Pick of the Pack
Washington is lucky to play host to more than its share of national touring companies, but it's a special treat to see a star- studded Broadway performance here even before it opens in New York. This week, theater lovers won't want to miss the premiere of "If/ Then," a new musical by the creators of the Tony Award-winning "Next to Normal." The show stars Idina Menzel, best known for her groundbreaking roles in "Rent" and "Wicked" on Broadway, as a woman who moves to New York City at the age of 40 for a fresh chance at career, love and life. Other cast members include LaChanze, who won a Tony for her leading role in "The Color Purple," and Anthony Rapp, who co-starred with Miss Menzel in "Rent." Previews begin this week, and the show runs through Dec. 8 before it heads to the Richard Rodgers Theatre on 46th Street in New York. Tuesday, Nov. 5 through Dec. 8 at the National Theatre, 1321 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. 202/628- 6161. Web: thenationaldc.org.
With 300 million photos uploaded on Facebook alone every day, we're inundated with images. How do you spot the good ones, or at least make the photos you take even better? This week, the fifth- annual FotoWeekDC will showcase the best in local and international photography, as well as host educational programs for photographers of all levels. The festival opens Friday evening with a party at National Geographic's headquarters to view "Women of Vision: National Geographic Photographers on Assignment" and other exhibits showcasing works by 11 female photojournalists. Other highlights of the week include FotoNOMA, an exhibition at the Goethe Institut at Gallery Place featuring top local photographers, as well as exhibits at Smithsonian galleries throughout the city. If you're looking to improve your picture-taking chops, check out the festival's schedule of workshops ranging from photo editing to mobile photography to a discussion on copyright issues and social media. Friday, Nov. 1 through Nov. 10 citywide. 202/337-3686. Web: fotoweekdc.org.
Did you miss the Capital Fringe independent theater festival in July? This week, Capital Fringe kicks off the annual fallFRINGE, a shorter version of the festival featuring the best of the best shows from the summer lineup as well as some new ones by longtime Capital Fringe performers. This year's fallFRINGE includes 13 shows, including "43 and : The Greatest Deaths of Shakespeare's Tragedies," a comedy for Shakespeare fans of all ages, and "H Street Housewives," an adults-only riff on the popular Bravo franchise set in Washington's hip H Street Corridor. Throughout the festival, you can also hang out for drinks and live music at Fort Fringe, with its two on-site bars and three stages. All for a good cause: Attendees will be supporting not only local artists, but also the organization's programs to assist the independent arts community in Washington. Friday, Nov. 1 through Nov. 17 at Fort Fringe, 607 New York Ave. NW. 866/811-4111. Web: capitalfringe.org.
Halloween has come and gone, but the Evermay Estate in Georgetown is keeping the spirit alive with a film noir-style murder mystery party Saturday evening. We received a cryptic invitation to Night Nouveau, during which you can help (fictional) hosts Phillip and Laura Spade solve the crime while enjoying food, cocktails and the estate's grand house and gardens. After you've determined whodunit, head to the ballroom for a "silent disco" dance party, followed by an after party at the popular Heist DC night club in Dupont Circle. Proceeds from the party event benefit the S&R Foundation, an organization headquartered at Evermay Estate to help individuals succeed in the arts and sciences through scholarships and other programs. Saturday, Nov. 2 at the Evermay Estate, 1623 28th St. NW. 202/298-6007. Web: nightnouveau.org.
Between the Washington Redskins' losing score (and possibly losing name) and the HealthCare.gov debacle, Washingtonians are in need of a really good laugh. Enter Kevin James, whose stand-up comedy tour stops in Washington this week. Born Kevin George Knipfing, the actor/comedian/writer/producer got his start doing stand-up in New York in the 1980s, and quickly rose to fame for his relatable brand of humor. Mr. James is probably best known for his breakout role as the bumbling Doug Heffernan on the CBS sitcom "The King of Queens," but he's had a successful film career in recent years and brought audiences to the box offices with "Hitch," "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry," and "Grownups," which also featured comedy stars Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, David Spade, and Rob Schneider. Mr. James will perform Wednesday evening at the Warner Theatre, and tickets are available at the theater box office or via Ticketmaster. Wednesday, Nov. 6 at the Warner Theatre, 513 13th St. NW. 202/783-4000. Web: warnertheatredc.com.
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