- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 24, 2002

OPENING
Death and the Maiden Theater J. A woman comes face to face with the man who may have tortured her under a past, dictatorial regime. Opens Wednesday at D.C. Jewish Community Center. 800/494-TIXS.
Fosse Warner Theater. Dance and musical salute to famed dancer, director and choreographer Bob Fosse. 8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Wednesday, Saturday; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Oct. 29-Nov. 3. Warner Theater, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. $26.50-$64. 202/783-4000.
The Laramie Project Nomadic Theatre. The story of the death of college student Matthew Shepard and the murder trials that followed, told through the voices of people from Laramie, Wyo. Opens Wednesday at Georgetown University Black Box Theatre. $7. 202/687-1859.
Lion in the Streets George Mason University Players. A young girl, who does not know she is dead, goes on a surreal journey. Opens tonight at Harris Theater. 703/993-8888.

NOW PLAYING
Driving Miss Daisy Olney Theatre Center ***. Alfred Uhry's tender comedy about 25 years of change in the South takes us on a comfortable ride through civil rights, racism, aging, and anti-Jewish sentiment. It deals with a slow-dawning friendship between a black chauffeur and the vastly opinionated Jewish matron he ferries about. Yet there is nothing mawkish or Hallmark card-ish about the play. Thomas W. Jones II's production is brisk and no-nonsense. The players make a dream cast. Halo Wines shines as Miss Daisy, no compliant old lady. Keith N. Johnson brings great dignity and warmth to driver Hoke Coleburn, whom he plays as an equal to Miss Daisy, a man of depth and experience. This is your father's Oldsmobile solid, dependable, and roomy. Through Nov. 3. 301/924-3400. Reviewed by Jayne M. Blanchard.
Losing Lawrence Horizons Theatre ***. On the surface Donna Gerdin's dark comedy, a work of "faction," is about the vagaries surrounding the final resting place of the ashes of D.H. Lawrence. What gets "lost," though, is the great novelist's reputation as his German-born wife Frieda tussles with her friends, Mabel Dodge Luhan and Dorothy Brett, over the best way to honor the man, whose soul all three women feel they own. Lost, too, is any pretense of a bond among the three women, each more eccentric and neurotic than the next. The script is tight and polished; the performance by Brilane Bowman as the 50-year-old Frieda Lawrence is especially effective. And seldom have the ups and downs of friendship among three such different women characters been explored in quite this way. Through Saturday at Theatre-on-the-Run. 703/243-8550. Reviewed by Ann Geracimos.
The Misanthrope Arena Stage **. There are many fine aspects to this production of Moliere's pointed satire about artifice vs. sincerity in 17th century Paris. It is a shame the overall feeling is of flatness. The pace lurches and stalls, and when something finally does get going, it is over before you know it. Moliere's message that the world is a hypocritical and truth-allergic place is as timely as ever; you only wish that the messenger had more gusto. Through Nov. 3. 202/488-3300. Reviewed by Jayne M. Blanchard.
Privates on Parade Studio Theatre ***1/2. This 1977 musical play by Britain's Peter Nichols (with music by Dennis King) is a grand way to start the theater season. Dashingly directed by Joy Zinoman, who handles it with silliness and sophistication, it combines the broad humor of English music halls and pantos with carefully wrought commentary on racism, miscegenation, homosexuality and homophobia, and the casual cruelties of wartime. The play is based on Mr. Nichols' experiences as a member of a song-and-dance touring unit similar to the USO dispatched to Southeast Asia in 1948 to cheer up British troops mired in a Malaysian guerrilla war. The unit is led by Terri Dennis, a flamboyant queen, played by Floyd King, that most supple of clowns and there is no more joyous sign that the seasons are changing than the sight of Floyd King in a dress. If every show this season is as energetic and inspired as "Privates on Parade," then we needn't concern ourselves with the inevitable letdown after this summer's Sondheim Celebration. Through Nov. 10. 202/332-3300. 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. File review by Nelson Pressley.
Three Sistahs MetroStage .***. Playwright and composer Thomas W. Jones, who also directs this production, takes vast liberties with Anton Chekhov's masterwork, "Three Sisters." Yet it works. Set to rollicking, gospel-inflected "smooth jazz" music, the plot has three sisters returning home after a funeral and having to decide what to do with their father's house. They have a pajama party, staying up all night in the home they grew up in, drinking wine, eating popcorn and singing of their secrets and they swoop and swirl from one showstopper to the next, much of it in sublime three-part harmony. There are worse excuses for an evening of song and entertainment than a trio of enormously talented women Bernardine Mitchell, Crystal Fox and Desire DuBose getting in their PJs and getting down. As long as you are not looking for Chekhovian irony, "Three Sistahs" will delight and move you. Through Sunday. 703/548-9044. Reviewed by Jayne M. Blanchard.
MAXIMUM RATING: FOUR STARS

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