Best Things to Do in the DC Area 3/20-3/26: National Cherry Blossom Festival, Annapolis Film Festival, and “Shout, Sister, Shout!” Musical

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Plus, Spring Wine Fling begins.

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National Cherry Blossom Festival’s opening ceremony. Photograph courtesy of National Cherry Blossom Festival.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Let’s get ready to celebrate spring! The National Cherry Blossom Festival begins this weekend just in time for peak bloom, and you can join in on the fun virtually. Or, you can see live entertainment at Ford’s Theatre’s newest musical.

Best Things to Do This Week

  1. National Cherry Blossom Festival. The National Cherry Blossom Festival kicks off this week at the Warner Theatre with performances by seven-member pop dance group Travis Japan, Shimauta singer Anna Sato, drummer Toshiyuki Sasaki, and other artists. Although the opening ceremony is sold out, spring lovers can still join in on the festivities online (Sat, free, virtual). Be on the lookout for more flowery fun events throughout the five-week festival season including art at Petalpalooza, a parade, and performing arts showcases at the Tidal Basin during peak bloom (through April 16, free, various locations).
  2. Annapolis Film Festival. The community is gathering together to watch independent cinema and newly released films at the 11th Annual Annapolis Film Festival. This year’s lineup features major motion pictures such as the critically acclaimed Chevalier, environmental and social justice documentaries, and curated conversations with industry leaders (Thurs-Sun, $15 for single tickets, $195 for festival pass, $350 for premium pass, Annapolis).
  3. “Shout, Sister, Shout!” the musical. This new musical takes the spirited story of rock-and-roll forerunner Sister Rosetta Tharpe off of the pages of Gayle F. Wald’s book Shout, Sister, Shout! and onto the Ford’s Theatre stage. Audiences will learn about Tharpe’s legendary career in the ’30s and ’40s while hearing charismatic gospel, R&B, and rock tunes (through May 13, $48+, Penn Quarter).
  4. Spring Wine Fling. The Spring Wine Fling is back to wine and dine foodies. This year the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington’s event will offer a $55 prix-fixe dinner menu at all participating restaurants in addition to special events such as a chef tasting dinner at Cure Bar and Bistro and a blind wine tasting at LuLu’s Wine Garden (through March 31, prices vary, various locations).
  5. “The Interior Life: Recent Acquisitions” exhibit. Browse the National Gallery of Art’s recent collection of modern and contemporary art. The artworks on display in “The Interior Life: Recent Acquisitions” highlight how artists use light, color, texture, and other methods to create works that show the perspectives of their interior lives (through September 10, free, National Gallery of Art).


Carrie Compere and the cast of Shout Sister Shout! (2019) at Seattle Rep. Photograph by Bronwen Houck.

Want More Things to Do?

Budget-friendly. Watch a movie screening of Tell it Like A Woman at Avalon Theatre (Tues, free, Northwest DC).

Arts and culture. All the girls are being called to the front at this SHE:DC event. You can join a discussion about women in business, and participate in a cooking and cocktail demo (Thurs, $15+, Union Market). Create watercolor art and sip wine at Shop Made in DC (Fri, $25, Georgetown). Chat about your least favorite books at Solid State Books’ Bad Books Book Club (Mon, free, H Street Corridor). Explore the group exhibition “Variety Show: A Photo Ensemble” featuring nine local photographers at Gallery B (through April 2, free, Bethesda). The Environmental Film Festival wraps up this weekend (through Sun, ticket prices vary, various locations). Inner Loop is celebrating spring with readings from nine local writers (Tues, free, Shaw). Enjoy a screening of the biographical film about artist Nellie Mae Rowe This World is Not My Own, and a conversation with the filmmakers (Tues, free, Smithsonian American Art Museum).

History and community. NoMa BID and Eckington Hall present the cultural history of the Latinx community in DC through an exhibit of photography, paintings, textiles, and ceramics in “En Flor(Tues through April 30, donations welcome, Eckington). Learn about the traditions of White House weddings with museum specialist Bethanee Bemis (Mon, free, virtual). Learn how to shop like a marine biologist at this Profs & Pints DC lecture (Mon, $14, Penn Quarter).

Theater and shows. See the stage play Prince and Prince based on the children’s book King and King at GALA Hispanic Theatre (through Fri, $12 for adults, $10 for children, Northwest DC). It’s the last call for Broadway’s Jagged Little Pill (through Sun, $45+, Northwest DC), and the drama opera Blue (Wed, Sat, $69+, Kennedy Center). Life:The Diary of a Broken and Healed Sinner narrates the stories of imprisoned women. The play is showing at Prince George’s Publick Playhouse (Sat, $25, Hyattsville). Underground comedians run through their best jokes at Hotbed (every Tues, free, Adams Morgan). The world premiere of the new hip-hop musical Push the Button opens this week at the Keegan Theatre (Sat through April 7, $50, Northwest DC).

Music and concerts. Punk band Militarie Gun play at the Runaway (Mon, $16+, Northeast DC). Indie rock band Eyelids performs at Pie Shop (Wed, $15, H Street Corridor). Rapper Thouxanbanfauni performs live at at Union Stage (Tues, $20, Wharf). Mexican Grupera band Los Temerarios is live in concert at EagleBank Arena (Sat, $152+, Fairfax).

Exercise and wellness. Glow-in-the-dark yoga sounds like a ton of fun at Founders Row (Thurs, $10, Falls Church). Exercise to Jazmine Sullivan’s R&B Heaux Tales at Eaton’s yoga class (Mon, $10, Downtown).

Game night. Put your vocabulary skills to the test at Tight Five Pub Spelling Bee; winners get bar tab credits (Tues, free, Adams Morgan), and then join Tight Five Pub’s Spades Night Tournament (Wed, free, Adams Morgan). Win or lose bingo at the Fainting Goat (every Tues, free, U Street). 

Things to do with kids. Your kids can walk through interactive butterfly and flower art displays at Artechouse’s “Pixelbloom: Timeless Butterflies” exhibition (through June 11, $25 for adults, $17 for ages 4 to 15, free for ages 4 and younger, Southwest DC). There’s cherry blossom-inspired science crafts and a scavenger hunt at the Children’s Science Center Lab (Sat through April 16, $15, free ages 2 and younger, Fairfax). Watch Moana with your family at the library (Mon, free, Woodbridge). There’s singing, dancing, and a kid-friendly adventure at Blippi: The Wonderful World Tour (Thurs, $27+, Fairfax).

Get involved. Meet and speak with nine women in the craft beverage industry at Other Half Brewing for a good cause; a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Pink Books Society (Mon, $30, Ivy City).

If you enjoyed these events, please don’t forget to share this post with a friend on social media, and sign-up for our newsletter for more things to do.

Briana A. Thomas is a local journalist, historian, and tour guide who specializes in the research of D.C. history and culture. She is the author of the Black history book, Black Broadway in Washington, D.C., a story that was first published in Washingtonian in 2016.

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