jesus. And her multifaceted career — which includes occasional work as an opera singer and a classical composer — informs the music she makes through her dramatic indie-pop act My Brightest Diamond. Currently a four-piece with Chris Bruce, Earl Harvin, and Jharis Yokley, the band tours in support of last year’s accomplished, electronic-leaning set A Million and One. Tunde Olaniran opens. Thursday, May 16. Doors at 7 p.m. Rock and Roll Hotel, 1353 H St. NE. Tickets are $20 to $22. Call 202-388-ROCK or visit www.rockandrollhoteldc.com.
NATIONAL PHILHARMONIC: BERNSTEIN & BEETHOVEN PART I
Piotr Gajewski, who was mentored by Leonard Bernstein, leads Strathmore’s resident orchestra in the first of two programs linking the late, legendary 20th-century American composer to his 18th-century German forebear. Specifically, Bernstein’s dramatic Symphony No. 2, which was inspired by W.H. Auden’s Pulitzer-winning poet The Age of Anxiety, is paired with the equally charged Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, probably Beethoven’s most famous work — featuring the most famous four notes in all of classical music — which unfolds a personal narrative about the triumph of the human spirit. Pianist Michael Brown joins to perform Bernstein’s symphony with its innovative inclusion of piano solo. Saturday, May 11, at 8 p.m. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Tickets are $28 to $78. Call 301-581-5100 or visit www.strathmore.org.
NEWMYER FLYER’S DREAM DISCS: BLUE & BLOOD ON THE TRACKS
A wide array of talented pop/folk vocalists from around the area are brought together to perform in their entirety two of the most revered albums by two of the greatest singer-songwriters of all time: Joni Mitchell’s Blue and Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks. Presented by the production company Newmyer Flyer, led by BandHouse Gigs co-founder Ron Newmyer, the concert features Lori Williams, Kenny Wesley, Margot MacDonald, Kipyn Martin, Sara Curtin, Maureen Andary, Luke Brindley, Laura Tsaggaris, Justin Jones, and John Bustine. Saturday, May 11. Doors at 6:30 p.m. The Hamilton, 600 14th St. NW. Tickets are $18 to $40. Call 202-787-1000 or visit www.thehamiltondc.com.
PAN AMERICAN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: ETERNAL TANGO
Maestro Sergio Alessandro Buslje directs the PASO in a presentation of its signature tango show featuring 30 musicians, including Latin Grammy Award-winner Rodolfo Zanetti on bandoneon and Pablo Estigarribia on piano, plus two pairs of international tango dancers, performing traditional and nuevo tangos full of passion and elegance. Sunday, May 12, at 7:30 p.m. Kennedy Center Terrace Theater. Tickets are $55 to $65. Call 202-467-4600 or visit www.kennedy-center.org.
THE SELDOM SCENE
Formed nearly 50 years ago in Bethesda, the Seldom Scene was instrumental in launching the progressive bluegrass movement and is still considered one of the genre’s leading purveyors. Naturally, it remains especially popular in its hometown region. Saturday, May 11, at 8 p.m. BlackRock Center for the Arts, 12901 Town Commons Dr., Germantown, Md. Tickets are $25 to $45. Call 301-528-2260 or visit www.blackrockcenter.org.
URBANARIAS: OPERA IMPROV
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. The cast includes Melissa Wimbish, Britt Olsen-Ecker, Ian McEuen, Jeffrey Gates, accompanied by Tim McReynolds and UrbanArias founder Robert Wood. Sunday, May 19, at 6:30 p.m. Busboys & Poets, 4251 South Campbell Ave. in Arlington. Tickets are $15. Call 703-379-9757 or visit www.urbanarias.org.
WASHINGTON NATIONAL OPERA: TOSCA
Ethan McSweeny directs a production of Giacomo Puccini’s striking, suspenseful drama, a sumptuous tale of ill-fated love that amazes and captivates new and longtime opera lovers alike. Keri Alkema takes on the title role opposite Riccardo Massi as her rebellious lover Cavaradossi (except for the Sunday matinees on May 12 and May 19, when Latonia Moore and Robert Watson substitute) in a WNO production of the work set in 18th century Rome and featuring elegant sets depicting grand Roman scenes provided by Seattle Opera. Speranza Scappucci serves as conductor. Performances start Saturday, May 11. To May 25. Kennedy Center Opera House. Tickets are $35 to $300. Call 202-467-4600 or visit www.kennedy-center.org.
BOWEN MCCAULEY DANCE COMPANY: SPRING PERFORMANCE
Lucy Bowen McCauley’s celebrated local contemporary dance company returns to the Kennedy Center for a mixed program including a world premiere from McCauley set to Igor Stravinsky’s “Suite Italienne” from Pulcinella, played live by Arlington’s National Chamber Ensemble. The bill also includes: At the Seams, a new duet danced by Choreographer-in-Residence Ilana Goldman and Washington Ballet’s Sona Kharatian and performed to live music from composers/musicians Logan Castro on cello and Daniel Smith on piano; Lissajous, McCauley’s dance commissioned by Drexel University with musical accompaniment by composer Dr. Jordan Alexander Key; and the return of McCauley’s Du Vent et des Vagues, set to Franz Liszt’s Années de Pèlerinage performed by pianist Nikola Paskalov. Friday, May 17, and Saturday, May 18, at 7:30 p.m. Terrace Theater. Tickets are $40 to $50. Call 202-467-4600 or visit www.kennedy-center.org.
DANCE PLACE’S NEW RELEASES CHOREOGRAPHERS SHOWCASE
Dance Place’s annually curated showcase features some of the best new works by established and emerging area choreographers. Top billing goes to 2018 New Releases Commission recipient Jamal Abrams and his new work meeting blue, an autobiographical solo focused on trauma — how to interrupt, accept, cleanse, then redirect into healing. The program also features: Kasi Aysola of the Bhanta Natyam-focused Prakriti Dance, performing Thillana; Da’Shown Rawls of RawArts Dance Company with Tie Me with Your Eyes, about the aftereffects of taking care of someone with schizophrenia; Bre Seals of The BREathe Dance Project and How We Got to Now; Robert Woofter of haus of bambi, a local movement-based company that produces “genderless and gendermore fantasies for stage and screen,” including the short film ayo sis, exploring queer worldmaking via euphoria and fantasy; and the duo Samantha Sobash and Lauren Sotolongo with Forbidden Fruit, a collaborative, multimedia performance. Saturday, May 18, at 8 p.m. Dance Place, 3225 Eighth St. NE. Tickets are $15 to $30. Call 202-269-1600 or visit www.danceplace.org.
NFT DANCE & COMPANY: NOC-TURNE
The Atlas Performing Arts Center presents a contemporary dance company performing three new works all focused on fantasy and inspired by the classical literary beginning, “It was a dark and stormy night…” An eclectic cast of dancers from area classical and contemporary dance companies will perform a mix of ballet, ballroom, and modern dance depicting fantastical scenes of romantic, comedic, and dreamy characters based on works by Edgar Allan Poe, Federico G. Lorca, and Hans Reudi Giger. Sunday, May 19, at 7:30 p.m. Lang Theatre, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $25. Call 202-399-7993 or visit www.atlasarts.org.
A jazz comedian who is also the former creative director of Radio City Music Hall offers a night of comical insider stories along with music in the one-man show Exactly 67 Minutes with an Unstable American Musician. The anecdotes range from working on Super Bowl Halftime shows with Michael Jackson and Gloria Estefan to off-the-wall gigs with many of the greatest jazz players in the world. Sunday, May 19, at 2 p.m. Drafthouse Comedy, 1100 13th St. NW. Tickets are $20 to $25. Call 202-750-6411 or visit www.drafthousecomedy.com.
One of the biggest Bollywood stars is now on track to conquer Hollywood. Das has already managed the feat of becoming the first Indian comedian with a stand-up special on Netflix — 2017’s Abroad Understanding — the success of which resulted in a multi-special deal with the network, including last year’s Losing It. Das also appears in the new ABC spy dramedy Whiskey Cavalier alongside Scott Foley and Lauren Cohen, but he’s currently engaged on a global stand-up tour with a stop at the Kennedy Center. Saturday, May 18, at 7 p.m. Eisenhower Theater. Tickets are $29 to $45. Call 202-467-4600 or visit www.kennedy-center.org.
Jill Biden — Ece Ogulturk
READINGS & DISCUSSION
The former Second Lady offers a reading and discussion of her candid new memoir about the challenges of public scrutiny, complicated family dynamics, and personal losses. A community college professor and an advocate for military families and the fight against cancer, in her book Where the Light Enters: Building a Family, Discovering Myself, Biden reveals how she built a family and a life of her own apart from her famous husband Joe Biden, who is once again running for president. Tuesday, May 14, at 7 p.m. Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. 600 I St. NW. Tickets are $45 including one book. Call 202-408-3100 or visit www.sixthandi.org.
STORY DISTRICT: HE SAID, SHE SAID, THEY SAID
D.C.’s local storytelling organization showcases locals telling original true stories on a common theme on the second Tuesday of every month. Cara Foran hosts the May edition focused on “the same experience through two different points of view.” Tuesday, May 14. Doors at 6:30 p.m. Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. Tickets are $20 plus Ticketfly processing fees. Call 202-667-4490 or visit www.blackcatdc.com.
ART & EXHIBITS
CAROLINA MAYORGA: PINK RANCHOS AND OTHER EPHEMERAL ZIP CODES
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. On display to May 19. 201 18th St. NW. Call 202-370-0147 or visit www.AMAmuseum.org.
MAY IS ALL ABOUT TRANS: ART EXHIBITION
This year’s month of programming celebrating D.C.’s transgender community, launched by Trans Pride founder SaVanna Wanzer, introduces an exhibition featuring 30 pieces of art from a diverse and talented group of 15 area artists identifying as transgender, non-binary, genderfluid, Two-Spirit, and/or agender. Westminster Presbyterian in Southwest D.C. hosts a show featuring: Alex Ramirez, Ameirah Neal, Autumn Towne, Dorian Blue, Edith Flores, Kay Wrenn, Sir Max Even, Molly Stratton, Nona Conner, Star Bennett from Check It Enterprises, and Zayn Thiam, plus Ahanu, Alexa Elizabeth Rodriguez, Kariwase Duprey, and Xemi Tapepechul from the Nelwat Ishkamewe Two-Spirit Art Collective. Opening Reception is Saturday, May 11, from 3 to 5 p.m. On display to June 14. 400 I St. SW. Call 202-484-7700 or visit www.mayistransdc.com.
ONE YEAR: 1968, AMERICAN ODYSSEY
Before all eyes turn to the Stonewall Uprising, the event that sparked our modern LGBTQ movement exactly 50 years ago, the National Portrait Gallery offers one last look at its exhibition focused on events the year prior — an equally momentuous if less queer year. It was also the year this great Smithsonian museum made its public debut, no less. A time capsule of sorts, the exhibition features 30 portraits showing 1968 to be as revolutionary and tumultuous as they come, as Americans across disciplines put forth new ways of thinking that overturned the status quo — in regards to the Vietnam War, which reached a turning point in 1968, and the Civil Rights Act, which was signed into law, to name but two. It was also the year that Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated, and when the Apollo 8 spacecraft completed the first manned orbit of the Moon. Other prominent newsmakers whose portraits grace this one-room exhibition: Arthur Ashe, Joan Didion, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Sidney Poitier. To May 19. National Portrait Gallery, 8th and F Streets. NW. Call 202-633-8300 or visit www.npg.si.edu.
PARENTING: AN ART WITHOUT A MANUAL
The latest theme examined in a year-long exhibition at this quirkiest of museums is that of “what might be humanity’s most essential performance art.” Works by 36 artists, created out of every conceivable medium, express, in some way, their personal experience of parenting or being parented — be it good, bad, horrific, or sublime — alongside revelations from the latest scientific research, global wisdom, and fun. To Sept. 1. American Visionary Art Museum, 800 Key Highway. Baltimore. Tickets are $15.95. Call 410-244-1900 or visit avam.org.
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.
ZILLA SÁNCHEZ: SOY ISLA (I AM AN ISLAND)
The Phillips Collection presents the first museum retrospective of this queer nonagenarian, showcasing the Cuban-born, Puerto Rican-based artist’s prolific yet largely unknown career through 60 works, including paintings, design sketches, illustrations, and sculptures. The exhibition includes many examples of Sánchez’s works on shaped canvas, often featuring recurring motifs, that evoke female body parts or feminine symbols, from pointed breasts and rounded torsos to the moon and mythological heroines. The exhibition title refers to Sánchez’s artistic individuality and independence — and in particular, the influence her sexuality and femininity has on her work — and how distinctly different it is compared to the male-dominated and male gaze-oriented work of her contemporaries, perhaps none more so than Pablo Picasso. Through May 19. 1600 21st St. NW. Tickets are $12. Call 202-387-2151 x247 or visit www.phillipscollection.org.
ABOVE & BEYOND
LA-TI-DO: SONGS FROM TV AND MOVIES
Regie Cabico and Don Mike Mendoza’s variety show features higher-quality singing than most karaoke, often from local musical theater actors performing on their night off, and also includes spoken-word poetry and comedy. Held at Bistro Bistro in Dupont Circle, Mendoza and Anya Randall Nebel host the next La-Ti-Do — moved to a Tuesday evening this month to make way for the Helen Hayes Awards the night before — with Kaylen Morgan the music feature and Sippin on Soma the spoken word feature. Guests performing songs from the big and small screens include Melissa Anne, Joseph Benitez, Michelle Eisenstein, Katie Ganem, Kaeli Patchen, Tiffany Lynn Royster, Michael Sandoval, Jarreau Williams, and Nick Xin, all accompanied by music director Paige Rammelkamp. Tuesday, May 14, starting promptly at 8 p.m. 1727 Connecticut Ave. NW. Tickets are $20, or $15 if you eat dinner at the restaurant beforehand. Call 202-328-1640 or visit www.latidoproductions.com.
MARYLAND PSYCHIC FAIR
The Elks Lodge, in a small, tucked away town outside of Baltimore, welcomes all of those interested in activities and phenomena going beyond explanations of science (and reason). The focus is on psychics, mediums, and healers and those interested in readings, sessions, and discussions, or in buying related crafts, books, oils, crystals, and ephemera. More than 30 vendors are scheduled to participate, including: the duo of “certified psychic medium” Annie Larson & “certified angel messenger & intuitive” Linda Pisani; Cheryl & Norman Howdyshell of the Fredericksburg, Va.-based shop The Grove of Brite Blessings; Hawaiian shaman and Reiki MasterTeacher/Interfaith Minister Cilaudett Knox; Rev. Ella Fales, “Healing & Spirit Messages with Ella”; clairvoyant, life coach, and “esoteric master” Dr. Gwen MacGregor; Holly Higgins of Chakra Charms; ordained Spiritualist minister and counselor Jacqueline Lunger; mixed-media/tarot deck artist Jo Offduty; mystic Joanne Amorosi of Mary Magdalene Medicine; “certified astrologer” the Rev. John Marani; Reiki master/reader Lou Foster and her Herb Fancy line of healing teas, soaps, and jewelry; “intuitive animal communicator” Maribeth Decker of SacredGrove.com, “where people and pets heal and connect”; Robin M. Strom-Mackey of the Delaware Paranormal Research Group and author of Anatomy of a Ghost and A Guide to Analyzing the Dead; radio/TV psychics Sandy & Jim Young of “Angel Talk” shows; and Mexican shaman and “certified soul coach” Wendy Mata. Sunday, May 19, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Bowie Elks Lodge No. 2309, 1506 Defense Highway, Gambrills, Md. Tickets are $5 plus $1.22 in service fees bought in advance, or $10 in cash only at the door. Call 301-261-3260 or search “Maryland Psychic Fair” at www.eventbrite.com.