March-April 2021

Best bets

Our picks for things to see and do in the Bethesda area in March and April

Imagine dragons

March 12-21

Can someone be a geek and a warrior? In the world of Dungeons & Dragons they can. That’s what Agnes Evans, the protagonist in Qui Nguyen’s play She Kills Monsters, finds out after the death of her teenage sister, Tilly. In this dramatic comedy laced with ’90s pop culture references, Agnes discovers Tilly’s Dungeons & Dragons notebook and finds herself immersed in the fantasy world that offered her sister refuge. The production, in partnership with Montgomery Playhouse, will be livestreamed from the Arts Barn in Gaithersburg and can be viewed on a computer. The play contains mature themes and is best for ages 15 and older.

8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, $20, virtual event, www.gaithersburgmd.gov/recreation/performing-arts/theater/she-kills-monsters


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Winning words

March 18, 25

The Bethesda area is fertile ground for emerging writers. Each year, a number of them are recognized in the Bethesda Local Writer’s Showcase, which honors the winners of the Bethesda Essay, Short Story, and Poetry Contests. The short story and essay contests are sponsored by Bethesda Magazine, the Bethesda Urban Partnership (BUP), The Writer’s Center and The Jim and Carol Trawick Foundation, while the poetry contest is sponsored by BUP and The Writer’s Center. You can hear the authors read from their winning work at an online awards ceremony. The essay and short story winners will read on March 18, and the poetry winners, along with former Maryland poet laureate Michael Collier, will read on March 25.

7 p.m., free, virtual event, bethesda.org


’Tis the season

March 26

If you’re missing the thrill of watching a live performance at Olney Theatre Center, you’ll be happy to see familiar faces during the playhouse’s monthly revue, The Olney Home Hour. During each installment, actors Eleasha Gamble, Jessica Lauren Ball, Jay Frisby and Bobby Smith—all of whom have appeared in past Olney productions—perform songs and skits celebrating the current season. Recent shows have included Seasons of Justice to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday in January and Seasons of Love in February. In March, they turn their attention to spring with Seasons of Renewal. Episodes remain online after the release date so they can be viewed at any time.

8 p.m., free, virtual event, olneytheatre.org


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A royal concert

April 11

With music and dramatic spoken word, the National Philharmonic follows the evolution of Black people in America with its streamed performance of Portrait of a Queen by composer Carlos Simon. The piece aims to tell the story through the lens of a figurative Black woman representing strength, courage and selflessness. The orchestra, playing live from The Music Center at Strathmore, will also perform British composer Ralph Vaughan-Williams’ Flos Campi, featuring viola soloist Julius Wirthis and a wordless accompaniment from the National Philharmonic Chorale.

2 p.m., free, virtual event, nationalphilharmonic.org


Photo by Margot Schulman

All about that bass

April 14

Aaron Freeman goes by the stage name “ijustplaybass,” but he actually plays everything from bass and guitar to keyboards and brass. He also arranges music and makes films. The recent Howard University grad cleverly combines musical genres including jazz, R&B and classical to create songs that sound both familiar and new, such as his smooth, groovy arrangement of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. Get a taste of the Strathmore artist-in-residence’s talent during his livestreamed concert.

7:30 p.m., pay what you can, virtual event, strathmore.org


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Film forum

April 16

Each year, the Bethesda Film Fest showcases short documentaries on a wide range of topics made by filmmakers living in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. The festival is virtual this year, which means you can stream and watch each of the films for free starting in late March. The filmmakers will participate in an online discussion and Q&A session in April to talk about their projects. Register online to join the free virtual discussion.

7 p.m., free, virtual event, bethesda.org


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Spy kids

Through May 23

Part choose-your-own adventure, part virtual escape room, Spy Academy and the Lost Treasure of Atlantis is an immersive theatrical experience from Imagination Stage. In the production, which is designed for children ages 5 to 10, the audience takes on the role of spy academy cadets. They are asked to join a mission to search for the Heart of the Dragon by solving puzzles and problems. “Pat,” a teacher at the spy academy who is played by different improv actors depending on the performance, leads the audience, which is limited to 15 households, through various challenges. The show also includes filmed segments shot at Imagination Stage’s Bethesda theater.

11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, $25, virtual event, imaginationstage.org