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Christmas and Kwanzaa events

LGBT-affirming D.C.-area churches, centers welcome worshipers

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LGBT-affirming Christmas, gay news, Washington Blade
Christmas services, LGBT-affirming Christmas, gay news, Washington Blade

Washington National Cathedral is the largest LGBT-affirming house of worship in the D.C. area.(Washington Blade file photo)

Editor’s note: Many churches in the D.C. area are LGBT affirming. This list is not meant to be all-inclusive. 

Christmas Eve

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Rock Creek Park (Rock Creek Church Rd. and Webster St., N.W.) holds a Christmas Eve service today at 4:45 p.m. For details, visit stpaulsrockcreek.org. 

Dumbarton United Methodist Church (3133 Dumbarton St., N.W.) has a Christmas Eve worship service at 6 p.m. There will be a children’s Christmas pageant, special Christmas music, blessing of children, carols and candlelight. For more information, visit dumbartonumc.org.

National City Christian Church (5 Thomas Circle, N.W.) holds a candlelight community worship service with prelude music at 7 p.m. For more information, visit nationalcitycc.org.

Seekers Church (276 Carroll St., N.W.) celebrates Christmas Eve with a dinner from 6-7 p.m. followed by a service of lessons and carols from 7:30-8:30 p.m. For more details, visit seekerschurch.org. 

The Christ Church on Capitol Hill (620 G St., S.E.) has events and services throughout the day and night. At 11 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., the church hosts its “come as you are” family service which features an informal pick-up pageant, carols, children’s message and communion. A formal family service follows at 6:30 p.m. with a Christmas pageant, homily, carols, communion and music from the St. Petersburg Men’s Ensemble. At 10 p.m. there will be a choral prelude with the St. Petersburg Men’s Ensemble. They will be joined by the Christ Church choir. The Festival Eucharist follows at 10:30 p.m. with a candlelit sanctuary, sermon, communion, carols and music from the St. Petersburg Men’s Ensemble. The final event is the festive reception at 11:30 p.m. Attendees are asked to bring food and drink to share. For more information, visit washingtonparish.org. 

Foundry United Methodist Church (1500 16th St., N.W.) holds a children’s Christmas Eve service today from 6-7 p.m. followed by a Candlelight Christmas Eve Service from 8-9 p.m. For more information, visit foundryumc.org.

Metropolitan Community Church of Washington (474 Ridge St., N.W.) has a Christmas Eve service at 7 p.m. For more details, visit mccdc.com.

Saint John’s Episcopal Church (1525 H St., N.W.) has Christmas Eve services from 3:30-11 p.m. At 3:30 p.m. there will be carols and anthems followed by a pageant and the Choral Holy Eucharist at 4 p.m. At 7 p.m. there will be carols and anthems with the Festival Eucharist starting at 7:30 p.m. The last service of the night kicks off with carols and anthems at 10:30 p.m. and then Festival Eucharist at 11 p.m. For more details, visit stjohns-dc.org. 

Washington National Cathedral (3101 Wisconsin Ave., N.W.) holds a children’s Christmas service today at 11 a.m. Lessons and carols is this evening at 6 p.m. Christmas Eve Holy Eucharist is tonight at 10 p.m. Check online before going — some services may be full in advance. Details at cathedral.org. 

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church (300 A St., S.E.) has a pageant with Eucharist today at 4 p.m., a carol sing at 9:30 p.m. and a festival Eucharist at 10 p.m. Details at stmarks.net. 

Christmas Day

Washington National Cathedral (3101 Wisconsin Ave., N.W.) holds its Christmas Day Holy Eucharist at 11:15 a.m. featuring scripture, season choral performance, instrumental music and hymns. Passes are not required. At 1:30 p.m. there will be a Christmas Day organ recital by George Fergus. There is a $10 recommended donation. For more information, visit cathedral.org. 

St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church (1830 Connecticut Ave., N.W.) has a Christmas Day service with the Holy Eucharist today at 10 a.m. For more details, visit stmargaretsdc.org.

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Rock Creek Park (Rock Creek Church Rd. and Webster St., N.W.) holds a Christmas service today at 10:30 a.m. For details, visit stpaulsrockcreek.org. 

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church (300 A St., S.E.) has a Christmas Day Mass today at 10 a.m. Details at stmarks.net. 

Kwanzaa

UNIA-ACL hosts “Kwanzaa Nia 2018 Feast and Celebration” on Sunday, Dec. 30 from 5-10 p.m. at the Thurgood Marshall Center Trust (1816 12th St., N.W.). Look for the event on Facebook for details. 

Roots of Scouting, Inc. hosts a Kwanzaa celebration on Wednesday, Dec. 26 at St. Cecilia Catholic Church (3301 Windsor Ave., Baltimore) in Baltimore. Look for the event on Facebook for details. 

BRUHS: Book Reading Uplifts His Spirit presents “UMOJA,” a Kwanzaa celebration for LGBT communities of color, family and friends. It’s a potluck event with music, vendors, festivities and more on Wednesday, Dc. 26 at 6:45 p.m. at the D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W., no. 105). Details at thedccenter.org. 

The D.C. Kwanzaa planning committee has various events planned and also offers a calendar and resource guide. Look for the group on Facebook for details. 

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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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