Tony® and Emmy® winner Mandy Patinkin, even better known for his “Criminal Minds” role than for his captivating singing roles, begins the 12th annual Washington Jewish Music Festival June 9 with his “Dress Casual” concert.
The star starting the fest “is in the business of show-stopping. He is a musical force of nature!” raved The New Yorker.
Patinkin, with pianist Paul Ford, will perform songs by Rodgers and Hammerstein, Sondheim, Porter, Berlin and other greats at the Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, MD.
Other highlights of the very popular, varied festival, organized by the Washington DC Jewish Community Center:
The Maccabeats, whose videos “Candlelight” and “The Purim Song” (re their namesake, the victorious Judas Maccabeus) have been viewed more than five million times on YouTube. The a cappella group’s June 16 event has sold out already.
The Mama Doni Band gives a Father’s Day Family Concert and pizza party on June 20. The band plays a unique blend of “Jewgrass,” reggae, rock, Latin and klezmer music.
The Klezmatics, the only klezmer band to win a Grammy®, appear with Joshua Nelson, the Jewish African-American “prince of kosher gospel” on June 20 at the Washington DC Jewish Community Center, the music festival’s organizer.
The Songs of Life Festival presents the world premiere of “A Melancholy Beauty,” an oratorio based on the true story of the largest rescue of Jews during the Holocaust. More than 300 musicians perform Georgi Andreev’s choral-oratorio about Bulgarian heroism, presented at the Kennedy Center on June 21.
“On a Queer Day, You Can See Forever” – with a title like that, clearly, you’ve gotta see it. Dan Fishback, a New York-based performance artist and indie-folk musician, returns home to Washington on June 22 to deliver his program of songs and stories from various albums and plays.
On June 23, indie singer Clare Burson will perform selections from her newest project, the album “Silver and Ash” (Rounder Records). It’s based on her maternal grandmother’s life in Germany from birth through the teenager’s escape in 1938, just ahead of the Nazis. Talk show host Carson Daly termed Burson’s “Silver and Ash” “equal parts emotion and hook. It’s quite astounding.” Burson and the poignant work have been featured also in The New York Times and on NPR’s “Weekend Edition.”
The festival concludes on June 26 with two family concerts by Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights. Her CD “I’m a Rock Star” was selected as Best Family CD of 2010 by The Washington Post, which said, “You won’t be able to resist the urge to sing along pretending your hairbrush is a microphone.”
For a full schedule and listening opportunities, click here.
For more info and tickets: Washington Jewish Music Festival, www.wjmf.org, 202-777-3251. Tickets, washingtondcjcc.org/center-for-arts/music/wjmf/2011-wjmf/buy-tickets-1.html. A festival pass is $86, with discounted price $72 for seniors and under-25-year-olds. Most events are at the Washington DC Jewish Community Center, www.washingtondcjcc.org, the festival’s organizers, 16th and Q Streets, NW, Washington, DC.