Imagine Shakespeare’s Hamlet with a mostly black cast, taken from ye olde Denmark and gently placed in a contemporary West African country (annoyingly not identified), in Technicolor, and you have the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Hamlet at the Kennedy Center. Celebrated director Simon Godwin has been credited with breathing new life into a play due for some revision, while British-Ghanaian lead actor Paapa Essiedu has been tagged as “the Fresh Prince,” bringing a renewed sense of connectivity to the title role. Essiedu is the first black actor to own the Hamlet role at the company, and his run as the tormented and paranoid prince has been successful so far, garnering rave reviews from critics across the pond. The stateside run of the Shakespearean tragedy will be quite brief, starting on Wednesday and concluding Sunday. It will be of genuine interest to see how such a familiar play sets itself in contemporary African culture to present a story that is both refreshing and regardful of its muse. Read more>>> The show runs to May 6 at the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater, 2700 F St. NW. $49–$139. (202) 467-4600. kennedy-center.org. (Hamzat Sani)
OH AND ALSO
Friday: Legendary soul groups The Temptations and The Four Tops perform at MGM National Harbor. 8 p.m. at 101 MGM National Ave., Oxon Hill. $65–$140.
Friday: New York jazz fusion band TAUK performs at 9:30 Club. 8 p.m. at 815 V St. NW. $15.
Saturday: Although Robin Martéa’s first solo show is currently on view at the Anacostia Arts Center, this is not her first foray into the art world. After she graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the Mobile-born artist spent a few years in the Atlanta arts scene sharpening her aesthetic across the mediums of painting and photography before establishing herself as an independent illustrator and visual artist. S.M.I.L.E includes new works that hone in on humanity’s continuous pursuit of happiness. Prints like “Dream Big” and “Life Is A Maze” evoke joy and apprehension, respectively, while both retain the sense of fun and whimsy inherent in the artist’s style. She instructs her audience that her art “is a direct reflection of my imagination … When viewing my work, I’d like for the audience to bring all their aspirations to the table. Whether young or old, my hope is that they leave with their minds full of imagination and their hearts full of inspiration.” Read more>>>The exhibition is on view to May 6 at the Anacostia Arts Center, 1231 Good Hope Road SE. Free. (202) 631-6291. anacostiaartscenter.com. (Hamzat Sani)
Saturday: The Wiz, the classic, predominately black musical based on The Wizard of Oz, nears the end of its run at Ford’s Theatre. 2 p.m. at 511 10th St. NW. $25–$30.
Saturday: Super Art Fight, a live art competition that features artists battling on a giant canvas and improv comedy, kicks off its 10th anniversary at Union Stage. 8 p.m. at 740 Water St. SW. $15–$25.
Sunday: On “Before Paris,” the first track of Tom Misch’s debut album, Geography, a male voice passionately voices Misch’s musical ethos: “You have to love this thing, man; you have to love it and breathe it. It’s your morning coffee. It’s your food. That’s why you become an artist. Art is a mirror of society.” As heard on Geography, the South London artist channels his favorite influences, like the sensual soul of D’Angelo, the euphoric funk of Earth, Wind & Fire, and the imaginative hip-hop of Kaytranada, along with his own classical jazz education to graduate from bedroom beatmaker to dance floor maestro. With groovy chords, breezy basslines, and sassy fingersnaps, Geography contributes toe-tapping, feel-good vibes to not only the hip-hop conversation, but also to a world in desperate need of some movement. Read more>>> Tom Misch performs with Gabriel Garzón Montano at 7:30 p.m. at Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. $20–$25. (202) 667-4490. blackcatdc.com. (Casey Embert)
Sunday: Innovative Mexican singer-songwriter Natalia Lafourcade performs at the Warner Theatre. 8 p.m. at 513 13th St. NW. $35–$45.
Sunday: Songbyrd Music House welcomes rising genre-blending pop and R&B singer Amber Mark. 8 p.m. at 2477 18th St. NW. $12–$15.
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