Metro Weekly

Editor’s Picks: My Fair Lady, Tribute to Aretha Franklin, The Newseum, and more

Our picks of the best arts and entertainment in the D.C. area this week

George MacKay in “1917”


Sam Mendes (Skyfall, American Beauty) wrote and directed this film, set during the Great War and based on a story told by his grandfather. Two young soldiers, Schofield (Pride‘s George MacKay) and Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman), are given a near-impossible task — save a battalion of 1,600 men from marching into a trap by delivering a message through the battlefields of the war. The cruel twist? One of those 1,600 men is Blake’s brother. Mendes’ film, which is filmed as though it’s one single, continuous take, doesn’t shy from showing the horror and brutality of trench warfare — and the toll it took on the men who bravely fought, and died, for their countries. Opens Wednesday, Dec. 25. Area theaters. Visit (Rhuaridh Marr)

Lerner & Lowe’s My Fair Lady: Lauren Ambrose, Eliza Doolittle, Harry Hadden-Paton — Photo: Joan Marcus


The classic musical about a young Cockney lass who becomes a “proper lady” for an older, well-to-do man comes to new life in a Lincoln Center Theater production helmed by Bartlett Sher. Lerner & Loewe’s My Fair Lady features several gems that have become American Songbook standards, including “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “The Rain in Spain,” and “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly.” Now to Jan. 19. Kennedy Center Opera House. Tickets are $39 to $159. Call 202-467-4600 or visit

Gogol Bordello


Two years ago, the New York-based international gypsy/punk group helped ring in the new year at the just-opened Anthem along with local stars Thievery Corporation and Trouble Funk. Now, the boisterous and large live act, led by flamboyant singer Eugene Hütz and featuring members from at least six different countries, from Ukraine to Ethiopia to Ecuador, headlines the 9:30 Club for a two-night run to usher in the new decade. Dub Trio opens. Monday, Dec. 30, and Tuesday, Dec. 31. Doors at 7 p.m. 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. Tickets are $35 and include a complimentary midnight champagne toast on New Year’s Eve. Call 202-265-0930 or visit

Start Making Sense — Photo: Steph Craig Photo


Jon Braun leads this New York-based seven-piece band that pays tribute to David Byrne by faithfully recreating the music of Talking Heads including the hits “Once In A Lifetime,” “Burning Down the House,” and “Psycho Killer,” as well as other songs the band never performed live. Opening the show is singer/multi-instrumentalist Ruby Dear, also a member of Start Making Sense. Sunday, Dec. 29, at 7:30 p.m. The Hamilton, 600 14th St. NW. Tickets are $18 to $25. Call 202-787-1000 or visit

Step Afrika! — Photo: Edward C. Jones


The local percussive dance company dedicated to the tradition of stepping presents its annual holiday step show intended for audiences aged four years and up. The focus is on getting North Pole animals — polar bears, penguins — to step. And all to music by “Frosty the Snowman,” putting the needle on the record as special guest DJ. In addition to the show featuring friendly, furry characters, the holiday tradition at the Atlas Performing Arts Center includes pre-show instrument-making workshops, photo ops, and a dance party. Closes Sunday, Dec. 22. The Sprenger Theatre, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $25 to $45. Call 202-399-7993 or visit

One Man Stranger things — Photo: Diane Smithers


Over the years this nerdy comedian Charles Ross has patented a brand of irreverent, succinct parodies of popular science fiction/fantasy franchises, everything from One-Man Star Wars Trilogy to One-Man Lord of the Rings to One-Man Dark Knight. These CliffsNotes-esque theatrical shows include plenty of pop culture references and side-jokes to broaden the appeal beyond their core fan bases. Ross returns to the Birchmere with his newest enterprise, a parody of the hit Netflix series Stranger Things. Sunday, Jan. 5, at 7:30 p.m. 3701 Mount Vernon Ave. Tickets are $35. Call 703-549-7500 or visit

Uncut Gems


Filmmaking brothers Josh and Benny Safdie have managed something so incredible, so unbelievable, that it may tear apart the very fabric of our reality: they have crafted a film that could put Adam Sandler in the running for an Oscar. Sandler stars as a charismatic New York City jeweler who makes a series of high-stakes bets in pursuit of the windfall of a lifetime, all while balancing his business, family, and encroaching adversaries. Critics are raving about Sandler, with the Guardian calling it a “towering performance from the often tiresome actor.” If that’s not a backhanded compliment, we don’t know what is. Opens Wednesday, Dec. 25. Area theaters. Visit (Rhuaridh Marr)

Dionne Warwick


Luke Frazier will lead the American Pops Orchestra in a tribute show in honor of the late Queen of Soul and as a signature New Year’s Eve event at the Kennedy Center. The illustrious lineup of artists includes the incomparable Dionne Warwick, Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child, Broadway’s Morgan James, local sensation Nova Payton, Rayshun LaMarr, a recent semi-finalist on The Voice, and jazz trumpeter and singer Bria Skonberg. Tuesday Dec. 31, at 8:30 p.m. at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Tickets are $59 to $139, which includes entrance to the Grand Foyer Party after the concert. Call 202-467-4600 or visit

Messiah conductor, Sir Andrew Davis


Two of the area’s great orchestras take on George Frideric Handel’s monumental Messiah a few days before Christmas. Sir Andre Davis leads the National Symphony Orchestra in his arrangement of the masterpiece along with the Washington Chorus and soloists Andriana Chuchman, soprano, Daniela Mack, mezzo-soprano, Alek Shrader, tenor, and Sidney Outlaw, bass. Thursday, Dec. 19, at 7 p.m., Friday, Dec. 20, and Saturday, Dec. 21, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 22, at 1 p.m. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Tickets are $15 to $119. Call 202-467-4600 or visit Meanwhile, Stan Engebretson conducts the National Philharmonic and its Chorale in what is being billed as the area’s “largest presentation” of the work. Soloists Esther Heideman, soprano, Magdalena Wór, mezzo-soprano, Matthew Smith, tenor, and Hunter Enoch, baritone, will join the orchestra’s principal trumpeter Chris Gekker, plus several high school choral scholars from across Montgomery County. Saturday, Dec. 21, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 22, at 3 p.m. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Tickets are $29 to $69. Call 301-581-5100 or visit

Cirque Dreams Holidaze — Photo: Ian Ibbetson


A decade ago Neil Goldberg, creator of Broadway’s Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy, launched this holiday extravaganza with over 30 artists pulling stunts, from gingerbread men flipping in mid-air to toy soldiers marching on thin wires to puppets caroling. It’s all performed to an original score plus some holiday favorites, and on a set that includes colossal candy canes and 30-foot towering toy soldiers. Friday, Dec. 20, at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 21, at 2 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 22, at 2 and 7:30 p.m., and Monday, Dec. 23, at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Theater at MGM National Harbor, 7100 Harborview Ave., Oxon Hill, Md. Call 844-346-4664 or visit

Rise Up exhibit at the Newseum


When the ball drops on 2019, it will also bring about the end of this permanent museum dedicated to the free press and the First Amendment. Although select exhibitions will be taken on the road for individual pop-up shows, the full Newseum collection of the Freedom Forum will be archived and moved as Johns Hopkins University takes over the property. So consider the next week your last chance to see, all in one place, standout exhibits including Rise Up: Stonewall and the LGBTQ Rights Movement, which spotlights, through artifacts, images, and historic print publications, the rise of the modern LGBTQ movement; Seriously Fun: From the Desk of “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” which explores the impact of the satirical news program on American politics and the press through four presidential campaigns, two wars, and the 9/11 terrorist attacks; the Pulitzer Prize Photographs Gallery, the most comprehensive collection of award-winning photographs ever assembled; Journalists Memorial, which honors reporters who have been threatened or died in the line of duty; and the Berlin Wall Gallery. The Newseum offers a daily, 60-minute guided First Amendment Highlights Tour. To Dec. 31. 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Tickets are $24.95 for general admission, plus $10 for the guided tour. Call 292-6100 or visit

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