Pick of the Pack
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
You can’t go wrong when you mix ancient Roman farce with Stephen Sondheim’s catchy show tunes — and, indeed, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” won numerous Tony Awards when it debuted on Broadway in 1962. This week, the Shakespeare Theatre revives the hysterical show, which was adapted from the farcical plays by ancient Roman playwright Plautus. “A Funny Thing” opens in ancient Rome, where a wily slave named Pseudolus is desperately trying to win his freedom from his master, the handsome Hero. Pseudolus sees an opportunity when Hero falls in love with Philia, a beautiful courtesan who lives next door but is promised to another. Pseudolus tries to help Hero win her heart, and in typical farcical manner, pandemonium ensues — including mistaken identity, high-speed chases and plot twists, as well as plenty of double entendres. Starting Dec. 1, the theater also will host a number of pre- and post-show discussions with the cast and artistic team. Thursday through Jan. 5 at Sidney Harman Hall, 610 F St. NW. 202/547-1122. Web: shakespearetheatre.org.
Veterans Day has come and gone, but the National Gallery of Art continues to honor a special group of soldiers — the 54th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, one of the first units of black soldiers in the Civil War. This weekend, the gallery will tell the story of the regiment through the eyes of a young drummer boy with “Forward, 54th,” a dramatization of the group’s bravery at the Battle of Fort Wagner in South Carolina on July 18, 1863. The performances coincide with the museum’s exhibition “Tell It With Pride: The 54th Massachusetts Regiment and Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ Shaw Memorial,” which memorializes Col. Robert Gould Shaw and the dozens of black soldiers who died fighting for the Union. In addition to the “Forward, 54th” performances, the exhibit also includes photos of the regiment and abolitionists from the era, relevant historical documents, and works of art depicting the battle and subsequent memorial. Performances on Saturday and Sunday and on Dec. 7. Exhibit through Jan. 20 at the National Gallery of Art West Building, Constitution Avenue and Sixth Street Northwest. 202/737-4215. Web: nga.gov.
“Woodward & Lothrop: A Store Worthy of the Nation’s Capital”
Longtime Washington residents will remember when holiday shopping began with a visit to “Woodies” rather a website. In 1880, dry goods purveyors Samuel Walter Woodward and Alvin Mason Lothrop moved from Massachusetts to Washington. In 1887, Woodward & Lothrop opened at 11th and F streets Northwest. The store soon became a viable competitor to the New York City names with locations throughout the region until the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1994. Even new arrivals to the city will recognize the building, a historic landmark that now houses Zara and Madame Tussauds wax museum. The Baltimore-based department store historian Michael Lisicky has just released a book that tells the story of the Washington institution’s journey through world wars and the 1968 riots and zoning laws and, eventually, closure. On Monday evening, the author will discuss the book at the public library a few blocks from the flagship. Monday at 6:30 p.m. at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, 901 G St. NW. 202/727-0321. Web: dclibrary.org/mlk.
Artists in Action Film Series