- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 27, 2002

Wolf Trap representatives announced a summer entertainment schedule yesterday that promises 97 performances in 110 days and includes an unprecedented six musicals.

Among the highlights will be actor Tony Curtis starring in the first musical version of the film classic "Some Like It Hot," in which he was seen more than 40 years ago. He will play a new role in his first musical experience.

Mr. Curtis accompanied Wolf Trap executive Terrence Jones to the luncheon at the National Press Club. Mr. Jones, president and chief executive officer, took to the lectern to broadcast literally the upcoming performances in Wolf Trap's upcoming season at Filene Center and the Barns. Accompanied by Mr. Curtis, Mr. Jones spoke in a live radio session, which included a question-and-answer session with the audience.

Harry Connick Jr. and his band will open the season May 22, and "Riverdance The Show" will end it the first week of September.

Mr. Curtis is scheduled to perform for a week in late August in a touring stage version of "Some Like It Hot," which opens in June in Houston the day before the noted actor's 77th birthday. "Isn't that neat?" he said in an interview before the luncheon.

"I enjoy the living experience a lot," he said of his energy. "All of my buddies all the people I grew up [with] in the movies are either dead or gone or non compos mentis. And I wonder how I got past that fairy with the wand who hit me and said, 'You can go a little bit longer.'"

As usual, Wolf Trap's schedule will be strong on variety. A number of favorite acts will be returning, such as Garrison Keillor and his "Prairie Home Companion" crew. The National Symphony Orchestra will make several appearances, with leading choirs and soloists, under the batons of Sergiu Comissiona, David Commanday, Giancarlo Guerrero, Emil de Cou and the orchestra's musical director, Leonard Slatkin. The park's 13th annual Louisiana Swamp Romp, billed as the hottest Mardi Gras party north of the bayou, heats things up June 2, with Earth, Wind & Fire appearing the next day.

May's features are pianist-vocalist John Tesh May 23, the New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players in "H.M.S. Pinafore" May 24 and 25, the Irish quartet the Cranberries May 28, the pop-rock duo Indigo Girls May 29 and 30, and singer-songwriter John Prine with special guest Delbert McClinton May 31.

"Face of America," the annual tribute by Wolf Trap to the country's multifaceted dance and musical heritage, goes south this year to Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky. (Wolf Trap also is called America's National Park for the Performing Arts.) Bluegrass music and innovative dance will be performed underground in that attraction's rockbound passageways.

Choreographer Doug Varone has been commissioned to present the world premiere of a dance piece for the occasion, which also promises the work of or appearances by a number of Kentucky virtuosos, such as singers Rebecca Lynn Howard and Patty Loveless and mandolin player Sam Bush. Also appearing will be the group Rhythm in Shoes.

Bill Cosby will entertain at the annual Wolf Trap Gala, taking place June 7.

To celebrate the centennial year of Richard Rodgers' birth, the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra will present a concert of some of the composer's best-known music Aug. 21.

Another Tony singer Tony Bennett will appear Aug. 18.

The Wolf Trap Opera Company will offer Elmer Rice's "Street Scene," with music by Kurt Weill and lyrics by Langston Hughes, in a Washington-area premiere Aug. 16 and 17 in the Barns. The troupe also will perform "Don Pasquale," "South of the Border" (a company recital), "Xerxes" and "A Multitude of Sins" (another company recital).

Aretha Franklin will take over July 2, Blues Traveler June 10 and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band July 21. Tickets go on sale April 13.

Jazz fans will be accommodated easily with the Jazz & Blues Festival Matinee June 22 and an evening appearance by Wynton Marsalis June 23. Pop fans can see the Beach Boys and such old-time troupers as the Temptations and the Four Tops. Other sentimental favorites include "Tom and Dick: the Smothers Brothers Show" and the Kingston Trio, together one night.

Debuting this year in the Washington area will be the Youth Orchestra of the Americas, made up of 110 young musicians from all over the Western Hemisphere, joined by cellist Yo-Yo Ma July 30. Dance attractions include the Dance Theatre of Harlem and the Parsons Dance Company. Dancer-choreographer Ann Reinking has been commissioned by the park facility to do a new work for Ballet Hispanico in a mid-June world premiere.

"Washington, D.C., is no longer a government town that shuts down at night," Mr. Jones exalted before Tuesday's audience of representatives from a great many area arts organizations.

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