- The Washington Times - Friday, May 3, 2013

Theater Will on the Hill

If your invitation to last weekend’s White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner got lost in the mail, then you won’t want to miss the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Will on the Hill, which brings Washington and Hollywood together again this week for a good cause. On Monday evening, politicians, media and celebrities will perform “Toil and Trouble,” an original play that takes place in the Washington studio of a national television news network that must fill air time while waiting for a mysterious announcement from the White House. Of course, Shakespeare-style comedy ensues. Now in its 11th year, the performance will feature John Leguizamo, who played Tybalt in the 1996 film “Romeo + Juliet,” and Anna Chlumsky, who currently stars in the television series “Veep,” as well as U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), numerous U.S. representatives including Gerald E. Connolly (D-VA), Susan H. Davis (D-CA) and Michael G. Grimm (R-NY), to name a few, and Washington media personalities. The event will benefit the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s educational and community outreach programs. Monday at Sidney Harman Hall, 610 F Street NW. 202/547-1122. Web: shakespearetheatre.org.

Culture Around the World Embassy Tour

There’s nothing like travel to open your mind to new ideas and cultures — but if your passport is looking a little empty, you can visit six continents in six hours this weekend. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, more than 40 embassies from Afghanistan to Zambia — which are generally closed to the public — will open their doors for free tours and tastes of their food, art, dance, music and more. Other participating embassies include Argentina, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Chile, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Indonesia, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Kyrgyz, Malaysia, Mexico, Mozambique, Nepal, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, St. Kitts & Nevis, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey and Ukraine. Get a souvenir passport stamped at each embassy, and use it during the EU Embassy Open House on May 11 and the National Asian Heritage Festival on May 18, too. Saturday in Dupont Circle between Massachusetts Avenue and P Street Northwest. 202/661-7581. Web: passportdc.org.


Gala Ball on the Mall

If you’ve been to the Mall lately, you know that “America’s Front Yard” could use some tender loving care — and some fertilizer. It receives more than 25 million visitors each year — more than Yellowstone, Yosemite and the Grand Canyon combined — but given ongoing budget constraints, it hasn’t had a major renovation in 30 years. On Saturday evening, the Trust for the National Mall, a nonprofit organization that partners with the National Park Service in an effort to restore and improve the Mall, will host the fifth annual Ball on the Mall to raise money to help restore the home of the U.S. Capitol and some of our country’s most iconic monuments and museums. Join 1,000 guests for the only black-tie event on the grounds of the Mall featuring food by celebrity chefs, an open bar and dancing in a tent to protect the grass from your stilettos. Saturday on the National Mall, Madison Drive at 13th Street Northwest. 202/688-3759. Web: nationalmall.org.

Lecture Keeping It Real in the White House: Can Presidents Stay Connected?

Last Saturday, President Obama made an effort to connect with the people with a self-deprecating speech at the annual White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. Whether you laughed or not, such events are important, because between the Secret Service and the state dinners, undoubtedly all U.S. presidents have at one time or another felt isolated from the people they were elected to serve. (Many, from Harry S. Truman to Bill Clinton, have publicly compared the White House to a jail.) On Thursday, people who have worked in that jail will discuss why some presidents, such as Richard M. Nixon and Jimmy Carter, were so disconnected from the American people, while others have done a better job of maintaining normalcy. Kenneth T. Walsh, senior White House correspondent for U.S. News & World Report and author of a forthcoming book on the same subject, will moderate a discussion with historians, pollsters and former chiefs of staff and speechwriters for Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H W. Bush and Mr. Clinton. Thursday at the National Museum of Natural History, 10th Street and Constitution Avenue Northwest. 202/633-3030. Web: smithsonianassociates.org.

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