- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 25, 2005

It’s 1934 and the Cleveland Grand Opera Company has managed to snag a world-renowned tenor to star in its production of “Otello,” and the company can’t let anything get in the way of its success — even when the superstar can’t perform. That’s when the opera company’s lily-livered assistant steps into his tights and the footlights, and in the process realizes his inner matinee idol. Those are the bare bones of Lend Me a Tenor, the lunatic-paced, Tony-winning farce by Ken Ludwig now enjoying a classy, robust production at Olney Theatre Center, with an agile cast that keeps up an effervescent and impeccably timed pace for more than two hours. It’s dizzy, fizzy fun, and director John Going and the cast never let the pace lag or opportunities for shameless mugging go by. Catch it before June 12. Tickets are $15 to $39. 301/924-3400.

— Jayne Blanchard

The centennial year of the great songwriter Harold Arlen will be celebrated tomorrow at 7 p.m. with a special program in the Mary Pickford Theater of the Library of Congress. A combination of vintage recordings and highlights from film and television, the presentation is called Happy As the Day Is Long: Music by Harold Arlen and will be hosted by David Novack. Sources for the clips include a 1964 CBS special, “The Songs of Harold Arlen,” and the 1954 movie version of “A Star Is Born,” which contributes Judy Garland’s famous rendition of “The Man That Got Away.” Admission is free, but seating is limited to 64. Third floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. SE. 202/707-4604.

— Gary Arnold

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