Metro Weekly

5 Things to Do in D.C. This Week (and beyond)

From Bowie birthday bashes to performances at Wolf Trap, here are our picks for the week.

 
David Rubenstein

TV

The David Rubenstein Show

The late, beloved liberal Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is featured in the third season premiere of this nationally distributed public television talk show featuring wide-ranging, often provocative one-on-one conversations with some of today’s most successful leaders and prominent figures in business, government, arts and entertainment, sports, technology, and beyond.

Philanthropist David Rubenstein, the Chairman of the Kennedy Center, hosts the show, asking frank questions of his guests as they talk about their personal and professional choices and explore their paths to success.

Tim Cook

Rubenstein’s interview with Ginsburg is a special one-hour edition of the show airing on WETA this Friday, Jan. 8, at 8:30 p.m. The series, which PBS stations around the country will air at different times, will continue in half-hour segments on WETA every Friday at 8:30 p.m., starting with Rubenstein’s interview of Tim Cook, the gay CEO of Apple, on Jan. 15. The lineup continues with Lorne Michaels, creator of Saturday Night Live (Jan. 22), financial services guru Charles Schwab (Jan. 29), tech titan Bill Gates (Feb. 5), philanthropist Melinda Gates (Feb. 12), Aliko Dangote, CEO of the multinational African conglomerate Dangote Industries (Feb. 19), and golf legend Jack Nicklaus (Feb. 26).

Although exact air dates over the spring will be announced later, the third season will also spotlight opera legend Renée Fleming, Steve Ballmer, former CEO of Microsoft, Mark Benioff of Salesforce, and Jeff Bezos of Amazon. Visit www.weta.org.

Nova Y. Payton — Photo: Bonnie Feld.

STAGE

Signature’s Virtual Masterclasses

As part of its online programming during the pandemic, Signature Theatre has been offering weekly masterclasses exploring the many different facets of professional theater and stagecraft today guided by experts and leaders in the field. That’s certainly true with the next offering in the Thursday evening series on January 14 — a discussion, intended for “general audiences and musical lovers,” about musical theater orchestration featuring the legendary Jonathan Tunick, a longtime collaborator of Stephen Sondheim’s. Tunick will offer insight into how he orchestrates a show as well as sharing stories from his life and career in a conversation with Signature’s Resident Music Director Jon Kalbfleish.

Another highlight in the upcoming masterclass schedule is the Feb. 4 program, “Personalizing the Song with Nova Y. Payton.” Participants can watch along as the local vocal powerhouse, who has starred in everything from Dreamgirls and Assassins at Signature to The Amen Corner at Shakespeare Theatre Company, shares insights and tips on what she’s learned from the business to a group of pre-selected students.

And on Feb. 25, choreographer Rachel Leigh Dolan (Keegan Theatre’s Chicago, Olney Theatre’s Annie) will lead a “full body experience” focused on musicality and storytelling focused on teaching attendees her choreography for “You Can Leave Your Hat On” from The Full Monty. Other masterclasses will include “Spotlight on Theatrical Lighting” with Signature’s Master Electrician Dan Kimble (Jan. 21), an exercise in Street Jazz led by Dance Educator Dani Ebbin (Jan. 28), and “The World of Wigs” with headwear designer Anne Nesmith, whose handiwork was seen in Signature’s A Little Night Music (Feb. 11). All classes at 7 p.m. and take place over Zoom. Tickets are $10 each with registration required. Visit www.sigtheatre.org.

 
Lazarus: Michael C. Hall — Photo: Jan Versweyveld

David Bowie’s Lazarus

Mere months before he died in January of 2016, David Bowie debuted a musical he had been working on mostly in secret. Featuring a book by famed Irish playwright Enda Walsh (Once), Lazarus was inspired by the science fiction classic The Man Who Fell To Earth by Walter Tevis, also the source for the Nicolas Roeg movie that, in 1976, became Bowie’s first starring film role.

A contractual dispute ultimately kept Bowie from contributing music to the film as originally planned, so his musical became a way for him to fulfill that desire. In addition to a handful of new songs, the show features more than a dozen hits from Bowie’s repertoire, including “Changes,” “All The Young Dudes,” “Sound and Vision,” and “Heroes.”

All of that can be heard on the Lazarus recording from 2016 featuring the original New York cast, available wherever you stream music. Yet this weekend offers the rare chance to see a video of the actual show captured during its London run and in honor of both the London-born Bowie’s birthday — Jan. 8 — as well as the 5th anniversary of his death on Jan. 10. Michael C. Hall (Dexter) stars as the humanoid Thomas Newton in a production from innovative Dutch director Ivo van Hove (A View From The Bridge) and co-starring Sophia Anne Caruso (Broadway’s Beetlejuice). The show streams Friday, Jan. 8, and Saturday, Jan. 9, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, Jan. 10, at 3 p.m. Tickets are $21.50, with additional donations accepted to benefit the charities Theatre Artists Fund and Help Musicians. Visit www.Dice.fm.

David Bowie

MUSIC

A Bowie Celebration: Just For One Day!

Bowie will also be commemorated this weekend through a star-studded livestream celebrating the musician’s life and legacy. Many artists who either collaborated with or were influenced by Bowie will perform on Friday, Jan. 8, which would have been the legend’s 74th birthday, as part of a three hour concert. Scheduled acts include Duran Duran, Boy George & Culture Club, Adam Lambert, Trent Reznor, Peter Frampton, Perry Farrell, Cory Glover, Macy Gray, William Corgan, Gavin Rossdale, Joe Elliott, Andra Day, David Sanborn, and Charlie Sexton.

Duran Duran

The concert was organized by pianist Mike Garson, Bowie’s longest and most frequent band member, who performed with Bowie on both his first and last concerts in the United States, with 1,000 concerts around the world in between. Garson will be one among many alumni of the various Bowie bands over the years, from those musicians who worked on his 1969 self-titled debut to those featured on his 25th and final studio album, 2016’s Blackstar, plus his longtime record producer, musician Tony Visconti.

Also appearing is Lazarus star Michael C. Hall, comedian Ricky Gervais, and actor Gary Oldman. And Bowie’s preferred charity Save The Children, the designated beneficiary for Bowie’s 50th Birthday Concert in Madison Square Garden in 1997, will benefit from the livestream, garnering $2 from every ticket sold. Friday, Jan. 8, at 9 p.m. Tickets, allowing unlimited streaming for 24 hours, are $25. Visit www.rollinglivestudios.com.

David Shifrin — Photo: Tristan Cook

Chamber Music at the Barns

While it remains unfeasible to host live performances in its acoustically rich and intimate Barns space, Wolf Trap offers a slate of digital alternatives instead, including a curated series focused on chamber music artists from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Organized by the New York organization’s Wu Han, who is also head of Wolf Trap’s chamber music programming, “Front Row: National” features four musicians, who will each get a turn in the spotlight through virtuosic performances along with a documentary-style introduction of the artist plus a pre-recorded post-show Q&A. “The four featured musicians will take you to intimate spaces where you will experience not only the most glorious music, but also the musicians’ resilient spirit,” Han says. “These are programs specially selected to lift your spirits and fill your soul, and we hope you find joy and inspiration through them.”

The first concert is Sunday, Jan. 17, at 7:30 p.m., with clarinetist David Shifrin in a performance of Luigi Bassi’s Concert Fantasia on Themes from Verdi’s Rigoletto. Pianist Gloria Chien will accompany Shifrin on that piece as well as Duke Ellington’s Clarinet Lament. The program will be rounded out by a performance of Mozart’s Quintet in A Major led by Shifrin and also featuring violinists Danbi Um and Bella Hristova, violist Mark Holloway, and cellist Dmitri Atapine.

Gloria Chien — Photo: Pilvax Oberyn Studio

Chien then moves into the spotlight on Friday, Feb. 5, at 7:30 p.m., for a program featuring Field’s Nocturne No. 2 in C Minor, Liszt’s Grand duo concertant sur la romance de “Le Marin” with violinist Benjamin Beilman, and Mendelssohn’s Quartet in C Minor with violinist Sean Lee, violist Richard O’Neill, and cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan. The series continues into the spring with two additional offerings, one featuring violinist Arnaud Sussmann in small ensemble performances of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 in G Major and Chausson’s Concerto in D Major, on Friday, March 12, at 7:30 p.m.; the other with pianist Anne-Marie McDermott leading performances of Mozart’s Concerto in D Minor and Smetana’s Trio in G Minor, on Friday, April 9, at 7:30 p.m. All performances will be available for a five-day period following the initial stream. Visit www.wolftrap.org.

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Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @ruleonwriting.

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