Things to do in the DC area: Comedy for a cause, Mother Tongue Film Festival … and more!

There’s so much to do in the D.C. area in the coming days, and WTOP has you covered with our weekly roundup of area events worth anticipating.

Check back every Thursday for a roundup of Things to do in the D.C. area.

On Feb. 21, the Arlington Drafthouse in Arlington, Virginia, will host the Comedic Relief show, a stand-up show organized by Our Minds Matter (OMM) for the first time ever. All proceeds from the show will benefit the D.C.-based nonprofit, whose mission is to end teen suicide by supporting youth-led mental health clubs.

OMM program director Laura Beth Levitt told WTOP, “We’re hoping that this can be a fun fundraiser for our organization, but also an opportunity to have some comedic relief, especially for our club sponsors and school staff who we’ve been invited to attend for free and come for VIP happy hour, as a way to recognize and appreciate them for all that they do to support mental health day-in and day-out in schools and the community.”

The headlining comedian at Comedic Relief is Tommy Taylor Jr., who has appeared on “VEEP” and “The Wire,” and has also made an appearance on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien.” Additional comedians to look forward to include locally-based comics Prince Arora, Rich Ev, Gigi Bledsoe and emcee Diane Ross.

The event is for those ages 21 and older. General admission tickets cost $25. There are higher pricing options for those who wish to purchase raffle tickets, front row seating, sponsorships, or add-ons for donations to teachers or school staff.

Here’s what else is happening in the D.C. area.


Heartbreak Hotel
Songbyrd Music House in D.C.’s NoMa neighborhood is supporting youth music education programs from Girls Rock! DC with a night of sad songs. The Heartbreak Hotel event on Thursday, Feb. 15, will feature covers of SZA, the Smiths, Fleetwood Mac and other notable artists.

“Tempestuous Elements”
Arena Stage’s production of “Tempestuous Elements” is focused on visionary Black feminist leader, educator and intellectual Anna Julia Cooper. The play reveals the struggles of the educational luminary during her tenure as principal of D.C.’s historic M Street School. The production begins its run on Feb. 16 and continues through March 17.

Mardi Gras Shabbat
Celebrate Fat Tuesday later, on Friday, Feb. 16, at the Sixth & I synagogue. This inclusive service features music inspired by the sounds of New Orleans from D.C.-based ensemble DuPont Brass.

Mother Tongue Film Festival
The Smithsonian’s Mother Tongue Film Festival celebrates the crucial role languages play in our daily lives. On Wednesday, Feb. 21, the “Frybread Face and Me” screening at the National Museum of the American Indian will be followed by a Q&A with one of the film’s protagonists, Charley Hogan. All events in the festival are free, though some require advance registration.


Natalie Clein
Horowitz Center Smith Theatre in Columbia, Maryland, is hosting British cellist Natalie Clein with Rachmaninov’s titanic sonata for cello and piano, plus works by Bach, Schubert and Bloch. The event is on Saturday, Feb. 17.

Potomac River Jazz Club
The Potomac River Jazz Club is celebrating the Mardi Gras season by performing at Rosensteel Hall in Silver Spring, Maryland, on Sunday, Feb. 18.

“Junie B. Jones, the Musical”
Through March 30, the Adventure Theatre in Glen Echo, Maryland, is presenting a musical based on Barbara Park’s “Junie B. Jones” series. Tickets for this family-friendly production cost $25.


The Amy Winehouse Celebration
Go back to black and celebrate the music of Amy Winehouse with a 12-piece band at The Birchmere in Alexandria, Virginia. The event is on Thursday, Feb. 15, with tickets that cost approximately $30.

“The Play That Goes Wrong”
Support local students on Feb. 15 through 17 by viewing “The Play That Goes Wrong” at the Washington-Liberty Theater at Washington-Liberty High School in Arlington, Virginia.

“When Light Sparks Intuition” Sound Bath
In Lorton, at Virginia’s Workhouse Arts Center, enjoy a soothing, rejuvenating sound bath on Sunday, Feb. 18. Guests may bring a mat, blanket or pillow, but chairs are provided. Tickets are $35 for one session at this monthly event.

Have an event you’d like featured in WTOP’s Things to do in the DC area weekly guide? Fill out this contact form to have your event considered.

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Michelle Goldchain

Michelle Goldchain’s reporting has focused primarily on the D.C. area, previously working as Editor of Curbed DC for Vox Media and Audience Growth & Engagement Editor for Washington City Paper. She is the author of "D.C. by Metro: A History & Guide.” She also reports for Artsplained on YouTube.

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