Things to Do

Fall Arts Preview: 9 Essential Concerts, Exhibits, and Other Things to Do

From Sondheim to the revamped Air and Space Museum

Bartees Strange. Photograph courtesy of Merriweather Post Pavilion.

Washington’s culture scene might not yet be back to full speed, but this fall still promises plenty of excellent options. Here are nine concerts, museum exhibits, musicals, and other events we’re looking forward to.


All Things Go Music Festival

Merriweather Post Pavilion | October 1

With 16 artists, this gathering of adventurous pop musicians features a wealth of sounds. Mitski, Lorde, and Bleachers headline, but don’t miss the rest of the bill, which includes Lucy Dacus and local fave Bartees Strange.



Wade Guyton, “Untitled, 2020–21”

Glenstone Opening | October 20­

A renowned American artist, Guyton started working on the 26 paintings that make up this exhibit in March 2020, just as the pandemic arrived. He even makes use of New York Times headlines from the scary period that ensued.


Into the Woods

Signature Theatre | November 8–January 29

The Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine classic was recently revived on Broadway to much acclaim. This version is not that version, alas. But Signature is known for Sondheim, so its own new take should be worthy as well. It’s one of three Sondheim musicals Signature will stage this season, including the under-seen Pacific Overturesin the spring.



Tina: The Tina Turner Musical

National Theatre | October 4–23

This hit jukebox show—which earned Adrienne Warren a Tony for her convincing portrayal of Tina Turner on Broadway—now arrives in DC. At the National, the all-important title role will be split by two actors: Naomi Rodgers and Zurin Villanueva.



Called to Create: Black Artists of the American South

National Gallery of Art | September 18–March 26

Gee’s Bend, Alabama, is an African American enclave that’s known for the stunning quilts made by some of its residents. Now nine of those works—including the one seen here, by Mary Lee Bendolph—will be part of this broader exhibit.


Middleburg Film Festival

Film Middleburg | October 13–16

It’s better known for horses than for Hollywood movies, but Middleburg is also something of a film destination thanks to this annual event. Though the lineup hasn’t been announced, past films suggest you’ll be able to see future Oscar nominees before their release: Last year featured King Richard and The Power of the Dog.



National Air And Space Museum

Museum Reopening | October 14

DC’s hub for all things aeronautic will unveil phase one of its renovation. Eight exhibitions are opening, including one on how global interconnection has changed the world, plus another that offers not just fast planes but also a 1969 racecar.



Entertainment Nation

National Museum of American History | December 9

Among the 1.8 million objects owned by the American History museum are more than a few intriguing pop-culture pieces. Now there will be a long-term home for this collection—an exhibit that tells the story of American culture while showing off such artifacts as John Coltrane’s saxophone and the original Kermit the Frog.


Igor Levit

Kennedy Center | October 20

Many music fans discovered this captivating young pianist during the pandemic shutdown, when he streamed more than 50 performances from his home. Now you can see him in the flesh, performing music by Schumann, Liszt, Wagner, and Fred Hersch.

Photograph of Guyton catalogs © Wade Guyton, courtesy of Matthew Marks Gallery.
Photograph of into the woods by Christopher Mueller.
Photograph of Tina by Manuel Harlan.
Photograph of Quilt by Mary Lee Bendolph
Kenneth Branagh talks about his film Belfast at the 2021 fest. Photograph of Middleburg film festival by Shannon Finney.
Photograph of National Air And Space Museum courtesy of National Air And Space Museum.
Museum rendering courtesy of National Museum of American History.
Photograph of Levit by Peter Meisel.
This article appears in the September 2022 issue of Washingtonian.