Metro Weekly

Out on the Town: DC arts and entertainment highlights — July 25-31

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

Kathy Griffin: Hell of a Story



After Chicago, this Weimar Republic-set musical is Kander and Ebb’s most popular. Only a few numbers from the original stage score made the cut in Bob Fosse’s 1972 cinematic take, starring Joel Grey and Liza Minnelli, replaced with new ones written by the composers. Cabaret returns for two nights on the big screen as one of the first offerings in a two-month series at the AFI Silver Theatre titled “The New Hollywood” and focused on the new, disruptive generation of Hollywood filmmakers and stars who emerged between 1969 and 1979 — everyone from Francis Ford Coppola to Jack Nicholson to Steven Spielberg — and revitalized the studio system on their own terms, with baby boomer appeal. Other titles in the series include Easy Rider, The Godfather, Jaws, Taxi Driver, and Alien. Saturday, July 27, at 7:15 p.m., and Thursday, Aug. 1, at 7:20 p.m. 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. Tickets are $13 general admission. Call 301-495-6720 or visit


Two years ago, the gay-popular, Emmy- and Grammy-winning comedy queen and TV celebrity suffered a mighty fall after releasing a photo of her holding a mask resembling the severed head of President Trump. Produced by Griffin and directed by Troy Miller, the documentary shows the hell she went through and all that she lost as a result of that controversial antic, and the globe-spanning comedy tour she embarked on that reignited her star. A hit at its debut during Austin’s SXSW Film Festival earlier this year, Fathom Events premieres the documentary at a nationwide screening next week that includes a live, exclusive, post-screening Q&A with Griffin. Wednesday, July 31, at 8 p.m., at various Regal venues, including Gallery Place (701 7th St. NW), Potomac Yards Stadium (3575 Jefferson Davis Highway), and Majestic Stadium (900 Ellsworth Dr., Silver Spring). Visit


Hailed by Variety as “a rich canvas of the Roaring ’20s, with gutsy and excellent performances,” this 1955 musical from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer starring James Cagney as a vicious, controlling, small-time Chicago criminal who discovers a struggling nightclub dancer played by Doris Day and proceeds to help her become a hit jazz singer and movie star — as well as his wife. A fictionalized account of the real-life Ruth Etting, aka “America’s sweetheart of song” circa the 1920s and 1930s, Love Me Or Leave Me returns to the big screen as part of the Capital Classics series at Landmark’s West End Cinema. Wednesday, July 31, 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

Looney Tunes at AFI Silver: Buggs Bunny in “What’s Opera, Doc?”


Every Saturday and Sunday morning over the next six weeks the AFI Silver Theatre screens a different 45-minute program featuring selections of Warner Bros.’ classic cartoons starring the Looney Tunes gang — Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote, Porky Pig, Foghorn Leghorn, Sylvester, Tweety, and more. Program 1 kicks things off this Saturday, July 27, and Sunday, July 28, at 11 a.m. 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. Tickets are $5. Call 301-495-6720 or visit



A kaleidoscopic documentary focused on the LGBTQ community in Japan, celebrating the work of queer activists, artists, performers, producers, and politicians, as well as showing the everyday triumphs and struggles they face. Graham Kolbeins’ English-subtitled documentary screens as the next offering in Reel Affirmations’ monthly series. Thursday, July 25, at 7 p.m. Landmark’s E Street Cinema, 555 11th St. NW. Tickets are $14. Call 202-452-7672 or visit


Billed as “a riveting new documentary with the intensity of a Hollywood thriller,” the National Geographic production was an audience favorite at Sundance. The focus is on a team of scientists, conservationists, journalists, and undercover agents, along with the Mexican Navy, who risk their lives to save the last remaining vaquita porpoise on Earth. This most elusive and endangered whale is threatened along with virtually all marine life in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez as a result of the joint efforts of Mexican drug cartels and Chinese traffickers to poach the rare totoaba fish. Sea of Shadows is another documentary eco-thriller from Austrian director/cinematographer Richard Ladkani (Netflix’s The Ivory Game) with Leonardo DiCaprio as an executive producer. Opens Friday, July 26. Landmark’s E Street Cinema (555 11th St. NW) and Bethesda Row Cinema (7235 Woodmont Ave.). Visit


Awkwafina stars as a Chinese-born, U.S.-raised character who reconnects with her extended family and rediscovers her birthplace on a visit to Changchun to attend a family wedding. The trip is ultimately a rouse to see and smother with love her grandmother, who everyone knows has been given mere weeks to live — everyone, that is, except for the matriarch herself. A funny, uplifting dramedy from writer/director Lulu Wang (Posthumous) billed as “a richly moving story of how family can unite and strengthen us, often in spite of ourselves.” In English and Mandarin with English subtitles. Opens Friday, July 26. Area theaters. Visit


The AFI Silver Theatre co-presents a free summer outdoor film series at nearby Sonny’s Green, where patrons can bring blankets and low-rise chairs as well as their own food and beverages. The series continues Friday, July 26, with a 20th anniversary screening of The Matrix. The series continues on Friday, Aug. 2, with Wes Anderson’s stop-motion-animated masterpiece Isle of Dogs, billed as a “BYOD (Bring Your Own Dog) Edition,” albeit one where “dogs must remain on a leash at all times.” Screenings begin at sundown, around 8 p.m. Off the parking lot of the Blairs Shopping Center, 1290 East-West Highway. Call 301-495-6720 or visit


Jim Henson’s creations first took to the silver screen in this 1979 caper in which Kermit, Fozzie, Gonzo, and Miss Piggy lead a road trip to Hollywood with appearances from a “veritable who’s who of 1970s pop culture”: Mel Brooks, Madeline Kahn, Steve Martin, Dom DeLuise, Carol Kane, Richard Pryor, and Bob Hope. To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the film, which was directed by James Frawley and spawned the famous song “Rainbow Connection,” Fathom Events brings the original back to screens nationwide on Thursday, July 25, and Tuesday, July 30, at 12:30 and 7 p.m. Various Regal venues, including Gallery Place (701 7th St. NW), Potomac Yards Stadium (3575 Jefferson Davis Highway), and Majestic Stadium (900 Ellsworth Dr., Silver Spring). Visit


The 5th annual Georgetown Sunset Cinema carries the theme “Out of Office,” with a five-week run of trip-themed movies as voted on by the public. Next up is the hit remake of a romantic dramedy that introduced the world to Lindsay Lohan, who won critical praise taking on the dual role of separated-at-birth twins originally played by Hayley Mills in 1961. This 1998 version was directed by Nancy Meyers and co-written by Meyers, producer Charles Shyer, and the original’s director and screenwriter David Swift. The screening takes place on the grassy knoll along the banks of the Potomac River, with the panoramic Key Bridge as backdrop. Everyone is encouraged to bring a blanket, food and water or soft drinks — just no chairs or alcohol. Tuesday, July 30, in Georgetown Waterfront Park, near the intersection of Water Street and Cecil Place NW. The area opens at 6:30 p.m., and the screening starts at sunset, around 8:30 p.m. Call 202-298-9222 or visit


Union Market’s monthly Drive-In Series continues in its seventh season with Steven Spielberg’s 1975 thriller about a great white shark, which remains one of the most notable monster movies of all time — not least because, as the first (unwitting) summer blockbuster, it helped transform Hollywood into an industry dependent on summer mega-hits (George Lucas sealed the deal two years later with Star Wars). Jaws earns its scares by rarely and barely showing us the killer shark. The opening, in which a young swimmer is viciously attacked by an unseen assailant, ranks with Psycho‘s shower scene as one of cinema’s most intense moments — one magnified by the iconic two-note ostinato that won composer John Williams an Oscar for Best Score. You don’t have to drive a car to partake in the experience, as you can just nab a viewing spot in the free picnic area. Food and beer are available from market vendors and neighboring merchants. The DC Rollergirls will also be on hand to sell and deliver candy. Remaining films to screen on first Fridays this summer include Coco, and The Wiz. Friday, Aug. 2, with screening starting at 8:45 p.m. In the parking lot at Union Market, 1309 5th St. NE. Free for walk-ups or $15 per car. Call 800-680-9095 or visit (Randy Shulman).

Olney Theatre: Tiger Style — Photo: Teresa Castracane



Rather than perform just one show as part of a new partnership with Capital Fringe, the provocative stage monologist Mike Daisey, known to Woolly Mammoth audiences for 2016’s The Trump Card and 2011’s The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, is currently performing 18 full-length monologues — nearly one per show during the 21-date run of this production from Capital Fringe. Daisey confronts “the legacy of our nation, our complicity, our responsibility, and the future.” To July 28. The Cradle in Arena Stage’s Mead Center for American Theater, 1101 6th St. SW. Tickets are $35 for each theatergoer’s first performance, $20 for any subsequent performance. Fringe Festival passes not applicable to this production. Call 202-488-3300 or visit


The story of a socially awkward teenage boy who lands on a pill that makes him cool, or chill, Joe Iconis and Joe Tracz’s Be More Chill generated a lot of buzz after an Off Broadway production last year. But Virginia’s Monumental Theatre Company was able to secure the rights to stage the show using the script from its 2015 debut in New Jersey. “When it got to Broadway, it got to feel all the Broadway feelings, and became bright and huge and big,” director Izzy Smelkinson says. “We’re bringing it back down, almost to where it started in New Jersey, in a black box, with everyone around you, and really following the heart and story of who we are as people.” Despite its high school setting, the show’s appeal — and Monumental’s production — extends to adults. There’s even a drinking game in the works for the show’s closing “Late Night” performance on Friday, Aug. 2, at 10 p.m. The Ainslie Arts Center in Episcopal High School, 3900 W. Braddock Rd., Alexandria. Tickets are $25 to $40. Call 703-933-3000 or visit


Southwest D.C. once again serves as the hub for this year’s Capital Fringe, with seven stages set up at venues throughout the neighborhood, including Arena Stage and several area churches — all within easy walking distance of one another. Although festival organizers have curated a few professional shows it will officially present, most Fringe shows are selected through an unjuried, open-invitation process — first-come, first-staged — with works largely created and produced by new or relatively inexperienced theatermakers. And a remarkable 19 out of this year’s 89 productions are billed as having LGBTQ content, including: Sara Emsley’s lesbian space adventure Dust, the experiences of a Filipino-American father and son in Emil Amok! All Pucked Up: Harvard, NPR and more, Nicole Cox’s values-clashing political drama Office of the Speaker, Shaun Johnson’s personal tale about overcoming a difficult childhood with Veneer of Beauty, and sex educator Twanna A. Hines’ We’re All Going to Fucking Die! Shows run in staggered repertory through July 28. Tickets are $20 per show, and multi-show passes range from $72 to $500. Call 866-811-4111 or visit


Go for a drive up to Columbia if you’d like to go back in time — all the way back to the 1950s — for Toby’s Dinner Theatre’s production of Grease, the hit musical circa 1971 by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey. The musical-writing duo set the show in a mid-20th century American high school — one where even cool kids can’t resist breaking out into the sing-along fun of such hit staples as “Summer Nights,” “You’re The One That I Want,” and “Hopelessly Devoted to You.” Mark Minnick directs and choreographs a that stars Matt Hirsh as Danny and Nicki Elledge as Sandy. To July 28. 5900 Symphony Woods Rd. Columbia, Md. Tickets are $47.50 to $63, including buffet-style dinner and coffee and tea. Call 301-596-6161 or visit


Winner of the 2016 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Emerging Theatre Company, the Welders Playwrights’ Collective features a team of emerging local playwrights who collaborate to produce one original show from each member over the course of three years. Now in its final year, the second generation of the collective offers a devised work created by Rachel Hynes and Francesca Chilcote, described as part incantation, part mystery, and part interactive comedy show. Based on interviews with women in D.C. sharing their attitudes toward menstruation, LadyM features three witches making a potion, casting a spell, and sending audiences down a rabbit hole of poetry, horror, ambition, and blood. Drawing on Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the result is billed as a “grotesque comedy [and] highly stylized, absurdist, and radical feminist bloodbath.” Hynes and Chilcote star along with Deidre Staples, Anastasia Wilson, and Vanita Kalra. To July 27. Joe’s Movement Emporium, 3309 Bunker Hill Road, Mount Rainier, Md. Tickets are $18 to $30. Call 301-699-1819 or visit


Darrin is a rising music superstar who is being encouraged, even compelled, to stay in the closet by management at his homophobic music label — ultimately forcing him to choose between doing what he loves (music) and who he loves (his boyfriend Ken). Writer/Director/Producer Tre Floyd originally developed Love Sex & Marriage as a web series through his new media production company Elevating Voices, LLC. With a mission of giving “a voice to black LGBT characters through authentic and innovative stories,” Elevating Voices aims to show the diversity of the black gay experience as well as to bridge the gap between gay and straight African-American audiences. Currently on a short, multi-city national tour, the show stops in the D.C. area for two performances but one night only. Friday, Aug. 2, at 6:30 and 9 p.m. Silver Spring Black Box Theatre, 8641 Colesville Road. Tickets are $30 to $50. Visit


Adapted by Dennis Kelly from Roald Dahl’s book of the same name, the Olivier- and Tony-winning show, with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, centers on a precocious young girl discovering her magical powers while also coming to the realization that ours is a cruel world full of dastardly people. If only she could think of some way to change things…. You’re apt to like this show even more if you see it with kids — or at least kids at heart. Although in the hands of director Peter Flynn, fresh from his wry and whimsical Into The Woods at Ford’s Theatre, adults should find some joy, if not magic, in the Olney Theatre production. The sharp local cast is worth noting too, including Felicia Curry, Rayanne Gonzales, Tracy Lynn Olivera, Michael Mainwaring, and Tom Story as — what else? — a villain in drag. Extended to July 28. Mainstage, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney, Md. Call 301-924-3400 or visit


Last year’s Tony-winning musical, scooping up a near-record 10 statues, celebrates the deeply human ways music, longing, and laughter connects us all. Featuring Grammy-winning music and lyrics by David Yazbek and a book by Itamar Moses, The Band’s Visit, based on the 2007 Israeli film of the same name, is a joyously offbeat story set in a town that’s way off the beaten path, where a band of musicians pop up out of the blue. The cast of performers in the touring production is led by Israeli actor Sasson Gabay, reprising his role from the film as well as the Broadway production (as Tony Shalhoub’s replacement), and also includes Chilina Kennedy, best known from her turn in the title role of the Broadway hit Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. To Aug. 4. Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater. Tickets are $45 to $149. Call 202-467-4600 or visit


A rainy day is turned into a miraculous, mayhem-filled adventure in an adaptation of the Dr. Seuss classic imported from across the pond, via the National Theatre of Great Britain. The theater for young audiences production out at Adventure Theatre-MTC in Glen Echo Park is directed by Adam Immerwahr, who has become known for works that are far more serious and adult in his day job as the artistic director of Theater J. Surely The Cat in the Hat is a nice change of pace, maybe even allowing him, to paraphrase from the late Mr. Geisel’s book, “good fun that is funny.” To Aug. 18. 7300 MacArthur Blvd. Call 301-634-2270 or visit

Unexpected Stage Company: The Few — Photo: David Lewis


A drama from playwright Samuel D. Hunter (A Bright New Boise) set in an Idaho town where residents are struggling to connect, relate, and make sense of it all. Baakari Wilder (Broadway’s Bring in Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk) plays a man returning after a few years away, Dawn Thomas Reidy plays his friend and former lover, and Andrew Flurer a newcomer who complicates his future in a changed town. Audrey Cefaly, Ira Joe Fisher, Michael Grenham, and Zach Brewster-Geisz also lend their voiceover talents to this production from Maryland’s Unexpected Stage, a company that director Christopher Goodrich founded 10 years ago with his wife Rachel Stroud-Goodrich. To Aug. 4. Fireside Room in the River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation building, 6301 River Rd., Bethesda. Tickets are $10 to $29.50. Call 301-337-8290 or visit


Described as an outrageous and cutting satire of Asian-American identity, Mike Lew’s latest work closes out the current season at Olney Theatre Center in a production helmed by Helen Hayes Award-winning director Natsu Onoda Power. Regina Aquino and Sean Sekino will star as third-generation Chinese-Americans, affluent Millennial siblings who face something of a late-adolescent identity crisis that leads them to try their hand at living in the motherland. Eileen Rivera as their mother and Michael Glenn as the show’s sole non-Asian actor playing a host of characters complete the cast. In previews. To Aug. 18. Mulitz-Gudelsky Theatre Lab, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney, Md. Call 301-924-3400 or visit


Virginia’s Synetic closes out its season with a high seas adventure full of pirates. The original adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic novel of the same name is the latest caper from a physical theater-focused company that’s made its name producing wordless variations on classics, particularly those by Shakespeare. Synetic’s impressive crew of athletic actors will bring to life the coming-of-age tale focused on the orphan Jane Hawkins and a ruthless band of buccaneers on a wild hunt for buried treasure. To Aug. 18. 1800 South Bell St., Arlington. Tickets are $35 to $60. Call 800-811-4111 or visit

Queen with Adam Lambert



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 for another area show channeling the vibe of the Fab Four’s early ’60s concerts, from the instruments to clothing to onstage banter. Sunday, Aug. 4, at 7:30 p.m. The Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. Tickets are $35. Call 703-549-7500 or visit


“The best ABBA tribute band in the world,” touts the Official ABBA Fan Club. Featuring two original members of the Swedish pop group’s rhythm section, “ABBA – The Concert” is about as close as we may ever get to a performance by the actual band — not counting the digital avatars, dubbed “abbatars,” that have been developed and expected to make their debut “performing” in a TV special later this year. Sunday, Aug. 4. Gates at 6:30 p.m. The Filene Center at Wolf Trap, 1551 Trap Rd., Vienna. Tickets are $30 to $60. Call 877-WOLFTRAP or visit


He’s headlined multiple concerts at Nationals Park since the ballpark opened a decade ago. And in 2014, the “Piano Man” started playing one show a month at New York’s Madison Square Garden, making him the venue’s first-ever music franchise. Surprisingly, Joel has never played at the famous home stadium for the Baltimore Orioles. Even more surprisingly, apparently no one else has either. That changes next Friday, July 26, when Joel offers what is billed as the first-ever concert at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Presented by LiveNation, the Orioles Charitable Foundation will donate a portion of the concert proceeds to support music and arts education programs for kids across the Major League team’s territory. The sixth best-selling recording artist of all time and the third best-selling solo artist, Joel is also responsible for a whopping 33 Top 40 hits — or, too many to pack into just one concert. The show starts at 8 p.m. 333 W. Camden St., Baltimore. Only “Verified Resale Tickets” remain, ranging from $177 to $1,000.01. Call 888-848-BIRD or visit


Formed over thirty years ago as a means to showcase the brightest female musicians in the male-dominated Irish-American folk scene, this group took its name from a traditional Irish jig. Joanie Madden, on flute and tin whistle, leads the group of multi-instrumentalists including Mary Coogan, Mirella Murray, Grainne Murphy, Deirdre Connolly, and Kathleen Boyle, and accompanied by step dancers. Sunday, Aug. 4, at 3 and 7 p.m. Amp by Strathmore, 11810 Grand Park Ave. North Bethesda. Tickets are $25 to $35. Call 301-581-5100 or visit


The 10th annual summer cabaret series at ArtSpace Falls Church continues with the show “Piano Man” in which Chis Urquiaga performs original tunes as well as pop piano classics, on Friday, July 26, followed by Katie McManus in “My So-Called (Mid)Life,” a swing through showtunes, pop, and jazz standards accompanied by Elisa Rosman, on Friday, Aug. 2, at 8 p.m., and a tribute to Nat King Cole from acclaimed local jazz pianist/vocalist Mark G. Meadows with fellow vocalist Danielle Wertz, on Saturday, Aug. 3, at 8 p.m. All shows at 8 p.m. Series runs to Sept. 14. 410 South Maple Ave. in Falls Church. Tickets are $18 to $22 per show, or $60 for a table for two with wine and $120 for four with wine. Call 703-436-9948 or visit


A summertime staple for 19 seasons, the National Gallery of Art offers free outdoor concerts immediately after work every Friday through late August. Bands offering a range of jazz styles, from swing to Latin to ska, perform amidst the museum’s collection of large-scale sculptural works while patrons enjoy food and drinks, including beer, wine, and sangria, as sold by the Pavilion Café. New menu items for 2019 include the popular vegetarian Teriyaki Impossible Burger, a Bahn Mi Turkey Burger with ginger soy aioli, and more traditional sandwiches of pulled pork and beef brisket, all available at grill stations throughout the Sculpture Garden. The series continues with Incendio, the 20-year-old instrumental world guitar band featuring Jim Stubblefield, Jean-Pierre Durand, Liza Carbé, and Timothy Curle, on July 26, and Cincinnati’s eclectic pan-Caribbean, pan-American Latin dance outfit Son Del Caribe on Aug. 2. Evenings from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Sculpture Garden, between 7th and 9th Streets NW. Call 202-289-3360 or visit


Approximately 70 students from around the world conclude four weeks of rehearsals, lessons, and enrichment courses led by National Symphony Orchestra musicians as part of this annual festival held at the Kennedy Center. These students, all aspiring orchestra players between the ages of 15 and 20, will demonstrate their abilities as well as what they learned in a concert, conducted by the NSO’s Principal Horn player Abel Pereira, centered on a performance of Brahms’ Symphony No. 1. The winner of the SMI concerto finals competition will also perform. Sunday, July 28, at 6 p.m. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Free. Call 202-467-4600 or visit


Adam Lambert has been fronting the legendary rock band on tours of stadiums the world over for years now. Yet there’s even more momentum in 2019 on account of the success of Bohemian Rhapsody, which is on track to become the highest-grossing music biopic of all time. LiveNation presents a return to what is now called Capital One Arena exactly two years after the revived act’s debut before a rapturous, capacity crowd. “Lambert sang flawlessly, although with a slight hint of reserve — always leaving space open for Freddie,” Metro Weekly‘s André Hereford wrote in his review of the 2017 concert, adding, “guitarist Brian May thrashed like a metalhead youngster through hits like “Stone Cold Crazy,” and drummer Roger Taylor pounded his bass drums until the whole building shook.” Lambert and the two founding members of Queen will be joined by three additional musicians on this year’s Rhapsody Tour, which features brand-new staging of all of Queen’s biggest hits. Tuesday, July 30. Doors at 7 p.m. Capital One Arena, 601 F St. NW. A few official tickets remain for $395 to $625, although reseller sites including VividSeats have tickets available starting around $198. Call 202-628-3200 or visit

Reba McEntire at Wolf Trap


One of country’s top-selling and most influential female artists takes a break from her long-running Las Vegas residency and returns to the Washington area since being recognized alongside Cher with a lifetime achievement award at last year’s Kennedy Center Honors. The verified LGBTQ rights and marriage equality supporter will perform her many hit songs with perhaps a nod to her past work on Broadway in Annie Get Your Gun, a mention of her time on TV, maybe even an aside about being the first female Colonel Sanders. You could say she’s finger-plucking good. Sunday, July 28. Gates at 6:30 p.m. The Filene Center at Wolf Trap, 1551 Trap Road, Vienna. Tickets are $45 to $125. Call 877-WOLFTRAP or visit


Over the past decade this pet-rescuing Canadian crooner has been offering dramatically reimagined versions of her quiet-storm ballads in concerts with various American orchestras. The acclaimed singer-songwriter, also celebrated as the founder of the legendary Lilith Fair and Vancouver’s Sarah McLachlan School of Music, returns to the symphonic well next weekend with Sean O’Loughlin conducting the National Symphony Orchestra outside in the summer heat. Saturday, Aug. 3. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. The Filene Center at Wolf Trap, 1551 Trap Road, Vienna. Tickets are $40 to $90. Call 877-WOLFTRAP or visit


A rotating musical collective founded by the arranger and pianist Bradlee in 2009, PMJ became a YouTube sensation through amusing reworkings of recent pop and rock songs, sung in the style of vintage swing and jazz. Also including original tunes, this “traveling band of throwback minstrels” returns to the area on the “Welcome to the Twenties 2.0 Tour,” a year-long run of shows to help prepare fans for a new decade of music, chiefly by channeling the musical style birthed in the 1920s — namely, jazz. As Bradlee puts it in the tour’s promotional materials: “Get ready for the most sensational ’20s party this side of The Great Gatsby.” Friday, Aug. 2, at 8 p.m. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Tickets are $29 to $69, or $119 for VIP Package with premium seating and tour poster, $169 for VIP Package also including post-show Meet & Greet. Call 202-467-4600 or visit


Signature presents a cabaret series with seven different shows, most of them featuring musical actors known from productions at the Shirlington complex. The lineup includes Tony-nominated actress Melissa Errico (My Fair Lady) in “Sondheim Sublime,” drawn from her album of the same name, on Friday, July 26, at 8 p.m., and Saturday, July 27, at 2 and 8 p.m.; the Christie Dashiell Quartet, featuring its namesake Billboard-charting singer and pianist Mark G. Meadows, offering a salute to the band “Earth, Wind & Fire” on Sunday, July 28, at 2 and 7 p.m.; Erin Driscoll (Titanic), who “explores the evolution of the Broadway soprano” in “My Favorite Things” on Wednesday, July 31, at 7:30 p.m.; Awa Sal Secka (Blackbeard, Jesus Christ Superstar) and Christian Douglas (United States Army Chorus) in “Two’s Company,” “a cabaret toast to dynamic duos,” on Thursday, Aug. 1, at 8 p.m.; Wesley Taylor, the gay star of Cabaret four years ago, in the personal romp through his life and career “Finally, A Show About Me,” on Friday, Aug. 2, at 8 p.m., and Saturday, Aug. 3, at 2 and 8 p.m.; and Joel Coleman, the lead vocalist of the Platters (“Smoke Gets In Your Eyes,” “Only You”), and his “No Boundaries” mix of songs that share “the soundtrack of his life,” on Sunday, Aug. 4, at 2 p.m. The Ark at 4200 Campbell Ave., in Arlington. Tickets are $38 per show, or $175 for an All-Access pass. Call 703-820-9771 or visit


The Maryland-reared daughter of swing band musicians performs with her band original retro diner-esque jazzy/folky pop tunes for a free hometown show, right on the lawn outside of the Strathmore mansion and part of the venue’s free weekly summer series. Wednesday, July 31, starting at 7 p.m. Gudelsky Gazebo, 10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda. Tickets are free. Call 301-581-5100 or visit


Previously billed as a “one-stop shop for a soulful good time,” this year’s festival at Merriweather Post Pavilion scales down from two days to one. Anthony Hamilton headlines a lineup featuring other, somewhat underrated R&B/soul acts, among them Jhené Aiko, Raphael Saadiq, and PJ Morton. Returning for another consecutive year are local go-go acts BackYard Band featuring Anwan Glover and Sirius & Company featuring Ms. Kim & Scooby. More homegrown go-go is represented via Be’la Dona feat. Sugar Bear, while two up-and-coming acts round out the bill, the Drake-supported, ’90s-R&B-channeling duo DVSN and the 23-year-old falsetto crooner Kyle Dion. Saturday, Aug. 3, starting at 2:30 p.m. 10475 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, Md. Tickets are $60 to $250. Call 800-551-SEAT or visit


Now in its 11th year, this weeklong festival — Washington’s first and only piano festival — attracts young aspiring concert pianists from all over the world for its intensive educational programs guided by host organization the Catholic University of America, or CUA — and also for the lure of significant public performance opportunities, including the rare chance to play the Kennedy Center. The performance schedule at CUA’s Ward Recital Hall (620 Michigan Ave. NE) includes: the Winners of the 34th International Young Artist Competition, on Monday, July 29, at 6:45 p.m.; the Winner of last year’s 5th CUA Piano Competition: Aisylu Salyakhova, on Tuesday, July 30, at 7:30 p.m.; the 6th CUA Piano Competition Final Round, on Friday, Aug. 2, at 6:30 p.m.; and a Recital and Award Ceremony featuring the Winners of the 6th CUA Piano Competition, on Saturday, Aug. 3, at 6:30 p.m. The week concludes with three free showcases: the Closing Concert of the 2019 WIPF Participants, on Monday, Aug. 5, at 10 a.m., at CUA, framed by two Selected WIPF Participants’ Concerts, on Sunday, Aug. 4, and Monday, Aug. 5, at 6 p.m., at the Kennedy Center. Tickets are $10 to $20 each for the non-free concerts at CUA. Call 202-290-5267 or visit


A new production of this soaring opera featuring the beautiful music of Richard Strauss and slapstick comedy from librettist Hugo von Hofmannsthal, performed simultaneously in a battle of “high” and “low” art based on a Molière comedy. Tara Faircloth directs the production with conductor Emily Senturia and a cast of Wolf Trap Opera Studio Artists singing in German with projected English translations. Remaining performance is Saturday, July 27, at 7:30 p.m. The Barns at Wolf Trap, 1635 Trap Road, Vienna. Tickets are $36. Call 877-WOLFTRAP or visit

John Scott Dance



Works by the modern dance pioneer Merce Cunningham take the focus of this program featuring an internationally acclaimed dance company as well as a crew of local dancers. Presented by Dance Place in collaboration with the Kennedy Center, the celebration features Ireland’s John Scott Dance performing works by its namesake founder as well as three early Cunningham pieces: Totem Ancestor, Night Wandering, and a solo from Second Hand. The bill also offers a newly arranged MinEvent, with excerpts from Cunningham’s choreography staged for local dancers by the Merce Cunningham Trust. Saturday, July 27, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, July 28, at 7 p.m. Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Theater, 3225 8th St. NE. Tickets are $25 in advance, or $30 at the door. Call 202-269-1600 or visit


Repeat recipient of the Best School award from the leading ballet competition in the U.S., the Youth America Grand Prix, the Maryland Youth Ballet presents its latest production of a classic fairytale at Wolf Trap’s serene, kids-oriented amphitheater. Friday, July 26, and Saturday, July 27, at 10:30 a.m. Theatre-In-The-Woods at Wolf Trap, 1551 Trap Road, Vienna. Tickets are $10. Call 877-WOLFTRAP or visit


This fall, the hit Fox TV reality competition series offers its traditional post-season tour featuring the Top 10 finalists from the current 16th season — a list to be winnowed down over the next couple of weeks per episodes airing on Mondays at 9 p.m. Nevertheless, tickets will go on sale this Friday, July 26, starting at 10 a.m., for the tour, with stops in late October set for Virginia’s Hylton Performing Arts Center and Maryland’s MGM National Harbor. Directed by Raj Kapoor with Rita Maye Bland, the live show will feature the season’s most-popular routines plus original pieces created specifically for the tour, all overseen by Mandy Moore, the show’s star choreographer — not to be confused with the This Is Us actress and pop star of the same name. In addition to the Top 10, the lineup will also feature two of the show’s All-Stars, to be announced at a later date. Tuesday, Oct. 22, at 8 p.m. Merchant Hall, 10960 George Mason Circle, Manassas, Va. Tickets are $45 to $100. Call 703-993-7759 or visit Also Wednesday, Oct. 23, at 7:30 p.m. The Theater, 7100 Harborview Ave., Oxon Hill, Md. Call 844-346-4664 or visit

Piff the magic Dragon — Photo: Christopher DeVargas



This weekend the DC Improv offers four showcases of local comedians presented in its smaller 64-seat lounge space, allowing you to “get up-close with the stars of tomorrow.” Winston Hodges, Alex Scott, and Ross Benoit appear both evenings, joined by Paris Sashay and Tony Woods on Friday, July 26, and Ty Davis and Matt Brown on Saturday, July 27. Showtimes are 7:30 and 9:45 p.m. 1140 Connecticut Ave. NW. Tickets are $18 for Friday, $20 for Saturday, plus a two-item minimum. Call 202-296-7008 or visit


A showcase of talent from right in our own backyard, the latest from this Maryland-based presenting organization features an all military veterans-cast in a nod to the host venue and the 100th anniversary of the founding of the American Legion. The lineup includes Linette Palladino, Kandace Saunders, Pete Bergen, Stephanie Kline, and Che Rose. Saturday, July 27, at 8 p.m. Cissel-Saxon American Legion Post 41, 8110 Fenton St., Silver Spring. Tickets are $20 to $25. Call 301-588-8937 or visit


John Van der Put’s adopted stage name suits his act, as Piff sports a ludicrous, shiny dragon costume and performs with a sour-sweet bemused manner that is as unique as it is funny. He also performs his comedy magic show with his pet chihuahua, Mr. Piffles, outfitted in a matching dragon suit. “Magic has a strange effect on people,” Van der Put told Metro Weekly in an interview in 2017. “You go to Walmart, and the doors open all by themselves, and nobody ever goes, ‘Oh, my god! How did they do that?!’ Then, on stage, you make something move without touching it, and people freak out.” Friday, July 26, and Saturday, July 27. Doors at 7 p.m. The State Theatre, 220 North Washington St., Falls Church. Tickets are $32 to $45. Call 703-237-0300 or visit


The legendary comedic troupe from Chicago returns to the Kennedy Center for another all-new, made-for-Washington politically minded show mixing sketch comedy, improv, satire, and original music. Mary Catherine Curran, Cody Dove, Jillian Ebanks, Jordan Savusa, Adam Schreck, and Holly Walker are the featured players for America; It’s Complicated. To Aug. 11. Theater Lab. Tickets are $49 to $59. Call 202-467-4600 or visit

Mason Funk — Photo: Leanna Creel



Next week, Solid State Books in the H Street Corridor offers a reading heads above the norm. Stradal, a contributing editor at TASTE Magazine, will read from his new novel, The Lager Queen of Minnesota, a followup to the Minnesota native’s bestselling debut Kitchens of the Great Midwest, and one exploring themes of family, fate, Midwestern values, and the secrets of making a world-class beer. The only thing better than hearing and talking about beer is drinking it, of course. And those who come out for the reading will get to do just that, sampling Midwestern and Midwestern-style beers (if they’re of legal drinking age, that is). Wednesday, July 31, at 7 p.m. Solid State Books, 600 H St. NE. Call 897-4201 or visit


Funk’s The Book of Pride: LGBTQ Heroes Who Changed the World consists of detailed interviews with 75 queer individuals who witnessed or participated in the gay rights movement over the past 50 years, including instrumental figures such as marriage equality pioneer Evan Wolfson, trans icon Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, Stonewall-era rabblerouser and veteran LGBTQ publisher Mark Segal, and anti-Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell activist Grethe Cammermeyer. The details come from OutWords (, billed as the first national effort to capture, via on-camera, first-person interviews, the stories of LGBTQ pioneers and elders, and to ensure that their work and efforts are not erased or lost to history. A writer/producer for TV and documentary filmmaker based in Los Angeles, Funk is the project’s founder and executive director. Thursday, Aug. 1, at 6:30 p.m. Kramerbooks, 1517 Connecticut Ave. NW. Call 202-387-1400 or visit


In the name of research this former journalist for Time and the Miami Herald and now professor of sociology at George Washington University participated in the summer desert festival Burning Man each of the last six years. Not surprisingly having drank the kool-aid, as it were, the once-skeptical Shister came away from the experience a believer in Burning Man’s ability to change the world as “the vanguard of a crucial new social paradigm.” Through reporting and interviews with key figures, Radical Ritual: How Burning Man Changed the World highlights how the festival blends conservative ideals of self-reliance and accountability with progressive notions of inclusion, consensual decision-making, and collaborative activity — or what he suggests is “a postmodern fusion of ’60s humanism and high-tech Digital Era magic.” Tuesday, July 30, at 7 p.m. Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Call 202-364-1919 or visit

Let’s Play Double the Fun: Ice Cream, 6/12/17 — By Maggie O’Neill



This 32nd biennial event showcases some of the finest crafts and craft makers from Maryland, Virginia, and D.C., including handmade jewelry, ceramics, textiles, and woodwork. To July 31. The Mansion at Strathmore, 10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda. Call 301-581-5100 or visit


Maryland’s visual arts gallery Pyramid Atlantic presents an inky and dark-hued show featuring the diverse artworks of three contemporary printmakers working in the intaglio style, which is the opposite of a relief print and most commonly seen today via paper or plastic currency, passports, and postage stamps. To develop his intaglio prints, New York’s Curt Belshe starts by taking photographs of figures that he then digitally sculpts in 3D software before exposing the images to light-sensitive plates and creating etchings. Meanwhile, Jake Muirhead prints from hand-drawn etching into copper plates and his fellow Maryland-based artist Jenny Freestone works in a mix of styles including drypoint, etching, and gravure. When considered collectively, the prints on display from the three artists have “a velvety and mysterious quality.” Opening Reception is Friday, July 26, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Runs to Aug. 18. 4318 Gallatin St., Hyattsville, Md. Call 301-608-9101 or visit


The Focus Gallery of the Arlington Artists Alliance presents a group show featuring member artistic interpretations on the topical — and tropical — theme of summertime heat and humidity. The “sizzling artistry” — per the words of the organizers — will be on display in the air-conditioned comfort of the gallery, which is located in the Crystal City Shops. Also on display: Our National Mall in Color, a show featuring vivid depictions of national landmarks from watercolorist Tony Neville, the gallery’s featured artist of the month. On display through July 26. Gallery Underground, 2100 Crystal Drive. Call 571-483-0652 or visit


At the moment, there’s a lot happening up on the Rooftop at Union Market, which has been designed as a new community space by its developer and operator EDENS. In addition to a 700-seat stadium where celebrity members of the Washington Kastles play select games and fans get sweeping views of the action and the Washington cityscape, there’s this one-day experiential, interactive solo exhibit featuring 30 pieces of the D.C.-based artist and designer O’Neill’s original artwork and merchandise inspired by bingo, ice cream, roller skates, and disco, displayed alongside activities meant to bring to life some of the paintings. A centerpiece of Let’s Play is a life-size bingo game board, on which 75 participants, over the course of three rounds, get to play to win limited-edition prints by O’Neill as well as gift certificates to local favorite merchants, including modern Afghan bistro Lapis and the coffee and craft cocktails establishment Lapop. A few rounds of bingo on traditional boards will also be available at this event, which also offers live music, a roller skate raffle, and food and drink available for purchase from Taco Bamba and other Union Market vendors. “I want to create an experience that gets you inside the painting, creating a sensory experience meant to capture the nostalgia and universal themes of play and summer,” the artist says in an official statement. The co-founder of the Dupont Circle creative design firm Swatchroom, O’Neill has been working with materials from the classic game as a medium for her artwork for several years, as well as hosting bingo events at her studio and engaging through the game with patients at Children’s National — and a portion of art sales from the event will benefit the medical center. Sunday, July 28, from 6 to 9 p.m. 1309 5th St. NE. Free and open to the public, though RSVP recommended; bingo rounds are first-come, first-play. Call 800-680-9095 or visit


For its summer exhibition, Georgetown’s contemporary art gallery Calloway Fine Arts presents “bold and bright” large, abstract paintings on canvas by David Bell, Leslie Nolan, and Karen Silve, plus smaller works on paper from Matthew Langley’s A Painting A Day series, which pull highlights of color from the larger works. Now to Aug. 24. 1643 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Call 202-965-4601 or visit


The National Museum of Women in the Arts currently has on display monumental sculptures made from wood and other organic materials, including leather, silk, and hair, all created by this German artist with the intent of evoking the grandeur and power of nature. A wall installation and an additional nine works on paper are included in this, the most ambitious presentation of works to date by von Rydingsvard, one of the most influential sculptors working today. Mark Rosenthal formerly of the National Gallery of Art guest-curated the exhibition, which was organized by Philadelphia’s Fabric Workshop and Museum. On exhibit to July 28. 1250 New York Ave NW. Admission is $10. Call 202-783-5000 or visit

Pizzaria Paradiso: Ruth Tossing — Photo: Moshe Zusman



Throughout July, Hank’s Pasta Bar in Alexandria is offering two specials “to help ease the rush hour commute,” or at least to help mitigate frustration over delays caused by Metro’s closure of the Blue and Yellow lines in Northern Virginia. The first “Beat Your Summer Commute” special grants 10-percent off the entire check per a request for the Blue Line, while a request for the Yellow Line grants a free meal for kids (provided an adult meal is purchased). Available weeknights from 5 to 6:30 p.m. for patrons in the dining room or on the patio. To July 31. 600 Montgomery St., Alexandria. Call 571-312-4117 or visit


Cotton & Reed, the rum distillery and tasting room in the Union Market District, plays host to a special culinary pop-up over the next month from Christian Irabién, the Mexican-born, D.C.-based chef who spent years working with José Andres and his Mexican outpost Oyamel. Pepino is designed as a preview of Amparo (, Irabién’s forthcoming contemporary Mexican restaurant that is set to open this fall as part of the new Latin marketplace La Cosecha. The pop-up features six special ceviches (priced at $7 to $16 each). Meanwhile, Cotton & Reed complements Irabién’s menu with “Prickled Pink,” a specially concocted slushie consisting of white rum, mezcal, prickly pear, and lime ($12). Now to Aug. 18. Pepino is open from noon to 8 p.m. on weekends and 4 to 10 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays. 1330 5th St. NE. Call 202-544-2805 or visit


Next week ushers in two different promotions at the two newest offshoots of the acclaimed local pizza chain that chef Ruth Gresser first launched in Dupont Circle 28 years ago. First up is a drink special to toast the new patio at the pizzeria’s newest location in D.C.’s Spring Valley neighborhood (4850 Massachusetts Ave. NW; 202-885-9101). Starting at 11 a.m. on Monday, July 28, the one-year-old venue will serve Beer Floats for customers or stick to traditional root beer in which to float scoops of ice cream, at a cost of $8 for beer and $6 for root beer. The month of July concludes with a reasonably priced three-course dinner special at the two-year-old Pizzeria Paradiso in Hyattsville (4800 Rhode Island Ave.; 240-467-3210) — geared for those who want something other than pizza. Starting at 5 p.m. “until the food runs out” on Wednesday, July 31, “Momma Ruth” will be serving from the kitchen one of two salad options as a first course, followed by a main course of Herb Roasted Chicken Thighs with succotash and stewed tomatoes, Cod and Crab Cake with succotash and cole slaw, or Dry Rub Pork Shoulder with succotash and broccoli rabe. The special, priced at just $30 per person, concludes with your choice of dessert: tiramisu, chocolate almond cake, seasonal fruit pie, or Dolcezza push pop. Visit for more details.


In conjunction with Georgetown’s Sunset Cinema series, this nearby luxury boutique hotel features a different specialty cocktail available for $14 each Tuesday and inspired by the screening later that evening. So, for example, on Tuesday, July 30, in advance of The Parent Trap (see separate entry under Film), you can order at the hotel’s open-air rooftop bar “I have a brilliant beyond brilliant idea!,” a brilliantly strong cocktail made with Johnnie Walker Black scotch, ginger liqueur, and orange bitters. The following week, Aug. 6, offers Eat Pray Love down in Georgetown Waterfront Park and at the Graham Rooftop the cocktail “You’re wishin’ too much, baby,” a blend of grapefruit vodka and peach schnapps with cranberry and orange juices. Named after Alexander Graham Bell, the famous American inventor who was also a Georgetown resident, the Graham Georgetown is located near the historic C&O Canal on a quiet side street running south from M Street NW down to the Washington Harbor. In addition to fun, sophisticated alcoholic beverages, the Graham Rooftop, which opens at 4 p.m. weekdays, offers sweeping views of Georgetown, the federal city, and beyond. 1075 Thomas Jefferson St. NW. Call 202-337-0900 or visit



Three years ago, Kate Taylor Davis and Jared Davis concocted a variety show that made light of American history in the run-up to July 4th — in 2016, just before the country took a dark, dark turn. Since then, the hit show has become darker and more subversive — as well as more popular — adding topical games with names including “Extreme Vetting” and “Grab. That. P**sy!” This year’s fourth iteration introduces an all-new slate of games, including “The 1 Percent Relay” and “Glory Hole Whack-a-Mole.” Carlos Bustamante aka Carl Buster returns as show host, accompanied by a bevy of “All-American Girls” for a tongue-in-cheek trip across the country filled with trivia, games, satire, and nudity. The latter especially comes into play in a segment called “Naked Moments in American History” with the character known as “Drunkle Sam,” whose purpose is “to fill in the gaps in America’s public education.” Aiding in the cause are Lucrezia Blozia, Jim Dandy, Kittie Glitter, Eleni Grove, Mehdi Raoufi, J. Brinke, Callie Pigeon, Candy Del Rio, Cherie Sweetbottom, and Andrew Wodzianski. Friday, July 26, and Saturday, July 27, at 8 p.m. Creative Alliance, 3134 Eastern Ave. Baltimore. Tickets are $20 to $23. Call 410-276-1651 or visit


A local actor offers the guided tour Investigation: Detective McDevitt, portraying Detective James McDevitt, a D.C. police officer patrolling a half-block from Ford’s Theatre the night President Lincoln was shot. Written by Richard Hellesen and directed by Mark Ramont, the 1.6-mile walking tour revisits and reexamines the sites and clues from the investigation into the assassination. Tours are offered approximately three evenings a week at 6:45 p.m. Ford’s Theatre, 511 10th St. NW. Tickets are $17. Call 202-397-7328 or visit


Launched amidst the drag kings at a DC Kings show back in the day, the DC Gurly Show now has top billing as D.C.’s longest-running queer burlesque troupe — 14 years and counting. The show features many types, with a focus on expression and individual performance, no matter gender or gender identity, much less sex or sexual orientation. The next iteration is the organization’s annual country-themed show, one bringing “some rural flair” to D.C. — from cowboy hats to cutoff shorts to cold beer. Organizers “guarantee a rootin’ tootin’ six-gun shootin’ good time!” Thursday, Aug. 1, at 8 p.m. The Comedy Loft of DC, 1523 22nd St. NW. Tickets are $15, plus two-item minimum. Call 202-293-1887 or visit

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