- The Washington Times - Monday, March 21, 2005

Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts is bringing Brian Wilson’s “Smile” and Alice Cooper’s sneer to its verdant grounds this summer.

The park’s summer season doesn’t kick off until May 27, with a visit by “A Prairie Home Companion’s” Garrison Keillor, but yesterday’s announcement makes winter’s stubborn lingering easier to take.

The news means plenty of familiar faces will be gracing the Filene Stage in the coming months, from Lyle Lovett (July 27) to hometown girl Mary Chapin Carpenter (June 9). Other returnees include the Indigo Girls (June 8), the Moody Blues (July 2) and Ani DiFranco (July 26).

Wolf Trap’s freshman class of 2005 is a curious lot — from the unabashedly sweet Clay Aiken (Aug. 8) to Dire Straits’ guitar slinger Mark Knopfler (June 26). The Doobie Brothers’ Michael McDonald (July 10) and Gavin DeGraw (June 29) and Cheap Trick — opening for Alice Cooper on Aug. 25 — also are gearing up for their first Wolf Trap gigs.

Shows may be added, and some concert dates are still being solidified.

The season also promises the first-time visit by the Grand Ole Opry, hosted by Eddie Stubbs (July 1). It also marks the world premiere of a multimedia performance by the Pilobolus Dance Theatre (June 21) , as well as the first Bolshoi Ballet park performance in 15 years (Aug. 5 through Aug. 6).

On the theatrical front, the season offers a farewell performance by Cathy Rigby in “Peter Pan” (July 19 through 24) and a new presentation of the Lerner and Loewe classic “My Fair Lady” (Aug. 30 through Sept. 4).

The 34th Wolf Trap Gala (June 18) features timeless crooner Tony Bennett highlighting this year’s theme, “The Art of Romance,” giving the black-tie crowd an up-close and personal glimpse of an American original.

Wolf Trap annually serves as the National Symphony Orchestra’s summer home, a tradition that continues this year. The ensemble will perform nine concerts with featured guest artists such as violinist Joshua Bell (July 7), Oscar- and Tony-winning composer-pianist Marvin Hamlisch (June 23 and July 8) and flutist Sir James Galway (July 28).

New productions of Stephen Sondheim’s Tony-winning musical “Sweeney Todd” (June 17 through 26) and the Mozart opera “Don Giovanni” (July 22 through 31) round out the schedule. Both performances will be staged at the Barns of Wolf Trap.

For a full listing of performances, prices and dates, visit www.wolftrap.org. Tickets for the new season go on sale at 10 a.m. April 2; tickets for acts still being added go on sale at noon April 9.

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