Keith On The Town: A Look at What’s Happening in Music, Arts and Theater this Week

Tysons Today Around Town, Art & Culture, Arts

By Keith Loria

Sax Giant Comes to Birchmere

On Monday, Nov. 19, jazz saxophonist extraordinaire Boney James will be playing the Birchmere beginning at 7:30 p.m. With four Grammy Awards to his name, James has been a force in the jazz scene for a quarter of a century. His 15th album, “Honestly,” has been a fixture on the charts this year and has been a critical darling. He recently took time out of his busy touring schedule to talk with Tysons Today.

Loria: What can those coming out to the Birchmere expect on the night? Preview the show a bit?

James: Our show is high energy and we like to involve the crowd. This tour is featuring a lot of new music from the “Honestly” record, but also people’s favorites from my previous records.

Loria: What do you enjoy about playing live on stage? Describe the feeling you get.

James: There’s nothing like live music. The interaction between the band and the crowd is a feeling you only get at a live concert. Never gets old.

Loria: What do you have in store for your fans in 2019?

James: There’s another big leg of the “Honestly” tour coming in the spring, as well as two sailings of the Smooth Jazz Cruise. More shows throughout the summer and hopefully some time to write new music.

Loria: The success of Honestly has helped fuel this tour. What is it about this recording that you feel has resonated with your fans?

James: It’s hard for me to be objective about it. I know I liked the record a lot when I finished it! I was proud of the songwriting and performances. Luckily the fans are digging it and I’m very grateful.

Loria: What are you most proud of from your career?

James: Well my goal was always just to keep doing it and this is my 26th year as a solo artist.

The gold records and Grammy nominations are awesome and flattering. But mainly they’re tools to keep on being able to make records and tour.

Catch Beetlejuice in Final Weekend

This is the final weekend to check out Beetlejuice at the National Theatre before it heads to Broadway for its spring opening. Based on Tim Burton’s wildly fun, demented 1988 movie, the musical captures all the creativity and enjoyment of the film and adds even more depth to the characters fans have come to love.

Directed by Alex Timbers with an original score by Eddie Perfect and a book by Scott Brown and Emmy Award nominee Anthony King, Beetlejuice follows the basic premise of the movie—a kind couple (spoiler alert!) die and need to haunt the country home they purchased to keep it as their own and need Beetlejuice to help.

Photo Caption: Alex Brightman and Sophia Anne Caruso Matthew Murphy

Alex Brightman is spot-on and provides plenty of laughs as the demonic title character, while Broadway vets Rob McClure and Kerry Butler combine the perfect blend of warmth and comic flare as Adam and Barbara, the recently-deceased couple trying to “scare” their home’s new owners away.

Sophia Anne Caruso, who plays Lydia (Winona Ryder’s part in the film) is a talent that should not be missed. The 17-year-old’s voice is incredible and next year’s Tony voters should be on high alert.

Beetlejuice is somewhat crass and vulgar, and while that might not be everyone’s cup of tea, these jokes are needed to define Beetlejuice as a character and they are often hilarious. One scene involving a roasted pig will have people rolling on the floors.

This is a musical that is creative, enjoyable and just a great escape. There have been so many serious shows that have come through lately—and many have been amazing—but Beetlejuice reminds us that you can just laugh and have fun at the theater.

Add to that an imaginative set, great costumes, a couple of scares and an ensemble that is wonderful and this is a show you don’t want to miss.

For tickets or more information, visit thenationaldc.org.