Union Stage | January 20
The somewhat mysterious Toronto singer and multi-instrumentalist released his debut album, Semblance, in November. Now we get to see how he’ll translate this batch of moody pop tunes to a live setting.
National Gallery of Art | January 29–July 9
Attention, daydreamers: Here’s your chance to spend some quality time staring at the ceiling. This exhibit shows off nearly three centuries’ worth of room-topping European architecture and interior design, from vibrant Baroque-era paintings to the geometrically complex models of Neoclassicism.
Kennedy Center | January 27–28
In the early 2000s, the R&B singer Ne-Yo’s hits boomed on the radio nonstop, until you really did become “so sick of love songs.” Fortunately, this team-up with the National Symphony Orchestra will present those songs in a whole new way. That gorgeous croon backed by a stage full of classical pros? We can’t wait.
Studio Theatre | January 11–February 12
Set in Iran, Sanaz Toossi’s play traces the awkward and comedic study sessions of four adults gearing up to take an English-language proficiency test that holds the key to their futures. Full of word games and funny mistranslations, it also has a serious message about how a new tongue can expand the world around you.
Kennedy Center | January 31
Diversity remains a big issue in the classical-music world, but not here: The musicians who perform in Detroit’s Sphinx Symphony Orchestra are Black and Latinx. One of the evening’s most moving works will likely be a vocal piece by Joel Thompson that contains the last words of Black men killed by the police.
Howard Theatre | January 31
Florence Shaw—the British post-punk band’s vocalist (“singer” isn’t quite right)—will do her speak-sing thing when the lauded quartet arrives to promote its latest album, Stumpwork.
Lincoln Theatre | January 19
Admirers of the classic nerd-chic role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons will flock to this in-person version of the popular podcast, which mixes comedy and storytelling. Twenty-sided dice not required.
National Harbor | January 5–8
If you’ve ever settled in for a quiet evening playing a new video game, only to look up and realize it’s 7 AM and you haven’t gone to the bathroom in nine hours, this festival is for you: The four-day celebration of gaming—which includes things like an arcade, a mini-museum, and panel discussions—runs 24 hours a day. Just don’t forget to eat.
Capital One Arena | January 13
Basketball and a concert? Count us in. After the Wizards (fingers crossed) trounce the New York Knicks, go-go favorites DC Vybe will take to the court, with appearances by Northeast Groovers, Kim, Scooby, and Sugar Bear.
Politics and Prose | January 21
Journalist Allison Gilbert (right)—who coauthored this recent book—will discuss the intriguing story of Elsie Robinson, a hugely popular newspaper columnist in the mid–20th century who is mostly unknown today. Prominent biographer Kitty Kelley will be asking the questions, so expect a lively discussion.
This article appears in the January 2023 issue of Washingtonian.