- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 12, 2002

Patriotic tunesmith
It seems appropriate that the man who promised to "stand up" for America is playing in the area the week of September 11. Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the U.S.A." has become a modern-day classic, and remains a signature tune for the Las Vegas crooner-turned-country star. Hear him perform at 7 p.m. Sunday as part of the Great Frederick Fair at the fairgrounds, off Monroe Avenue, Frederick, Md. Tickets are $16 to $22. 301/695-3928.

Behind the opera
Ever wonder how the Washington Opera puts together its lavish productions? Then be sure not to miss the company's public birthday party, which celebrates the 10th anniversary of its education program with a free open house. See how costumes are made, take in a workshop and even watch some family productions from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Washington Opera Studio, 6925 Willow St. NW. It's free. 202/448-3465.

Cluttered lives
If still-life paintings sometimes seem a little too perfect, then check out Michelle Montalbano's latest exhibit "Refuge." Her oil paintings show off ordinary rooms, some with their everyday clutter, that seem as hazy as a distant memory on the canvas. See her works from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Art League Gallery, 105 N. Union St., Alexandria. Admission is free. 703/683-1780.

Classical greats
It doesn't get much better than having an acclaimed classical pianist playing the works of the master composers. Brian Ganz opens the National Chamber Orchestra's season with his annual concert, this year featuring works by Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven, Brahms and Chopin. Hear him play at 8 p.m. Saturday at the F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre, 603 Edmondston Drive, Rockville. Tickets are $11 to $21. 240/314-8690.

Backstage moments
Photographer Michele Wambaugh has been backstage countless times, only she's not a stagehand or a performer. Instead, she captured scenes from the other side of the curtain with more than 40 major dance, theater and opera companies around the world. The results are in "Exposed: The Performer Backstage," which humanizes its subjects even as it shows them in their most private moments. See the exhibit from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, 91 Key St., Hagerstown, Md. Admission is free. 301/739-5727.

Harried Hamlet
Paul Rudnick is a young TV actor who gets a breakthrough role playing Hamlet in a Shakespeare in the Park production. The only problem is that he hates the dour Dane, and with agent and girlfriend problems swirling about him, his life seems to be heading downhill. That is until the ghost of actor John Barrymore appears to held guide him along. See what happens in the comedy "I Hate Hamlet" at 8 p.m. today through Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at the Little Theatre of Alexandria, 600 Wolfe St., Alexandria. Tickets are $12 to $15. 703/683-0496.

Responding to tragedy
Choreographer and dancer Nejla Y. Yatkin has responded to the anniversary of September 11 the best way she knows how through her performance. In "Beyond Boundaries," an evening of new works, she explores loss, the breakdown of communication and the nature of tragedy. See her works as part of a weekend of dance pieces at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, F Street and New Hampshire Avenue NW. It's free. 202/467-4600.

Dig it
Children can often be a little history-shy, but after getting their hands dirty with Alexandria Archaeology, they may want to dig into the past more often. On a "Family Dig Day," youngsters and parents alike can search for clues from the past, learning from trained archaeologists how to sift through dirt and clay to find the hidden treasure underneath. Reserve a place for the next dig at 1:30 p.m. Saturday behind the George Washington Masonic National Memorial, 101 Callahan Drive, Alexandria. Cost is $5 per person. 703/838-4399.

Colonial crafts
It's not unusual to find an arts and crafts fair around here on the weekend, but it strange to see one from the 18th century. Mount Vernon plays host to a Colonial fair, with artisans in period dress selling hand-crafted wares, in addition to authentic entertainment and grub. Stop by from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Mount Vernon, at the end of George Washington Memorial Parkway. Admission is $4.50 to $9. 703/780-2000.
Derek Simmonsen

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