- - Thursday, January 24, 2013

Pick of the Pack


Our Town

It’s easy to let the minutiae of everyday life get the best of us. As Thornton Wilder’s play “Our Town” reminded us, however, it’s important to stop and see the beauty in the minutiae before it’s too late. In this era in which we dine with our iPhones on the dinner table — or, at least, in front of the television, tuned to the ever more depressing newscasts that drown out our real conversations — Wilder’s drama is an important reminder to savor life. Opening Friday at Ford’s Theatre, the 75th anniversary production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play is a modern version of the timeless tale of life in America. Following George and Emily, two ordinary Americans who meet as teenagers, fall in love, get married, and deal with life’s joys and traumas, the play is sure to resonate as deeply as it did when it was first performed in 1938. Wilder fans also won’t want to miss the free 75th anniversary celebration Feb. 4, featuring a film about the play’s impact, readings of the playwright’s works and letters, and the presentation of the Thornton Wilder Society’s annual Thornton Wilder Prize to writers and playwrights in the spirit of the prize’s namesake.

Through Feb. 24 at Ford’s Theatre, 511 Tenth St. NW. 202/347-4833. Web: fords.org.


Ladysmith Black Mambazo

For five decades, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, the male a cappella choral group from South Africa, has been serenading the world with a unique sound combining traditional Zulu vocals and miner songs with soulful gospel influences. Founded in 1960 by Joseph Shabalala, a young farmer-turned-factory-worker in Durban with a gift for music, the group recorded its first album in 1972 and gained international fame after collaborating with Paul Simon on his 1986 album “Graceland.” In 50 years, Ladysmith Black Mambazo has recorded as many as 50 albums and won three Grammy Awards, along with countless other awards and nominations worldwide. On Friday, the group will perform selections from its vast discography, including its most recent album, “Songs From a Zulu Farm,” which mixes folk songs from their childhoods in South Africa with modern lyrics.

Friday at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, Bethesda. 301/581-5100. Web: strathmore.org.


Saturday Night Sips

Washington has no doubt become a foodie town, with gourmet bites and craft cocktails to be found in nearly every neighborhood. This weekend, the foodie community will dine out to help Washington’s most needy. Chef Jose Andres will join Washington-based cookbook author Joan Nathan and the organic- and local-food pioneer Alice Waters to host the fifth-annual Sips & Suppers, benefiting DC Central Kitchen and Martha’s Table, which serve thousands of meals daily to those who need them. On Saturday evening, head to the Newseum for Sips, which will surely raise the bar for future food community cocktail receptions. While enjoying live jazz, sample sips from the mixologists of Hank’s Oyster Bar, Room 11, The Federalist and others, as well as bites from dozens of leading local chefs and artisans. On Sunday evening, you can make a reservation to get personal with the hosts and renowned chefs from Washington, New York and San Francisco during intimate dinners at 29 area homes.

Saturday at the Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Web: sipsandsuppers.org.



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