- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 15, 2002

OPENING

Coffee With Richelieu Olney Theatre Center for the Arts. A retelling of Alexander Dumas' "The Three Musketeers," told from the point of view of Cardinal Richelieu. Opens Tuesday. 301/924-3400.

Recent Tragic Events Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. Random events complicate a blind date that takes place the day after the September 11 attacks. Opens Monday at the D.C. Jewish Community Center. 800/494-8497.

• Spamlet Cherry Red Productions. Raunchy revision of Shakespeare's Hamlet that finds his mother working in a meat-packing factory and his father dying of mysterious causes. For mature audiences. Opens tonight at Warehouse Next Door. 202/298-9077.

Street Scene Wolf Trap Opera Company. A "Broadway opera" that focuses on the lives and loves of the denizens of one New York City block. Opens tomorrow, runs through Saturday at the Filene Center. 703/218-6500.

NOW PLAYING

Crazy Love Old Town Theater **1/2. Mark Anderson thinks comedy today is too raunchy. His antidote is this humorous celebration of the differences between men and women that illustrates the value of long-term commitment. Mr. Anderson, who plays a psychologist, and co-producer John Branyan, who plays his patient, share the stage for most of the production. Gilly Conklin plays the nurse. The whole show is essentially musical banter and a couple of monologues. But these guys are good at it. Through Aug. 31. 703/535-8022. Reviewed by Jon Ward.

A Little Night Music Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater ***. Based on Ingmar Bergman's lovely "Smiles of A Summer Night" and set in turn-of-the-century Sweden, this is the last of the six home-grown productions of the Kennedy Center's Sondheim Celebration. It is perhaps Stephen Sondheim's most lilting and bucolic musical, using the three-quarter rhythms of the waltz to express the ups and downs of three delightfully pixilated romances among the Swedish upper classes. This production is fine but not particularly soaring. It never really catches fire or takes you to greater heights. After so much magic and transcendent beauty, the Sondheim festival is ending on a pleasant, yet subdued note. Through Aug. 25. 202/467-4600. Reviewed by Jayne M. Blanchard.

Mostly Sondheim Kennedy Center ***. To say that Barbara Cook has aged well is an injustice. Miss Cook's voice is strong and vital. She brings her longtime collaborator, Wally Harper, with her to Washington, and his piano playing unobtrusively undergirds her soprano tones. Stephen Sondheim helped select the songs for the evening. The show combines the songwriter's favorite tunes with "other songs he wishes he'd written." When Miss Cook sings lighter ballads, as she did for most of the first half, she doesn't really show off her goods. But when she sings "Ice Cream" from "She Loves Me," she explodes on a high B-natural, so she can still nail those notes when she must. Of the two showstoppers, one was not composed by Mr. Sondheim. "You Can't Get a Man With a Gun," by Irving Berlin, from "Annie Get Your Gun," is the best thing about the revue. The other highlight, "Send in the Clowns," showcases Mr. Harper's musicality and Miss Cook's emotive subtlety. Wednesday through Sunday. 202/467-4600. Reviewed by Eric M. Johnson.

• Passion Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater ***1/2. Stephen Sondheim takes the beauty and the beast concept to a deep, creepy level in his gorgeous, grotesque 1994 musical, "Passion," which director Eric Schaeffer has revived with searing forthrightness and emotion. The musical, based on the novel "Fosca" by Amino Tarchetti and the movie "Passion D'amore" by Ettore Scola, takes place in 1863, in the Romantic era, in Italy. It explores the more disturbing aspects of love: a dangerous, annihilating one of the sort that sucks the air out of the room. It isn't pretty. Obsession and stalking rarely bring out the best in a person, but in "Passion" you could make the case that the young soldier Giorgio (Michael Cerveris) was never more alive than when forced to love the wretched Fosca (Judy Kuhn in a brilliant turn). The power of Fosca's shameless love changes him irrevocably. It is a jolt to see something this twisted on the musical stage. But Mr. Sondheim imbues the musical with a gorgeous, soaring score that is operatic in its heightened emotions, and Mr. Schaeffer has assembled an outstanding cast. Through Aug. 23. 202/467-4600. Reviewed by Jayne M. Blanchard.

Shear Madness Kennedy Center Theater Lab **. This corny, hokey tourist trap now in its second decade is doubly maddening because the Kennedy Center displays it as art to the cultural center's unsuspecting pilgrims. The audience-participation murder-mystery farce (set in a Georgetown hair salon) is well-played, though, when the actors refrain from mugging and cracking up one another. Continues indefinitely. 202/467-4600. Reviewed by Nelson Pressley.MAXIMUM RATING: FOUR STARS

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide