- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 23, 2004

It’s hard to imagine a stage where neither Tom Jones, Journey nor Lynyrd Skynyrd has played during decades-long careers. The executives at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts realized none of those acts had graced their Filene Center stage and decided to set things right.

Wolf Trap officials yesterday trotted out the park’s summer lineup at the National Press Club in Northwest, featuring the debut of the aforementioned trio — along with several other veteran acts — and the premiere of a commissioned work from the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.

Other artists making their Wolf Trap debuts in the coming months include the Corrs, Suzanne Vega, O.A.R., Diamond Rio and .38 Special. Among those returning to the Vienna stage are Carole King; Willie Nelson; the Moody Blues; Johnny Mathis; Jonny Lang; B.B. King; John Prine; Bonnie Raitt; Hootie & the Blowfish; Blues Traveler; Peter, Paul & Mary; and Linda Ronstadt.

Soprano Renee Fleming also makes her Wolf Trap debut this season, performing with the National Symphony Orchestra, while Broadway star Faith Prince teams with the Boston Pops.

The summer musical lineup also features a bevy of Wolf Trap regulars, from crooner Lyle Lovett to Mary Chapin Carpenter.

At least one offering promises a bit of nostalgia both for audiences and the talent. Sandy Duncan, who made her professional debut at age 12 in a production of “The King and I,” returns to Wolf Trap with an all-new take on the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical.

Wolf Trap President and CEO Terrence Jones announced the lineup along with new Board of Directors member Tommy Smothers of the Smothers Brothers.

Mr. Jones preceded the news with a speech extolling the virtues of volunteerism before giving way to Mr. Smothers’ patented mumbling. The soft-spoken comic broke up the crowd early and often, then took a political left turn to support his brothers in the arts.

“I admire Michael Moore, Al Franken … people who stand up at jeopardy to their own careers,” he said.

Wolf Trap patrons can get more of Mr. Smothers’ wit, and possibly his wisdom, when he returns with brother Dick to the park June 8.

For a complete list of shows, dates and prices, visit www. wolftrap.org.

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