Metro Weekly

Out On the Town: D.C. arts & entertainment highlights, November 30-December 6

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

Meet Me In St. Louis



Landmark’s West End Cinema continues its winter season of Capital Classics with 1947’s Dark Passage, the third of four films Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall made together. In the stylish film-noir thriller, Bogart plays a prison escapee framed for murder. He emerges from plastic surgery with a new face, with Bacall his sole ally. Meanwhile, Agnes Moorehead portrays a harpy who takes pleasure in the unhappiness of others, providing great pleasure for the viewer in the process. Happy Hour-priced beer and wine from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Screening Wednesday, Dec. 6, at 1:30, 4:30, and 7:30 p.m. Landmark’s West End Cinema, 2301 M St. NW. Tickets are $12.50. Call 202-534-1907 or visit


Vincente Minnelli cast Judy Garland in his 1944 classic, and all her singing and dancing — “The Trolley Song,” “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” — led to romancing, marriage and baby Liza. The Silver Theatre kicks off the month of December with the 1944 holiday-themed classic, and then mid-month — Wednesday, Dec. 13 — Landmark’s West End Cinema offers it as part of itsCapital Classics series. Friday, Dec. 1, at 4 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 3, at 11 a.m., and Monday, Dec. 4, through Wednesday, Dec. 6, at 2:45 p.m. AFI Silver Theatre, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. Tickets are $13 general admission. Call 301-495-6720 or visit


Unashamedly niche in its subject matter, but definitely broad in appeal, James Franco both directs and stars in this comedy-drama biopic about the making of Tommy Wiseau’s 2003 cult film The Room, widely considered one of the worst films ever made. Franco is Wiseau, with his brother Dave Franco as line producer and co-star Greg Sestero. Seth Rogen, Alison Brie, Melanie Griffith and more are on the cast list, but expect even more cameos. Critics are absolutely loving it. Opens Friday, Dec. 1. Area theaters. Visit (Rhuaridh Marr)


Touted as hilarious, uplifting and crowd-pleasing, Petra Biondina Volpe’s drama is set in 1971 Switzerland, a time when women were surprisingly still denied the right to vote and wives were legally considered the property and at the mercy of their husbands. An Audience Award winner at the Tribeca Film Festival, Switzerland’s official selection as Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards stars Marie Leuenberger as the reluctant local leader of the women’s suffrage movement after her husband forbids her from getting a part-time job. Opens Friday, Dec. 1. Landmark’s E Street Cinema, 555 11th St. NW. Call 202-452-7672 or visit


Norway’s official pick for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar pivots on the sparks that fly between its title character and another beautiful young female student. The dynamic provokes Thelma to have mysterious, dangerous supernatural seizures, as she becomes increasingly overwhelmed by her intense, irrepressible feelings for Anja. Joachim Trier’s horror film has been described as a cross between Stephen King and Ingmar Bergman. Subtitled. Opens Friday, Dec. 1. Landmark’s West End Cinema, 2301 M St. NW. Call 202-534-1907 or visit

Olney Theatre: Annie



You’ve no doubt heard of Tuna, Texas, “the third smallest town” in the Lone Star State, and the setting of a series of plays originally brought to life by Joe Sears and Jaston Williams. The second in the series, A Tuna Christmas premiered in 1989 and went on to Broadway in 1994, garnering a Tony nomination for Sears in the process. A new, local production of this Texas-sized Yuletide satire comes from siblings Thomas and Dillon DiSalvo, who portray the town’s 22 eccentric denizens. The production is directed by a third DiSalvo brother, Frank Jr., making this the definitive family affair. Friday, Dec. 8, at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 9, and Sunday, Dec. 10, at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Callan Theatre in the Hartke Theater complex at Catholic University, 3801 Harewood Rd. NE. Tickets are $16 to $20. Call 202-460-2188 or visit


The sun’ll come out tomorrow and every day this holiday season at Olney Theatre Center. Forty years after composer Charles Strouse, lyricist Martin Charnin, and book writer Thomas Meehan teamed up for the feel-good musical about a determinedly optimistic little orphan girl, countless other, real-life kids have been inspired by the popular work to become theater performers (or at least theater queens) in their own right. The latest is Noelle Robinson, who heads a cast of 32, including Rachel Zampelli as Miss Hannigan, Kevin McAllister as Daddy Warbucks, and Wilson Jermaine Heredia as Rooster Hannigan. To Dec. 31. Mainstage, Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney, Md. Call 301-924-3400 or visit


Tina Fey’s hit film transformed as a musical and the hottest ticket in town — especially since its stop at the National Theatre is a tryout prior to its Broadway debut, set for the spring. Fey has written the show’s book with music by her husband and 30 Rock composer Jeff Richmond and lyrics by Nell Benjamin (Legally Blonde). Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon) directs. In previews. Closes Sunday, Dec. 3. The National Theatre, 1321 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Tickets are $48 to $128, although the National will hold a ticket lottery before each show, and individuals may submit their names at the box office to win up to two tickets at $25 each. Twenty lottery seats will be available for each performance, with names drawn 90 minutes prior to the show. Call 202-628-6161 or visit


Now that another Kennedy Center run of the popular Mormon-themed musical has come and gone, the outré Landless Theatre Company presents a similarly themed yet wackier musical comedy that goes beyond mere parody. Written and composed by Leo Schwartz, Book of Merman weaves a story about a chance encounter between two Mormon missionaries and Broadway’s legendary original diva, Ethel Merman, who shares advice and insights for the boys. To Dec. 8. District of Columbia Arts Center, 2438 18th St. NW. Tickets are $25. Call 202-462-7833 or visit


In an unusual twist, artistic director Molly Smith turns over directing reins for this season’s Golden Age Musical to Alan Paul, who has proven his mettle with musicals at Shakespeare Theatre Company. Choreographer Parker Esse joins to try to rouse interest in this classic battle-of-the-sexes. To Dec. 24. Mead Center for American Theater, 1101 6th St. SW. Call 202-488-3300 or visit


Actor/journalist Dan Hoyle brings to life the characters he met traveling outside “the liberal bubble,” presented as part of Mosaic Theater’s “Transformational Journeys” and staged in repertory in the month of December with Draw The Circle. Charlie Varon directs. To Dec. 22. Atlas Performing Arts Center, Lab Theatre II, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $25 to $65. Call 202-399-7993 or visit

John DeLancie — Photo: C. Stanley Photography


Mosaic Theater Company presents a Trump-inspired satire by Jon Robin Baitz (Other Desert Cities), the gay playwright assaulted by a Trump supporter after the inauguration. A play about an Iranian tailor and his apprentice struggling to make a suit out of vicuna wool for a real-estate tycoon running for president, Baitz has updated the work to include rumination on the assault for the Mosaic Theater production. Closes Sunday, Dec. 3. Atlas Performing Arts Center, Lang Theatre, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $20 to $65. Call 202-399-7993 or visit

Dark Star Orchestra



The Washington Post has referred to this 12-piece band as “a storming powerhouse of big-band African funk…smart, tight and relentlessly driving.” Chopteeth has already won a number of Washington Area Music Association Awards, including Artist of the Year in 2008. The Afrobeat-driven group performs regularly throughout the region, but makes its debut at the new District Wharf’s more intimate concert venue. Saturday, Dec. 9. Doors at 7 p.m. Pearl Street Warehouse, 33 Pearl St. SW. Tickets are $20. Call 202-380-9620 or visit


The annual return of the Chicago-based tribute band to the Grateful Dead. The show obsessively recreates a set list from a specific performance — this year, the July 14, 1991, concert at RFK Stadium — with the goal of “raising the Dead” for Deadheads. Even original members of the Dead themselves have sung the orchestra’s praises. Saturday, Dec. 2. Doors at 6 p.m. The Anthem, 901 Wharf St. SW. Tickets are $40 to $60. Call 202-265-0930 or visit


So what if he’s Jewish? The gay, smooth saxophonist Dave Koz loves Christmas songs and has had a hit with this annual Christmas show at Strathmore. Performers joining Koz include original Christmas tour bandmates, pianist David Benoit and guitarist Peter White, plus trumpeter Rick Braun and singer Selina Albright. Monday, Dec. 4, at 8 p.m. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Tickets are $48 to $88. Call 301-581-5100 or visit


The Capitol Pride Symphonic Band and other small ensembles from this LGBT music organization will perform concert versions of holiday tunes at the free annual holiday concert that also doubles as a food drive for Food and Friends. Sunday, Dec. 10, at 3 p.m. The Lutheran Church of the Reformation, 212 East Capitol St. NE. Free, with request for food drive donations. Call 202-269-4868 or visit


One of the true legends, Harris’s concert is billed as “An Intimate Performance Benefiting Bonaparte’s Retreat,” the dog rescue organization the singer founded in Nashville. A Washington Post critic once described Harris as the “silken-voiced muse of a summer night,” but her eloquent, expressive country-folk is welcome even in the dead of fall. Joining Harris is country couple Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams, as well as D.C.’s Craig Grossi, a veteran who rescued a stray dog while serving in Afghanistan. Sunday, Dec. 10. Doors at 6:30 p.m. The Hamilton, 600 14th St. NW. Tickets are $90 to $250. Call 202-787-1000 or visit


Blending the sexy and playful with the sweet and sentimental, the holiday show is one of the chorus’s most popular. In addition to the standard seasonal and sensational offerings, the concert features performances by the ensembles Potomac Fever and Rock Creek Singers, as well as the LGBT youth choir GenOUT. This year’s offering incorporates stories of holiday memories and growing up gay, as told by several members, part of a season-long push to personalize the 200-strong chorus. “In a time when our social discourse can seem toxic,” artistic director Thea Kano says, “it is vital that we share our stories and remind everyone that there is far more that unites us than divides us.”

Saturday, Dec. 9, at 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 16, at 3 and 8 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 17, at 3 p.m. Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U St. NW. Tickets are $25 to $65. Call 202-328-6000 or visit


Gloria Reuben, who currently has a recurring roles on USA’s satisfyingly bizarre Mr. Robot, first came to broad national attention on NBC’s ’90s-era hit E.R., on which she played HIV-positive nurse Jeanie Boulet, a role that inspired her to become an HIV/AIDS activist. But the actress has long had a side career in music and comes to Blues Alley to show off her chops with her “Great Ladies of Song” cabaret. She’ll perform from the repertoires of jazz legends Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan, and fellow Canadians k.d. Lang and Alanis Morissette, among others. Tuesday, Dec. 5, at 8 and 10 p.m. Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Tickets are $31, plus $12 minimum purchase. Call 202-337-4141 or visit

Jay Brannan


The sweet-sounding gay folk-popper returns for another concert at the H Street Corridor’s rock hub. Local folk/rock singer-songwriter Justin Trawick opens. Wednesday, Dec. 6. Doors at 6 p.m. Rock and Roll Hotel, 1353 H St. NE. Tickets are $15. Call 202-388-ROCK or visit


The Washington Chorus joins the NSO, led by Steven Reineke, for a concert featuring the Broadway star (9 to 5: The Musical) and Kennedy Center regular, most widely known as the ambitious Ivy Lynn on Smash, the NBC television series about the making of a new musical. Hilty returns to lead performance of favorite yuletide songs on Friday, Dec. 8, at 8p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 9, at 2 and 8 p.m. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Tickets are $24 to $99. Call 202-467-4600 or visit


New Music Director Gianandrea Noseda leads a concert titled “The Artist Abroad,” an examination of three composers working abroad, with a particular focus on Prokofiev’s Paris-penned Piano Concerto No. 5 featuring Yuja Wang. The program also includes Britten’s Matinées musicales and Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances — both pieces composed while taking refuge in America during World War II. Thursday, Nov. 30, at 7 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 2, at 8 p.m., with a special Coffee Concert on Friday, Dec. 1, at 11:30 a.m. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Tickets are $15 to $94. Call 202-467-4600 or visit


Now five years old, the D.C.-based band has generated national buzz for revitalizing, however indirectly, one aspect of D.C. culture — punk rock, specifically the ’90s-originating “Riot Grrrl” variant. Led by the strong, elastically voiced Katie Alice Greer and featuring drummer Daniele Daniele, guitarist G.I. Jaguar, and bassist Taylor Mulitz, Priests is a largely LGBTQ-identified, mixed-gender, hard-charging band with a cheekily religious name — owing in part to Greer’s upbringing as the daughter of a Methodist minister. The band tours in support of its debut full-length, Nothing Feels Natural, which Paste magazine called “the first great punk album of the Trump presidency.” It’s hard to disagree with music this sharp, passionate, and powerful. Friday, Dec. 1. Doors at 8 p.m. 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. Tickets are $17, with a dollar from each ticket donated to Casa Ruby. Call 202-265-0930 or visit


It’s been 16 years since Gordon Gartrell and Cru Jones started what has long been heralded as D.C.’s “premier ’80s tribute band,” performing the many guilty pleasure hits of the decade. The group has performed at concert halls throughout the region and beyond, yet its primary base has been Virginia’s State Theatre. The band returns to the restored Art Deco building for two nights during the first weekend in December. And the audience is encouraged to dress the part — think shellacked big hair, lacy ankle socks, stirrup and parachute pants. Friday, Dec. 1, and Saturday, Dec. 2, at 9:30 p.m. The State Theatre, 220 N. Washington St., Falls Church. Tickets are $18. Call 703-237-0300 or visit


Johann Sebastian Bach composed his Christmas Oratorio in 1734 to celebrate Christmas and was meant to be played inside churches. The Consort continues that 283-year-old tradition with a performance of the oratorio with gentle lullabies, dramatic arias, ornate instrumental solos, and rousing choruses that capture the full range of emotions associated with this joyous season. Conducting the work will be Dana Marsh, a finalist in the Consort’s efforts to hire a new leader in the wake of the untimely death of the Consort’s founder J. Reilly Lewis last year. Soloists include soprano Kate Vetter Cain, mezzo-soprano Kristen Dubenion-Smith, tenor Robert Petillo and bass Steven Combs. Saturday, Dec. 9, at 6 p.m., with a pre-concert lecture at 5 p.m. by noted Bach scholar Dr. Michael Marissen, and a post-concert reception. National Presbyterian Church, 4101 Nebraska Ave. NW. Tickets are $65. Call 202-429-2121 or visit

Helanius J. Wilkins: Triggered



As part of its free nightly Millennium Stage programming, the Kennedy Center presents a selection of works from the award-winning choreographer, including several solo pieces, to be danced by Wilkins. The evening will include Triggered, along with the D.C. premiere of Media’s Got Me All Figured Out: Reloaded, a trio of works inspired by the events that fueled Black Lives Matter. Dancers from the University of Colorado Boulder will join Wilkins. Sunday, Dec. 3, at 6 p.m. Kennedy Center Terrace Theater. Tickets are free, distributed two tickets per person starting at approximately 5 p.m. in the States Gallery. Call 202-467-4600 or visit


The Kennedy Center bids goodbye to its resident ballet company of 16 years with a pageant of favorites, handpicked for their special meaning by the company’s namesake. Given that Farrell was the beloved muse of the late, great choreographer George Balanchine, the program is an all-Balanchine affair. Thursday, Dec. 7, and Friday, Dec. 8, at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 9, at 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. Kennedy Center Opera House. Tickets are $29 to $89. Call 202-467-4600 or visit


The Washington Ballet’s former artistic director Septime Webre first staged his twist on the family favorite 13 years ago, setting it in D.C.’s historic Georgetown neighborhood with George Washington as the titular figure and King George III as the Rat King. As always, the production sets up shop for nearly all of December at downtown’s Warner Theatre. Opens in a preview Thursday, Nov. 30, at 7 p.m. Runs to Dec. 24. Warner Theatre, 513 13th St. NW. Call 202-889-5901 or visit

Samantha Bee — Photo via



The longest-serving correspondent for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart who now hosts the indispensable weekly satirical show Full Frontal with Samantha Bee makes her Kennedy Center debut as part of an “In Conversation” program moderated by New York magazine writer-at-large and best-selling author Rebecca Traister (All The Single Ladies). Friday, Dec. 1, at 8 p.m. Kennedy Center Concert Hall Tickets are $49 to $89. Call 202-467-4600 or visit


The Kennedy Center offers another run of the comedy troupe’s irreverent and interactive parody twist on A Christmas Carol. The largely improvised tale is based on Dickens but adapted by former The Colbert Report writers Peter Gwinn and Bobby Mort. Opens Tuesday, Dec. 5, at 8 p.m. To Dec. 31. Kennedy Center Theater Lab. Tickets are $49 to $75. Call 202-467-4600 or visit



Over 85 regional and national artists are represented in the third annual 10×10 invitational. Every artwork is different, although the same size, and are intended as original holiday gifts, priced at $50 each. The invitational benefits Hyattsville’s Pyramid Atlantic Art Center, located in the historic Arcade building in the Gateway Arts District and featuring a papermaking studio, print shop, letterpress studio, bindery, a darkroom and a woodshop. To Dec. 17. Pyramid Atlantic Art Center, 4318 Gallatin Street, Hyattsville. Call 301-608-9101 or visit


In late June, the Smithsonian’s American History museum opened this display of prominent artifacts highlighting the history of citizen participation, debate and compromise from the nation’s formation to today. The American experiment is still alive, if not altogether well at the moment, but it has endured rough times before and this exhibition highlights the various ways in which leading figures have strived to make the country “a more perfect union.” Objects include Thomas Jefferson’s portable desk he used to draft the Declaration of Independence, the inkstand Abraham Lincoln used to draft the Emancipation Proclamation, and the table on which Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote the Declaration of Sentiments. Ongoing. National Museum of American History, 14th St. and Constitution Ave. NW. Call 202-633-1000 or visit


The winter edition of the seasonal art series at the Coldwell Banker Dupont/Logan office focuses on a series of large paintings by this Mid City Artist grouped under the title The Art of Evolution. Murphy’s work is an exploration of the mysteries of evolution from the Big Bang to our big brains, with a more recent focus on images reflecting large cosmic interactions and small neurons in the brain. On display through February. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, 1617 14th St. NW. Call 202-387-6180 or visit


New acquisitions made during the Renwick Gallery’s renovation are now on display along with iconic favorites in the permanent collection. More than 80 objects are featured as part of a dynamic presentation celebrating craft as a discipline and an approach to living differently in the modern world. Ongoing. Renwick Gallery, Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street NW. Fr. Call 202-633-1000 or visit


Unique enamel pieces by local artists are justing waiting to be discovered and purchased as glittering gifts inside the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria and the only gallery outside of California devoted solely to enamel works. Options range from beautiful framed pieces to display bowls and plates to jewelry, all in an array of colors. To Dec. 3. Enamelists Gallery, 105 North Union St. Alexandria. Free. Call 703-838-1561 or visit


As part of its 30th anniversary celebration, the National Museum of Women in the Arts honors the iconic artist through establishment of a new archive and opening of a new exhibition. The archive, in the Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center, documents the artist’s work through photographs, slides, negatives, and printed ephemera spanning the 1960s through the present. As such, it captures fleeting performance pieces such as her pyrotechnics and dry ice works as well as exhibitions of drawings, paintings, sculpture and installations, including The Dinner Party. Meanwhile, the creation of that monumental and radical installation is the focus of a temporary exhibition. Through Jan. 5. 1250 New York Ave NW. Admission is $10. Call 202-783-5000 or visit


The National Zoo plays host to CulturalDC’s Space4: Mobile Art Gallery and the latest exhibition presented in a former 40-foot shipping container, running in tandem with ZooLights (see separate entry). In creating the immersive multimedia installation, local artist Maggie Gourlay was inspired by the exotic insect species that have migrated to the U.S. via commercial shipping containers and have become conservation threats. Community Kickoff is Friday, Dec. 1, from 6 to 8 p.m. Exhibit runs through Jan. 1. Outside the Visitor’s Center, 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW. Call 202-633-4800 or visit


An exploration into how Shakespeare’s words have inspired visual artists, as seen in pictures, oil sketches and paintings from the Folger’s collection. Why is there visual art in a library? Because collectors Henry and Emily Folger understood that it takes more than books and manuscripts alone to understand Shakespeare and his era. On exhibit through Feb. 17. Folger Shakespeare Library, 201 East Capitol St. SE. Call 202-544-7077 or visit


Marjorie Merriweather Post had one of the most remarkable collections of jewelry of the 20th century. For its latest exhibition, her former estate displays and shares stories about more than 50 exquisite accessories from the late cereal heiress and the historic gems that went into making them. Leading designers Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Harry Winston and Verdura are represented in the collection, which includes pieces on loan from other museums and private collections. Through Jan. 7. Hillwood Estate, 4155 Linnean Ave. NW. Suggested donation is $18. Call 202-686-5807 or visit


With the lead title Nation to Nations, this long-term exhibition at the National Museum of the American Indian tells the story of the treaties signed between U.S. leaders and influential Native diplomats. Most Americans today live on land that was originally promised to Native Nations via (obviously broken) treaties. And while most of the documents date to the early days of the American republic, the exhibit, which has been on display since 2015, has just been updated to end with an 11.5-foot-tall mile-marker post created last year by activists protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota — touted as the largest gathering of Native Americans in protest. In other words, the treaties are hardly something relegated to museums and history books but in fact very much an ongoing, present-day concern. On display through 2021. National Museum of the American Indian, Independence Avenue at 4th Street SW. Call 202-633-1000 or visit



Both a holiday treat and a shopping preserve, “The Ultimate Food Lover’s Weekend” is the area’s biggest specialty food and culinary event. And the lineup of star chefs who will cook and chat at this year’s event is impressive, led by nationally recognized local stars Jose Andres, Victor Albisu, Amy Brandwein, Erik Bruner-Yang, Michael Friedman, Marjorie Meek-Bradley, George Pagonis, and Vikram Sunderam. Guy Fieri, D.C.-native Carla Hall, Guillermo Pernot, and Michael Schlow also join the festivities, along with hundreds of specialty food vendors exhibiting their wares. The event offers a smorgasbord of activities, including a Grand Tasting Pavilion with samples from local restaurants, a separate area offering beer, wine and spirits samplings, a BBQ Bash, culinary classes by chefs from L’Academie de Cuisine, entertaining workshops and book signings. Saturday, Dec. 9, and Sunday, Dec. 10, starting at 10 a.m. each day. Walter E. Washington Convention Center, 801 Mt. Vernon Place NW. Call 202-249-3000 or visit



More than 70 animated and stationary displays depicting regional and holiday themes factor into the annual holiday show, featuring a two-mile scenic drive along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. A North Pole Village & Enchanted Fairy Tales is a new edition at this year’s event, a benefit for the SPCA of Anne Arundel County. On display every evening from 5 to 10 p.m. through Jan. 1. Sandy Point State Park, 1100 E. College Parkway, Annapolis. Admission is $15 per car, or $30 to $50 for larger vans and buses. Visit


More than 500,000 colorful Christmas lights illuminate life-sized animal silhouettes, dancing trees, buildings, and walkways, plus a light show set to music, during this annual holiday event at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. All that, plus select animal houses will be open and displaying nocturnal creatures, including the Small Mammal House, the Great Ape House and Reptile Discovery Center. Every night except Dec. 24 and 25 until Jan. 1. National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free, courtesy of Pepco. Call 202-633-4800 or visit

Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly.