- - Friday, December 13, 2013

Pick of the Pack


Historic Holiday Homes Tour

Tired of shopping for gifts to auto-tuned carols? Celebrate the holidays the old-fashioned way on Saturday, when four historic Washington homes — Anderson House and President Woodrow Wilson House in Dupont Circle and Tudor Place and Dumbarton House in Georgetown — will celebrate the season like Washingtonians in the Federal Period through the Gilded Age. At each house, enjoy traditional holiday decor, music, refreshments and arts and crafts. We recommend a visit to the 50-room Anderson House, completed in 1905 for Ambassador to Japan Larz Anderson and his wife Isabel, who displayed their impressive art collection and hosted presidents, generals and capitalists at their society parties. On Saturday, the mansion will feature Victorian carolers and the opportunity to create Gilded Age holiday ornaments. Purchase a four-museum pass online, or if you’re a member of any of the museums, you can visit all of them for free. Transportation will be provided between the four homes. Saturday from 4 to 8 p.m. at Anderson House, 2188 Massachusetts Ave. NW, and other locations in Northwest Washington. 202/965-0400. Web: holidaysthroughhistory2013.eventbrite.com.


Christmas in New Spain

Puerto Rican singer and songwriter Jose Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad” is one of the top 25 most played Christmas songs around the world. But Mr. Feliciano is certainly not the first Latin American to celebrate Christmas through music; in fact, he’s carrying on a centuries-long tradition. Beginning Friday, the Folger Consort, the Folger Shakespeare Library’s early music ensemble-in-residence, will celebrate the season with lively holiday music by Latin American and Spanish composers from the 16th and 17th centuries. The performers will play the guitar, harp, violin, viol and bassoon, accompanied by the Washington National Cathedral’s chamber vocal ensemble CATHEDRA. On Friday and Dec. 20, the Folger will host a pre-concert discussion. On Dec. 21, families can get a hands-on look at the instruments before the matinee performance. Through Dec. 22 at the Folger Shakespeare Library’s Elizabethan Theatre, 201 E. Capitol St. SE. 202/544-4600. Web: folger.edu.


The Lion, the Unicorn, & Me

The Nativity story is one of the most-told stories in the world, but starting Saturday, the Kennedy Center tells it through the eyes of the silent donkey in the world premiere of “The Lion, the Unicorn, and Me,” a family-friendly opera based on a children’s book by British author Jeannette Winterson. The story begins with Angel determining which of all the animals in the animal kingdom are best suited to carry the Virgin Mary to Bethlehem to deliver Jesus. Angel narrows it down to three hearty, four-legged beasts: the strong Lion, the graceful Unicorn and, of course, the steady Donkey. While you know the ending, Washington National Opera artistic director Francesca Zambello brings the wonder of this Christmas story to life on stage in a production sure to inspire audiences of all ages. After the evening performance on Saturday, stick around for a Q&A session with the performers. Through Dec. 22 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F St. NW. 800/444-1324. Web: kennedy-center.org.


Our Suburb

In 1977, Skokie, Ill., made national headlines when the National Socialist Party of America (ak.a the American Nazi Party) wanted to march on this small town where one in six residents was a Holocaust survivor. This led to a Supreme Court case about the freedom of assembly, National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie, in which the Court ruled in favor of the NSPA, though its members ultimately decided to march in Chicago instead. On Thursday, the WashingtonD.C. Jewish Community Center’s Theater J opens the world premiere of a play exploring life in Skokie during this newsmaking event. “Our Suburb,” an adaptation of Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town,” follows two Skokie families preparing for Christmas and Hanukkah — and dealing with a forbidden interfaith teenage romance during this time of upheaval. The playwright Darrah Cloud grew up in Skokie and draws upon her experiences there. The DCJCC will host a number of post-show discussions about the production and its themes through its run. Through Jan. 12 at Theater J at the Washington D.C. Jewish Community Center, 1529 16th St. NW. 202/777-3200. Web: washingtondcjcc.org.

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