- The Washington Times - Friday, May 23, 2008


* Antony and Cleopatra —** “Antony and Cleopatra” is not Shakespeare’s most compelling drama. The Bard’s take on this epic tragedy-history grows long and windy trying to cover the endless complexities of its political, military and emotional tangle. That having been said, the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s new production at Sidney Harman Hall manages to uncover the dramatic heart of this problem play. With the help of a strong cast under the knowing direction of Michael Kahn, this “Antony and Cleopatra” brings form, function and genuine pathos into the play’s unwieldy structure. Running in repertory with “Julius Caesar” through July 6. 202/547-1122

* Closing Time - - The American premiere of Owen McCafferty’s dark, gloomy 2002 play about dark, doomed drunks in a dark, doomed Belfast pub. Through June 7. 703/892-0202, ext. 2

* Crumble (Lay Me Down Justin Timberlake) - - A lonely girl fantasizes about Justin Timberlake, her widowed mother fantasizes about Harrison Ford, and their apartment suffers in Sheila Callaghan’s play. Through June 7. 202/494-3776

* The Happy Time - - *** Signature’s winsome chamber-musical revival of the seldom seen 1968 Kander and Ebb show “The Happy Time” is both a coming-of-age story for a young boy (the excellent Jace Casey) and the end of a protracted adolescence for the show’s hero, Jacques (Michael Minarik), a jaunty reprobate. Directed by Michael Unger, this revision brings back four numbers snipped from the original Broadway production (a Tony winner for star Robert Goulet and director-choreographer Gower Champion).Through June 1. 703/573-7328

* Julius Caesar - - **1/2 Image makes the man and proves his undoing in the Shakespeare Theatre’s majestic production of “Julius Caesar” under the direction of David Muse. The play is about the pitfalls of rhetoric and the astonishing power to make things happen by words alone. The assassination of Caesar (Dan Kremer) is nasty and brutish in this production; he is calmly and almost ritualistically stabbed in turn by his former allies. As is customary with the Shakespeare Theatre, “Julius Caesar” is a handsome production, and several performances stand out, including Scott Parkinson’s crafty, conversational turn as Cassius, Dean Nolen’s talent as a raconteur in his portrayal of Caska, and Aubrey K. Deeker as the delicately astute politician Octavius Caesar. Running in repertory with “Antony and Cleopatra.” Through July 6. 202/547-1122

* Looking for Roberto Clemente- -***This world-premiere children’s musical features a buoyant rock score that harkens back to the days of the Jackson Five and 1970s supergroups with tuneful lessons that delve into the nature of heroism. Set in 1972 Pittsburgh, it centers on the impact Roberto Clemente’s 3,000th hit has on the life of Sam, an 11-year-old fan, and his friends. Sam is a slugger in his mind and nervous on the field, so when a baseball crashes through his window while he’s listening to the landmark game on his transistor radio, he believes it is Clemente’s ball and imbues it with magical powers. Through June 1. 301/280-1660

* Mad Breed - - A black freewoman with Shakespearean dreams shows up to complicate a play staged by John Wilkes Booth’s teenage siblings. Through June 1. 301/526-9921

* The Oresteia - - **1/ Music, myth and immortals converge in this ambitious and well-intentioned production of Aeschylus’ “The Oresteia,” the only trilogy of ancient Greek drama that has survived intact. (It was first produced in 458 B.C.) Constellation’s large cast of 29 varies widely in technical ability both in vocal and physical control, and the results are often distractingly uneven. Through June 1. 800/494-8497

* The School for Scandal - - ** Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s 1777 comedy of very bad manners and irresistible folly. Director Richard Clifford has assembled a dream cast, which includes deft comedians David Sabin, Kate Eastwood Norris, Tom Story and Catherine Flye. However, other than Miss Flye’s wickedly funny turn as a lisping flibbertigibbet who deludes herself into thinking she hasn’t an unkind bone in her body and Mr. Sabin’s measured wiliness as a codger completely flummoxed by the idea that his nubile wife (Miss Eastwood Norris, criminally underused) might have married him for money, the cast just seems to flit and flop carelessly about the stage. Through June 15. 202/544-7077

* Volvio una Noche/She Returned One Night - - An underachiever is prodded to succeed by his dead mother, whom only he can see and hear. Through May 31. 202/882-6227


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