D.C. Jazz Fest Keeps Cookin’: Check Your Schedule

June 8, 2012

As fine as any summer day are the remaining offerings of the D.C. Jazz Festival which runs all over the city at various venues.

Of particular interest is today’s “Jazz Meets the Classics” event at the Kennedy Center which will also be a special concert with the presence of bassist Ron Carter and pianist Kenny Barron who will be honored with the festivals lifetime achievement award. They’ll be part of a concert by the Classical Jazz Quartet (with Stefon Harris and Lewis Nash) performing jazz interpretations of Bach, Chopin, Mozart, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky. Also on hand are 10-Grammy Award winner Paquito The super-talented new star Anat Cohen from Israel will be at the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, performing on clarinet and saxophone with her group on Thursday, June 7, 8 p.m., as part of the expansive Jazz in the Hoods series going on all over town.

In addition, you might want to check out “Jazz at the Hamilton,” running through June 10 with top-drawer performances every night that include the Roy Hargrove Quintet on June 6 and the Jimmy Heath Quintet and Antonio Hart Organ Trio tomorrow, June 5.

The Bohemian Cavern, part of the “Jazz in the ‘Hoods” program, will feature the Marcus Strickland Quintet June 8 and 9..

The Kennedy Center’s free Millennium Stage will include the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra June 5.

For a complete schedule of the remain events and concerts, including all “Jazz in the ‘Hoods” events, jazz at the Howard Theatre, the Capital/Bop DC Jazz Loft series, which includes a daylong mini-festival June 9, you should go to the D.C. Jazz Festival web site — www.DCjazzfest.org — and also check out Twitter, Face book, Flickr and Four Square.

The Exuberance of the Helen Hayes Awards

May 17, 2012

A circus troupe sat in front of me at the 28th annual Helen Hayes Awards at the Warner Theatre April 23, or at least it felt like that.

At this annual bash and awards show for the Washington theater community, actors, designers, directors and entire companies become winners but somehow never losers. Unlike the Tonys, the Oscars or the Emmys, there’s nary a snide comment–certainly not on stage, but who knows what goes on in the bathrooms–or cause consciousness-raising, or political statements. Nevertheless, on Monday evening, there were politicians also on stage, reveling–can you believe it?–in the spotlight.

And there was the cast and company of Signature Theatre’s “Hairspray” (which starred D.C. cultural critic Robert Aubrey Davis as Edna), up for a number of awards, including outstanding resident musical ensemble. One member of said ensemble (she had suffered an injury during a performance of the show) was Kara Tameika Watkins, just dazzling in a red-gown-crutches ensemble which she brought off with remarkable aplomb, with a little help from her mom.

I was sitting right behind them in row Y in the back, and I asked Watkins’s mother, Sheila, if they had thought about what would happen if they would win. Mom shook her head and said, “She’ll be just fine.”

You know how this story ends.

Up on stage, a voice rings out: “And the outstanding ensemble, resident musical is….”

“Hairspray, Signature Theatre.”

They squealed, they yelled, they screamed, they jumped out of their seats, and, what, maybe 50, I don’t know exactly how many, struggled into the aisles as if they had just opened the doors at Walmart for the first hours of Christmas shopping. Right there in the middle, wielding and walking and, I thought, running with her crutches was the vision in red, Kara Tameika Watkins.

They were up there, hugging each other, jumping up and down. Davis, at the mike but not in costume, showered them with eloquence, erudition and theater love, as he thanked them for accepting him in their midst.

It was a Helen Hayes moment–and a “theatreWashington” moment–one of many that seem to become an instant part of the lore and legend of each and every one of the 28 awards nights, all but two of which I’ve attended. I am a lot older than the young Ms. Watkins, but for a shining moment I felt, if not just as young, a little less old.

“Hairspray” was a big winner that night–the show’s super-charged star Carolyn Cole got best actress kudos in a resident musical, and the show itself was named Best Resident Musical

But that noise in the back–including the very loud sound of “The Sound of Music” supporters, is always something that seems unique to these awards, and mark it as a celebration not a competition. Sure, you can grouse about the results, the judges, the critics, the ties, the process and make perfect sense while you propose restructuring plans.

But the night isn’t about making sense. It’s about theater, which hardly ever makes perfect sense–oh, that nicely made play–but beats with the fever of heart, soul and imagination, and in this case, about a community.

“I don’t know, it hardly seems so local any more,” I heard somebody say in the street. “It’s getting a little big.”

Well, here’s a scoop: Washington’s theater world has indeed gotten bigger with 805 productions, 84 theaters, 9,903 performances and 2,261,509 audience members, according to the stats in the program. These numbers do not include dozens, maybe hundreds of critics, writers and freeloaders who have the audacity to take their tickets and still feel free to complain about what they’ve seen.

But I don’t think it has gotten too big for its britches, not even, and especially during the course of the Helen Hayes Awards. There are always ghosts in the house, puns in the air, and all these people to thank. If the first words spoken by a recipient was, “Wow” (I think it was Mark Acito, author of “Birds of a Feather” at the rising Hub Theatre in Virginia), it was not the last time the word was heard. It was topped only by the all-purpose “amazing,” a word–like “dude”–which should be retired or at least allowed to be used only once by each winner.

At these awards there are always luminaries who are honored and present for their star power–in the past we have had everyone from Angela Lansbury to Derek Jacoby. This year, we had Kevin Spacey.

Spacey was the recipient of the Helen Hayes Tribute–sponsored by Washington uber-theater benefactor and philantropist Jaylee Mead–and the man knows how to put on a show.

Spacey has roots here, as he acknowledged, but more than that he is one of those stage actors who became a big movie star (two Oscars), but never abandoned the stage, supporting young actors and now being the American head of the classic Old Vic in London.

He’s also an FOB–Friend of Bill–former President Bill Clinton who showed up in the form of a video tribute to Spacey. Spacey could have done it himself–he gave a wicked, thickly corn-pone accented impression of Clinton.

We remember Spacey here at the early stages of his stage career: awkwardly as the son to Liv Ullman’s mother in Ibsen’s “Ghosts” at the Kennedy Center (“My first Broadway play,” he said.); splendidly as the son to Colleen Dewhurst’s actress mother in Peter Sellars’s pitch-perfect “A Seagull” at the Kennedy Center; superbly as the son to Jack Lemmon’s father in Jason Miller’s strange version of O’Neill’s “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” at the National Theatre; and winningly as the mobster uncle in Neil Simon’s “Lost In Yonkers.”

Spacey–he won Oscars for “The Usual Suspects” and “American Beauty”–was mindful of giving back. “I learned that from Lemmon, my mentor, my friend,” he said.

He was eloquent, funny, inspiring and profane–he managed to drop the F-word not once but twice, tying Robin Williams’s old record from the Mark Twain Awards, or maybe not.

The F word is easy. Pronouncing the names of many of the Synetic Theater performers and artists of the theatre company which specializes in a form of silent and action theatre created by the company’s directors Irina and Paata Tsikurishvili is not so easy, nor is spelling them. Nevertheless, the company’s production of “King Lear” (silent Shakespeare) won several awards, including outstanding ensemble.

There were outsiders here: elected officials and media types like Ward 2 Council member Jack Evans, who read the city-council official proclamation for theatreWashington’s theater week, D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and MSNBC’s Chris Matthews.

But mostly, there were these our players, our magic makers, such as Mitchell Hebert, who won best actor for Theater J’s quasi-Arthur Miller substitute in “All Fall Down,” Ted van Griethuysen, for “Dogberry,” praising his comrade-in-arms Floyd King. “Ruined,” the great play at Arena grabbed only one award, but it was the one that really counts — “outstanding resident play.” Adventure Theater under Michael Bobbitt continued its amazing rise with several awards. Holly Twyford was singing and hoofing her heart out. There were the ghosts of Helen Hayes and James MacArthur.

And, of course, the girl in red, her mom, all the kids screaming and yelling their hearts out. [gallery ids="100754,122616,122599,122612,122607" nav="thumbs"]

“It’s a Grand Night for Singing” with Rodgers and Hammerstein, and the Washington Savoyards (photos)

The Washington Savoyards, the professional light opera company, begin their 40th Season performing the music of the celebrated team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II to positive reviews at the Atlas Theater in Washington DC. Performances continue thru May 6. For information about performance times and ticket prices, visit the Savoyards website at http://www.savoyards.org/

The careers of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II parallel the coming of age of the American Musical Theater. From their first collaboration, Oklahoma! in 1943, to Carousel, South Pacific, Flower Drum Song, Cinderella and the Sound of Music, the pair continued to break new ground with innovative plots and exotic settings. Prior to Oklahoma, most hit shows were essentially vehicles to showcase the talents of its stars. They had little serious to say and there was no need to integrate the songs, dances, comedy routines and the spectacular chorus girl numbers. In “Oklahoma!” the musical found a new form. This “integrated musical” marked a revolution in American theater. “Oklahoma!” was the complete synthesis of music, libretto, lyrics, dancing and staging.

The heart of every R&H show are of course the songs, many of which became American standards, including the title song of this production which was written for the movie musical “State Fair”. This Savoyards musical review includes many of R&H’s well know tunes, mixed in with some relatively obscure gems from lesser know works such as Me and Juliet, Allegro and Pipe Dream. The cast of three women and two men includes Scott Russell, Emily Levey, Nick Lehan, Dorea Schmidt and Maria Egler.

View our photos of the show by clicking on the photo icons below.

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Preppy Pink Party Benefits Komen Race for the Cure

Running and walking enthusiasts, supporters of breast health and breast cancer research and generally fun individuals gathered at Hudson Restaurant on M Street May 2 to support the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and register for the June 2 event if they had not yet. At and around the National Mall, the 5K race will raise funds for breast health and breast cancer education, screening and treatment programs and involve more than 40,000 participants from across the country, including more than 3,000 breast cancer survivors.

The Preppy Pink Party, sponsored by Miss A aka Andrea Rodgers, offered prizes from Neiman Marcus, Washington Nationals, SimplySoles, Coup de Foudre, Sylene and Sushiko along free food and refreshments and a performance by the Joke’s Wild.


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Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew” at Folger Theatre (photos)

May 15, 2012

The Folger Theatre’s current production of William Shakespeare’s classic, “The Taming Of The Shrew” is set in the American Wild West. The elaborate stage, from designer Tony Cisek, has been modeled as a western saloon, repleat with bar, swinging doors, chandolier, and a staircase that leads to an upstairs balcony.

The main plot of the play depicts the courtship of Petruchio, a gentleman of Verona, and the headstrong Katherine. At first, Katherine is an unwilling participant in the relationship, but Petruchio “tames” her using various forms of psychological warfare until she becomes compliant. The subplot features a competition between the suitors of Katherine’s more desirable sister, Bianca.

The leading rolls of Petruchio and Katherine are performed by the real life husband and wife team of Cody Nickell and Kate Eastwood Norris. Further color has been added in the form of recording artist Cliff Eberhardt performing original music in the role of the ‘Blind Baladeer’.

The Taming of The Shrew plays through June 10, 2012 at Folger Theatre, at The Folger Shakespeare Library which is located at 201 East Capitol Street, SE, in Washington, DC. For tickets, call 202-544-7077, or order them online.

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D.C. Theater Gets Nod from Broadway; Shakespeare Theatre to Receive Tony Award

May 10, 2012

Washington theater folks often complain that D.C. theater doesn’t get respect in New York.

It’s true that New Yorkers tend to get culturally snooty about D.C., mainly because, you sometimes suspect, the Broadway theater tickets are astronomical (as opposed to just outrageous in D.C.), because you have to take a loan out to go to the Metropolitan Opera, because where else is a musical about Bonnie and Clyde a good idea and because there is no such thing as a free museum in New York. Mama MOMA, indeed.

But, Gothamites, beware. D.C. theater is no slouch. Look what’s up for Tonys for best drama: Bruce Norris’s comedy-drama about gentrification, “Clybourne Park,” and wonder-writer-adapter David Ives’s “Venus in Fur.” We should be so lucky to see such plays. Hmm, wait . . . we are so lucky. “Clybourne Park” was staged twice at Woolly Mammoth, no less, where Norris is a particularly favorite playwright. “Venus in Fur” was last seen at the Studio Theatre, where Ives is a favorite there.

And look what may win a Tony for best revival of a musical and best performance by an actor (Danny Burstein) and an actress (Jan Maxwell) in a musical: the Kennedy Center production of “Follies,” directed by Eric Schaeffer (Signature Theatre) and studiously ignored by the Helen Hayes Awards here. “Follies” premiered at the Kennedy Center in a dazzling and difficult production, was tinkered with and made a big impression in its Broadway debut. It is now preparing for an Los Angeles run. All in all, “Follies” was nominated for eight Tonys.

Also, “Master Class,” starring Tyne Daly, is up for a best dramatic revival Tony. It began life at the Kennedy Center.

If that’s not enough to stand up and take notice of Washington theater, there’s the fact that the Washington Shakespeare Theatre Company, headed by artistic director Michael Kahn, received this year’s special Regional Theatre Tony. The award, which Kahn will receive at the Tony Awards ceremonies in New York June 10, marks a kind of climax of his 25-year tenure as artistic director. [gallery ids="100783,123754,123744,123749" nav="thumbs"]

Embassy Series Brings Iraqi Music to D.C. Audiences

The sounds of the great Western composers, such as Mozart, Beethoven and Bach, performed by internationally acclaimed musicians. The food, the socializing and networking, the kibitzing, the receptions at embassies, ambassadorial residences and international cultural centers. They’re all perfectly good reasons to check out the Embassy Series, Washington’s unique musical series.

But Embassy Series founder Jerome Barry had something additional in mind when he began and developed the series. It’s called cultural diplomacy by way of musical diplomacy, a vision which has allowed him to enlarge the series to embrace a truly international vista.

The Iraqi Cultural Center at 1630 Connecticut Ave., N.W., in Dupont Circle provides an ideal setting and example for conducting that sort of cultural diplomacy Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. when the Two Rivers Eastern Ensemble, a six-piece group of Middle Eastern and Western artists combine their talents to produce an evening of jazz fused with Maqam, a 400-year-old genre of Arab music which originated in ancient Iraq. The Two Rivers Eastern Ensemble will perform using both folkloric (the santour) and modern (the trumpet) instruments, singing in Arabic, and dressed in traditional ethnic outfits.

“Many instruments such as al-oud, a-santur and the tambourine were invented in ancient Mesopotamia,” said Jabir Habeb, Ambassador of the Republic of Iraq to the United States. “The Sumerians were the first to compose the musical system. This ancient music was shared by many ethnic groups who lived in this region including Arabs, Assyrians, Kurds, Armenians and Turks. The Maqams were considered by many to be the foundation of Eastern music.”

“These unique artists are meant to emphasize Iraq’s music , history and cultural influence,” Barry said. The artists are unique to the American scene while many are of Iraqi origin. In terms of the Embassy Series, “this is what we mean when we talk about uniting people through musical diplomacy,” Barry said. “We provide a forum–through concerts–that combines music with information about a country’s culture and history.”

In 2010, with the long, grinding effects of the war in Iraq still being felt by both nations, the first such concert at the Iraqi Cultural Center provided an electric evening of different cultures meeting–and often whistling with approval–on a musical playing field. Audiences used to the rapt listening atmosphere of classical music concerts also provided by the Embassy Series soon joined in the more participatory atmosphere of the concert of Iraq music using ancient musical instruments which created rhythmic, soulful sounds and songs.

In its 18-year history, the Embassy Series has performed in more than 60 embassies, residences, chanceries, diplomatic chanceries and cultural institutions, opening up the world of countries and cultures not encountered on such an intimate level. The series was the first to perform at the newly opened embassies of many former Soviet-bloc, Eastern European countries in the 1990s, and performed at the Cuban Interests Section, the Vietnamese Embassy and the opening of the new (and huge) Chinese Embassy in 2010.

Tickets are $80, which includes a post-concert reception. For more information, visit www.embassyseries.org.
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Heads Up: ‘Street Art Across America’ From the Kennedy Center

Look up! Look out!

If you’re out and about in the city between May 6 and 12, whether you’re walking, reading a newspaper or texting on the Metro or bus, or on a bench or eating at your favorite restaurant across the city, check it out. Look up! Look out!

Look out is probably the operating phrase because May 6 through 12 marks the duration of the Kennedy Center’s “Look Both Ways: Street Arts Across America,” featuring dozens of artists of all kinds and genres popping up and sideways, doing their special thing at far-flung locations throughout the city.

Between May 6 and 12, you won’t have to go to Capitol Hill to see fools in action. The free festival celebrates the now-and-new energy of live right there beside you or up above you interactive performance. You may stumble upon or plan to see a circus-punk marching band, political puppet theater, jugglers, contortionists, stunt dogs, dancers, acrobats and fly-by-nighters, for all we know, throughout the city.

You can find them at such locations as Eastern Market, the Half Street Fair Grounds, Woodrow Wilson Plaza, Farragut Square, the Old Post Office Pavilion (Look up!) and Yards Park as well as the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage.

You will see, hear, feel and be dazzled and amazed by:

Acrobuffos, Ambush, Karen Beriss, Bert the Nerd, the Bread and Puppet Theater, Nick Cave, Circolombia, Entomo, the Exit Studio’s Edwon Fontanez, Happenstance Theater, Oesole’s Dance Project, Midnight Circus, Mutts Gone Nuts, Valesa Aaria Populoh, the Project Bandaloop, the Red Trouser Show, Mamomanem and Yo-Yo People, among others.

“Look Both Ways: Street Arts Across America” is one in a series of festivals produced and sponsored by the Kennedy Center, which have included “Country: A Celebration of America’s Music,” “A Cappella: Singing Solo” and “Gospel Across America.”

On May 6, Bert the Nerd, Happenstance Theatre, Mouth Monster and Nana Projects will kicks things off by invading Eastern Market at 225 7th St., S.E. On May 11 between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., there will be action at the Old Post Office Pavilion, up and down the building as a matter of fact. Performers that night include Ambush, Bert the Nerd, Entomo, Paolo Garbanzo, Project Bandaloop and Rob Torres.

Pretty much all of the performers will show up at noon at the Yards Park (entrances at 3rd, 4th and Water Streets, S.E.) on May 12. [gallery ids="100784,123766,123750,123758" nav="thumbs"]

Celebrating Washington Theater and More, Tonight Through April 29

May 3, 2012

Everybody in Washington’s theater community will show up tonight for the 28th annual Helen Hayes Awards at the Warner Theatre, but that’s only the beginning for what this year is theatreWeek in Washington, which would be April 23-29.

Sponsored and spearheaded by theatreWashington, the D.C. group that supports, promotes and represents Washington area theatres, artists and audiences, theatreWeek will make its debut with a series of special events including Playtime, a series of events aimed squarely at children.

The Helen Hayes Awards and Ovation Gala at the Warner Theatre and J.W. Marriott Hotel kicks everything off, featuring awards that showcase the general and specific excellence of Washington’s theatre world, with special honors going to two-time, Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey.

On Wednesday, D.C. professionals and Washington theater-lovers hook up with “Show Tunes and Cocktails with Joshua Morgan” from 7 to 8 p.m. at Napoleon Bistro and Lounge in Adams Morgan.

On Thursday, it’s time for “Theatre Critics: It’s Only Their Opinion, What They Do and How They Do It.” (While not attending, I can be reached at The Georgetowner, if you want my opinion). Actually, it’s a conversation with Washington Post Critic Peter Marks and other critics from 7 to 8 p.m. (Location to be announced)

On Friday, you get a sneak peek at “In Rehearsal,” a new book by actor and director Gary Sloan, 5 to 6:30 p.m. at Bus Boys and Poets at 14th and V Streets, N.W.

And then there’s Playtime, with workshops, classes and tours for kids at 13 theatres throughout the region on April 22, 27, 28 and 29. Participating are Adventure Theatre, Compass Rose Studio Theater, Faction of Fools Theatre Company, Folger Theatre, Imagination Stage, National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts, the National Theatre, the Puppet Company, Round House Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Studio Theatre, the Theatre Lab and Toby’s Dinner Theatre.

Summer Show Stopper

Who would have thought that fur—event thinking about it, let alone wearing it—would be so popular in town, especially in this weather?

But when it’s “Venus In Fur,” playwright David Ives’ witty, hot – yes, hot – and, if you’ll pardon the expression, whip-smart take on Sacher-Masoch’s shocking 19th century novel about a stage audition, sexual and creative power struggles between an actress and director, people just can’t stop talking and going.

The production—one of the best and beguiling of the year anywhere—has been extended yet again on final time to July 31 at the Studio Theatre where you can watch a breakout performance by Erica Sullivan, in assorted nasty getups and with a range that creates whiplash in the audience. If you haven’t seen this show, by all means go. If you’ve already seen it, go again. David Muse, the Studio’s new artistic director is in charge here, and he handles matters with a deft, intelligent manner.

There’s more reason than “Venus” to visit the Studio these days. There’s the appropriately entitled “Pop,” a new musical-mystery-pop-show by Maggie-Kate Coleman and Anna K. Jacobs focusing on the heady (and final) days of Andy Warhol’s New York Factory scene, where Andy reigned supreme in his pursuit of putting sizzle in all things mundane and plain. If you’re interested in all things Warhol and pop art, this is your cup of tea (no sugar please), and if not it’s an education on a number of American obsessions, not the least of which is Warhol, who turned greenbacks and tomato soup into high and low art, and once made a day-long movie which had nothing but the Empire State building as its focus.

Warhol will be talked about and written about forever, so why not a musical? Especially if it has Warhol staple members in it like Candy Darling, Ondine and assorted would-be and not artists, hangers-on, feminists and girlies and whatever lies in between. Keith Alan Baker, the Studio’s pop-meister, directs with Hunter Styles and Jennifer Harris. “Pop” runs through July 31.

And speaking of the Studio Theater, we would be remiss if we did note the recent departure of David Cale’s “The History of Kisses,” a sweet, lovely string of pearls and tales performed by the one-man-show and playwright that is Cale. Less fraught with tensions and puzzles and less flamboyant than some of his previous work, this saw Cale pondering the puzzles of how people meet, love – or not – bounce and stumble into and out of other people’s lives.

An ocean theme—one of the characters was a man attending a gathering of sea shanty aficionados in California—carried the tide, so to speak, saw one woman meet an inarticulate Portuguese sailor for ship-board encounter that produced a son, if not lasting love, two gay men meeting cute and ending up deliriously in awe in front of a fish tank, an Australian land-wrecked at a seaside motel and a man remembering a wistful encounter with Judy Garland during a beach walk.

These stories pop up in my mind occasionally during a land-locked, hot summer. So sing a shanty to Mr. Cale.

The Millennium Stage, the Kennedy Center’s nightly series of free performances of music and dance has added something new for the hot month of August—it will offer a Happy Hour Series every Monday night at 6 p.m. On August 1, 8, 22 and 29, the Kennedy Center’s Atrium on the Roof Terrace will become a summer lounge with couches, a dance floor and a full bar. The Lounge will continue on August 15 at the Kennedy Center’s Grand Foyer.

It’s a different way to catch entirely characteristic performances that have been the hallmark of the Millennium Series. The Happy Hour Series includes singer Badi Assad, who presents a world flavor with an exotic mixture of ethnic sounds on August 1. DeboBand presents Ethiopian flavored music August 8. New Orleans singer/songwriter Mia Borders blends funk, soul and contemporary styles August 15. August 22 brings Alma Tropicalia and a tribute to the classic BrazilianTropicalia movement of the 1960s. On August 29, Rahim AlHash and the Little Earth Orchestra are on hand with its group of world musicians from Iraq, Brazil, Africa, Palestine and America.

And now for something completely different. At Georgetown University’s Davis Performing Arts Center and its Devine Studio Theatre, there’s a chance to see “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” a world premiere production of an adaptation of Michael Pollan’s famed non-fiction book about how, why, where and what people eat in the modern world. It’s written, conceived and directed by Natsu Onada Power of Georgetown University, and can be seen July 27-29 and July 30 and 31. Check PerformingArts.Georgetown.edu for details.

Want to find something to laugh about—and God knows we all do? Check out the opening of D.C.’s new Riot Act Comedy Theater with a grand opening celebration of the city’s own star comedians, Big Al Goodwin, Tony Woods and Charles Fleischer, who perform at 801 E St. beginning August 11-13.
And we would also be remiss without mentioning, although we do it with some trepidation, the impending last performance of Cherry Red Productions, arguably the city’s filthiest—in a good way—theater company ever. We could produce some of the more memorable titles from the Cherry Red past as offered, but can’t. Suffice to say that Cherry Red offered—often in small and dark places—dark plays that had the whiff of a zeitgeist that combined the American 1980s with the worst and best times of Weimar Berlin. I think.

In any case, founders Ian Allen and Chris Griffin are closing out with a production of “The Aristocrats,” a stage version of what’s described as the dirtiest joke of all time. Cherry Red’s promised to do bad things to the joke, which also came in movie form with an all-star cast of potty-mouths like Sarah Silverman.

Look for it at the Warehouse Theater August 27 at 8:30 and 11 p.m.
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