Best Music

1. Michael Feinstein: The Spring Gala at Strathmore features the "Ambassador of the Great American Songbook" peforming and chatting about music by the Gershwins, subject of his recent book, "The Gershwins and Me."

Where: Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda

When: 9 p.m. Saturday

Info: $40 to $105; 301-581-5100;

2. Virginia Opera: Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro," directed by Lillian Groag

Where: George Mason University Center for the Arts, 4400 University Drive

When: 8 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Sunday

Info: $44 to $98; 888-945-2468;

3. Melissa Manchester: The Grammy Award winner performs an evening of her jazz-pop hits and numbers from her newest album, "Playlist."

Where: The Barns at Wolf Trap, 1635 Trap Road, Vienna

When: 8 p.m. Thursday

Info: $35; 877-965-3872;

4. Andrea Marcovicci: The cabaret star sings hits from the Great American Songbook

Where: The Barns at Wolf Trap, 1635 Trap Road, Vienna

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

Info: $27; 877-965-3872;

5. Paula Cole: The pop-rock singer-songwriter who won the 1997 Grammy Award for Best New Artist performs songs from her new album, "Raven."

Where: The Barns at Wolf Trap, 1635 Trap Road, Vienna

When: 8 p.m. Friday

Info: $25; 877- 965-3872;

Also worth noting:

6. Tommy Castro: The blues/roots guitarist and vocalist and his band present his Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue -- Live! with Deanna Bogart, Magic Dick and Ronnie Baker Brooks.

Where: The State Theatre, 220 N. Washington St., Falls Church

When: 9 p.m. Friday

Info: $25; 703-237-0300;

Best Theater

1. "How to Write a New Book for the Bible": In Bill Cain's new play, a man moves in with his ailing but funny mother when she becomes too frail to care for herself. Their reunion heals old wounds, opening a heartfelt and humorous new chapter in their relationship.

Where: Round House Theatre, 4545 East-West Highway, Bethesda

When: Through May 5

Info: $26 to $63; 240-644-1100;

2. "Cabaret Latino": Latino pop songs and sparkling zarzuela selections sung up close and personal by emerging Latino stars.

Where: Source, 1835 14th St. NW

When: Through Sunday

Info: $16 to $30; 202-315-1305;

3. "Boeing-Boeing": In this swinging '60s bedroom farce, an American architect living in Paris juggles relationships with three air hostesses. Things go swimmingly for the architect until a friend from Wisconsin arrives unexpectedly and upsets the apple cart.

Where: Rep Stage, 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia

When: Through May 5

Info: $33 to $40; 443-518-1500;

4. "The Lady Becomes Him": Faction of Fools Theatre Company concludes its mainstage series with this 17th century Italian scenario. Two young lovers resort to magic to aid their thwarted affair and they plunge the city of Naples into a chaos of misdirection, mistaken identities and mutually assured embarrassment.

Where: Gallaudet University, 800 Florida Ave. NE

When: Through May 12

Info: $10 to $25; 202-651-5000;

Best Family

1. Celebrate Earth Day!: The U.S. Botanic Garden celebrates the 43rd anniversary of Earth Day! Come enjoy cooking demonstrations with seasonal produce and meet with representatives of environmental organizations from throughout the region. Drop by and learn all the ways that you can make the planet a healthier place and become a more active steward of the plants that support life on Earth.

Where: U.S. Botanic Garden Terrace, 100 Maryland Ave. SW

When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday

Info: Free; 202-225-8333;

2. Civil War Discovery: Artillery: Learn to work as a team to load and aim a replica Civil War cannon. You'll hear about the different types of artillery used in the Civil War and "bombard" a replica fortification. For ages 7 to 12. For more information, call 703-243-4342. $5 fee due upon registration.

Where: Meet at Fort C.F. Smith Park, 2411 N. 24th St., Arlington

When: 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday

Info: $5; registration necessary: 703-228-4747; program No. 632723-D

3. Remove Invasives!: Not all plants are good for the environment. Kids and adults will learn what these troublesome beasts look like and will help rescue the park from these alien invaders! No registration required. For ages 9 to adult. For more information, call 703-228-6535.

Where: Meet at Long Branch Nature Center, 625 S. Carlin Springs Road, Arlington

When: 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday

Info: Free; no registration necessary

4. Astronomy Quest: For adults and families with children ages 10 and up. Children must be accompanied by a registered adult. Travel to the darker skies of the Shenandoah Mountains to celebrate Astronomy Day. You'll join other space cadets as hundreds of astronomy enthusiasts and experts share their knowledge and telescopes with the public. This is a great chance to see the universe: galaxies, globular clusters, the Moon, M57 and more. For more information, call 703-228-3403.

Where: Meet at Lubber Run Community Center, 300 N. Park Drive, Arlington

When: 6 to 10 p.m. Sunday

Info: $15; registration necessary: 703-228-4747; program No. 632843-G

5. Nature Detectives: Cool Tools, Tips & Tricks: Whether or not they work as naturalists, wildlife biologists, park rangers, or animal investigators, they use a lot of similar tools and equipment to help them get their job done. You'll get to see and use some of these cool tools and learn some tips and tricks that help out in the field or back in the lab. Dress for the weather since you'll be taking a short hike to practice using some of these cool tools and put them into action. For ages 7 to 10. Register child only. For more information, call 703-228-3403.

Where: Gulf Branch Nature Center, 3608 N. Military Road, Arlington

When: 4 to 5 p.m. Wednesday

Info: $5; registration necessary: 703-228-4747; program No. 632823-K

Best Outdoors

1. Celebrate Earth Day on the National Mall: Come see the National Sustainable Design Expo on the National Mall. College students will show off their green innovations and compete for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency P3 Award. Nonprofits and government agencies showcase their efforts for promoting a sustainable planet.

Where: National Mall, see website for map

When: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday


2. Dairy Day: Have you ever wondered what curds and whey look like? Do you know how to wash butter? Join in as the farm wife makes soft cheese and churns butter, and gain a new appreciation for these foods.

Where: Claude Moore Colonial Farm, 6310 Georgetown Pike, McLean

When: 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday

Info: $3 for adults, $2 for children and seniors 60+; 703-442-7557;

3. Visit the National Garden: A natural complement to the U.S. Botanic Garden, the National Garden highlights the amazing diversity of American plants. The three-acre National Garden draws inspiration from the environments of the mid-Atlantic region.

Where: U.S. Botanic Garden, 100 Maryland Ave. SW

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, including all weekends and holidays

Info: Free; 202-225-8333;

4. Hike Schaeffer Farm Trail: The trail is a nice easy hike or moderate bike ride. Most of the trail is single track, hard-packed dirt that winds through the woods and along open fields. The scenery is great, and there is plenty of wildlife to enjoy. It's a 3.1-mile round trip on a well-marked and easy to follow trail.

Where: Germantown, see website for directions

When: Year round

Info: Free; 301-924-1998;

5. Birding Trip to Virginia's Northern Neck: Travel to Westmoreland State Park and Washington's birth place. You may see early migrant songbirds and warblers at these Northern Neck destinations. Participants should dress for the weather and bring binoculars, a bag lunch, and a drink and snacks for the day. For adults. For more information, call 703-228-3403.

Where: Leave from Lubber Run Community Center, 300 N. Park Drive, Arlington

When: 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday

Info: $40; registration necessary: 703-228-4747; program No. 632843-C

Best Brainfood

1. The Kennedy Center's American College Theater Festival: The Irene Ryan National Acting Scholarship Auditions.

Where: Kennedy Center Terrace Theater, 2700 F St. NW

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Info: $20; 202-467-4600;

2. "DC-7: The Roberto Clemente Story": From the barrios of Puerto Rico to his successful seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates, to the fateful flight to Nicaragua to deliver humanitarian aid, Roberto Clemente was admired and loved for his talents and generosity. This insightful musical reveals the man who battled triumphantly on the baseball field and against discrimination.

Where: GALA Hispanic Theatre, 3333 14th St. NW

When: Through May 26

Info: $20 to $42; 202-234-7174;

3. Dick Cavett: The long-time television host will discuss his new book, "Talk Show: Confrontations, Pointed Commentary, and Off-Screen Secrets."

Where: National Archives, William McGowan Theater, 700 Pennsylvania Ave. NW

When: Noon Friday

Info: Free; 202-357-5000;

4. "Open Studio Fridays": Arts activities for children and families. Explore the museum and try a different art material each week.

Where: Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery, Eighth and F streets NW

When: 1 to 4 p.m. Friday

Info: Free; 202-633-1000;

5. "Green Living Expo": Gather for the Green Living Expo in conjunction with the Community Earth Week Fair. You'll find green suppliers, products from local and national businesses, children's activities, Operation Rain Barrel exhibits, seminars from government agencies and nonprofits, and more. Learn practical ways you can green your lifestyle, focusing on energy conservation, solid waste reduction, eco-friendly transportation, green home remodeling and sustainable landscaping. For adults and families.

Where: GMU Founder's Hall, 3351 Fairfax Drive, Arlington

When: Noon to 4:30 p.m. Sunday

Info: Free, though online registration is encouraged; 703-228-6427;

Best Gatherings

1. Randall B. Woods: Woods will discuss "Shadow Warrior," his biography of former CIA director William Egan Colby.

Where: Politics and Prose Bookstore, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW

When: Friday

Info: Free; 202-364-1919;

2. "Codex Mexico" Symposium and Book Fair: A two-day event featuring panel discussions and work by five California artists and local printers.

Where: Mexican Cultural Institute, 2829 16th St. NW

When: 9 a.m. Friday, 10 a.m. Saturday

Info: Free, must RSVP; 740-336-2170;

3. "Afro-Beat Workshops": A dance class inspired by "Fela!" the musical, combining modern and African combinations.

Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE

When: 2:30 p.m. Saturday

Info: $25 in advance, $30 at door; 202-399-6764;

4. "Trojan Barbie: A Car-Crash encounter with Euripides' Trojan Women": The ancient Greek story of women after war has ravaged everything around them is given a postmodern twist in this area premiere.

Where: Georgetown University Davis Performing Arts Center, 37th and O streets NW

When: 8 p.m. through Saturday

Info: $8 to $18; 202-687-3838;

5. "Maryland Dance Ensemble: Springing from Fantasy": This lively, diverse concert provides a preview of the emerging talent of the next generation of dance artists.

Where: University of Marylands Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, University Boulevard and Stadium Drive, College Park

When: 8 p.m. through Saturday; 3 p.m. Sunday

Info: $10 to $20; 301-405-2787;

Best Galleries

1. "Over, Under, Next": This exhibition of about 100 works, mostly from the Hirshhorn's permanent collection, collects pioneering pieces from the past century that repurposed everyday objects and materials as art.

Where: Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, Seventh Street and Independence Avenue SW

When: Through Sept. 8

Info: Free; 202-633-4674;

2. "Lee Haner: Mischief": Reclusive painter Lee Haner takes his inspiration from the land and peoples of the Southwestern United States. This collection of new mixed-media works evoke topographical maps of rock formations.

Where: The American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center, 4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW

When: Through May 26

Info: Free; 202-885-1300;

3. "Ceramica de los Ancestros: Central America's Past Revealed": This new bilingual showcase illuminates through preserved ceramics the politics, economies and artistic traditions of the complex civilizations that thrived in what is now Belize, Costa Rica, El Savador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama as early as 1,000 B.C.

Where: National Museum of the American Indian, Fourth Street and Independence Avenue SW

When: Through Feb. 1, 2015

Info: Free; 202-633-1000;

4. "Athena Tacha -- Drawings: Private and Public, 1977-2007": A thrilling career overview of works on paper from Athena Tacha, best known for her the large-scale outdoor works she has been commissioned to create throughout the United States over the last four decades. Prepatory drawings for "Connections," her 1980 piece for Philadelphia's Franklin Town Park, are among the pieces included.

Where: Marsha Mateyka Gallery, 2012 R St. NW

When: Through May 25

Info: Free; 202-328-0088;

5. "Whistler's Neighborhood: Impressions of a Changing London": This collection of etchings, watercolors and small oils from celebrated 19th century painter James McNeill Whistler document the dramatic changes his Chelsea neighborhood experienced over the course of the 1880s.

Where: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Jefferson Drive and 12th Street SW

When: Through Sept. 8

Info: Free; 202-633-4880;