Just The Ticket

Just The Ticket

We look ahead at some of the outstanding arts performances on tap this fall

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Whether it’s live music, theater or dance, the Bethesda area is rich with entertainment options. That’s what makes choosing where to go and what to see such a tough decision. We called on the experts—the people who run the leading performing arts venues in the area—for advice about the best upcoming shows and performances (besides their own, of course). Their picks appear on the pages that follow along with our selections of some of the other standout events.

Music

Donovan
8 p.m. Sept. 7. Montgomery College’s Robert Parilla Performing Arts Center, 51 Mannakee St., Rockville. 240-567-5301, www.montgomerycollege.edu/pac, $62-$64.

Donovan sings the soundtrack of the 1960s, including folk-rock, top-40 hits like “Mellow Yellow,” “Sunshine Superman” and “Epistle to Dippy.” The troubadour once shared the stage with the Beatles, Pete Seeger, Joan Baez and Bob Dylan. Now he promotes Transcendental Meditation with the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace when he’s not touring and recording.

Scheherazade and 1812 Overture
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
8 p.m. Sept. 21. The Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. 877-276-1444, www.bsomusic.org, $31-$94.

Conductor Marin Alsop is an expert at offering crowd-pleasers without watering them down, and this selection is a perfect example. She kicks off the season with Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, a musical tapestry of the tales told by the legendary Scheherazade to stay the hand of the sultan who threatens to execute her. Then there’s Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, the grand commemoration of Russia’s defense against Napoleon’s invading armies—complete with sweeping (and familiar) passages and yes, the cannon-fire finale.

Sandy Hackett’s Rat Pack Show
8 p.m. Sept. 27. The Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, 301-581-5100, www.strathmore.org, $29-$70 ($26.10-$63 for Stars members).

Revisit the Kings of Cool with spot-on performances that pay tribute to Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin and Joey Bishop. You’ll hear favorites like “My Way,” “Mack the Knife” and “That’s Amore,” along with the chummy, comedic patter that made the foursome favorites in Vegas. The show is so close to the original Rat Pack style that it’s “eerily supernatural,” says the San Francisco Examiner. Producer Sandy Hackett’s dad, nightclub comedian Buddy Hackett, was part of the Rat Pack scene back in the day.

Southside Johnny and The Poor Fools
8 p.m. Sept. 28. BlackRock Performing Arts Center, 12901 Town Commons Drive, Germantown. 301-528-2260, www.blackrockcenter.org, $42.

A pioneer of the New Jersey shore sound, Southside Johnny leaves the more familiar Asbury Jukes behind to tour with the acoustic-sounding Poor Fools. He describes their style as an eclectic version of the Great American Songbook. Expect a raw, rootsy blues beat with guitars, fiddle, stand-up bass and accordion, and a wide range of music from Bob Dylan to George Jones, Muddy Waters to Emmylou Harris.

John Jorgenson Quintet
7:30 p.m. Oct. 21. Saint Mark Presbyterian Church, 10701 Old Georgetown Road, Rockville. 301-960-3655, www.imtfolk.org, ticket prices unavailable at press time.

This is Gypsy jazz—the genre popularized by the bouncy style of Django Reinhardt in Paris in the 1930s—as interpreted by one of the pioneers. John Jorgenson, who performed with Elton John for six years and has shared the stage with Barbra Streisand, was instrumental in bringing Gypsy jazz to the United States. In this performance presented by Takoma Park’s Institute of Musical Traditions, Jorgenson will show off his dazzling guitar work and mastery as a clarinet player and vocalist.

Travis Tritt
8 p.m. Nov. 1. The Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. 301-581-5100, www.strathmore.org, $30-$70 ($27-$63 for Stars members).

This long-haired country boy’s still got it: a rich, ruminating twang that holds forth on everything from cowboys to honky-tonks to too much whiskey and too little love, with a bit of throaty blues thrown in. Tritt has won two Grammies for his hit songs, which include “Help Me Hold On,” “Anymore” and “Best of Intentions.”

Off the Cuff: The Planets
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
8:15 p.m. Nov. 8. The Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. 877-276-1444, www.bsomusic.org, $29-$63.

Off the Cuff performances provide Conductor Marin Alsop an opportunity to share her insight about the music she’s presenting, adding depth and humor to the concert experience. The Planets, an orchestral suite in which composer Gustav Holst explores the astrological mood of each planet, has influenced film scores from Star Wars to The Lord of the Rings to Gladiator. So expect to get a bit of pop culture along with a lesson in how artists have interpreted the mystery of the cosmos through history.

The Irish Tenors: Irish Holiday Celebration Tour
4 and 8 p.m. Dec. 21. The Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. 301-581-5100, www.strathmore.org, $36-$78 ($32.40-$70.20 for Stars members).

Tradition is the watchword for this lush vocal ensemble of operatic tenors: Finbar Wright, Anthony Kearns and Ronan Tynan, who have toured together since 1998, selling out at such halls as Radio City Music Hall, the Sydney Opera House and Carnegie Hall. Their harmonies lift up such old chestnuts as “Danny Boy” and the “Tura Lura Lullaby,” and their camaraderie makes clear their longtime collaboration. Expect plenty of holiday cheer, with an Irish twist.

Theater

George Bernard Shaw’s Saint Joan and William Shakespeare’s Hamlet
Sept. 4-Oct. 20. Olney Theatre Center, Mulitz-Gudelsky Theatre Lab, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney. 301-924-3400, www.olneytheatre.org, $31-$63.50. Call the box office or check the website for specific times.

Using just four actors, New York-based Bedlam Theatre company turns two classics into a new experience for audiences at the Olney’s Mulitz-Gudelsky Theatre Lab. The plays, which run in rotating repertory for the duration of the run, embrace the immediacy of small theater performance with an intimate, in-your-face production. Recommended for those 12 and up.

This
Oct. 9-Nov. 3. Round House Theatre, 4545 East West Highway, Bethesda. 240-644-1100, www.roundhousetheatre.org, $20-$45. Call the box office or check the website for specific times.

A group of friends navigate the choppy waters of middle age, confronting parenthood, death and adultery. At their center is Jane, a poet without a muse and a single mother trying to reignite her life after suddenly losing her husband. It sounds grim, but playwright Melissa James Gibson brings modern life into focus with comedic wit and grace in this show directed by Ryan Rilette, Round House’s producing artistic director.

The King and I
Nov. 14-Dec. 29. Olney Theatre Center, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney. 301-924-3400, www.olneytheatre.org, $31-$63.50. Call the box office or check the website for specific times.

In a season with “new” written all over it—new artistic director, new plays—The King and I stands out as an old, familiar friend, directed by Olney veteran Mark Waldrop. But in its day, this Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II musical was considered revolutionary. “I think The King and I is one of the five most important pieces [that] American musical theater has given to the world of drama,” says artistic director Jason Loewith, who was the executive director at the National New Play Network before coming to Olney in February. “Colonialism, the rights of women, the ideal of a post-racial society—it was way ahead of its time, and will resonate with many Olney audiences.”

The Lyons
Nov. 27-Dec. 22. Round House Theatre, 4545 East West Highway, Bethesda. 240-644-1100, www.roundhousetheatre.org, $26-$63. Call the box office or check the website for specific times.

The Lyons made big news last year as playwright Nicky Silver’s debut on Broadway, and won both a Tony Award and a Drama Desk nomination. The biting comedy centers around matriarch Rita Lyons and her dysfunctional family of four, which includes a dying husband and children struggling with their own lives. Critics describe Silver as the “strange progeny of a coupling between Neil Simon and Edward Albee,” whose approach can be scathingly funny.

Dance

Run Don’t Run
8 p.m. Sept. 6-7. American Dance Institute, 1570 East Jefferson St., Rockville. 855-263-2623, www.americandance.org, $15-$30.

In its third year as a performance venue, Rockville’s American Dance Institute is building a reputation for presenting fresh, experimental work, and this performance by the Brian Brooks Moving Co. is no exception. Brooks’ highly physical, innovative dance explores the edge of physical possibility. The show, part of ADI’s incubator program, is the culmination of a week-long ADI residency and will be a rare preview of Brooks’ much-anticipated premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York in October.

Bonobo Milkshake
8 p.m. Oct. 19, 2 p.m. Oct. 20. American Dance Institute, 1570 East Jefferson St., Rockville. 855-263-2623, www.americandance.org, $15-$30.  

Chosen by The New York Times as one of the top three performance art pieces of 2012, Bonobo Milkshake is a playful mash-up of synchronized swimming, martial arts, roller derby, billiards and ice dancing, all arrayed around a core of Stephen Sondheim musicals. Performed by Sally Silvers & Dancers, it’s “a sexy, fresh species of movement art,” according to ADI.

PHILADANCO (Philadelphia Dance Company)
8 p.m. Nov. 23, 3 p.m. Nov. 24. BlackRock Performing Arts Center, 12901 Town Commons Drive, Germantown. 301-528-2260, www.blackrockcenter.org, $32.

Founded in 1970 as an outlet for African-American dancers who were excluded from the traditional dance scene, this touring company has a reputation for innovation, creativity, technical professionalism and prowess in the world of modern contemporary dance. The New York Times calls its dancers “exuberant,” and Dance Magazine singles them out for work “in a range of idioms most companies don’t even try to possess.”

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