Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Different kind of country

Forget the stereotypes about country music when it comes to Martina McBride. There is no twang in her voice or banjos playing in the background, and some of her music sounds as if it could find a home in the pop section, instead of the country section — but country it is. The Country Music Award-winning soprano makes a stop in Baltimore, at the 1st Mariner Arena, tomorrow night at 7:30 . Tickets are $20-$55. 201 W. Baltimore St., Baltimore. 410/481-SEAT.

Behind the scenes

Get the chance to see many of tomorrow’s theater productions today when the “Page-to-Stage” new play workshop comes to the Kennedy Center on Sunday and Monday. Part of the Second Annual Prelude Festival, which starts today and runs through Sept. 20, the new play workshop brings together more than 30 of the Washington area theater companies for a series of free readings, open rehearsals and discussion forums about new plays and musicals. Participating theater companies include Arena Stage, Charter Theater, Catholic University Theater Department and the Young Playwright’s Theater. The workshop is free, but some events do require tickets. All events will take place throughout the Kennedy Center complex. For a list of plays and a schedule see: F Street and New Hampshire Avenue NW. 202/467-4600.

More than an actor

Many know Billy Bob Thornton as the Academy Award-winning actor, but many don’t know that he got his start by playing drums and singing in a band. After several successful films, Mr. Thornton has gone back to music and in September will be releasing his new album “The Edge of the World.” On tour with a full band, Mr. Thornton makes a stop in the D.C. area on Sept. 2 at the Birchmere. The show is set to start at 7:30 p.m., and tickets are $25. 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. 202/432-SEAT.

Married with jokes

Named one of the 10 comics to watch by Entertainment Weekly, Bob Marley has come a long way from booking shows in rural pubs in the Northeast. Raised in Portland, Maine, Mr. Marley has slowly worked his way up the comedy ladder and to date has performed on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “Late Show With David Letterman,” and almost every other major comedy show on TV. Married for seven years, Mr. Marley is known to always include a joke or two about his wife or his parents, which always draws a laugh, and he is sure to do the same when he comes to the DC Improv tonight through Sunday. Tickets are $15-$17. 1140 Connecticut Ave. NW. 8:30 p.m. Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday-Sunday; 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. 202/296-7008.

A night of blues

Two of the greatest blues guitarists share the stage on Tuesday night at Wolf Trap’s Filene Center. Known as the King of Blues, B.B. King has shaped the way people see and hear the blues, and age has only strengthened the 76-year-old music star. Touring beside Mr. King is the Grammy award-winning guitarist Jeff Beck. Mr. Beck is famous in his own right for bringing the guitar to a new level in rock music. The B.B. King Blues Festival starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $22-$38. 1551 Trap Road, Vienna. Information: 703/938-2404. Tickets: 703/218-6500.

Grab your board

The Dulles Town Center will be heaven for extreme sports fans today through Monday. More than 90 of the world’s best pro skateboarders, inline skaters and BMX riders will perform their high-flying and very technical tricks throughout the weekend. The Mobile Skatepark Series will also feature live music, video games, pro clinics and many other activities for all who attend. All the fun takes place at the Dulles Town Center from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Admission is free to watch all the events. Also, anyone looking to skate or ride on the ramps can do so today and tomorrow for $8. 21100 Dulles Town Circle. Dulles, Va.

Rhythms of the world

The KanKouran West African Dance Company — with members from the United States, Caribbean and Africa — is truly a multicultural dance troupe. To celebrate its 20th anniversary in the District, the KanKouran has hosted several educational and cultural programs throughout the summer promoting not only its African dance and drum techniques but also the values of unity and family. Culminating this celebration is “Bantaba,” KanKouran’s annual conference and concert. The concert takes place at Cramton Auditorium, located on the campus of Howard University, on Saturday. The show begins at 8 p.m., and tickets are $12-$20. Sixth Street NW. 202/518-1213.

Thomas Walter

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