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For children: Cole Brothers Circus

William Washington Cole put on his first circus in 1884, calling it “W.W. Cole’s New Colossal Show.” At the time, Cole was competing with not just a few big names, but with hundreds — if not thousands — of traveling acts. When the advent of TV killed many circuses and forced the remaining, larger acts into arenas and other indoor spaces, Cole’s circus continued to put on shows under a tent. More than a century later, it is not just the largest, but the only three-ring, big-top circus in the United States.

Sept. 7-9 at Virginia Academy, 19790 Ashburn Road, Ashburn, Va.

Phone: 386/736-0071


Comedy: Tommy Davidson

When discussing the city’s native comic sons, Tommy Davidson gets far fewer mentions than Dave Chappelle. That may be because Mr. Davidson actually came up in Bethesda, but it’s not because he lacks comedic chops. After dropping out of the University of the District of Columbia, Mr. Davidson helped start “In Living Color,” one of the best sketch shows to ever host a studio audience. Since then, he’s appeared in films (“Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls”) and had several comedy specials. Mr. Davidson’s bread and butter is impressions — everybody from Al Jarreau to Rocky.

To Sept. 9 at the D.C. Improv, 1140 Connecticut Ave NW

Phone: 202/296-7008