November-December 2021

Best bets

Our picks for things to see and do in November and December

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Courtesy of Olney Theatre

Belle of the ball

Nov. 5 through Jan. 2

It’s a tale as old as time: a beast who’s really a prince, a girl seeking adventure. Throw in some adorable anthropomorphic household accessories and a bunch of showstopping musical numbers and you’ve got Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Olney Theatre’s new production of the beloved cartoon-feature-turned-Broadway-musical infuses the story with inclusivity and originality, casting Jade Jones, a curvy, plus-size African American actress as the beautiful and brainy Belle, and Evan Ruggiero, who continued his career as a professional dancer after losing a leg to cancer, as the Beast. The fresh look comes thanks to director Marcia Milgrom Dodge, one of the featured professional directors in the Disney+ series Encore! Masks and proof of COVID-19 vaccination are required for audience members.

$45-$99, Mainstage at Olney Theatre Center, olneytheatre.org


Photo courtesy of Round House Theatre

Globe-trotters

Nov. 10 through Dec. 5

Basketball and history collide in the regional premiere of The Great Leap by Lauren Yee. Set in 1989, the play follows the University of San Francisco basketball team as it heads to China for a friendship game just before the Tiananmen Square uprising. The drama revolves around Manford, a teen who finds his way onto the college team; Saul, the team’s aging coach; and Wen Chang, a former translator and current coach of the Beijing team. Through their different approaches to the game, their personal pasts are revealed. Theatergoers must show proof of COVID-19 vaccination and wear masks.

$34-$71, Round House Theatre, Bethesda, roundhousetheatre.org


The light stuff

Nov. 19 through Jan. 2

After a year off due to COVID, the Garden of Lights walk-through winter lights display returns to Brookside Gardens this season. More than a million lights are handwoven into displays set among the paths and flowerbeds throughout the park’s 50 acres. The event goes high-tech with computerized displays that match lights with music. Warm up inside the conservatory, where model trains run through seasonal greenery and miniature reproductions of local landmarks, including Glen Echo Park, complete with a tiny carousel.

Timed entry at 5:30, 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30 p.m., closed Nov. 22-25 and Dec. 24-25; $10 per person, tickets at eventbrite.com, Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, montgomeryparks.org/parks-and-trails/brookside-gardens/garden-of-lights


Miracle on Fenton Street

Nov. 20

It’s been a tough couple of years and we’re not out of the woods yet, but some things are returning to normal, like the Montgomery County Thanksgiving Parade, and that’s something to be thankful for. Kicking off the holiday season, the event features marching bands, dance troupes, floats, giant character balloons and an appearance from Santa. The parade begins at Ellsworth Drive and Fenton Street and proceeds south on Georgia Avenue, ending at Silver Spring Avenue. The route stretches a mile through downtown Silver Spring, and visitors are encouraged to socially distance and wear masks.

10 a.m. to noon, free, Veterans Plaza, Silver Spring, silverspringdowntown.com/montgomery-county-thanksgiving-parade


Ask me another

Dec. 2

A few years ago, YouTube personality Jack Douglass started “YIAY” (Yesterday I Asked You), a daily web series in which he asked a quirky question and invited viewers to submit an answer. He then read his favorite answers in a subsequent video. After the series became a hit, he created “YIAY LIVE,” a livestreamed version in which fans submitted answers in real time and he picked his favorites live. Now, the game is going even more live with the in-person stage show YIAY LIVE! LIVE! Douglass will pose questions, and audience members can text answers in real time. The crowd will vote on the funniest responses, and winners will compete against each other to be crowned champion.

6 p.m., $30, The Fillmore Silver Spring, fillmoresilverspring.com


Photo courtesy of Strathmore

Angel of music

Dec. 6 -7

The closing of theaters last year due to the pandemic forced many performers to pivot, and Sarah Brightman was no exception. The famous soprano postponed her “Hymn in Concert” tour last fall, but she’s back on the road now with the rebilled “A Christmas Symphony.” Audiences can expect a lush holiday show that features Brightman, who is best known for her role as Christine in Phantom of the Opera, in dazzling costumes and accompanied by a choir and orchestra. She’ll perform Christmas classics and her own greatest hits. Attendees are required to wear masks and show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or negative test results within 72 hours of the event.

8 p.m., $68-$238, The Music Center at Strathmore, North Bethesda, strathmore.org


Photo courtesy of Strathmore

Soundtrack for the Season

Dec. 12

Starting as a backing group for burlesque acts, the Denver band DeVotchKa has some pretty eclectic influences. On its albums, the indie rock group mixes poetry, Eastern European Gypsy music, American punk rock and unusual instruments, including a theremin, bouzouki and accordion. It also earned a Grammy nomination for the score of the 2006 movie Little Miss Sunshine. Singer Nick Urata has gone on to score and write songs for several other movies and TV shows. A Winter’s Night With DeVotchKa should provide an intimate performance from the group, with another Denver indie band, Milquetoast and Co., opening. Attendees are required to wear masks and show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or negative test results within 72 hours of the event.

8 p.m., $33-$42, AMP by Strathmore, North Bethesda, strathmore.org