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Things to See and Do in the Bethesda Area in November and December

Our picks for live music, holiday events and other entertainment

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Nov. 3

Wanda Woman

Photo by Roger Erickson.

If you’ve watched TV or seen movies over the past 20 years, it’s likely you’ve come across Wanda Sykes. The comedian, actress and writer has worked either behind the scenes or in front of the camera on a variety of TV shows, including Blackish, Broad City, Curb Your Enthusiasm, House of Lies, Will & Grace and The Chris Rock Show, for which she won an Emmy in 1999. She’s also acted in dozens of movies and has voiced characters in many animated films and TV shows. But Sykes got her start in stand-up in Washington, D.C., and she’s been making people laugh for decades with her sharp, humorous take on race, family life and politics. She’ll be sharing more of those observations when she comes to North Bethesda.

7:30 p.m., $35-$115, The Music Center at Strathmore, strathmore.org

Nov. 2-4

Celebrating Freedom

On Jan. 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared free all slaves in Civil War states that seceded from the Union. In many states, however, slavery remained legal. Maryland acted on Nov. 1, 1864, when a new state constitution abolished slavery in the Free State. Montgomery Parks commemorates the anniversary during the first weekend of each November with a series of events celebrating Maryland Emancipation Day at county parks and historic sites. Highlights include guided “Underground Railroad Experience” hikes—the “Voices of the Underground Railroad” night hike at Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park has been particularly popular—as well as historical exhibitions, archaeological activities, live music and other cultural presentations.

Various county park locations, some activities require registration in advance and a fee, montgomeryparks.org

Courtesy of Imagination Stage.

Nov. 3-Jan. 6

If the Shoe Fits

In Imagination Stage’s musical retelling of fairy tale favorite Cinderella, the title character is not a damsel in distress. Instead, she’s a sword-wielding adventurer. The show features lots of laughs with slapstick comedy that will appeal to young audiences, but still includes the hallmarks of the classic tale, from the evil stepmother and stepsisters to a fairy godmother, a fancy ball and, of course, the charming prince. The Bethesda theater recommends the production for ages 4 and older.

$15-$35, Imagination Stage, imaginationstage.org

Nov. 9-Jan. 6

Elf off the Shelf

The 2003 Will Ferrell movie Elf has become a modern holiday classic. It tells the story of Buddy, a human who thinks he’s one of Santa’s elves. When he ventures to New York to find his real dad, he brings the true spirit of the holiday to the jaded city. In 2010, Elf the Musical took the tale from the silver screen to the Broadway stage. Now it’s coming to Olney Theatre Center. The show, which includes comedic musical numbers “Never Fall in Love (With an Elf)” and “Nobody Cares About Santa,” is recommended for ages 10 and older.

$32.25-$94, Olney Theatre Center, olneytheatre.orgVarious county park locations, some activities require registration in advance and a fee, montgomeryparks.org

Photo courtesy of The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

Dec. 13

Nutcracker, Cirque-style

From traditional Russian ballet to modern hip-hop dance, The Nutcracker comes in many styles and interpretations. This season, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) offers a new take on the famous holiday classic. In Cirque Nutcracker, ballet meets the circus with aerialists, acrobats and contortionists from Troupe Vertigo accompanied by the BSO playing music from the Tchaikovsky masterpiece. The performance is recommended for ages 6 and older.

8 p.m., $35-$90, The Music Center at Strathmore, strathmore.org

Dec. 1-30

All Aboard

Santa can be found in all kinds of places during the holiday season, but one of the more unique Santa photo ops is at the National Capital Trolley Museum’s Holly TrolleyFest. Visitors can take unlimited rides aboard a historic street car to meet the jolly old elf. Between rides, Santa can usually be found inside the museum, where visitors can see model trains in a display featuring a Christmas tree and decorations, and real trains by taking a docent-led tour of the Street Car Hall. Santa rides are on Saturdays and Sundays from Dec. 1 to 23. After that, he returns to the North Pole, but the festival continues with trolley rides and displays through Dec. 30.

12:30-4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, $7, $5 children ages 2 to 17 and seniors 65 and older, National Capital Trolley Museum, Colesville, dctrolley.org8 p.m., $35-$90, The Music Center at Strathmore, strathmore.org

Courtesy photo.

Dec. 11

Jorja on My Mind

With a soulful voice and a style influenced by R&B, reggae and hip-hop, Jorja Smith has an impressive résumé for someone who’s only 21 years old. The singer, who grew up outside of London, won the 2018 Brit Critics’ Choice Award and was nominated for the prestigious 2018 Mercury Prize for outstanding British album. She’s collaborated with some of hip-hop’s biggest names, including Drake and Kendrick Lamar. In June, she released her first full-length album, Lost & Found. With positive reviews from publications as diverse as Pitchfork and The New Yorker, an appearance on The Tonight Show and a headlining tour across North America, this could be her biggest year yet. Catch her before it’s over when she stops at The Fillmore.

8 p.m., $29.50, The Fillmore Silver Spring, fillmoresilverspring.com

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