There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
Coming of age while attending a new school and making new friends has served as a plot point for young adult stories in film, theater, and literature many times over. Theater J adds to the canon with its world-premiere production of Caleen Sinnette Jennings’ Queens Girl in the World, but this is no Mean Girls, wherein a young woman seeks to define herself based on the expectations of others. Instead, Jacqueline, the play’s 12-year-old protagonist, is shaped by the cultural and geographic differences she experiences when her parents transfer her from comfortable surroundings in Queens to a progressive school in Greenwich Village, where she is one of only four black students. The play takes place in 1962, back when Greenwich Village was filled with bohemians, instead of brokers, and the civil rights movement was slowly gaining attention. The story—and the production’s killer doo-wop soundtrack—still resonates with audiences 50 years later. The play runs Sept. 16 to Oct. 11 at Theater J, 1529 16th St. NW. $17–$67. (202) 518-9400. theaterj.org.