Spotlight on the weekend

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HOLIDAY, STAGED

If you've been to the movies lately, then you know Engelbert Humperdinck's classic fairy tale "Hansel and Gretel" is being made into a movie, albeit with a darker, more horrorlike twist. The Washington National Opera is also featuring the fairy tale onstage, but viewers can expect a more family-friendly production. The show includes current singers and alumni from the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artists, a unique program sponsored by the WNO that trains soon-to-be young stars. It's part of a new annual tradition of holiday opera at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater (2700 F St. NW). It will run from Friday through Sunday.

Go to kennedy-center.org to purchase tickets for your whole family. The production, however, is recommended for ages 9 and up.

CAROLING AROUND TOWN

If you're craving a good wassailing time this weekend, there are several free caroling events going on around town. Quintessential holiday spirit in Washington is found in the elaborately decorated Willard InterContinental lobby (1401 Pennsylvania Ave. NW), just steps from the White House. Daily throughout the season, the hotel has ensembles bringing cheer to the crowds from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., and that will continue Friday with the City Singers and Saturday with the Sound Advice Quartet, a female barbershop quartet.

On Saturday, the Choir of St. Alban's Episcopal Church will be caroling in the seasonally decorated West Building Rotunda at the National Gallery of Art (Fourth and Constitution Avenue NW), both at 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. Later in the day, the all-male U.S. Army Chorus will perform at the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center (2700 F St. NW) at 6 p.m.

And if you thought we were talking about the other "Christmas Carol," don't miss the dramatic monologue performance of the seasonal favorite performed with hilarious skill and original music by local actor Stephen Mead. The free performance is at BloomBars (3222 11th St. NW) at 4 p.m. Saturday.

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