- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 24, 2008

All roads lead to…

The Harman Center, where this weekend the Shakespeare Theatre begins its Roman cycle, the repertory twinning of Antony and Cleopatra and Julius Caesar, opening April 26 and 27, respectively. The plays, running through July, are only part of the “Roman Repertory” program; post-show discussions and a full-day symposium over the next few months give the Roman plays welcome attention. For the plays, see Theater. For discussions and the symposium, see Lectures/Readings/Films.

Getting into the act

Celebrating the Broadway songwriting partners John Kander and Fred Ebb is becoming the fashion: Signature Theatre’s Kander & Ebb festival is chugging along nicely, thank you, and now into the mix comes the U.S. Army Band’s vocal ensemble Downrange with “And the World Goes ‘Round: The Songs of Kander & Ebb.” It’s a fun, comic revue of the pair’s gems, including songs from “Cabaret,” “Chicago,” “New York, New York,” “Funny Lady” and “Kiss of the Spiderwoman.” That’s April 24 at Brucker Hall, Fort Myer. See Military Bands.

Red Rover come over

Hey, pups! Now’s your chance! Gadsby’s Tavern Museum in Alexandria is looking for a “tavern dog” — “the right dog with the right stuff” to represent it at public events like the George Washington Birthday Parade. They don’t care about pedigree; they want sociable, personable, well-groomed pooches. So get your person to enter you in the contest, and toddle on down to the judging on April 26 in Old Town. See Etc. for more information.

The piano game

Put the National Symphony Orchestra together with American conductor Hugh Wolff and the British-Australian pianist Stephen Hough, then listen closely, because the effect can be magical. For three performances April 24 through 26, they take on Henri Dutilleux’s “Metaboles,” Debussy’s “Five Etudes” and “La Mer,” and Saint-Saens’ Piano Concerto No. 5 in F major, the “Egyptian.” See Classical Music.

Walking the neighborhoods

If it’s spring, it must be time for WalkingTown DC, Cultural Tourism DC’s seasonal exploration of Washington’s neighborhoods. The nonprofit coalition offers more than 80 free guided walking tours (and a couple of bike tours) of 18 established and emerging Washington neighborhoods, including Capitol Riverfront, H Street Northeast, Anacostia, Georgetown and Embassy Row, on April 26 and 27. See Tours. For a complete schedule, with meeting places, times, and tour lengths, see www.WalkingTownDC.org.

Designing Georgetown

Georgetown has its own plans for a big weekend: First off, St. John’s Church’s annual Georgetown House Tour this year offers walk-throughs of eight to 10 houses and gardens April 26, with the added fillip of afternoon tea in the venerable church’s parish hall. Add to that the fifth annual French Market of Georgetown on April 25 and 26, a European-style open-air market on Book Hill whose participants include more than 30 shops. And of course the D.C. Design House, a historic home on P Street NW that has been newly reimagined by 15 top designers; it’s open for viewing through May 11. See Etc.

Barbie’s back

Well, almost. Country singer Dolly Parton, who seems to want us to believe she never left home, brings her “Backwoods Barbie” Tour to the Patriot Center on April 28. See Pop Music.

At the top of the voice

Everything else is done out loud; why not poetry? The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation bring 52 students from around the country to Lisner Auditorium April 28 to compete all day in the Poetry Out Loud national semifinals. The finals take place in the evening of April 29, when the contestants will have been winnowed to 12. See Stage.

Merely players

More declamation: Since January, the Washington Stage Guild has been staging readings of plays it’s considering for its 2008-09 season. In effect, the audiences become part of the choice. Coming up on April 29 at the Mead Theatre Lab at Flashpoint is a reading of J.B. Priestley’s “Dangerous Corner,” and finishing the season on May 6 is the Karel Capek blend of sci fi and social criticism, “The War With the Newts.” See Stage.

Choral debut

It was official in March but the opening act comes now: The Washington Chorus has chosen Julian Wachner — composer, pianist, conductor of several symphony orchestras and of Montreal’s Opera McGill — as its third music director, to replace Robert Shafer, the 36-year-veteran who retired last year. The new director’s contract doesn’t begin until July, but on April 27, he’ll lead the chorus in “Songs of the Soul” at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. On the bill are Faure’s “Requiem,” Brahms’ “Gesang der Parzen” and the Washington premiere of Carlyle Sharpe’s “Proud Music of the Storm,” based on the Walt Whitman poem. See Classical Music.

Cornucopia of dance

Yes, the Kennedy Center performance and master class by the mostly Maori Black Grace dance troupe from New Zealand are both sold out, but a wealth of innovative dance awaits fans this week: At Dance Place on April 26 and 27, co-director Deborah Riley offers the 20th-anniversary performance of her Deborah Riley Dance Projects, while the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage showcases the Merasi troupe from Rajasthan, India, on April 29 and the homegrown ClancyWorks Dance Company, from Silver Spring, on April 30. See Dance.

Another look at home design

The Home & Design Magazine Luxury Expo is back for its sixth annual go-round, this time with seminars in painting and room design as well as a raft of custom home builders, interior designers, landscapers, bath and kitchen experts, cabinet and furniture makers who want to help you feel at home. It’s at the Sheraton Premiere Tysons Corner on April 26 and 27. See Etc.

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