It’s been four years since we last stepped inside the home of the fictional upper-class Crawleys. Set in 1927, two years after the TV series wrapped, Downton Abbey wastes no time in establishing that nothing outlandish or important has occurred off-screen. And if you have never watched Downton Abbey, this is not the film for you. Writer and creator Julian Fellowes has crafted a two-hour reunion special, one with no time to hold the hands of series’ virgins. Wander into a theater expecting to be able to jump right in like Fellowes’ 2001 film Gosford Park and you’ll emerge confused about why all those posh people were so worried about throwing a banquet and a parade. The film breezes from scene to scene with a flourish of John Lunn’s wonderful score, as Fellowes’ condenses a mini-series’ worth of ideas into the constraint of a three-day visit. Nothing gets room to breathe or register an impact before we’re whisked to another room, another corridor, another beautiful shot of Downton’s landscaped grounds. While it’s inarguably wonderful to revisit these characters and remember why we fell in love with them in the first place, Downton Abbey smacks of an easy cash grab on a bankable brand. To the Crawleys, at least, that would seem terribly vulgar. Now playing. Area theaters. Visit www.fandango.com. (Rhuaridh Marr)
Fathom Events is getting a jumpstart on the spookiest holiday of the year by returning to the big screen two “audience-pleasing classics,” including Alien in mid-October. First comes a 35th anniversary screening of Ivan Reitman’s 1984 comedic caper that poked fun at paranormal activity with assist from Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson, playing a bumbling group of eccentrics who rid buildings of pesky spirits. Sigourney Weaver, Rick Moranis, Annie Potts also star. The screening comes with a new introduction featuring factoids and memories shared by key cast members, plus rarely seen alternate takes of the film’s most famous scenes. Sunday, Oct. 6, and Thursday, Oct. 10, at 4 and 7 p.m. Area theaters including AMC venues at Georgetown (3111 K St. NW), Hoffman Center (206 Swamp Fox Rd., Alexandria), and Rio Cinemas (918 Washingtonian Ctr., Gaithersburg). Visit www.fathomevents.com.
The absorbing crime caper Hustlers sides wholeheartedly with the underdogs in its ripped-from-the-headlines chronicle of the rise and fall of a crew of grifting strippers — portrayed by Jennifer Lopez, Cardi B, Constance Wu, and Lizzo, among others. Based on Jessica Pressler’s New York magazine article about the real-life case of the Scores girls scam, Hustlers adopts the rise-and-fall rhythm of a Goodfellas or other gangster fables. Writer-director Lorene Scafaria finesses the structure smoothly, darting between past and present, comedy and suspense, contrasting the noise and flash of Scores and the peace and quiet of Queens. At the center of the whirlwind, the friendship between Lopez’s Ramona and Wu’s Dorothy — a mentor-protégé bond that borders on maternal for the motherless Dorothy — grounds the film in a human drama that truly raises the stakes once the scam inevitably goes awry and things start to get ugly for the Scores crew. Now playing. Area theaters. Visit www.fandango.com. (André Hereford)
JIM ALLISON: BREAKTHROUGH
The inspiring and dramatic world of cutting-edge medicine is explored in this new documentary about one man’s lifelong quest to find a cure for cancer, whose work, in discovering the immune system’s role in fighting the disease, was honored with a Nobel Prize last year. This profile of Allison is the work of Bill Haney, a filmmaker who is a notable anti-cancer crusader in his own right, through his for-profit work in helping develop drugs to cure cancer and neurological diseases. Woody Harrelson narrates. Opens Friday, Oct. 4. Landmark’s E Street Cinema, 555 11th St. NW. Call 202-452-7672 or visit www.landmarktheatres.com.
LINDA RONSTADT: THE SOUND OF MY VOICE
At the peak of her success, Linda Ronstadt, one of the most successful recording artists of all time, turned away from pop music to explore a variety of other genres, from American standards to operetta to traditional Mexican canciones. Sadly, her singing voice has been silenced due to Parkinson’s disease. Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, the award-winning gay documentarians behind The Times of Harvey Milk and HOWL, offer a musical biography telling Ronstadt’s story through her own words and music, as well as commentary by professional colleagues including Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt, and Jackson Browne. Area theaters, including Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema, 7235 Woodmont Ave. Call 301-652-7273 or visit www.landmarktheatres.com.
LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS: THE DIRECTOR’S CUT
Rick Moranis is a geeky florist who finds out his Venus flytrap can speak and sing — and also needs human blood to survive. Frank Oz’s film adaptation of the Off Broadway rock musical comedy co-starred Ellen Greene, Vincent Gardenia and Steve Martin. It returns to the big screen as part of the Capital Classics series at Landmark’s West End Cinema, where it will be shown with the original 23-minute finale, based on the musical’s apocalyptic ending. Wednesday, Oct. 9, 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 each. Call 202-534-1907 or visit www.landmarktheatres.com.
NORTH BY NORTHWEST
The area’s two Angelika theaters offer another “Hitchcocktober” series of classics by the Master of Suspense, with screenings of this 1959 thriller in which Cary Grant is a Madison Avenue ad man mistaken for a CIA operative by some very bad men, led by the silken-voiced James Mason. Eva Marie Saint steps into the role of blonde femme fatale, and a thin, equine Martin Landau is chilling as Mason’s number one (and yes, there is a distinct whiff of homoeroticism between the pair). The movie is known for its larger-than-life set pieces, including a silent seven-minute stunner set in a cornfield and ending with a huge ball of fire, and a breathtaking romp atop Mount Rushmore. Bernard Herrmann’s memorable score all but shoves the action forward and Saul Bass’s clever, geometric opening credits rank with his finest. Wednesday, Oct. 9, at 7 p.m. Angelika Pop-Up at Union Market, 550 Penn St. NE. Also Thursday, Oct. 10, at 7 p.m. Angelika Film Center – Mosaic, 2911 District Ave., Fairfax. Tickets are $10 athe Pop-Up, $14.50 at Mosaic. Call 800-680-9095 or visit www.AngelikaFilmCenter.com.
UNION MARKET DRIVE-IN: THE WIZ
This “super soul musical,” an African-American spin on L. Frank Baum’s classic fairy tale, was a star-studded affair featuring Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell, Ted Ross, Lena Horne, and Richard Pryor. And yet, Sidney Lumet’s adaptation of the Tony-winning Broadway musical was a critical and commercial flop upon its release in 1978. Union Market closes out its seasonal Drive-In Series with a screening for both those who would like to watch from the comforts of their parked car, as well as those who prefer to scout out 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. Friday, Oct. 4, with lot opening at 5:30 p.m., screening starting at 8:15 p.m. 1309 5th St. NE. Free for walk-ups or $15 per car. Call 800-680-9095 or visit www.unionmarketdc.com.
WHERE’S MY ROY COHN?
Director Matt Tyrnauer lends just a hint of that salaciousness to this incisive chronicle of Roy Cohn’s path from Commie-hunting, homo-hating attack dog of Senator Joe McCarthy, to mobbed-up New York City attorney and mentor-in-chief to Donald J. Trump. While the film explores Cohn’s little-known relationships with his handsome, onetime right hand David Schine, and an ex-boyfriend who is interviewed on-camera, Tyrnauer wasn’t aiming for a kiss-and-tell bio. Rather, he strove for an informed look at Cohn’s enduring political influence, playing out now in the White House. Now playing. Area theaters, including Landmark’s E Street Cinema, 555 11th St. NW. Call 202-452-7672 or visit www.landmarktheatres.com. (AH)
Credit to a company that can pick up a show as familiar as Kander and Ebb’s Cabaret and produce a take as purposeful as director Alan Paul’s fresh staging at Olney Theatre. Well in tune with Joe Masteroff’s book for the show and Chris Youstra’s astute musical direction of an all-time great score, Paul locates potent, present-day context within the ’20s-set musical’s depiction of the looming, bitter reign of fascism. Practically combusting with chemistry, with fellow cast and the audience, Mason Alexander Park is an endless delight as the Kit Kat Klub’s provocative, gender-fluid Emcee. Leading the gender-fluid Kit Kat Girls and Boys, a winning ensemble, Park’s Emcee attacks Katie Spelman’s wonderful choreography with the gamine athleticism of a Johnny Weir, and a very similar fashion sense. To Oct. 6. 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney, Md. Tickets are $42 to $99. Call 301-924-3400 or visit www.olneytheatre.org. (AH)
The Washington Stage Guild launches its new season with an 1894 comedy by George Bernard Shaw. Candida questions Victorian notions of love and marriage, having the audacity to ask what a woman desires from her husband, and ultimately give a woman a choice between her husband, a preacher, and the poet who wants to woo her away. Laura Giannarelli directs Emelie Faith Thompson in the title role. Weekends to Oct. 20. Undercroft Theatre of Mount Vernon United Methodist Church, 900 Massachusetts Ave. NW. Tickets are $50 to $60. Call 202-900-8788 or visit www.stageguild.org.
DAY OF ABSENCE
White citizens in a sleepy southern town are forced to recognize the value and vitality their African-American neighbors offer them one random day when they mysteriously disappear. Raymond O. Caldwell and Angelisa Gillyard direct a Theater Alliance retelling of a “reverse minstrel show” that Douglas Turner Ward originally created in 1965, one billed as a comedic and pointed commentary on systemic racism that is sadly still relevant today. Jared Shamberger leads a 10-member cast as the town’s mayor in the 90-minute, intermission-less play. Previews start Saturday, Oct. 5. Opens Saturday, Oct. 12. Runs to Nov. 3. Anacostia Playhouse, 2020 Shannon Place SE. Tickets are $25 to $40, except for at least 10 Name-Your-Own-Price seats up for grabs one hour before each show. Call 202-241-2539 or visit www.theateralliance.com.
The Native American heroine Pocahontas has “come back to life to set the record straight” in the subversive, feminist-minded musical written and composed by Dennis T. Giacino. Cinderella, Snow White, the Little Mermaid, and Tiana (Disney’s first black princess) also make an appearance in this satirical take on Disney princesses, all portrayed with human faults and foibles. Matt Conner directs the Creative Cauldron production. Opens in a Gala, Auction, and formal reception on Saturday, Oct. 5. Pride Night is Thursday, Oct. 10. Runs to Oct. 27. ArtSpace Falls Church, 410 South Maple Ave. in Falls Church. Tickets are $20 to $35, or $100 for the Gala. Call 703-436-9948 or visit www.creativecauldron.org.
DOUBT: A PARABLE
Sarah Marshall anchors Studio Theatre’s new production of John Patrick Shanley’s 2004 Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece that tackles concepts of faith, ambiguity, and the price of moral conviction — and more specifically, the sexual abuse scandals that has rocked Catholics and the Catholic Church in recent decades. Set in 1964 at a Bronx Catholic school, Matt Torney directs a cast starring Marshall as Sister Aloysius and also featuring Christian Conn as Father Flynn, Amelia Pedlow as Sister James, and Tiffany M. Thompson as Mrs. Muller. Extended to Oct. 13. Metheny Theatre, 14th & P Streets NW. Call 202-332-3300 or visit www.studiotheatre.org.
In Caryl Churchill’s dark comedy, three old friends are joined by a neighbor to engage in amiable chitchat with a side of apocalyptic horror. Holly Twyford directs. To Nov. 3. Signature Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. Call 703-820-9771 or visit www.sigtheatre.org.
Craig Wallace and Erika Rose star in one of August Wilson’s most famous and profound works, in a Ford’s Theatre production directed by Timothy Douglas, one of the foremost interpreters of Wilson’s work. To Oct. 27. 511 10th St. NW. Tickets are $20 to $52. Call 202-347-4833 or visit www.fords.org.
The Kennedy Center presents a new version of what is billed as “everyone’s favorite rock ‘n’ roll musical.” Dean Pitchford adapted Footloose from his original screenplay in tandem with director Walter Bobbie, and the show incorporates the 1984 film’s pop hits set off by new numbers composed by Tom Snow with lyrics by Pitchford. J. Quinton Johnson, Isabelle McCalla, Michael Park, Rebecca Luker, and Judy Kuhn star in the musical, which kicks off a new season in the Center’s remarkable Broadway Center Stage series of limited-run, semi-staged concert productions. Opens Wednesday, Oct. 9. To Oct. 13. Eisenhower Theater. Tickets are $59 to $175. Call 202-467-4600 or visit www.kennedy-center.org.
LIFE IS A DREAM
Hugo Medrano directs one of the essential works of Spanish Golden Age theater, Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s timeless play that explores free will, fate, and tyranny. Nando López adapted the work for a world-premiere production to kick off the 44th season of GALA Theatre. Daniel Alonso de Santos, Mel Rocher, and Soraya Padrao lead a cast of actors who will perform in Spanish with English surtitles. To Oct. 13. Tivoli Square, 3333 14th St. NW. Call 202-234-7174 or visit www.galatheatre.org.
MISS YOU LIKE HELL
Everyone has baggage in this timely women-centered musical that launches the tenure of new artistic director Stephanie Ybarra at Baltimore Center Stage. Rebecca Martinez directs the show, a collaboration between Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and Tony-winning book writer Quiara Alegria Hudes (Water By The Spoonful, In The Heights) and the superb lesbian indie-pop singer-songwriter Erin McKeown. Lorraine Vele and Stephanie Gomérez star as a mother-daughter duo who set out on a cross-country road trip while a looming immigration hearing for mother Beatriz, an undocumented woman, weighs on their minds. McKeown will offer a free concert prior to the show on Saturday, Oct. 5. To Oct. 13. 700 North Calvert St., Baltimore. Call 410-332-0033 or visit www.centerstage.org.
In 1905, Jay “The Sport” Jackson dreams of becoming the first African American boxer to fight for the heavyweight championship — yet even with his string of knockout victories, the odds are stacked against him outside the ring, with the even bigger fight against entrenched racial segregation and pronounced white preudice. Paige Hernandez directs a co-production from Olney Theatre Company and 1st Stage of Tyson’s Corner of Marco Ramirez’s play, a 90-minute, intermission-less work starring Jaysen Wright the character inspired by the real-life boxer Jack Johnson. To Oct. 27. Mulitz-Gudelsky Theatre Lab, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney, Md. Call 301-924-3400 or visit www.olneytheatre.org.
Synetic Theater kicks off its 19th season by reprising its splashy, cinematic adaptation of William Shakespeare’s shipwrecked classic from 2013. In the physical theater troupe’s hands, The Tempest is a speech-free yet water-full production, since it comes as part of the company’s signature “wordless Shakespeare” series and features a 1,200-square-foot pool, filled with roughly 3,000 gallons of water, that takes center stage. In fact, the first three rows of seats are designated as a splash zone, with “ponchos provided.” The troupe’s co-founder Irina Tsikurishvili will splish-splash, dance, and jump around as the sea storm-stirring Prospera. Now to Oct. 20. 1800 South Bell St., Arlington. Call 800-494-8497 or visit www.synetictheater.org.
Virginia’s 1st Stage offers the regional premiere of a play by Joanna McClelland Glass, who drew on her real-life experience working for Francis Biddle at his home in D.C. in the 1960s. Biddle, the former U.S. Attorney General under President Franklin Roosevelt who also served as Chief Judge of the American Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, was notoriously hard on his staff as he worked to cement his legacy. Alex Levy directs stars Amanda Forstrom and Scott Sedar. To Oct. 20. 1st Stage is located at 1524 Spring Hill Rd. Tysons, Va. Tickets are $42. Call 703-854-1856 or visit www.1ststagetysons.org.
WEST BY GOD
Two families grapple with issues of grief and love, memory and identity, in a new play set in a small Appalachian town and written by West Virginia native Brandon McCoy. Jeremy Skidmore directs a world-premiere production for Keegan Theatre of a show billed as “a funny, heartwarming, and gut-wrenchingly honest examination of the divide between urban and rural America, and the kinds of prejudice and intolerance too often left unchallenged in our society.” To Oct. 20. 1742 Church St. NW. Call 202-265-3767 or visit www.keegantheatre.com.
A D.C. native and Howard University alum, the young jazz vocalist and composer blends traditional, modern, and African jazz styles while singing in the showy manner of many of today’s leading soul/pop divas. But she’s especially well-regarded for covering Nina Simone, and Allrich next performs renditions of beloved songs by that jazz iconoclast as well as South African powerhouse Miriam Makeba. The concert is her 11th Annual Nina Simone/Miriam Makeba Tribute, which comes as the culminating event in the Black Women, Arts, and Activism Festival, sponsored and hosted by the Atlas Performing Arts Center, also including an art exhibition, vendors, and a spirited panel discussion. Sunday, Oct. 6, at 7 p.m. Lang Theatre, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $20 to $30. Call 202-399-7993 or visit www.atlasarts.org.
ALEXANDRIA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: IMAGINARY SYMPHONY
James Ross conducts a season-opening concert exploring a theme of war and peace and commemorating the 75th anniversary year of World War II’s D-Day invasion. The program launches with the grandly spunky overture from Wagner’s only comedic opera, Die Meistersinger, followed by Beethoven’s Concerto for Violin, Cello and Piano in C Major featuring soloists Nicholas Tavani, Alan Richardson, and Rita Sloan, respectively. The program takes its name from a four-part symphony that Maestro Ross assembled using movements from four different works, across centuries and continents, offering depictions of pastoral beauty and peace juxtaposed with war and strife. This “Imaginary Symphony” is comprised of the first movement of William Walton’s Symphony No. 1, a dark and agitated work that foreshadowed World War II, the rather tranquil second movement to Amy Beach’s Gaelic Symphony and the bucolic prelude to Act 2 (“On The Cliffs of Cornwall”) of Ethel Smyth’s opera The Wreckers, and the third movement of Arthur Honegger’s Symphony No. 3, which evokes armies marching to war that culminates in a call for peace. The program also includes a performance of Lionel Semiatin’s Tidbit #1, which was written from the battlefield at Normandy. Saturday, Oct. 5, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 6, at 3 p.m. Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center at Northern Virginia Community College, 3001 North Beauregard St., Alexandria. Tickets are $5 to $85. Call 703-548-0885 or visit www.alexsym.org.
BOMBAY BICYCLE CLUB
Jack Steadman, Jamie MacColl, Suren de Saram, and Ed Nash comprise this British indie-rock quartet named in reference to an Indian restaurant chain. The band’s 2010 debut album was amusingly titled I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose, and the fifth set, due out in January, looks to be a return to form, at least in terms of that original wry naming scheme: Everything Else Has Gone Wrong. The album also marks the first recording since the foursome regrouped after a three-year hiatus. And the first tour post-hiatus stops in town this weekend. The Greeting Committee, an up-and-coming new indie-rock band out of Kansas City led by female vocalist Addie Sartino, opens. Saturday, Oct. 5. Doors at 10 p.m. 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. Tickets are $35. Call 202-265-0930 or visit www.930.com.
CAPITAL PRIDE’S MUSIC IN THE NIGHT
You know her as the runner-up on the 9th season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, losing to Sasha Velour. In the two years since, Peppermint has gone on to scale new heights — such as becoming the first trans woman to originate a main role on Broadway through her work in the Go-Go’s-inspired musical Head Over Heels, which ended a six-month run last January. She next serves as the Special Guest at this year’s annual cabaret presented by the Capital Pride Alliance at the Hamilton. The lineup also includes Jon Richardson, Willie Garner, Larry Grey, William Hernandez, Tiffany Lyn Royster, DonMike H. Mendoza, Alan Michael, Patty Pablo, and Charles Wright. Monday, Oct. 7, at 8 p.m. The Hamilton, 600 14th St. NW. Tickets are $19.75 to $39.75. Call 202-787-1000 or visit www.thehamiltondc.com.
It’s been a decade now since Chely Wright, a one-time contemporary queen of modern country — responsible for the turn-of-the-21st-century hits “Shut Up and Drive” and “Single White Female — came out as gay. She celebrated the decision by headlining the 2010 Capital Pride festival, which she considers “a highlight of my career and one of the highlights of my life.” A native of Kansas who now lives in New York with her wife and their twin boys, Wright returns to the region on a tour in support of her new Americana EP Revival, which Rolling Stone Country called a “joyous” collection of “empowering affirmations,” singling out “Say the Word” as “a luminescent slice of ’70s AM pop.” Opening for Wright is Philadelphia’s Christine Havrilla, touring in support of her new album Sunless Escapade, recorded with her rock/blues/country band Gypsy Fuzz. Sunday, Oct. 13. Doors at 5:30 p.m. Jammin Java, 227 Maple Ave. E. Vienna. Tickets are $15 to $25. Call 703-255-3747 or visit www.jamminjava.com.
The Washington Post calls the 12-piece band sometimes known by its full name of Chopteeth Afrofunk Big Band as “a storming powerhouse of big-band African funk…smart, tight and relentlessly driving.” The Afrobeat-driven group has won 13 Washington Area Music Association Awards, including Artist of the Year in 2008 and as best World Music Group the last nine years in a row. Chopteeth performs regularly throughout the region. Friday, Oct. 11. Doors at 7 p.m. Pearl Street Warehouse, 33 Pearl St. SW. Tickets are $20. Call 202-380-9620 or visit www.pearlstreetwarehouse.com.
Dubbed “the queer Adele” by L-Mag, D.C.’s power-piped singer-songwriter Mae writes and performs earnest and affirming folk/pop music sharing personal stories and struggles, all with the intent of making “the world a better place.” Mae’s latest self-released collection, Glimmer, pivots on the theme of “feel to heal” through 11 songs exploring different facets of her identity as a young, queer, plus-sized, bipolar woman — including her #MeToo-inspired anthem “Warrior,” recorded with a large, all-female choir, and “You Are My Favorite,” a love song to her wife inspired by their recent wedding. Mae’s next local stop is a headlining show in the date-perfect Wine Garden at City Winery DC. Friday, Oct. 4. Doors at 6:30 p.m. 1350 Okie St. NE. Tickets are $17 to $20. Call 202-250-2531 or visit www.citywinery.com.
Touted by the Boston Globe as the “troubadour laureate of modern city folk,” the New York-based Kaplansky has collaborated with Suzanne Vega, Shawn Colvin, and Dar Williams, among other contemporaries who, for one reason or another, have had more mainstream success than she. You might call her a folkie’s folkie. Kaplansky returns to the area on a tour celebrating her most recent album, last year’s Everyday Street. Thursday, Oct. 10, at 8 p.m. The Barns at Wolf Trap, 1635 Trap Road, Vienna. Tickets are $28 to $30. Call 877-WOLFTRAP or visit www.wolftrap.org.
A headliner at last year’s Capital Pride Concert, the New York-based pop singer-songwriter is known from his stint as a main cast member on the Nickelodeon series How to Rock, as well as for “Lights Down Low,” his moving power ballad that has been a streaming juggernaut in recent years. More recently, the 27-year-old LGBTQ ally was a Best New Pop Artist nominee at the iHeartRadio Music Awards. MAX returns to the area for a concert in support of his forthcoming new album House of Divine, including his newest radio hit “Love Me Less” featuring rapper Quinn XCII. Sunday, Oct. 6. Doors at 7 p.m. U Street Music Hall, 1115A U St. NW. Tickets are $27 and include a copy or link to MAX’s new album. Call 202-588-1880 or visit www.ustreetmusichall.com.
NSO: CARMINA BURANA
Because of its de-facto status as one of Hollywood’s go-to classical works, even non-classical aficionados likely know “O fortuna,” the extravagantly dramatic and thundering opening number in Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. Next weekend, the National Symphony Orchestra offers the special treat of hearing the lively, dramatic cantata performed in full when it corrals a troupe of nearly 200 singers, including the esteemed 160-person Choral Arts Society of Washington, the Children’s Chorus of Washington, and three featured soloists: soprano Amy Owens, soprano, Elliot Madore, baritone, and Santiago Ballerini, the latter performing what is said to be one of the most difficult pieces in the tenor repertoire. The singers will be accompanied by the NSO’s 96-member orchestra under the baton of Maestro Gianandrea Noseda. In addition to the Orff classic, billed as a “symphonic experience sacred and profane,” the program also includes J. Higdon’s blue cathedral and Poulenc’s Litanies à la Vierge Noire. Following the first concert, on Thursday, Oct. 3, at 7 p.m., comes a free AfterWords discussion featuring some of the guest artists and musicians and moderated by the NSO’s Nigel Boon. Additional performances Friday, Oct. 4, and Saturday, Oct. 5, at 8 p.m. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Tickets are $15 to $99. Call 202-467-4600 or visit www.kennedy-center.org.
OTTMAR LIEBERT & LUNA NEGRA
A German guitarist and songwriter performs with his band original Spanish-influenced New Age instrumental music. Liebert’s most recent album Slow celebrates the positive impact on heart rate and blood pressure that some studies have suggested can result from listening to what he calls “slow music,” otherwise known as easy listening or smooth jazz. He returns to promote the new set Fete, which will be available at his upcoming concerts. Wednesday, Oct. 9, at 7:30 p.m. The Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. Tickets are $35. Call 703-549-7500 or visit www.birchmere.com.
Radkey is a punk band of three teenage black brothers from what no one considers a hotbed of punk, St. Joseph, Mo. Where the Pony Express started and Jesse James died, St. Joe, just a little more than an hour north of Kansas City, is not even known for much in the way of African-American history or culture. In fact, it was the movie School of Rock that most inspired these boys, whose real last name is Radke, to stir things up, offering what USA Today has called “a refreshing reboot of punk rock.” Friday, Oct. 11. Doors at 8 p.m. Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. Tickets are $15. Call 202-667-4490 or visit www.blackcatdc.com.
Sheila Escovedo came to fame more than three decades ago as Prince’s drummer, songwriter, musical director, and paramour. In recent years, Sheila E. has toured through the area with her electrifying solo show featuring her Latin-flavored soul/pop hits (“The Glamorous Life,” “Love Bizarre”) as well as the hits-that-should-have-been — with a focus on songs from 2013’s Icon. Her first studio album in 13 years, Icon fully displays the artist’s skill at songcraft and prowess in percussion, even the vocal kind known as beatboxing, per the impressive, all-vocal track “Don’t Make Me (Bring My Timbales Out).” Her timbales will be out and used to full effect in her return to the Howard Theatre next weekend. Saturday, Oct. 5, at 8 p.m. 620 T St. NW. Tickets are $49.50 to $79.50, plus $10 minimum per person for all tables. Call 202-588-5595 or visit www.thehowardtheatre.com.
The brassy, bisexual cabaret performer who moonlights as a featured vocalist with Pink Martini returns to Maryland’s Amp by Strathmore for another no-holds-barred evening of humor and music. “I have no mouth cap,” Large said to Metro Weekly a few years ago. “When I talk, sometimes it’s dirty; I’m not that kind of girl who’ll just put on a pretty dress and sing.” Thursday, Oct. 3, and Friday, Oct. 4, at 8 p.m. 11810 Grand Park Ave. in North Bethesda. Remaining tickets are $35 to $45. Call 301-581-5100 or visit ampbystrathmore.com.
THE FOUR BITCHIN’ BABES
Sally Fingerett, comedic singer Deirdre Flint, and former The Hags singer Debi Smith are more than 25 years into their run as a comedic music ensemble, always performing as a quartet, with the fourth performer in regular rotation among Nancy Moran, founding Babe Megon McDonough, or Christine Lavin — who assumes the mantle for 2019. In an interview with Metro Weekly several years ago, Smith summed up the Babes’ songwriting and performing, “We look at life, as it’s happening, usually in a comedic way — [and] through a wacky viewfinder.” A taste of what’s on offer can be found in the title of their most recent show, Hormonal Imbalance v2.5: A Mood Swinging Musical Revue. Friday, Oct. 4, at 8 p.m. Weinberg Center for the Arts, 20 W. Patrick St. Frederick, Md. Tickets are $15 to $30. Call 301-600-2828 or visit www.weinbergcenter.org.
FURIA FLAMENCA DANCE COMPANY: CAFE FLAMENCO
Estela Velez de Paredez founded the Furia Flamenca Dance Company 16 years ago, with a focus on combining flamenco’s gypsy heritage with modern flamenco choreography to produce an elegant balance of motion and energy. Cafe Flamenco features performances by dancers with the company, a legacy resident entity of Joy of Motion Dance Center, accompanied by guitarist Torcuato Zamora. Saturday, Oct. 5, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 6, at 5 p.m. Lab Theatre II in the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $25 to $40. Call 202-399-7993 or visit www.atlasarts.org.
MERCE CUNNINGHAM’S BEACH BIRDS, BIPED
The Kennedy Center opens its contemporary dance season with a program celebrating Merce Cunningham, a founder of modern dance who died a decade ago at age 90. Longtime Cunningham dancer and collaborator Robert Swinston will honor Cunningham’s legacy with two masterworks performed by the dance company Swinston currently leads, Compagnie Centre National de Danse Contemporaine-Angers. Cunningham’s Beach Birds, premiered in 1991, transforms the movements of a flock of birds into dance, while BIPED, circa 1999, unites technology and performance by incorporating projections of animated images superimposed on dancers. Performed as part of the Kennedy Center’s “Merce Cunningham at 100” series (see separate listing under Above & Beyond). Thursday, Oct. 3, and Friday, Oct. 4, at 8 p.m. Eisenhower Theater. Tickets are $25 to $79. Call 202-467-4600 or visit www.kennedy-center.org.
IMPROBABLE COMEDY: STAND-UP SILVER SPRING
A showcase of talent from right in our own backyard, the latest show from this Maryland-based company features Robert Mac, Sean Savoy, and Ali Cherry. Saturday, Sept. 28, at 8 and 10 p.m. Cissel-Saxon American Legion Post 41, 8110 Fenton St., Silver Spring. Tickets are $16 to $20 in advance, or $25 at the door. Call 301-588-8937 or visit wwww.improbablecomedy.com.
THE IMPROVISED SHAKESPEARE COMPANY
Yet another renowned improv troupe out of Chicago, this one focused on creating a fully improvised play in Elizabethan style based on one audience suggestion: a title for a play that has yet to be written. The play then develops as if it were springing forth from Shakespeare’s pen whole cloth, taking the form of a tragedy, history or a comedy, depending on where the improvisers’ minds wander. But no matter how serious it might get, there’s guaranteed to be plenty of laughs and hysterical hijinks from this company that the New York Times says will make you “laugh your iams off,” as in iambic pentameter. To Oct. 6. Kennedy Center Family Theater. Tickets are $39 to $49. Call 202-467-4600 or visit www.kennedy-center.org.
BART FORBES: GAY FAIRFAX
Gay Fairfax, a pioneering newsmagazine program that ran on Fairfax County’s public access cable station in the 1990s, will be the basis of an upcoming discussion about the history and future of LGBTQ civil rights in Northern Virginia. Forbes, one of the show’s producers and hosts, will be interviewed by local historian John Peter Olinger at the Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center as part of the institution’s Second Sunday series. Sunday, Oct. 13, at 2 p.m. 10209 Main St. aka Little River Turnpike, Virginia. Call 703-385-8414 or visit www.fairfaxva.gov/visitors.
THE ECSTATIC MESSAGE: TALKING MUSIC AND MOVING IMAGE ART
The Smithsonian American Art Museum welcomes two contemporary video artists for a conversation exploring the interplay of music and images across their careers. Both artists frequently collaborate with and occasionally feature musicians in their work, such as Gary’s documentary on queer rapper Cakes Da Killa and Jafa’s music video for Cassandra Wilson. Saturday, October 12, 3 p.m. McEvoy Auditorium, Lower Level, 8th and F Streets NW. Free. Call 202-633-1000 or visit www.americanart.si.edu.
LEGAL SEA FOODS: 11TH ANNUAL OYSTER FESTIVAL
Once again two area outposts of the Massachusetts-based seafood chain celebrates all things bivalves. Fried oysters are available in the following styles, priced at three for $12: Buffalo with blue cheese, celery hearts, and radish; BBQ with coleslaw and BBQ mayo; Sriracha Lime with roasted corn salsa and crispy shallots; or as an “Oyster BLT” with chipotle mayo. Baked Oysters (three for $14) are prepared as a Lobster Spinach Oyster bake with cheese and herbed crumbs; Oyster Scampi with shrimp, garlic butter, and white wine; Crab & Cheese Oyster with Jonah crab, horseradish, cheddar, and cream cheese; or Scallop Mushroom Oyster with Romano, truffle oil, and tarragon. A variety of oysters will also be available raw, served on the half shell, with selections and prices changing daily depending on what’s available. Wash it all down with this year’s official festival drink, the Deadrise, a $12 concoction of Tito’s Handmade vodka, muddled cucumber, lime, and grapefruit bitters. Available at lunch and dinner daily now through Oct. 9. Two area locations: 704 7th St. NW (202-347-0007) and 320 23rd St. S., Crystal City, Va. (703-415-1200). Visit www.legalseafoods.com.
ANDY WARHOL’S SILVER CLOUDS PLAYGROUND
Tasked by Andy Warhol to make a “floating light bulb,” engineer Billy Klüver developed what the two dubbed “Silver Clouds,” made of helium and oxygen-filled metalized plastic film and presented as part of an interactive installation combining art and technology in which the viewer becomes part of the exhibit. The Kennedy Center currently has the “Silver Clouds” on display as part of its “Merce Cunningham at 100” series. The late, gay modern dance pioneer incorporated Warhol’s clouds into one of his iconic works, 1968’s RainForest. Visitors can view and play with the clouds and also watch a videotaped performance of the Cunningham choreography. On display Wednesday, Oct. 2. To Saturday, Oct. 5. Studio J. Free. Call 202-467-4600 or visit www.kennedy-center.org.
ART INSPIRED BY THE TWILIGHT ZONE
For its latest group exhibition, Alexandria’s quirky Del Ray Artisans Gallery invited its member artists to explore humanity’s hopes, despairs, and prejudices in metaphoric ways that go beyond what could be seen on conventional TV. In other words, to create works of art or photography influenced or inspired by or referencing the classic scifi TV show that first started exploring another dimension 60 years ago this year. Opening Reception is Friday, Oct. 4, from 7 to 9 p.m. On display to Oct. 27. 2704 Mount Vernon Ave. Alexandria. Call 703-731-8802 or visit www.thedelrayartisans.org.
LOS CARPINTEROS: CUBA VA!
An Intersections installation from Marco Castillo and Dagoberto Rodríguez, current members of the internationally acclaimed Cuban artist collective Los Carpinteros. Cuba Va! features two videos and a group of LED sculptural portraits rendered as heroic revolutionaries, all of which continue the artists’ focus on creating rather subversive artworks offering a social landscape of Cuba’s modern history, at once utopian and dystopian. Opens with a free Artist Talk featuring Los Carpinteros along with Vesela Sretenovic, the museum’s senior curator of modern and contemporary art, on Thursday, Oct. 10, at 6:30 p.m. On display to Jan. 12. The Phillips Collection, 1600 21st St. NW. Tickets are $10 to $12, or free for Phillips members. Visit www.phillipscollection.org.
Named after a Latin phrase meaning “remember that you will die,” a current group exhibition in Old Town’s Torpedo Factory Art Center confronts the single most inevitable fact of all human existence. Memento Mori also explores how death shapes life, in transformative as well as self-restraining and self-descructive ways. The 28 works on display in the contemporary-focused Target Gallery range from figurative to abstract to conceptual, but many are “deeply personal, referring to the artist’s own brush with death or loss of a loved one,” according to the show’s juror Laura Roulet. The show’s centerpiece is Diamond Wave II by Madaline Gardner of Greencastle, Penn., a large, monochromatic work with hypnotic, silver-lined formations that create a void and conjure life’s impermanence. Although a majority of the works come from artists based elsewhere, including one from Italy, the show features a dozen artists from the Washington region, including Tom Greaves and Jon-Joseph Russo of D.C., Ceci Cole McInturff and Henrik Sundqvist of Alexandria, Kerry Hentges and Angela Kleis of Fairfax, and Aziz Raad and David Terrar of Gaithersburg. Now to Nov. 3. Public Reception is Friday, Oct. 11, from 7 to 10 p.m. 105 North Union St. Alexandria. Free. Call 703-838-4565 or visit www.torpedofactory.org.
PERFECTING TIMELESSNESS WITH JACK BOUL
Referred to as the “dean of Washington printmakers,” Jack Boul will exhibit his latest series of oil paintings, monotypes, and and works of sculpture at the historic Arts Club of Washington throughout most of October. The works on display, according to curator Erik Denker of the National Gallery of Art, highlight the “intimacy” and “timeless quality” to Boul’s work. A former teacher at American University and founding member of the Washington Studio School, the 92-year-old Boul works mostly out of his Bethesda gallery. Opening Reception is Friday, Oct. 4, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., while a Reception with the Artist, hosted by Boul, is Saturday, Oct. 5, from 10 a.m. to noon. On display to Oct. 27. MacFeely Gallery in the Cleveland Abbe House, 2017 I St. NW. Call 202-331-7282 or visit https://artsclubofwashington.org.
A D.C.-based Iranian-American artist and human rights activist is next to get the LGBTQ Artisans spotlight by virtue of an exhibition of his works at the Center Arts Gallery in the DC Center for the LGBT Community. Through digital manipulation of photography and video, Pax creates digital collages examining topics such as immigration and identity central to his experiences as a queer teenage refugee from Iran with views of America often at odds with reality. Pax’s works combine original, realistic photos with twists of fantasy, distorted reflections, and imagined or otherworldly projections. Opening Reception, with light fare and beverages, is Saturday, Oct. 5, from 7 to 9 p.m. The DC Center for the LGBT Community, 2000 14th St. NW. Call 202-682-2245 or visit www.thedccenter.org.
ADAMS MORGAN PORCHFEST
An eclectic and eccentric festival showcasing the rhythms that make the city’s legendary, multicultural neighborhood move. Launched in 2013, PorchFest features dozens of local musicians and musical acts in a mix of ages and expertise, performing everything from brass to R&B, folk to rock, and Latin to reggae in pop-up venues on porches and patios of historic homes and local businesses throughout the neighborhood’s leafy residential streets. Each location hosts three 45-minute sets. Saturday, Oct. 5, from 2 to 6 p.m. Starting point is SunTrust Plaza, 18th Street and Columbia Road NW. Free. Call 202-997-0783 or visit www.admoporchfest.com.
FORD’S THEATRE’S HISTORY ON FOOT
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 www.fords.org.
KENNEDY CENTER’S MERCE CUNNINGHAM AT 100 SERIES
The first week of October the Kennedy Center hosts a multi-disciplinary series of events honoring the centennial of the late modern dance legend — in addition to a centerpiece dance program led by Cunningham’s protégé Robert Swinston (see separate listing under Dance). The schedule includes “Cunningham on Film,” a two-hour cinematic display of four short works either created for camera or captured on film, culminating in Daniel Madoff’s short doc Merce 100, on Friday, Oct. 4, and Saturday, Oct. 5, at 7 p.m., on the REACH’s Video Wall; and “Let’s Talk Dance: The Artistic Process and Celebrations of Merce Cunningham,” a conversation led by Swinston on Saturday, Oct. 5, at 4 p.m., in the REACH’s Justice Forum. Call 202-467-4600 or visit www.kennedy-center.org.
MARYLAND RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL
As summer nears its end, thoughts naturally turn to jousting, feasting, crafts, theater, music, and merriment. Yes, it’s time once again for one of the world’s largest festivals recreating 16th century England. Now in its 43rd season and set in a park outside of Annapolis, Md., the festival encourages patrons to dress up in period costume. They’re available to rent if you don’t have your own doublet and hose. Just don’t bring weapons, real or toy, or pets, as they tend to eat the turkey legs. It all takes place in the 27-acre Village of Revel Grove, where more than 200 professionals perform as characters of the era, naturally led by His Most Royal Highness King Henry VIII, wandering the steeds and streets when not on the village’s 10 stages or in the 3,000-seat arena, where a headline attraction is the jousting troupe Debracey Productions with its field full of horses, men in armor, chariots, trick riding and thrills for all ages. Also on hand are over 140 artisans exhibiting their predominantly handmade crafts in renaissance shops, five taverns and watering holes helping adult patrons stay hydrated and in good spirits, and 42 food and beverage emporiums to quench the hunger and thirst of even the youngest and most discerning. Weekends through Oct. 20. 1821 Crownsville Road, Annapolis, Md. Tickets are $23 to $27; passes range from $41 for a 2-Day Pass to $160 for a Season Pass. Call 800-296-7304 or visit www.rennfest.com.
STATE OF ART/D.C.: A CONVERSATION
The Smithsonian American Art Museum hosts the fifth in a series of discussions examining the state of the visual arts with a diverse group of local artistic leaders. Writer and art critic Kriston Capps of CityLab and formerly of the Washington City Paper will moderate a panel discussion with representatives from area museums, galleries, and nonprofits, as well as local artists, creative entrepreneurs, and collectors, plus special introductions by Stephanie Stebich of SAAM and Jessica L. Porter of ArtTable Inc. Thursday, October 10, 5:30 p.m. Kogod Courtyard, 8th and F Streets NW. Tickets are $30. Call 202-633-1000 or visit www.americanart.si.edu.
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