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Taking the stage

From local indie acts to international superstars, spring brings several concerts to region

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k.d. lang plays Wolf Trap in July. (Photo courtesy of Wolf Trap)

Spring is almost here and it’s time to decide which concerts to nab tickets for. Here’s a round-up of some that might be of interest.

Out singer/songwriter Tom Goss plays two shows March 11-12 at Go Mama Go to celebrate the release of his new album “Turn It Around.” Both shows start at 7:30 p.m. Echo Amanda opens on the 11th. Jeremiah Clark opens on the 12th. Go Mama Go is at 1809 14th Street, N.W.

On March 13 a closing concert is planned for Go Mama Go! featuring several singers and artists who have performed there over the years. Special Agent Galactica will host and local singers Tom Goss, Maureen Mullaney, Barbara Papendorp, Tony Gudell, Noah Chiet, John C. Bailey and Drag King Ken Vegas will perform.

The band Harvey Milk, named after San Francisco’s first openly gay city supervisor, will be performing at Sonar (407 E. Saratoga St.) in Baltimore on March 12 at 7 p.m. with the Red Chord, Trap Them and Gaza. Their most recent album, “A Small Turn of Human Kindness” was released in May. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased online at sonarbaltimore.com.

One man band Bushwalla will be performing at Jammin’ Java (227 Maple Ave. E.) in Vienna on March 15 with Jason Ager at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance and $13 the day of and can be purchased at jamminjava.com.

Janet Jackson brings her “Number Ones: Up Close and Personal” tour to DAR Constitution Hall in Washington 22 and 24. Both shows are sold out. This theater tour finds Jackson playing the smallest venues she’s played in years.

Out singer/songwriter Elton John and his band will be performing his greatest hits at First Mariner Arena (201 W. Baltimore St.) in Baltimore on March 26 at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $29 to $149 and can be purchased online at ticketmaster.com.

Out musician Kaki King will be performing at the Birchmere (3701 Mt. Vernon Ave.) in Alexandria on March 29 at 7:30 with special guest Joe Robinson. King released her fifth album “Junior” last April. Tickets are $33.95 and can be purchased online at ticketmaster.com. For more information on King, visit her official site, kakiking.com.

Girlyman, who has previously toured with the Indigo Girls and is currently working with Margaret Cho on her latest album, will be performing at the Birchmere on April 15 at 7:30 p.m. with Susan Werner. Tickets are $33.95 and can be purchased online at ticketmaster.com.

Kylie Minogue will be performing at the Patriot Center (4500 Patriot Circle) in Fairfax on April 30 at 8 p.m. Tickets will range from $55 to $125 and can be purchased online at ticketmaster.com.

Merriweather Post Pavilion (10475 Little Patuxent Parkway) in Columbia has its first show of the season on May 13 at 5:30 p.m. with the M3 Rock Festival Official Kix-Off Party featuring the band Kix. The festival continues the next day with Whitesnake and Tesla. For more information, visit merriweathermusic.com. Tickets range from $45 to $175 and can be purchased online at ticketfly.com.

Katy Perry, singer of “I Kissed a Girl,” will be performing at Merriweather at 6 p.m. with Robyn on June 6. Tickets range from $35 to $48 and can be purchased on ticketfly.com.

Gay favorite “Glee” returns to the stage with a summer tour that stops at Verizon Center (601 F St., N.W.) on June 9 at 7:30 p.m. The show will include Chris Colfer (Kurt), Darren Criss (Blaine), Naya Rivera (Santana) and Heather Morris (Brittany). Tickets range from $52.50 to $92.50 and go on sale at ticketmaster.com today at 10 a.m.

As part of their “Happily Ever After: The Farewell Tour,” The Go-Gos will be making a stop in the D.C. area at Wolf Trap (1645 Trap Road) in Vienna on June 10 at 8 p.m. at the Filene Center. Tickets are $25 for the lawn and $42 for in-house and go on sale March 12 at 10 a.m.

Grammy-winning and out vocalist k.d. Lang plays Wolf Trap on July 6 at 8 p.m. at the Filene Center with special guest The Belle Brigade. Lang has been a major-label artists for more than 25 years. Most recently, her rendition of “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” was featured in the Christmas episode of “Glee” as Jane Lynch’s Sue Sylvester tried to ruin the holiday for the glee club. Tickets are $25 for the lawn and $42 for in-house and go on sale March 12 at 10 a.m.

The National Symphony Orchestra at wolf Trap presents Three Broadway Divas. Jan Horvath, the original Christine from “Phantom of the Opera”, Debbie Gravitte, Tony Award-winning actress from “Jerome Robbin’s Broadway” and Christiane Noll, the original Emma from “Jekyll & Hyde,” will all perform on July 9 at 8:15 p.m. at the Filene Center. Songs will be from many plays included “Wicked” and “Mamma Mia!” Tickets range from $20 to $52 and can be purchased online starting March 12 at 10 a.m.

Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Dolly Parton will grace the stage at Wolf Trap’s Filene Center on July 31 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $35 for the lawn and $60 for in-house and go on sale March 12 at 10 a.m.

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Photos

PHOTOS: Baltimore Pride in the Park

Annual celebration featured vendors, performers

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(Washington Blade photo by Linus Berggren)

Baltimore Pride in the Park was held at Druid Hill Park on Sunday, June 16.

(Washington Blade photos by Linus Berggren)

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Photos

PHOTOS: “Portraits”

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington performs at the Kennedy Center

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A scene from "Portraits," as performed in a technical rehearsal at the Kennedy Center on Saturday, June 15. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington performed “Portraits” at the Kennedy Center on Sunday, June 16.

(Washington Blade photos by Michael Key)

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Theater

Sophie Zmorrod embracing life on the road in ‘Kite Runner’

First national tour comes to Eisenhower Theater on June 25

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Sophie Zmorrod (Photo courtesy of Zmorrod)

‘The Kite Runner’
June 25 – 30
The Kennedy Center
$39-$149
Kennedy-center.org

Newly single, Sophie Zmorrod is enjoying life on the road in the first national tour of “The Kite Runner,” Matthew Spangler’s play with music based on Khaled Hosseini’s gripping novel about damaged relationships and longed for redemption. 

“It’s a wonderful time for me,” says Zmorrod. “I’m past the breakup pain and feeling empowered to explore new cities. A lot of us in the cast are queer, so we figure out the scene wherever the show goes.” 

What’s more, the New York-based actor has fallen in love with the work. “I love how the play’s central character Amir is flawed. He is our antihero. He has faults. As a privileged boy in Kabul, he bears witness to his best friend’s assault and doesn’t intervene. He lives with that guilt for decades and gets that redemption in the end.” 

“He does what he can to right wrongs. For me who’s regretted things, and wished I could go back in time, it resonates. Watching someone forgive themselves and do the right thing is beautiful.” 

Via phone from Chicago (the tour’s stop before moving on to Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater on June 25), Zmorrod, whose background is Lebanese, happily chats about sexuality, ethnicity, and acting. 

WASHINGTON BLADE: Looking at your resume, I see you’ve been cast in roles traditionally played by men. And have you played queer characters? 

SOPHIE ZMORROD: Oh yes, both. Whether or not they’re written on the page as queer, they sometimes turn out that way. And that holds true for this show too.  

With “The Winter’s Tale” at Trinity Rep, I played Leontes — the king who banishes his wife — as a woman. So, in that production it was about two women and touched on the violence that women sometimes inflict on other women.

And there was Beadle Bamford in Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd” also at Trinity Rep; I played him as a woman who was masculine and wore a suit. It was a great opportunity to explore myself and gender expression. That was a really good experience. 

BLADE: Are you an actor who’s often be called in for queer roles? 

ZMORRAD: Not really. I’m what you might call straight passing. Sometimes I’ve had to advocate for my queerness. To be a part of something. 

Similarly with my ethnicity. I’m called in to audition for the white and Arab roles. It gets tricky because I’m not the exactly the white girl next door and I’m not exactly Jasmine from Disney’s “Aladdin” either. 

This is one of the reasons, I really want people to come see “The Kite Runner,” Audiences need to experience the reality of the wide diversity of Middle Eastern people on the stage. We’re all very different.

And not incidentally, from this 14-person cast, I’ve met some great people to add to those I know from the Middle Eastern affinity spaces and groups I’m connected to in New York.

BLADE: In “The Kite Runner” what parts do you play?

 ZMORRAD: Three characters. All women, I think. In the first act, I’m an elderly eccentric pomegranate seller in the Afghan market, waddling around, speaking in Dari [the lingua franca of Afghanistan]; and the second act, I’m young hip and sell records in a San Francisco market; and at the end, I’m a buttoned-down American immigration bureaucrat advising Amir about adoption.

BLADE:  Your training is impressive: BA cum laude in music from Columbia University, an MFA in acting from Brown University/Trinity Repertory Company, and you’re also accomplished in opera and playwrighting, to name a few things. Does “The Kite Runner” allow you to flex your many muscles? 

ZMORROD: Very much. Playing multiple roles is always fun for an actor – we like malleability. Also, there are instruments on stage. I like working with the singing bowl; it’s usually used in yoga as a soothing sound, but here we save it for the dramatic, uncomfortable moments. I also sing from offstage. 

We are creating the world of the play on a very minimal set. Oh, and we do kite flying, and I’m able to use the some of the languages I speak. So yeah, lots of challenges. It’s great. 

BLADE: It sounds like you’re in a good place both professionally and personally.

ZMORROD: It’s taken a long time to feel comfortable. My being gay was never something I led with. But I’m on the journey and excited to be where I am, and who I am. 

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