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Carol, the sixth feature from Todd Haynes, has the feel of a career pinnacle, as though every other film in his canon was building to this masterpiece. Based on the novel The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith, the movie is the lesbian equivalent of Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain. But Carol is arguably more emotionally satisfying than Lee's film, in part because of the way Highsmith, herself a closeted lesbian, crafted the story of a young shopgirl (Rooney Mara) who falls in love with an older woman (Cate Blanchett) and embarks on a journey of self-discovery. Despite the lack of a suspense-driven narrative, it effortlessly evokes the spirit of Alfred Hitchcock; Carol could be a distant cousin to Vertigo. And, unlike so many films these days, Carol takes its time, with Haynes resolutely refusing to hurry things along. Some in the audience might find the approach dull. It's not. It's captivating, absorbing, all-encompassing. It's the way movies used to be made, an instant-born classic, with Blanchett and Mara giving the kinds of performances that Oscars are made for. Now playing. Area theaters. Visit fandango.com. (Randy Shulman)
The Coen Brothers (Fargo), Joel and Ethan, offer up a comedy following a single day in the life a studio fixer. The all-star cast includes Coen staples George Clooney and Frances McDormand, plus Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill, Scarlett Johansson and Channing Tatum. Opens Friday, Feb. 5. Area theaters. Visit fandango.com.
Benedict Cumberbatch narrates a film offering the first-ever large format aerial footage of the Old City and throughout the Holy Land -- including sites ranging from the Western Wall to the Dome of the Rock to the Sea of Galilee. This 3D film also offers eye-opening personal stories and remarkable historical perspective. Showtimes Saturdays and Sundays to March 31. National Geographic Museum, 1145 17th St. NW. Tickets are $7. Call 202-857-7588 or visit ngmuseum.org.
OSCAR NOMINATED SHORT FILMS 2015: ANIMATED, LIVE ACTION
Once again Landmark Theatres, in partnership with ShortsHD, offers two feature-length programs of the short films nominated at the upcoming Academy Awards: a program with the animated shorts, featuring films from Chile, Russia, the U.K. and two from the U.S., including Pixar Animation's Sanjay's Super Team; and a program of live action shorts, including films from Germany, Ireland and the U.S., plus two set in the West Bank and Kosovo. Now playing. Landmark's E Street Cinema, 555 11th St. NW. Call 202-452-7672. Also Bethesda Row Cinema, 7235 Woodmont Ave. Call 301-652-7273. Visit landmarktheatres.com.
OSCAR NOMINATED SHORT FILMS 2015: DOCS
In addition to the animated and action programs, Landmark Theatres this year also presents a feature-length program of documentary shorts. All five Oscar-nominated films will screen, including the Liberian Body Team 12 set in the height of the Ebola outbreak, Chau, Beyond the Lines about an Agent Orange-disabled child and aspiring artist in Vietnam and The Price of Forgiveness, focused on a rare survivor of ''honor killings'' in Pakistan. Among two American documentaries is Last Day of Freedom, about a war veteran who faces criminal charges, racism and ultimately the death penalty. Opens Friday, Feb. 5. Landmark's West End Cinema, 2301 M St. NW. Call 202-534-1907 or visit landmarktheatres.com.
The Arlington Philharmonic presents an exclusive area screening of this new documentary by director and producer David Donnelly, who will appear for a Q&A. To be released in the U.S. later this year, Maestro focuses on renowned conductor Paavo Jarvi and the contemporary world of classical music and features, among others, Lang Lang, Joshua Bell and Hilary Hahn. The screening comes as part of the philharmonic's 10th anniversary season. Thursday, Feb. 11, starting with a social hour, light fare and live music at 6 p.m., with film screening at 7 p.m. Rosslyn Spectrum Theatre, 1611 N. Kent St. Arlington. Tickets are $30 in advance or $40 at the door. Call 703-910-5161 or visit arlingtonphilharmonic.org.
STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS
The seventh film in a series that has spanned four decades and spawned a near limitless number of spin-offs, merchandise and uber fans, The Force Awakens isn't original -- there's too much history for that to be possible. But it works on several levels. And for the most part, the screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan, Michael Arndt and J.J. Abrams, who directs, hits the right notes, with the grand, operatic overtones the series has long been known for. For its various foibles and the awkward transition between old characters and new, there's something undoubtedly exciting about this new trilogy of films. This is Star Wars returned, reformed, revitalized for a new generation. Every time you laugh at a reference, every time you see a familiar face, every time John Williams' glorious score swells, you can't help but get sucked in by it all. Now playing. Area theaters. Visit fandango.com. (Rhuaridh Marr)
Ross Katz's romantic drama adapted from the novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks, The Choice focuses on the relationship between a feisty medical student (Teresa Palmer) already in a committed relationship, and a perennial ladies' man, portrayed by Benjamin Walker. Opens Friday, Feb. 5. Area theaters. Visit fandango.com.
THE DANISH GIRL
Fashioning the tale of transgender pioneer Lili Elbe into a mainstream-friendly love story may seem like shrewd packaging by a Hollywood marketing department, but the result is a film that succeeds above all else because that central love story is so well crafted. David Ebershoff's eponymous novel loosely depicted Elbe's life, but Tom Hooper's The Danish Girl sticks closer to the facts. It follows Einar Wegener, a Danish painter, who slowly comes to realize that he is transgender after modeling women's clothes for his wife Gerda. From there, Lili is born, with the film following the couple as they navigate Lili's exploration of her new gender identity and Gerda deals with her love for Lili and the loss of her husband. The Danish Girl is a flattering, beautifully captured, captivatingly performed retelling of the marriage between a trans pioneer and her wife -- and one sure to do well this awards season. Now playing. Area theaters. Visit fandango.com. (Rhuaridh Marr)
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM
Right now, Washingtonians can take in two very different productions of this hearty Shakespeare comedy. Folger Theatre offers a more traditional approach -- though one that twists things considerably by casting women in traditionally male roles. Holly Twyford is Bottom and Erin Weaver is Puck as part of a large cast directed by Aaron Posner that also includes Megan Graves, Eric Hissom, Caroline Stefanie Clay, Adam Wesley Brown and Desmond Bing. To March 6. Folger Theatre, 201 East Capitol St. SE. Tickets are $35 to $75. Call 202-544-7077 or visit folger.edu.
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM
Naturally, envelope-pushing company WSC Avant Bard offers the quirkier of the two concurrently running local productions of this winsome Shakespeare classic. Indonesian-inspired shadow puppets -- designed by Alex Vernon -- are the focal point of this production, directed by Randy Baker of Rorschach Theatre, and are accompanied by an ''actor-generated percussion orchestra.'' Daven Ralson is Puck and Zach Brewster-Geisz is Bottom in this wild reimagining of the famous tale of fairies. Extended to Feb. 14. Gunston Arts Center, 2700 South Lang St. Arlington. Tickets are $20. Call 703-418-4808 or visit wscavantbard.org.
AGENTS OF AZEROTH
Daring theater company the Washington Rogues offers a production, courtesy of CulturalDC, of Jennifer Lane's provocative play that pivots from the data point, revealed by Edward Snowden, that the NSA and CIA have spent vast time and resources investigating World of Warcraft. Megan Behm and J. Shawn Durham portray government agents and Dillon Greenberg and Grant Cloyd gamers watching the watchmen in this show directed by the Rogues' Ryan S. Taylor and examining weighty topics including security and surveillance, cyber-bullying and identity in our electronic age. Now to Feb. 14. Mead Theatre Lab at Flashpoint, 916 G St. NW. Tickets are $20. Call 202-315-1310 or visit washingtonrogues.org.
AS YOU LIKE IT
In a new staging of the Bard's cross-dressing, escapist romantic comedy, Wendy Goldberg decided to present an all-female ensemble. ''This 400-year-old play is the most gender-bending play in Shakespeare's canon,'' she tells Metro Weekly. ''It is an invitation to explore gender and identity, and the fluidity of gender.'' Her all-female approach to the production by Center Stage is the inverse of that from Shakespeare's day, when all characters, male and female, were played by men and boys. Even today, it's far more common to see an all-male production of Shakespeare. To Feb. 14. Towson University's Center for the Arts, 1 Fine Arts Dr., Towson, Md. Tickets are $10 to $59. Call 410-986-4000 or visit centerstage.org.
BACK TO METHUSELAH
Washington Stage Guild concludes a multi-year cycle of George Bernard Shaw's visionary classic with part 3, subtitled As Far As Thought Can Reach. Bill Largess directs the show, one of the first works of science fiction ever put on stage. To Feb. 21. Undercroft Theatre of Mount Vernon United Methodist Church, 900 Massachusetts Ave. NW. Tickets are $40 to $50. Call 240-582-0050 or visit stageguild.org.
BETWEEN RIVERSIDE AND CRAZY
Yet another boisterous and unflinchingly dark comedy from Stephen Adly Guirgis, whose play The Motherfucker with the Hat received much critical praise at Studio Theatre a few years ago. Between Riverside and Crazy was the winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and is focused on an ex-cop who is facing eviction, battling City Hall and struggling over the recent death of his wife. To Feb. 28. Studio Theatre, 14th & P Streets NW. Call 202-332-3300 or visit studiotheatre.org.
CHOCOLATE COVERED ANTS
The Anacostia Playhouse partners with Maryland's Restoration Stage for the world premiere of Steven A. Butler, Jr.'s intense drama about being black and male in modern-day America. Courtney Baker-Oliver directs the production featuring Suli Myrie, David Lamont Wilson, Clermon Acklin, Tillmon Figgs, Wilma Lynn Horton, Kandace Foreman, Christopher Ezell, Marquis Fair and Charles W. Harris Jr. Closes this Sunday, Feb. 7. Anacostia Playhouse, 2020 Shannon Place SE. Tickets are $35 to $50. Call 202-714-0646 or visit restorationstageinc.com.
Peter Shaffer's Tony-winning tale about a troubled teenager's dangerous obsession with horses is the latest show to get the Constellation Theatre Company treatment. Amber McGinnis Jackson directs the production with a cast including Michael Kramer, Kathleen Akerley, Michael Tolaydo, Laureen E. Smith and Ryan Tumulty. To Feb. 14. Source Theatre, 1835 14th St. NW. Tickets are $35 to $45. Call 202-204-7741 or visit constellationtheatre.org.
FATHER COMES HOME FROM THE WARS
Round House Theatre offers a production of this explosively powerful Civil War-era drama from Suzan-Lori Parks (Topdog/Underdog), which follows a slave from Texas to the Confederate battlefield. Timothy Douglas directs this Greek tragedy-inspired trilogy with a cast including Ian Anthony Coleman, KenYatta Rogers, Craig Wallace, JaBen Early and A. Stori Ayers. To Feb. 21. Round House Theatre, 4545 East-West Highway, Bethesda. Tickets are $50 to $60. Call 240-644-1100 or visit roundhousetheatre.org.
Billed as a ''contemporary response to Shakespeare's Coriolanus,'' the female-focused, Shakespeare-stirring company Taffety Punk presents a workshop reading of new work through its Punk Generator project. Anna Lathrop and Katherine Clair have put together a show that subverts Shakespeare's work, by foregoing the powerful and looking at the same whirlwind of political events that shook the foundation of Rome through the eyes of commonfolk. Kelsey Mesa directs this new take on the old story of the powerful military leader. Saturday, Feb. 6, at 8 p.m. Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, 545 7th St. SE. Call 202-355-9441 or visit taffetypunk.com.
GEORGIE: THE LIFE AND DEATH OF GEORGE ROSE
Helen Hayes Award-winning actor Ed Dixon (Signature Theatre's Sunset Boulevard) wrote and stars in this tribute to his friend and mentor, a Tony Award-winning character actor (My Fair Lady) who was a bon vivant with a flair for the dramatic and the eccentric. Eric Schaeffer directs the Signature Theatre production of this human tale about art, personal connections and the struggles of life and death. Closes this Sunday, Feb. 7. Signature Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. Tickets are $25 to $45. Call 703-820-9771 or visit signature-theatre.org.
I SHALL NOT HATE
Gassan Abbas, one of Israel's leading Palestinian actors, performs this memoir-based story adapted by the Israeli director Shay Pitovsky. Performed in Hebrew and Arabic with English surtitles, this is the second of five productions part of the four-month Voices from a Changing Middle East Festival, the provocative series that eventually became too hot for original presenter Theater J and has now been revived by ousted Theater J director Ari Roth at his new company. To Feb. 14. Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $20 to $40. Call 202-399-7993 or visit mosaictheater.org.
JACK AND PHIL, SLAYERS OF GIANTS
Janet Stanford directs Imagination Stage's tongue-in-cheek adaptation of the classic fairy tale Jack and the Beanstalk in this Theater for Young Audiences production by Charles Way. The focus is on Jack, a sporty, popular kid whose mother is facing foreclosure on their house and enlists his smart yet nerdy neighbor Phil to accompany him to the pawnshop to trade in his grandfather's gold watch -- for some magic beans. Now to March 13. Imagination Stage, 4908 Auburn Ave. Bethesda. Tickets are $10 to $25. Call 301-280-1660 or visit imaginationstage.org.
MONSTERS OF THE VILLA DIODATI
Virginia's emerging theater company Creative Cauldron presents the world premiere of yet another musical by writer Stephen Gregory Smith and composer Matt Conner, the local theater actor husbands who collaborated on the lyrics. Monsters of the Villa Diodati delves into a Lake Geneva writers' retreat from two centuries ago, hosted by Lord Byron (Sam Ludwig), which inspired Mary Shelley (Caitlin Shea) and John Polidori (David Landstrom) to write the Gothic classics Frankenstein and The Vampyre, respectively. This is the second installment in Creative Cauldron's five-year commissioning project ''Bold New Works for Intimate Stages,'' after last year's The Turn of the Screw, also written by Smith and Conner. Now running to Feb. 21. Premiere Gala is Saturday, Feb. 6, at 8 p.m. ArtSpace Falls Church, 410 South Maple Ave. Falls Church. Tickets are $26. Call 703-436-9948 or visit creativecauldron.org.
PICASSO AT THE LAPIN AGILE
Now that Bright Star has wrapped its pre-Broadway Kennedy Center run, Keegan Theatre offers a production of another work by comedian/composer Steve Martin which previously ran Off Broadway. Picasso at the Lapin Agile is a slightly absurd look at the famous Spanish painter's life -- and that of Albert Einstein's too -- before they changed the world through their work. Chris Stezin directs a cast including Matthew Keenan, Bradley Foster Smith, Allison Leigh Corke, Kevin Adams, Michael Innocenti, Sherri S. Herren and Jessica Power. To Feb. 13. Keegan Theatre, 1742 Church St. NW. Tickets are $40. Call 703-892-0202 or visit keegantheatre.com.
SENORITA Y MADAME
GALA Theatre presents this show, subtitled The Secret War of Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubinstein, a comedy exploring the clash between two icons of beauty and marketing that helped revolutionize the fashion industry and change societal views about beauty. Consuelo Trum directs Gustavo Ott's play, presented in Spanish with English surtitles. Opens Thursday, Feb. 4, at 8 p.m. Runs to Feb. 28. GALA Theatre at Tivoli Square, 3333 14th St. NW. Tickets are $38 to $42. Call 202-234-7174 or visit galatheatre.org.
A full-length revue celebrating 15 years of Metro Stage's homegrown musical writing team, Thomas W. Jones II, William Knowles and William Hubbard, whose output celebrates the music born from gospel as created or popularized by African-American icons. Lori Williams, Anthony Manough, Roz White and Rayshun Lamarr perform in this ''musical night of blues, moods and icons.'' To March 6. MetroStage, 1201 North Royal St., Alexandria. Tickets are $55 to $60. Call 800-494-8497 or visit metrostage.org.
STONE TAPE PARTY
D.C.-based, female-driven theater company Nu Sass Productions offers Danny Rovin's play, which won Best Comedy and Best Show Overall at Capital Fringe 2014. Angela Kay Pirko directs an all-female cast in a quick-witted tribute to the post-college struggles -- from hedonism to misanthropy -- of the Millennial Generation. Briana Manente leads a cast also including Ariana Almajan, Jill Tighe and Casey Leffue. Closes this Sunday, Feb. 7. Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $20 to $30. Call 202-399-7993 or visit nusass.com.
Arena Stage offers a world-premiere production, co-commissioned with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, of a new gripping tale about loss, redemption and redefinition in a new era from Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage (Ruined). Kate Whoriskey directs this co-commission with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and featuring among its cast local actors Johanna Day, Kimberly Scott, Tramell Tillman and Jack Willis. To Feb. 21. Kreeger Theater in the Mead Center for American Theater, 1101 6th St. SW. Call 202-488-3300 or visit arenastage.org.
THE CITY OF CONVERSATION
Doug Hughes directs an in-the-round production at Arena Stage of Anthony Giardina's play, offering an inside look at the theater of politics as seen from the vantage point of a fictional Georgetown hostess and her Ferris family clan. Margaret Colin stars in this show also featuring Michael Simpson playing her sons. Now to March 6. The Fichlander in the Mead Center for American Theater, 1101 6th St. SW. Call 202-488-3300 or visit arenastage.org.
THE CRITIC/THE REAL INSPECTOR HOUND
Michael Kahn directs this double bill of one-act comedies about behind-the-scenes life in the theater. An ensemble cast takes on multiple characters bringing to life Jeffrey Hatcher's fresh take on Richard Brinsley Sheridan's 18th-century romp The Critic and Tom Stoppard's absurdist tour-de-farce The Real Inspector Hound. To Feb. 14. Lansburgh Theatre, 450 7th St. NW. Call 202-547-1122 or visit shakespearetheatre.org.
THE GLASS MENAGERIE
The Southern-fried family drama that made Tennessee Williams famous gets examined anew in a production directed by Mark Ramont, the former programming director at Ford's Theatre. Surprisingly, the show marks the first Williams play presented at Ford's. Madeleine Potter, Tom Story, Jenna Sokolowski and Thomas Keegan star in this iconic memory play. To Feb. 21. Ford's Theatre, 511 10th St. NW. Tickets are $20 to $52. Call 800-982-2787 or visit fordstheatre.org.
THE SISTERS ROSENSWEIG
Twenty-two years after its Broadway debut and 10 years after its award-winning playwright's untimely death, Theater J presents The Sisters Rosensweig by Wendy Wasserstein. Kasi Campbell directs this heartfelt comedy about three very different siblings, reunited for one remarkable, revealing weekend, and portrayed by the sharp team of Susan Lynskey, Susan Rome and Kimberly Schraf. Josh Adams, Edward Christian, Michael Russotto, James Whalen and Caroline Wolfson round out the cast. To Feb. 21. The Aaron and Cecile Goldman Theater, Washington, D.C.'s Jewish Community Center, 1529 16th St. NW. Call 202-777-3210 or visit theaterj.org.
THE LARAMIE PROJECT
Maryland's Kensington Arts Theatre offers a production of Moises Kaufman's examination with the Tectonic Theater Project of the small Wyoming town forever changed by the hate-crime murder of Matthew Shepard nearly 18 years ago. John Nunemaker directs the production. Opens on Friday, Feb. 5, at 8 :15 p.m. Performances weekends to Feb. 20. Kensington Town Hall, 3710 Mitchell St., Kensington, Md. Tickets are $20. Call 240-621-6528 or visit katonline.org.
Baltimore's Vagabond Theatre, a community theater, offers a production of Thornton Wilder's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama about small-town family life that features three pairs of real-life family members, including the casting of son and father Will and Chip Meister, and daughter and father Ryan and Brian Gunning. And then there's the two people running the show: Eric C. Stein as director and his wife Angela Stein as stage manager. Closes this Sunday, Feb. 7. Vagabond Theatre, 806 S. Broadway, Baltimore. Tickets are $12. Call 410-563-9135 or visit vagabondplayers.org.
21ST CENTURY CONSORT
The Smithsonian American Art Museum's contemporary music ensemble-in-residence presents ''Crosscurrents,'' a program drawing on the transatlantic modernist influences evident in the museum's exhibition of the same name. The program includes Bela Bartok's Sonata for Two Pianos & Percussion, John Adams' Hallelujah Junction, Eugene O'Brien's Close Harmony and Luciano Berio's Circles featuring soprano Lucy Shelton. Artistic director Christopher Kendall leads the 21st Century Consort, which he founded 40 years ago with a roster including principal players from the National Symphony Orchestra as well as prominent chamber musicians from the region and elsewhere. Saturday, Feb. 6, at 5 p.m. -- preceded at 4 p.m. with a pre-concert discussion. Smithsonian American Art Museum's McEvoy Auditorium, Lower Level, 8th and F Streets NW. Tickets are free, beginning at 3:30 p.m. the day-of. Call 202-633-3030 or visit americanart.si.edu.
ANDREW BAYER AND THE ANJUNABEATS TOUR
Fans of London-based DJ/production outfit Above and Beyond, or trance and deep and melodic EDM in general, are in luck at Echostage this Saturday, Feb. 6. That's when Club Glow-DC presents a night featuring behind the club's decks the brightest talents from the popular label Anjunabeats, most notably Andrew Bayer, the D.C. native co-producer of recent Above and Beyond albums and the group's Grammy-nominated single ''We're All We Need.'' Ilan Bluestone and Jason Ross are two other newer stars of Anjunabeats on the tour, with special guest Seven Lions. Saturday, Feb. 6. Doors at 9 p.m. Echostage, 2135 Queens Chapel Rd. NE. Tickets are $40. Call 202-503-2330 or visit echostage.com.
Broadway's Cabaret and TV's Good Wife star offers a Valentine's Day treat for lovers and especially lovers of ''the sappy silly love songs everyone secretly adores.'' Among songs by Annie Lennox, Billy Joel and Bertolt Brecht, you can can expect an Adele/Lady Gaga/Katy Perry mashup the Scottish entertainer calls ''Someone on the Edge of Firework.'' He'll be supported by music director Lance Horne, cellist Eleanor Norton and drummer Michael Croiter. Sunday, Feb. 14, at 8 p.m. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Tickets are $35 to $85. Call 301-581-5100 or visit strathmore.org.
ANDRE WATTS WITH BALTIMORE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
One of the most celebrated living pianists and a graduate of Baltimore's Peabody Institute, Andre Watts returns as a guest soloist with the BSO to perform Mozart's witty and poignant Piano Concerto No. 9 ''Jeunehomme.'' Mario Venzago conducts the BSO in a program that also includes Schumann's sunlit Symphony No. 4 and selections from Gluck's Armide. Thursday, Feb. 4, at 8 p.m. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Also Friday, Feb. 5, and Saturday, Feb. 6, at 8 p.m. Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St., Baltimore. Tickets are $10 to $99. Call 410-783-8000 or visit bsomusic.org.
BROOKLYN RIDER, GABRIEL KAHANE
Washington Performing Arts presents the annual concert at Sixth and I by this classical string quartet, whose music works to expand the boundaries of the genre by incorporating elements from world music and folk. ''Joining Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble really opened up our ears and eyes to the world,'' violinist and lead composer Colin Jacobsen explained to Metro Weekly last year. This year Brooklyn Rider performs with another boundary-pushing artist, fellow Brooklynite and classical/indie folk composer and performer Gabriel Kahane. Saturday, Feb. 6, at 8 p.m. Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. 600 I St. NW. Tickets are $35. Call 202-408-3100 or visit washingtonperformingarts.org.
GMCW'S ROCK CREEK SINGERS, POTOMAC FEVER
The Atlas presents a special concert showcasing the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington's two select vocal ensembles, the 14-voice close-harmony a cappella group Potomac Fever and the 34-singer eclectic chamber ensemble Rock Creek Singers. ''The Way We Were'' program offers a sentimental trip down memory lane and revisits some of the ensembles' best songs. Friday, Feb. 12, at 8 p.m., and Saturday, Feb. 13, at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Lang Theatre in the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $20 to $39. Call 202-399-7993 or visit atlasarts.org.
On song after song, this slightly twee indie/chamber-rock Seattle quintet sounds remarkably like a more dramatic, classically minded version of fellow Washington state outfit Death Cab for Cutie -- first and foremost on account of singer Matt Bishop's Ben Gibbard-channeling vocals. The band, which includes a cellist and a violist, tours in support of their self-titled third set. Friday, Feb. 12. Doors at 7 p.m. The 9:30 Club presents this concert. U Street Music Hall, 1115A U St. NW. Tickets are $15. Call 202-588-1880 or visit ustreetmusichall.com.
The rock-oriented rapper who has dabbled in acting as well as serving as a television bandleader -- on IFC's Comedy Bang! Bang! -- tours in support of last year's Speedin' Bullet 2 Heaven. I.M.P. Productions presents this concert, rescheduled from a cancelled December date. Thursday, Feb. 11, at 9 p.m. Echostage, 2135 Queens Chapel Rd. NE. Tickets are $55. Call 202-503-2330 or visit echostage.com.
A socially conscious hip-hop artist somewhat in the mold of his fellow Chicago native Common, Lupe Fiasco first rose to fame a decade ago championed by another Chicago rapper. But Fiasco's style is more cerebral and studious, as well as jazzier and a bit trippier than Kanye West's, though Fiasco also isn't above stoking political controversy. He tours with the Boy Illinois, Billy Blue and ZVerse in support of new album Tetsuo & Youth -- but here's hoping he'll indulge the crowd with some of his recent pop/rap collaborations with Ed Sheeran (''Old School Love'') and Jennifer Hudson (''Remission,'' with Common), to say nothing of the older Grammy-winning work with Jill Scott (''Daydreamin'''). Sunday, Feb. 7. Doors at 7 p.m. 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. Tickets are $40. Call 202-265-0930 or visit 930.com.
Music Director Piotr Gajewski leads Strathmore's resident orchestra in a program focused on Mozart's Symphony No. 35, dubbed the Haffner Symphony after the wealthy merchant who often helped the young Austrian composer with money and favors. Brian Ganz joins to perform Mozart's gorgeous and moving Piano Concerto No. 20 in D Minor. Saturday, Feb. 6, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 7, at 3 p.m. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Tickets are $38 to $79. Call 301-581-5100 or visit strathmore.org.
SHENZHEN POP MUSIC SHOW
As part of events ringing in the Chinese New Year, the Kennedy Center presents a free concert featuring some of China's youngest pop stars, including the band Jam You, singers Tsinger, Majia Jiado and Ray M, and rapper Too Phat. Friday, Feb. 5, at 6 p.m. Kennedy Center Millennium Stage. Tickets are free. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
The Washington Post has called this quintet, which got its start playing in Irish bars in New York, ''one of the world's finest Celtic-folk ensembles,'' with music ranging from innovative original songs to Irish classics. Having first performed as a group at Georgetown University, Solas marks its 20th anniversary this year with a tour featuring founding members Seamus Egan and Winifred Horan. Friday, Feb. 5, and Saturday, Feb. 6, at 8 p.m. The Barns at Wolf Trap, 1635 Trap Road, Vienna. Tickets are $25 to $28. Call 877-WOLFTRAP or visit wolftrap.org.
THE SWEATER SET
Listen Local First presents a free concert by the local folk duo of Sara Curtin and Maureen Andary, who make original music using an impressive variety of instruments, from the accordion to the flute, ukulele to the glockenspiel. The Sweater Set performs a Valentine's Day-themed celebration of vintage love songs also featuring the duo of Jess Eliot Myhre of the Bumper Jacksons and Letitia VanSant. Thursday, Feb. 11, at 6 p.m. Kennedy Center Millennium Stage. Tickets are $69 to $265. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
WASHINGTON NATIONAL OPERA
Following his turn with WNO in The Flying Dutchman, renowned bass-baritone Eric Owens stars in Kurt Weill's final work for the stage, merging influences from Broadway, gospel, African spirituals and the blues. A collaboration with Maxwell Anderson, Lost in the Stars is a musical tragedy based on Alan Paton's novel Cry, The Beloved Country. The Kennedy Center offers a free preview of the work on the Millennium Stage featuring members of WNO's Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program on Tuesday, Feb. 9, at 6 p.m. Full performances of the opera, a production from Cape Town Opera and directed by Tazewell Thompson, in the Eisenhower Theater begin on Friday, Feb. 12, at 7:30 p.m., and run to Saturday, Feb. 20. Kennedy Center. Tickets are $69 to $265. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
33RD ANNUAL CHOREOGRAPHERS' SHOWCASE
A co-presentation with the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, the annual showcase at the Clarice features some of the region's most talented emerging artists. This year's selected choreographers are: Sarah Beth Oppenheim, Monique Walker, Hayley Cutler of darlingdance, Meghan K. Abadoo, Kasi Aysola and Athena Powell and Gabrielle Odom. Saturday, Feb. 6, at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Dance Theatre at the Clarice at the University of Maryland, University Boulevard and Stadium Drive. College Park. Tickets are $25. Call 301-405-ARTS or visit theclarice.umd.edu.
ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER
The vaunted American dance company returns to the Kennedy Center for its annual week of performances. This year's program includes three new works: Awakening, by the company's artistic director Robert Battle and set to a symphonic score by John Mackey, Exodus by hip-hop choreographer Rennie Harris and set to house dance music, and Open Door by Ronald K. Brown fusing African and modern dance and set to recordings by Arturo O'Farrill & the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra. Also on the bill are new productions of works by the company's former artistic director Judith Jamison as well as a couple from its late namesake. All five mixed-repertory programs conclude with Revelations, the masterpiece by Ailey, who died of AIDS-related complications in 1989. Remaining performances are Thursday, Feb. 4, through Saturday, Feb. 6, at 7 p.m. Also Saturday, Feb. 7, and Sunday, Feb. 8, at 1 p.m. Kennedy Center Opera House. Tickets are $49 to $199. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
CARMEN: AN AFRO-CUBAN JAZZ MUSICAL
Some of Broadway's best -- writer/director Moises Kaufman (The Laramie Project) and choreographer Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys) among them -- are behind this world-premiere adaptation of Bizet's opera as a musical set in 1958 revolutionary Cuba. Olney Theatre presents a co-production with Kaufman's Tectonic Theater Project featuring lyrics by Kaufman and a book co-written by Kaufman and Eduardo Machado, with music composed and adapted by Arturo O'Farrill. The 18-person cast stars Brandon Andrus as Jose, Caesar Samayoa as Camilo and Christina Sajous as the tragic titular diva. Opens in previews Wednesday, Feb. 10, at 8 p.m. Runs to March 16. Mainstage at Olney Theatre Center, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney, Md. Call 301-924-3400 or visit olneytheatre.org.
CLOUD GATE DANCE THEATRE OF TAIWAN
Toronto's Globe and Mail touted Cloud Gate as ''one of the finest dance companies in the world,'' while a critic for the Washington Post said that watching the Taiwanese company leaves you ''gently seduced into rethinking your ideas about dance.'' Lin Hwai-min leads the company he founded in the D.C. premiere of Rice, a multimedia work Lin created in 2013 to celebrate his homeland on the occasion of Cloud Gate's 40th anniversary. Friday, Feb. 12, and Saturday, Feb. 13, at 7 p.m. Kennedy Center Opera House. Tickets are $19 to $75. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
Inspired by Shakespeare's The Tempest and Oya, the Afro-Cuban deity of wind and storms, Agua Furiosa is a visually stunning and thought-provoking evening of dance from the company led by artistic director and choreographer Ana Maria Alvarez. Michael Garces directs the production also featuring contributions by sound designer d. Sabela Grimes, vocalist Pyeng Threadgill, and lighting designer Masha Tsimring. Saturday, Feb. 13, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 14, at 4 p.m. Dance Place, 3225 8th St. NE. Tickets are $25 in advance, or $30 at the door. Call 202-269-1600 or visit danceplace.org.
JOE GOODE PERFORMANCE GROUP
The Resilience Project aims to explore how humans deal with trauma, using storytelling and performance as a way of finding universality and strength in the face of adversity. The company interviews returning veterans from Iraq/Afghanistan about their recovery or ongoing process of adjustment, with the resulting staged work consisting almost verbatim of their stories and accounts. Friday, Feb. 5, and Saturday, Feb. 6, at 8 p.m. American Dance Institute, 1501 East Jefferson St. Rockville. Tickets are $30. Call 301-984-3003 or visit americandance.org.
A correspondent on Comedy Central's The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, Ricky Velez is a New York-based comic recently named by Variety as one of ''10 Comics to Watch.'' Alex Barbag opens for Velez in this free program presented as part of the Comedy at the Kennedy Center series. Friday, Feb. 12, at 6 p.m. Kennedy Center Terrace Theater. Tickets are free, distributed in the States Gallery starting at approximately 5:30 p.m. the day-of. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
WASHINGTON IMPROV THEATER: ROAD SHOW!
D.C.'s leading company for longform improv -- such as that popularized by the Upright Citizens Brigade and Second City -- offers a ''Wintry Mix,'' a series of vignettes featuring different ensembles, with each plot developed on-the-fly, spurred by a single audience suggestion. To Feb. 13. District of Columbia Arts Center (DCAC), 2438 18th St. NW. Tickets are $12 in advance, or $15 at the door. Call 202-462-7833 or visit washingtonimprov.org.
A COLLECTOR'S VISION: WASHINGTONIANA COLLECTION
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.
ART OF THE AIRPORT TOWER
The images of Smithsonian photographer Carolyn Russo offer a journey examining contemporary and historic air traffic control towers in this exhibition at the Air and Space Museum. Through November. National Air and Space Museum, Independence Ave at 6th St. SW. Call 202-633-2214 or visit airandspace.si.edu.
COLBY CALDWELL: HOW TO SURVIVE YOUR OWN DEATH
Logan Circle's Hemphill Fine Arts presents an exhibition by this Asheville, N.C.-based Corcoran Gallery of Art alum, based on a series of accidentally corrupted images that have taken on a new life of their own as a result. Through March 5. Hemphill Fine Arts, 1515 14th St. NW. Call 202-234-5601 or visit hemphillfinearts.com.
EYE POP: THE CELEBRITY GAZE
Many never publicly displayed portraits of 53 luminaries at the top in their fields is the focus of this exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. Oprah Winfrey, Brad Pitt, Katy Perry, Sonia Sotomayor, Michelle Obama, Serena Williams and Kobe Bryant are among the works, ranging from drawings to sculpture, paintings to video portraits, and all recent additions to the museum's collection. Through July 10. National Portrait Gallery, 8th and F Streets. NW. Call 202-633-8300 or visit npg.si.edu.
ONE LIFE: DOLORES HUERTA
The National Portrait Gallery offers its first exhibition devoted to a Latino figure. Dolores Heurta co-founded the National Farm Workers Association with Cesar Chavez in 1962 and fought for the passage of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act of 1975. Taina Caragol curated an exhibition that vividly traces the 13 years between those two actions. Through May 15. National Portrait Gallery, 8th and F Streets. NW. Call 202-633-8300 or visit npg.si.edu.
OUT OF THE ASHES
Subtitled New Library for Congress and the Nation, this exhibition marks the 200th anniversary of the acquisition of Jefferson's library of books, the foundation of the modern Library of Congress. The Jeffersonian concept of a universal library covering all subjects is the basis of the library's comprehensive collecting policies. Through May. Second Floor of the Library of Congress's Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. SE. Call 202-707-8000 or visit loc.gov/concerts.
PATHMAKERS: WOMEN IN ART, CRAFT AND DESIGN
The National Museum of Women in the Arts presents an exhibition illuminating the vital contributions that women made to post-war, mid-20th century visual culture and their use of craft materials to explore concepts of modernism. Although painting, sculpture and architecture were dominated by men a half-century ago, women had considerable impact in the fields of textiles, ceramics and metals. Ruth Asawa, Sheila Hicks and Eva Zeisel are just a few of the women from the era celebrated in this exhibition, organized by New York's Museum of Arts and Design, which also shines the light on some pathmaking contemporary female artists and designers, including Anne Wilson, Vivian Beer and Hella Jongerius. Through Feb. 28. National Museum of Women in the Arts, 1250 New York Ave NW. Admission is $10. Call 202-783-5000 or visit nmwa.org.
PEARLS ON A STRING
Subtitled ''Artists, Patrons and Poets at the Great Islamic Courts,'' Baltimore's Walters Art Museum presents its first major exhibition of Islamic art, with a focus on the cultures of historic India, Iran and Turkey. The result is a sweeping selection of works including manuscripts, paintings, sculpture, textiles, decorated ceramics and metalwork. Through Jan. 31. Walters Art Museum, 600 North Charles St. Baltimore. Call 410-547-9000 or visit thewalters.org.
PRISTINE SEAS: THE OCEAN'S LAST WILD PLACES
National Geographic's Pristine Seas project searches for the last truly wild places in the ocean and documents them in powerful footage intended to motivate world leaders to protect the world's oceans. This exhibition about the project features stunning photography and behind-the-scenes expedition images from the Arctic to the tropics, as well as an immersive underwater video wall. To March 27. National Geographic Museum, 1145 17th St. NW. Free. Call 202-857-7588 or visit ngmuseum.org.
RENWICK GALLERY: WONDER
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.
SHAKESPEARE: LIFE OF AN ICON
In honor of the 400th anniversary year of William Shakespeare's death, the Folger Shakespeare Library offers an exhibition that brings together some of the most important manuscripts and printed books related to his life and career. The intent is to offer a glimpse of the most famous author in the world. Through March 27. The Great Hall in Folger Shakespeare Library, 201 East Capitol St. SE. Call 202-544-7077 or visit folger.edu.
SOL HILL: SIGNAL FROM NOISE
Combining the aesthetics and visual concerns of painting and photography, Sol Hill dubs his work ''energy paintings.'' Using a digital sensor, Hill transforms images into a kind of hyper-vision, showing aspects of reality not normally seen. Through March 11. Vivid Solutions Gallery in the Anacostia Arts Center, 1231 Good Hope Road SE. Call 202-631-6291 or visit anacostiaartscenter.com.
THE BIG HOPE SHOW
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.
THE GREAT INKA ROAD: ENGINEERING AN EMPIRE
One of the monumental engineering achievements in history, the Great Inka Road is a network of more than 20,000 miles, crossing mountains and tropical lowlands, rivers and deserts, linking the Inca capital Cusco with the farthest reaches of its empire -- and it still serves Andean communities today in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Chile. This exhibition explores the legacy of the Inka Empire and technological feat of the road, recognized by the United Nations as a World Heritage site in 2014. Through April 2018. National Museum of the American Indian, Independence Avenue at 4th Street SW. Call 202-633-1000 or visit nmai.si.edu.
TRENDING: CONTEMPORARY ART NOW!
Women's Caucus for Art partners with the Target Gallery in Alexandria for this new exhibition featuring women who are leading the direction of contemporary art. Sarah West, Blythe King and Sarah Boyts Yoder are three D.C. and Virginia artists among 12 self-identified women working in a cross-section of media -- from video to 3D photography to installation. Now open. Public reception is Friday, Feb. 5, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Exhibition is on display through Feb. 28. Studio 2 of the Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 North Union St. Alexandria. Free. Call 703-838-4565 or visit torpedofactory.org.
WINDOW TO WASHINGTON
Window to Washington: The Kiplinger Collection at HSW is an exhibition at Washington's Carnegie Library that traces the development of the nation's capital from a sleepy Southern town to a modern metropolis, as documented through the works of artists. The Historical Society of Washington, D.C., exhibition was made possible by a donation from the Kiplinger family. It's also an early step in a reorganization effort by the society, which has struggled to revive ever since its short-lived effort a decade ago to run a City Museum of Washington proved too ambitious. Open Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Historical Society of Washington, D.C., at the Carnegie Library, 801 K St. NW. Call 202-393-1420 or visit dchistory.org.
A BURLESQUE TRIBUTE TO DAVID BOWIE
Organized as a fundraiser for local LGBTQ teen homeless organization the Wanda Alston Foundation, the Rock and Roll Hotel hosts this variety show with the full title ''The Life and Times of Major Tom: A Chronological Burlesque Tribute to David Bowie.'' Isabelle Epoque and Bella La Blanc lead a bill of burlesque and sideshow entertainers in this sure-to-be flamboyant and touching tribute to the recently passed Thin White Duke. Thursday, Feb. 11, at 9:30 p.m. Rock and Roll Hotel, 1353 H St. NE. Tickets are $15 in advance, or $20 day-of show. Call 202-388-ROCK or visit rockandrollhoteldc.com.
F*CK BRUNCH! DRAG LUNCH
You can find drag queens serving and sashaying at brunches around town, but there's only one place to find drag kings on a Sunday afternoon -- and they don't do ''brunch.'' (Or they don't call it brunch, anyway.) Drag king entity Pretty Boi Drag, led by Chris Jay and former DC King Pretty Rik E, presents a lunch show at Dupont Circle's Bier Baron Tavern, which includes exclusive ''beermosas'' and items from the venue's new menu. Expect to see drag king performances steeped in romance, from upbeat favorites to steamy slow jams. Sunday, Feb. 14, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Bier Baron Tavern, 1523 22nd St. NW. Tickets are $15 for the show, or $25 for the lunch and show. Call 202-293-1887 or visit prettyboidrag.com.
DC HER HRC 2016 DJ BATTLE, WITH WICKED JEZABEL
The Human Rights Campaign and Booz Allen Hamilton present the 2016 Her HRC DJ battle in which four of the area's best female DJs will duke it out during a night at Town. Popular lesbian all-covers party-rock band Wicked Jezabel will start the evening as featured musical guest, followed by hour-long sets from, in order: DJ Che Parlay, DJ Adotnet, last year's winner DJ Jacq Jill and DJ Jai Syncere. Sunday, Feb. 14, starting at 7 p.m. Town Danceboutique, 2009 8th St. NW. Tickets start at $20. Call 202-234-TOWN or visit towndc.com.
Regie Cabico and Don Mike Mendoza's La-Ti-Do variety show is neither karaoke nor cabaret. The show features higher-quality singing than most karaoke, often from local musical theater actors performing on their night off. Cabico and co-host Mendoza also select storytellers who offer spoken-word poetry and comedy. Held at Bistro Bistro in Dupont Circle, La-Ti-Do celebrates the showtunes of Sondheim on Monday, Feb. 8, at 8 p.m. Bistro Bistro, 1727 Connecticut Ave. NW. Tickets are $15, or $10 if you eat dinner at the restaurant beforehand. Call 202-328-1640 or visit latidodc.wix.com/latidodc.
Back in the Saddle Again is the title of a Kennedy Center program that includes a screening of Blazing Saddles and behind-the-scenes stories from the career and life of this comedian and 2009 Kennedy Center Honoree, who will engage in an audience-led Q&A. Saturday, Feb. 6, at 7:30 p.m. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Tickets are $75 to $150. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
SCARLET'S CAKE AUCTION AND BAKE SALE
Edible cakes in crazy shapes -- human body parts, say -- or decorated in wild themes, including tributes to gay icons, activities and proclivities, are par for the course at Scarlet's Bake Sale. That's the DC Eagle's annual cake auction fundraiser started 45 years ago by Ed ''Scarlet'' Nesbitt and Neil ''Mei Ling'' Redman. All manner of people bake and donate the cakes, from commercial companies to leather clubs to individual bakers. This year's theme is ''Show Us Your True Colors,'' with awards given out for ''Best Club Entry'' and ''Best Individual Entry.'' Proceeds from the auction of baked goods and other assorted leather items go to Pets-DC and a new scholarship program by the Scarlet's Foundation for college juniors and seniors. Sunday, Feb. 7, from 1 to 7 p.m. Cake donations should be made by 3 p.m., with the auction starting at 3:30 p.m. DC Eagle, 3700 Benning Rd. NE. Visit dceagle.com.
Local storytelling organization formerly known as SpeakEasyDC offers its eighth ''Sucker for Love,'' a Valentine's Day-themed event with ''true tales about loves found, lost and imagined.'' Unlike other storytelling organizations, Story District is focused on congenial camaraderie not competition -- no judged ''Story Slams'' here. Those presenting this year are Amanda Sapir, Annie Lipsitz, Cait Reilly, Keith Mellnick, Laura Feiveson, Michael Cotter, Morgan Givens, Nupur Mehta and Sarah Weber. Mike Baireuther hosts this show that he co-directed with Stephanie Garibaldi. Saturday, Feb. 13, at 6 p.m. Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U St. NW. Tickets are $25. Call 202-328-6000 or visit thelincolndc.com.
WASHINGTON BALLET, INSERIES: BIZET'S CARMEN IN HAVANA
The Washington Ballet and the InSeries team up to infuse Bizet's operatic classic with dance the rhythms of Cuba. Septime Webre and David Palmer lead dancers from the ballet's studio company in sensual choreography set to Bizet's iconic score, peppered with the music of Buena Vista Social Club, rendered live by Carlos C. Rodriguez on piano and Ivan Navas and Gary Sosias on percussion. Anamer Castrello is Carmen, with a supporting cast of singers including Peter Burroughs, Alex Alburqueque, Randa Rouweyha, Erin Passmore and Elliot Matheny. Friday, Feb. 5, and Saturday, Feb. 6, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 7, at 4 p.m. Lang Theatre at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $46. Call 202-204-7763 or visit inseries.org.