- The Washington Times - Friday, September 20, 2013

Pick of the Pack


Sandy Hackett’s Rat Pack Show

It’s been more than 50 years since the Rat Pack — Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Joey Bishop and Sammy Davis, Jr. — performed for sold-out audiences in the Sands Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. The hotel’s iconic neon sign now lives in a junkyard museum off Las Vegas Boulevard, but old Las Vegas survives in “Sandy Hackett’s Rat Pack Show,” a musical revue that began at the former Las Vegas Hilton and now tours North America. If you’re a fan of Sinatra’s smooth sounds or miss the glory days of Las Vegas before the shopping malls and strobe lights, head to Bethesda on Friday, Sept. 27, when the tour stops at the Music Center at Strathmore for just one night. Convincing Rat Pack impersonators — including Mr. Hackett, son of the late comedian Buddy Hackett, as Bishop — will perform favorites “My Way,” “Mack the Knife,” “That’s Amore” and more, evoking the heyday of the famed Copa Room at the Sands. Friday, Sept. 27 at the Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, Bethesda. 301/581-5100. Web: strathmore.org.


Annmarie ArtsFest

Sunday is officially the first day of fall, so why not celebrate the crisp weather and beautiful foliage with an outdoor art and music festival? This weekend, the Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center will host the 20th annual Artsfest, highlighting local fine artists, musicians and fun on the banks of Mill Creek in Solomons, Md. The two-day festival will feature more than 170 artists’ booths, including furniture and home decor, jewelry, paintings, photographs and more, as well as 25 music and dance performers on three stages and strolling throughout the festival grounds. While enjoying food vendors, beer, wine and children’s activities, you’ll also get a chance to explore 30 acres of indoor and outdoor sculptures and natural beauty. The festival also marks the birthday of the late Ann Marie Koenig, wife of architect and developer Francis Koenig and namesake of the garden, whose family donated the estate to Calvert County to be used for the arts. Saturday and Sunday at Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center, 13480 Dowell Road, Dowell, Md. 410/326-4640. Web: annmariegarden.org.


American Journeys: Visions of Place & Fall Fete

The past year has been tumultuous for the Corcoran, with financial troubles for both the gallery and school. It seems, however, that things are looking up for this cultural institution, which will unveil a new exhibit Saturday and bring back its popular Fall Fete cocktail party next week. After the gallery focused on more contemporary works in recent years, “American Journeys: Visions of Place” reinstalls 125 paintings and sculptures from the Corcoran’s expansive pre-1945 collection. The exhibit explores how the ideas of “place” and “identity” in American art have shifted over time, and the works are broken into four groups: “Pride of Place: The New Nation,” “The Lure of Paris,” “New York in the New Century” and “Beyond Borders: Modernism.” Next Friday, Sept. 27, the glamorous Fall Fete will celebrate the reinstallation with an “Americans in Paris” theme, including French-inspired food, drinks and music to benefit the Corcoran’s outreach programs to inner-city youth. Fall Fete on Friday, Sept. 27 and exhibit through September 2014 at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, 500 17th St. NW. 202/639-1700. Web: corcoran.org.


WCO Presents Verdi’s ‘I masnadieri’ & ‘Il corsaro’

“It’s all about the music,” the Washington Concert Opera says, and you won’t need binoculars for these opera performances. Since 1986, the Washington Concert Opera has performed more than 40 complete, full-length operas with the soloists, orchestra, chorus and conductor on the same stage without any sets, costumes or props. The WCO performs a wide range of works, but likes to focus on lesser-known ones in an effort to introduce a wider audience to the power and romance of classical opera. This season, WCO will celebrate the 200th birthday of Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi by performing two of his relatively unknown operas, “I masnadieri” and “Il corsaro.” The season opens Sunday with “I masnadieri,” a tragedy about a rivalry between two brothers and its effect on their father and one brother’s lover. The drama continues March 9 with “Il corsaro,” a story about love, adventure and pirates. “I masnadieri” on Sunday and “Il corsaro” on March 9 at George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium, 730 21st St. NW. 202/994-6800. Web: concertopera.org.


Big Apple Circus

Between dodging buses and bicycles on the city streets, and running to catch the last, crowded Metro train, life in the city can often make you feel like a circus performer (or like you wish you could cartwheel over the traffic). On Thursday, the Big Apple Circus, New York City’s original one-ring circus, will premiere its newest show “Luminocity,” which celebrates life in the big city. With every seat in the tent no more than 50 feet from the ring, you’ll get up close and personal with acrobatic executives and construction workers, juggling food cart vendors and a dog walker whose dogs do incredible tricks, plus all the traditional circus performers including clowns, trapeze artists and tightrope walkers. Through Oct. 14 at the Dulles Town Center, 45630 Dulles Center Blvd., Sterling, Va. 888/541-3750. Web: bigapplecircus.org.

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