Things to Do

Things to Do in DC This Week (January 7-9): Life Sentences, a Judy Garland Tribute, and a Play About Race and Othello

Photo caption: Keith Hamilton Cobb in “American Moor,” which runs at Anacostia Playhouse from January 9 through February 3. Photograph by Chris Lang.


BOOKS Two writers from the Sentencing Project—Marc Mauer and Ashley Nellis—have written a book examining the need and morality of doling out life sentences. In The Meaning of Life: The Case for Abolishing Life Sentences, Mauer and Nellis argue that prisoners pose less of a threat later in life and that their geriatric care increases the cost of imprisonment. Using examples of six people affected by life sentences, they argue that prison terms should be capped at 20 years. Hear Mauer and Nellis speak about their research and theories at Politics & Prose. Free, 7 PM.

MUSIC Mardi Gras is still two months away, but John “Papa” Gros will help you get in the mood early. While he has previously accompanied several NoLA bands such as Better Than Ezra and Anders Osborne, Gros is equally accomplished in his own solo career. The New Orleans keyboardist/songwriter will perform his funk/R&B songs at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage. Free, 6 PM.


MUSIC Signature Theatre pays tribute to singer/actress Judy Garland’s four-decade career with its cabaret Judy Garland: A Star Is Born, a reference to the first remake of the film that was recently remade again with Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga (Garland’s 1954 remake also starred James Mason). Hear several Signature stars highlight Garland’s biggest hits– such as “Over the Rainbow” and “The Man That Got Away”– in this cabaret tribute. Through January 26. $38.

MUSIC For the past 8 years, the NSO has picked a neighborhood to host a week of free shows featuring miscellaneous iterations of the group ranging from quartets to the full ensemble. This year, the “NSO In Your Neighborhood” heads to the Columbia Heights / U Street / Shaw neighborhood, with a full schedule that includes performances at bars (Archipelago, Bar Roubaix), coffee shops (Compass Coffee, Busboys and Poets), a school (CHEC), and more formal venues (the Howard Theatre, the Lincoln Theatre). All of the nearly 30 performances are free; seating is first-come, first-served (some require advanced reservations). Through January 14.


THEATER In American Moor, playwright and performer Keith Hamilton Cobb portrays an actor auditioning for the role of Othello in a drama that delves into the complexities of race, both in theater and beyond. The sparse set and cast (besides the onstage Cobb is the offstage voice of the white director) draws the focus onto Cobb’s discussion of racial stereotypes and centuries of performances of Shakespeare. See the play at the Anacostia Playhouse through February 3. $40 (1/9 is a preview night).

DANCE Dancing With the Stars is not scheduled to start another season on TV until this fall, but you can get your fill of the dancers at the Theatre at MGM National Harbor. The performance features the professional and troupe dancers showcasing all the different styles of dance that viewers see on DWTS, from ballroom to hip-hop. This show will feature guest performances from Bachelorette alum Joe “Grocery Store Joe” Amabile. $45-$91.

UPCOMING FROM US: You’re engaged?! Celebrate with us at Love Unveiled, the ultimate wedding showcase for all couples on January 27 at Mandarin Oriental, Washington DC. Visit for tickets before it sells out!