After someone dies, people might hold a wake or sit shiva. Jamaicans (and other Caribbean communities) have a ritual called Nine Night, a dayslong period of mourning and celebration when family and friends gather to share memories, condolences and food. That’s the setting for Nine Night, the debut play by British playwright Natasha Gordon, which will make its U.S. premiere at Round House Theatre. The drama centers around a British Jamaican family grieving the loss of their matriarch through the Nine Night tradition. Although the story is about how family members deal with their grief, it’s told with warmth and lots of humor.
$34-$71, Round House Theatre, Bethesda, roundhousetheatre.org
The pigeons on the bus
If you have kids, chances are you’re familiar with award-winning children’s author and illustrator Mo Willems and his long-suffering “Pigeon” character. Willems’ first picture book, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, published in 2003, won a Caldecott Honor and was inducted into the Picture Book Hall of Fame. Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! (The Musical) sets the story—about a bus driver who takes a break from his route and the bird who volunteers to substitute for him—to a jazzy score and incorporates actors and puppets. Recommended for ages 4-7.
11 a.m., $5, Robert E. Parilla Performing Arts Center, Rockville, mcblogs.montgomerycollege.edu/reppac
Feb. 4 through March 6
What do you get when you mix the Bible with Disney’s High School Musical? Maybe something like A.D. 16. The world premiere musical centers on a teenage Mary Magdalene who falls in love with the boy next door, Jesus, and sets it all to an R&B score. Expect songs inspired by En Vogue, TLC and Prince, and a story that will appeal to believers and nonbelievers alike. The music and lyrics were written by Cinco Paul, who co-created Schmigadoon! and wrote the screenplays for the animated movies Despicable Me and The Secret Life of Pets. Bekah Brunstetter, a writer and producer for This is Us, wrote the script. According to the theater’s content guidance, the show would be rated PG if it were a film, for “unrequited romance, biblical punishments and irreverent humor.”
$37-$85, Olney Theatre Center, olneytheatre.org
A bunch of quacks
Feb. 4 through March 27
A lot has changed since Robert McCloskey’s children’s book Make Way for Ducklings was published in 1941. The classic story of a duck family that makes its home in Boston’s Public Garden gets new life in Adventure Theatre’s musical adaptation, co-written by playwright Sandra Eskin and former Adventure Theatre Artistic Director Michael Bobbitt. More than 80 years after the story was written, parents in 2022 Bethesda may still identify with Mr. and Mrs. Mallard, the duck couple on the hunt for the perfect piece of real estate to raise their family. And kids will still be amused by the line of ducklings who stop traffic, aided by friendly police officers, as they waddle through downtown Boston. The show is appropriate for all ages.
$25, Adventure Theatre, Glen Echo, adventuretheatre-mtc.org
NPR listeners are used to hearing the distinctive voices of Ira Glass, host of This American Life, and Jad Abumrad, host of Radiolab. The two radio shows and their podcasts are known for their blend of journalism, entertainment and experimental storytelling. Now listeners can see the two public radio personalities live during An Evening with Ira Glass and Jad Abumrad. Expect audio and video clips, behind-the-scenes insights into the making of radio shows, including material that was never put on air, and plenty of funny and moving stories.
8 p.m., $38-$88, The Music Center at Strathmore, North Bethesda, strathmore.org
A viral songwriter
Feb. 19, 20
Known for her personal and introspective songs, Gen Z indie pop sensation Clairo (whose real name is Claire Cottrill) began making music when she was just 13 years old. In 2017, Pretty Girl, a song she wrote and recorded when she was still in high school, exploded on the internet and made her famous. While quarantined with her family during the pandemic she created many of the songs on her recent album, Sling, which received attention from media outlets including Rolling Stone, The New York Times and NPR. Cottrill worked on the album with Jack Antonoff, who has collaborated with Taylor Swift and Lorde. During Cottrill’s tour, she performs with British singer-songwriter and poet Arlo Parks.
7 p.m., $43.50-$48.50, The Fillmore Silver Spring, fillmoresilverspring.com
Thank you for being a friend
Picture it: Four older women sit around a Florida kitchen table sharing jokes and insults and eating cheesecake. Only they’re puppets. Although it’s absurd, That Golden Girls Show! A Puppet Parody will give fans of the 1980s NBC series The Golden Girls lots to love. The puppet versions of Blanche, Rose, Sophia and Dorothy are as sassy as ever as puppeteers recreate their signature personalities, voices and mannerisms in this loving send-up of the sitcom. While the main characters onstage resemble friendly Muppets, the show contains some mature humor and isn’t meant for children.
8 p.m., $34-$54, The Music Center at Strathmore, North Bethesda, strathmore.org