Out On the Town: D.C. Arts & Entertainment Calendar

Films, theaters, plays, live music, art galleries and more events in Washington and nearby Maryland and Virginia


Thorsten Schutte's documentary, subtitled "Frank Zappa in His Own Words," features interviews, concert performances and archival footage offering insights into the life and career of the far-out rocker. Let's never forget that this is the musician who sang the lyrics "I'm gonna ram it, ram it, ram it, ram it in your poop chute." Opens Friday, July 1. Area theaters. Visit fandango.com.

The aliens return, this time with a 3,000 mile long spacecraft that plants itself on the Atlantic, felling London in the process (talk about a grand Brexit), in Roland Emmerich's dismal follow-up to his 1996 blockbuster. By going gargantuan, Emmerich limits what he can do in terms of action, while the implausibilities of the story run rampant and include an ending that denies us the joys of watching an apocalyptic destruction in favor of a gentle lift off. (The defeated aliens just up and fly home. Hopefully for good.) The film is a cavalcade of cheap, cluttered effects, and features some of the worst 3D in recent memory; at times the actors look as though they're playing in front of postcards. With Jeff Goldblum, Judd Hirsch and Brent Spiner as Emmerich's -- gasp! -- token homosexual. Now playing, but probably not for long given its paltry box office take last weekend. Area theatres. Visit fandango.com. (Randy Shulman)

Steven Spielberg helms Walt Disney Pictures' adaptation of Roald Dahl's beloved classic. Oscar- and Tony-winning British actor Mark Rylance takes on the title role of an elderly giant who kidnaps an orphan (Ruby Barnhill) to keep him company. Opens Friday, July 1. Area theaters. Visit fandango.com.

Alexander Skarsgard is Tarzan in David Yates' summer blockbuster adventure. Samuel L. Jackson, Margot Robbie, Djimon Hounsou, Jim Broadbent and Christoph Waltz also star in Warner Brothers' version of the jungle lord who becomes a pawn in a deadly scheme in the Congo. We're betting it's no Jungle Book. Opens Friday, July 1. Area theaters. Visit fandango.com.


Parents visiting a summer camp find their son has gone missing in Anna Ziegler's drama. Directed by Shirley Serotsky and starring Rick Foucheux, Naomi Jacobson, Shayna Blass, Thony Mena and Chris Stinson. To July 17. (Pride Night is Thursday, July 7.) The Aaron and Cecile Goldman Theater, 1529 16th St. NW. Tickets are $37 to $67. Call 202-777-3210 or visit theaterj.org.

Aaron Posner writes for an underserved audience: neurotics who like their humor fast and sharp and their hearts and minds challenged by an irreverent but secretly optimistic view of the human condition. It's all present and accounted for in this clever and literarily imaginative rendering of Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice set in a post-Civil War Washington in which Shylock's rivals are African American. Though it tracks the original plot, for Posner it's an opportunity to jet off into race and gender issues that have contemporary urgency and relevance. Posner injects not only his usual brand of irreverent humor, but also a powerfully intelligent ambiguity. We don't get any pat answers to its many moral questions; Posner's characters and conundrums are just too complex. The complexity, with all its moving parts, makes for a challenge the Folger production never quite conquers. There is an absence of necessary oomph and only a few players buck the mood. Still, even if District Merchants can't quite drive Posner's complex train, it's a chance to think about race, religion and reality without the preacher. Closes Sunday, July 3. Folger Theatre, 201 E. Capitol St. SE. Tickets are $35 to $75. Call 202-544-7077 or visit folger.edu. Reviewed in this issue. (Kate Wingfield)

Olney offers an intimate staging of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's famed musical about Argentina's Eva Peron. After winning the Helen Hayes Award for best play last year with gay-themed Colossal, transgender director Will Davis and choreographer Christopher D'Amboise team up again for a smaller-scale production of the musical blockbuster, intended to help theatergoers "hear every note and feel every heartbeat." A regular supporting player on local stages, Rachel Zampelli makes a diva turn in the title role, with Robert Ariza starring as narrator Che and a cast that includes Jonathan Atkinson, Mark Chandler, Ashleigh King and Kristin Yancy. To July 24. Mainstage at Olney Theatre Center, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney, Md. Tickets are $38 to $75. Call 301-924-3400 or visit olneytheatre.org.

The LGBT-focused company Rainbow Theatre Project presents a run of composer/lyricist Tom Wilson Weinberg's musical revue, written in 1992 during a low point for the gay rights movement. But Get Used To It! remains funny, touching and timely, with a focus on the community's struggles with politics, religion, love and acceptance, as relayed through 18 original songs. H. Lee Gable directs. To July 10. Mead Theatre Lab at Flashpoint, 916 G St. NW. Tickets are $35. Call 202-315-1310 or visit rainbowtheatreproject.org.

Cyndi Lauper produced Tony gold with songs about a showgirl named Lola, in a story about the power of drag queens and shoes. The production stops at the Kennedy Center as part of its first national touring production. Directed by Jerry Mitchell, adapted from the British film by Harvey Fierstein. To July 10. Kennedy Center Opera House. Tickets are $25 to $199. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.

Good-natured and cheerful, Signature's La Cage aux Folles works hard to please its crowd. There will be no surprises in the story of longtime gay couple Georges and Albin and the comic conundrum of how to entertain the homophobic parents of their son's fiancée without revealing their identities. Put simply, if you are a devotee, it delivers: you will hear the songs, enjoy the jokes, and share the moments. Director Matthew Gardiner delivers a show that's fast-paced and punchy, moving seamlessly between the La Cage nightclub and the behind-the-scenes dramas of Georges and Albin. Lee Savage's sets and Frank Labovitz's costumes keep it bold with an eye-popping palette of garishly gorgeous color. To July 10. Signature Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave., in Arlington. Tickets are $40 to $95. Call 703-820-9771 or visit signature-theatre.org. (Kate Wingfield)

A theatrical collage inspired by the Great Age of Vaudeville, infused with the joys and struggles of the lives of the performers who will perform the work. Directed by Sabrina Mandell and Mark Jaster, Moxie offers hijinks, live music, period costumes, nostalgic beauty and physical comedy in its homage to popular late 19th century theatrical style. Produced by Happenstance Theater. To July 17. Round House Theatre, 4545 East-West Highway, Bethesda. Call 240-644-1100 or visit roundhousetheatre.org.

Keegan Theatre serves up Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey's moving and modern Pulitzer Prize-winning show, that deals with the devastating toll that mental illness can have on a relationship and a family. Mark A. Rhea and Colin Smith direct a cast featuring Kari Ginsburg, Chad Wheeler, David Landstrom, Caroline Dubberly, Christian Montgomery and Scott Ward Abernethy. To July 10. Keegan Theatre, 1742 Church St. NW. Tickets are $45 to $55. Call 202-265-3768 or visit keegantheatre.com.

Richmond Triangle Players presents Martin Sherman and Nick Enright's musical tale about the life of Peter Allen, the Australian star and songwriter discovered by Judy Garland who went on to marry her daughter Liza Minnelli before his death to AIDS-related complications. Justin Amellio directs and choreographs a production featuring Chris Hester as Allen, Grey Garrett as Garland and Anna Grey Hogan as Minnelli. To July 16. Richmond Triangle Players, 1300 Altamont Ave. Richmond. Tickets are $35. Call 804-346-8113 or visit rtriangle.org.

Robert James Waller's bestselling novel about an Iowa housewife and her life-changing, whirlwind romance with a traveling photographer gets the musical treatment in this Tony Award-winning production by composer Jason Robert Brown and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Marsha Norman ('night, Mother). Bartlett Sher directs. To July 17. Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater. Tickets are $49 to $129. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.


Club Glow presents an "IndepenDANCE weekend" with one of the biggest and longest-lasting sensations in contemporary dance music. Founded in 2000, the London-based trio of DJs/producers Jono Grant, Tony McGuinnes and Paavo Siljamaki run the influential progressive house label Anjunabeats and produce trance-influenced, pop-oriented original tracks with a roster of regular vocalists, many of whom join for a full-scale live touring production that goes, well, above and beyond the typical DJ night out, whether at a warehouse club or an outdoor festival. Friday, July 1, and Sunday, July 3. Doors at 9 p.m. Echostage, 2135 Queens Chapel Rd. NE. Tickets are $40 to $50. Call 202-503-2330 or visit echostage.com.

Local live-looping artist Be Steadwell offers a blend of soul, folk, hip-hop and jazz she calls "queer-pop," drawing inspiration from her experiences as a queer, black woman. In addition to using a loop pedal for vocal layering, Steadwell sings, raps and beatboxes in her intriguing, memorable compositions, including the sweet love letter to her D.C. hometown, "Not Gonna Move to New York." Yet her latest song, a commission by Strathmore, is what she describes as a "sad love song" to the city. As she told Metro Weekly before a recent concert at Strathmore, "Home" is about "looking for home when my hometown is really rapidly changing to the point where I feel like I don't belong anymore." Nuex and Anastasia Antoinette also perform. Friday, July 8, at 8:30 p.m. Songbyrd Music House, 2477 18th St. NW. Tickets are $10 to $12. Call 202-450-2917 or visit songbyrddc.com.

Tenor Doug Bowles, musical actress Iyona Blake and "novelty pianist" Alex Hassan form the swing jazz trio Three for a Song, which kicks off the 7th annual summer cabaret series at ArtSpace Falls Church. The series runs every weekend through September 19 and features Nora Palka, Katie McManus, Dani Stoller, Jade Jones, Sandy Bainum, Alan Naylor, Matt Conner and Stephen Gregory Smith, Sam Ludwig and Susan Derry with the National Broadway Chorus. Three for a Song, which has been featured on NPR's All Things Considered, performs the program "Cocktails for Three, Parts 1 & 2" on Friday, July 1, and Saturday, July 2, at 8 p.m. ArtSpace Falls Church, 410 South Maple Ave. in Falls Church. Tickets are $18 to $20, or $50 for a table for two with two glasses of wine, $100 for four and a bottle of wine. Call 703-436-9948 or visit creativecauldron.org.

As part of a concert celebrating the National Park Service's centennial, multimedia artist Nicholas Bardonnay of Westwater Arts premieres the "National Park Suite" image collection, displayed on in-house screens at Wolf Trap as the NSO performs Dvorak's New World Symphony. Emil du Cou conducts the NSO in this "America the Beautiful" program, including Bernstein's Fanfare for the Inauguration of John F. Kennedy, Copland's "Promise of Living" from The Tender Land, Grofe's "On The Trail" from Grand Canyon Suite, a new work featuring bass-baritone singer Alan Held, and patriotic favorites. Friday, July 1, at 8:15 p.m. The Filene Center at Wolf Trap, 1551 Trap Road, Vienna. Tickets are $20 to $58. Call 877-WOLFTRAP or visit wolftrap.org.

Wolf Trap offers a double-bill of two of the most empowering and powerfully-voiced women in pop music. Also on the bill: Neil Giraldo, Benatar's husband and right-hand-man. Thursday, July 7, at 8 p.m. The Filene Center at Wolf Trap, 1551 Trap Road, Vienna. Tickets are $30 to $60. Call 877-WOLFTRAP or visit wolftrap.org.

Strathmore presents a rescheduled run of dates by the Grammy-winning soul singer, who had to cancel her original April dates on doctor's orders. Labelle has been an influence to everyone from Mary J. Blige to Alicia Keys to Christina Aguilera, whom she advised on the recent season of NBC's The Voice. Rolling Stone has called her one of the "Greatest Singers of All Time." Thursday, June 30, and Friday, July 1, at 8 p.m. The Music Center at Strathmore, 10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda. Tickets are $65 to $150. Call 301-581-5100 or visit strathmore.org.

Though a native of Texas, Ryan sounds more like a Swedish pop singer in the Tove Lo or Zara Larsson mold, from her voice and strong, provocative lyrics to her catchy, dance-tipped hooks. The 25-year-old is gearing up for the forthcoming release of her debut album and a headlining tour supporting lead singles "Chronic" and Boyz N Poizn." Cardiknox and Secret Weapons open. Tuesday, July 5, at 8 p.m. Rock and Roll Hotel, 1353 H St. NE. Tickets are $14. Call 202-388-ROCK or visit rockandrollhoteldc.com.

Hosted by Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer, who were married in 2012, the 10th Annual Mike Seeger Commemorative Old Time Banjo Festival is capped by a performance from Virginia-born, Kentucky-based musician Sam Gleaves, who writes songs with queer themes -- most recently "Pulse," about the Orlando tragedy. Saturday, July 9, at 7:30 p.m. The Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. Tickets are $29.50. Call 703-549-7500 or visit birchmere.com.

Signature's cabaret series features regulars Will Gartshore and Susan Derry as well as the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, plus cabaret debuts from Claybourne Elder -- last seen in the company's production of Sunday in the Park with George -- and singer/songwriter Robbie Schaefer from the acclaimed indie-band Eddie from Ohio. Things kicks off on Tuesday, July 5,with Signature veteran Erin Driscoll (Road Show, The Threepenny Opera) in "Arias and Attitude," exploring the evolution of opera. The series runs to July 22 in the Ark at 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. Tickets are $35 per show, or $175 for an All-Access Pass. Call 703-820-9771 or visit sigtheatre.org.

A mix of Adele, Diana Krall and Bette Midler, the lesbian cabaret artist has spent decades wowing crowds with her rich contralto voice and playful, charismatic stage presence. Suede occasionally plays the trumpet, guitar and piano in her performances of jazz standards, which also contains a smattering of pop and a lot of blues. Friday, July 8. Doors at 7 p.m. At Ram's Head On Stage, 33 West St., Annapolis. Tickets are $30. Call 410-268-4545 or visit ramsheadonstage.com.

A multi-genre concert featuring three notable local acts led by Tortured Soul, a Prince-influenced trio whom Gilles Peterson has touted as the future of house music. Also on the bill: Amadou Kouyate playing the kora, a 21-string West African instrument, and the Afro-Latin/Caribbean group, Sol Power All Stars. Thursday, July 7, at 9 p.m. at Tropicalia, 2001 14th St. NW. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door. Call 202-629-4535 or visit tropicaliadc.com.

"Purple Reign: A Tribute to the Outrageous Life of Prince" is the focus of a concert by the Ghanaian-American D.C. native and graduate of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, who has recorded with Erykah Badu and toured with Anthony Hamilton and Lenny Kravitz. Friday, July 8, at 7:30 p.m. The Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. Tickets are $29.50. Call 703-549-7500 or visit birchmere.com.


Asanga Domask's SerendibDance performs A Single Cycle of the Sun, a folktale about community, culture and harmony, featuring the hallmarks of Sri Lankan dance, including intricate movements, rhythmic sounds and exquisite costumes. Tuesday, July 5, at 10:30 a.m. at Theatre-In-The-Woods at Wolf Trap, 1551 Trap Road, Vienna. Tickets are $8. Call 703-255-1900 or visit wolf-trap.org.


Martin Amini hosts a showcase of local comics at the DC Improv, including Randolph Terrance, Chris Milner, Sean Savoy, Walker Hays and Russ Green. Saturday, July 9, at 7:30 p.m. at the DC Improv, 1140 Connecticut Ave. NW. Tickets are $17, plus a two-item minimum. Call 202-296-7008 or visit dcimprov.com.

A native of Richmond, Va., Schaefer earned two Emmy Awards as a writer and blogger for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. A co-host of MTV's late-night show Nikki & Sara Live, she's been a guest on Comedy Central's @Midnight and Inside Amy Schumer. Friday, July 8, at 7 p.m. Drafthouse Comedy, 1100 13th St. NW. Tickets are $25. Call 202-750-6411 or visit drafthousecomedy.com.

What if the history of America were written by some of the country's most revered contemporary comedians? That's the premise behind The Second City's Almost Accurate Guide to America, which the Kennedy Center co-commissioned from the leading improv comedy troupe as part of the District of Comedy Festival. The show will even uproot the stalwart Shear Madness for a six-week run in the Theater Lab. To July 31. Kennedy Center Theater Lab. Tickets are $49 to $64. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.


In addition to incorporating the Textile Museum, the recently opened George Washington University Museum also houses the Albert H. Small Washingtoniana Collection. The exhibition A Collector's Vision serves as a perfect introduction to the collection, featuring maps and prints, rare letters, photographs and drawings documenting the history of Washington, D.C. and donated by Small in 2011. Ongoing. The George Washington University Museum, 701 21st St. NW. Call 202-994-5200 or visit museum.gwu.edu.

Featuring more than 50 original documents from the National Archives, this exhibit highlights the remarkably American story of how we have amended, or attempted to amend, the Constitution in order to form "a more perfect union." Of course it all started 225 years ago when the Bill of Rights was ratified, addressing some of the most pressing issues of the day that are still very much timely. Since then, there have been 11,000 proposed amendments -- but only 17 ratified. Through Sept. 4. Lawrence F. O'Brien Gallery of the National Archives Museum, Constitution Avenue at 9th Street NW. NW. Call 202-357-5000 or visit archives.gov/nae.

The Washington Ceramic Guild offers a beach-themed show at Alexandria's Torpedo Factory Art Center with works touted as "coastal classics in clay." Everything from functional pottery to decorative statuettes will be for sale, in a show featuring works by the 40-plus area artists in the guild. Now through July 31. Scope Gallery in the Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 North Union St. Alexandria. Free. Call 703-548-6288 or visit torpedofactory.org.

As part of the immersive exhibition Wonder, nine leading contemporary artists, including Gabriel Dawe, Patrick Dougherty and Maya Lin, have each taken over different galleries in the newly renovated Renwick Gallery, the first building in the U.S. designed expressly as an art museum. Through July 10. Renwick Gallery, Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street NW. Free. Call 202-633-1000 or visit renwick.americanart.si.edu.

Baltimore's American Visionary Art Museum offers its 21st annual exhibition, featuring over 25 artists offering works in various media that champion the radiant and transformative power of hope. It's an original and unabashedly idealistic exhibition, curated by Rebecca Alban Hoffberger, founder and director of this original and unabashedly unusual 20-year-old museum. Through Sept. 4. American Visionary Art Museum, 800 Key Highway. Baltimore. Tickets are $15.95, or $20 for the preview party. Call 410-244-1900 or visit avam.org.

Dupont's Studio Gallery presents a show featuring recent graduates of the Corcoran School of Art, showcasing the next generation of artists. Reception is Saturday, July 9, from 4 to 6 p.m. Exhibition runs through July 16. Studio Gallery, 2108 R St. NW. Call 202-232-8734 or visit studiogallerydc.com.


Partly in cooperation with official Baltimore boosters, the nonprofit Made: In America offers a celebration of "American Treasures" centered on the Carroll Mansion, named after 18th-century Maryland patriot and Baltimore entrepreneur Charles Carroll III. Over the next two months, the Mansion is open for tours and hosts design competitions and culinary experiences highlighting Baltimore's role in shaping various aspects of American culture and commerce, with an emphasis on furniture, textile, tableware and fashion design. To July 12. Carroll Mansion, 800 E. Lombard St. Baltimore. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. Call 410-605-2964 or visit carrollmuseums.org.

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 fords.org.

An evening of Salvadoran artists working in various genres, organized by poet Quique Aviles in honor of the 25th anniversary of the 1991 Mount Pleasant Riots. The evening includes an art exhibition of works by Aviles and visual artists Alfredo Herrera and Juan Lopez, with dancing and music by Hugo Najera aka DJ Mezkla and percussionist Ivan Navas. Friday, July 8, at 8 p.m. GALA Theatre at Tivoli Square, 3333 14th St. NW. Tickets are $10 and includes a cash bar. Call 202-234-7174 or visit galatheatre.org.

Every month the 14th and V location of Busboys & Poets hosts "Sparkle," a queer-focused reading series featuring LGBT-dedicated poets started by slam poet Regie Cabico. Co-emceed with Danielle Evennou. Sunday, July 3, at 8 p.m. Langston Room at Busboys & Poets, 2021 14th St. NW. Cover is $5. Call 202-387-POET or visit busboysandpoets.com.

For July, Rayceen Pendarvis brings together Burlesque performer Che Monique, singer Anthony Newman, the Improv Imps, Darryl Moch, Shannon Garcon and Joseph Williams. With music by DJ Honey. Wednesday, July 6, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the HRC Equality Center, 1640 Rhode Island Ave. NW. Free. Call 202-505-4548 or visit facebook.com/AskRayceen.