- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 27, 2008

Go fly a kite

Yes, it’s time again for the National Cherry Blossom Festival, and that means its annual opening event, the Smithsonian Kite Festival. On the Washington Monument grounds from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 29 this year, the festival goes pan-Asian, adding to the traditionally Japanese-themed competition a display on the history of Chinese kites. See Festivals.

Quick ‘Mikado’

It’s one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s most popular operas, and the Washington Savoyards have pared it to one hour especially for the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The Condensed Mikado opens March 27 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, where it runs through April 13. See Theater.

Send in the clowns

Bello is here. The top clown on Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus headlines the circus’s Red Show, appropriately called Bellobration, in a tour that pitches its tent first at the Verizon Center downtown from March 27 through 30, then checks in at the Patriot Center in Fairfax from April 2 through 13. See Spectacle.

Not so funny

Another clown, this one Verdi’s court jester, is undone by a curse and misdirected revenge as the Washington National Opera opens Rigoletto March 29 in the Kennedy Center Opera House, with Carlos Alvarez in the title role. The production runs through April 13. See Classical Music.

Simply absurd

Laurel and Hardy meet Samuel Beckett: That’s the way some critics describe Rainpan 43. “New vaudevillians” Trey Lyford and Geoff Sobell are veterans of off-Broadway and the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. They pull into the Studio Theatre on April Fool’s Day (good timing) with three absurdist vehicles: “All Wear Bowlers,” “Amnesia Curiosa” and “Machines Machines Machines Machines Machines Machines Machines,” or “MachinesX7.” The shows run through April 20. See Theater.

The right moves

Dance fans, take note: Drop in on the Harman Center for the Arts this week, and you may never leave. From March 27 through 29, the always edgy Merce Cunningham Dance Company premieres a new work, “EyeSpace,” for which IPods programmed with an original score will be handed to members of the audience. On April 2, the Washington Ballet arrives with “High Lonesome,” a program showcasing the work of master choreographers George Balanchine, Choo-San Goh and Trey McIntyre and running through April 6. See Dance.

A capital evening

You’ve seen the Eisenstein movie. Now go back and hear Prokofiev’s throbbing “Alexander Nevsky” cantata again as the Wammie-winning Capitol Hill Chorale joins the Capital City Symphony and violist Daniel Campos on March 30 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center. They’ll warm up to the “Nevsky” with Handel’s Viola Concerto and Brahms’ “Liebeslieder Waltzes.” See Classical Music.

Isn’t it romantic?

The one and only Michael Feinstein, conservator of the Gershwin boys’ work and the acknowledged master interpreter of the Great American Songbook, takes over the Birchmere March 30 for an evening of sophisticated song. Catch him before he heads back to Feinstein’s, his very own club in Manhattan. See Clubs.

More from the songbook

Speaking of the Great American Songbook, the Fairfax Choral Society adds its own take at Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center on March 29 when it presents “Bravo Bernstein: Music for Synagogue, Stage and Screen.” On the bill are Leonard Bernstein’s “Chichester Psalms” and selections from “Mass,” “Candide” and “West Side Story.” See Classical Music.

The dancer’s life

With Ballet 360 A Day in My Shoes: The Dancer’s Life, the Kennedy Center’s Performance Plus series offers aspiring dancers what could be an eye-opening glimpse of a dancer’s day-to-day challenges. Discussing their lives in dance are panelists Suzanne Farrell, Runqiao Du, Erin Mahoney-Du and Kara Genevieve Cooper. That’s in the Terrace Gallery on March 30. See Dance.

Having it all

Once a child prodigy, Andre Watts is one of America’s most celebrated piano artists. He joins Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra at Strathmore Music Center March 29 for Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2 and Dvorak’s Symphony No. 6, laced with Czech folk tunes. See Classical Music.

Song of the streets

Street photographers chronicled the American urban experience from the outset of the 20th century to perhaps the 1970s — and there to collect their work, beginning in 1978, were Norman and Carolyn Kinder Carr. Now the Corcoran Gallery of Art has brought together more than 50 images from the Carrs’ collection, including work by Diane Arbus, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Walker Evans, Robert Frank and the legendary tabloid photographer Weegee (Arthur Fellig). Chance Encounters opens March 29 and runs through June 22. See Museums.

Doubling Bach

Fans of 18th-century music played on period instruments drop everything when the Washington Bach Consort schedules a performance. This week they’ll be extra busy, as the ensemble, with J. Reilly Lewis conducting, plays two dates almost back to back: at the Harman Center for the Arts on March 30 with “The Many Moods of Bach” and at the Church of the Epiphany’s Noontime Cantata Series on April 1, when, among other pieces, the consort will perform Cantata No. 4, “Christ lag in Todesbanden.” See Classical Music.

Happiness is Kander & Ebb

Signature Theatre, still on the boards with “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” plants the second pillar of its Kander & Ebb Celebration on April 1: The Happy Time, which started as a sentimental but nonmusical Charles Boyer-Louis Jourdan movie and became a musical only in 1968, follows a young man’s coming of age surrounded by family in French Canada. “The Happy Time” will run through June 1. See Theater.

The end of culture

Lord of the Flies, the William Golding novel that dropped a bunch of well-behaved British schoolboys onto a desert island and watched them degenerate into beasts (with implications for all human society), shocked readers when it appeared in 1954. Today few dispute the possibility of such a social meltdown. Round House Theatre Bethesda has a go at it beginning April 2 in a production that runs through April 27. See Theater.

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