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Starring in a biographic jukebox musical requires a lot from actors. They have to embody a well-known person without resorting to caricature, and they have to sing well enough to keep the crowd from wishing they were hearing the real deal. Sometimes (Jennifer Holliday in Dreamgirls) this works; other times (anyone who’s ever tried to play Elvis or a member of The Beatles onstage) it does not. So MetroStage is placing plenty of faith in Freda Payne, who will star in the company’s production of Ella Fitzgerald: First Lady of Song. She’s got the vocal chops—-remember her 1970 divorce anthem “Band of Gold”?—-and knows how to summon the emotion required to sing Fitzgerald’s legendary songs. Read more >>> The show runs Jan. 23 to March 16 at MetroStage, 1201 North Royal St., Alexandria. $55–$60. (703) 548-9044. metrostage.org. (Caroline Jones)
Bar Pilar has a new menu and new happy hour under its newish chef Jesse Miller. Among the small plates: coffee-rubbed pork sliders, pickled pig-ear slaw, crab mac and cheese with cheddar and Old Bay, and bison pot pie. During happy hour from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on weekdays, the bar has a “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere… and $5 here!” promotion with rotating rum daiquiris, wine, and beer for five bucks. Trotter tots and other snacks are also $5 during happy hour. Bar Pilar, 1833 14th St. NW. (202) 265-1751. barpilar.com. (Jessica Sidman)
OH AND ALSO
The Phillips Collection opens “50-65 Horizon Line,” a collection of watercolor landscapes by painter Jean Meisel. 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. at 1600 21st St. NW. $10–$12.
Welsh indie-pop band Los Campesinos play 9:30 Club with eclectic Baltimore group Sun Club. 7 p.m. at 815 V St. NW. $25.
Local publisher Barrelhouse hosts a reading at Petworth Citizen featuring readers from Philadelphia’s Head & the Hand Press. Find more information on Facebook. 7 p.m. at 829 Upshur St. NW. Free.
Electronic trio The M Machine plays a late show at U Street Music Hall. 10 p.m. at 1115 U St. NW. $15–$20.
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