"Wicked" Playing from Jun 15 - Aug 21, 2011 at The Kennedy Center
"Wicked" Playing from Jun 15 - Aug 21, 2011 at The Kennedy Center

Here’s something perfect: Shakespeare, music, The Castleton Festival Orchestra, and renowned Castleton director and conductor Lorin Maazel, all together at the Music Center at Strathmore June 30 to perform “Music Inspired by Shakespeare”.

The concert is a fundraiser for the Castleton Festival, which annually brings together young talented virtuosos and musicians of a superior grade for a season of 20 operas and concert performances around the Washington region, which, of course, includes Maazel’s Castleton Farms in Rappahannock County from June 25-July 24.

The evening at Strathmore promises to be special: Maazel himself will conduct the Castleton Festival Orchestra and the women’s voices of the Castleton Festival Chorus in a program of music inspired by Shakespeare , specifically plays like “Romeo and Juliet” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.

Mirren and Irons are both veteran Shakespearean and stage actors as well as major league movie stars (Mirren won Oscars and Emmy’s for playing both Elizabeth 2 and Elizabeth 1). They will recite verses from “Misummer.”

If classical theater or music isn’t your bag, you might try some of the local stages, and performance arts centers. Something’s bound to please you.

For instance, if you just have to do the time warp again, in terms of oldies but goodies, then the Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts is for you.

Look here in the next few days: Monday, Hall and Oates, those 70s and 80s mysterious icons and superstars; Peter Frampton comes around June 23, probably with less hair than when he charmed a generation of slackers circa 80s and 70s. Going even further back, there’s a personal favorite, the hard-rocking “Credence Clearwater Revisited”, a treasure chest of 60s rock songs on June 24. Further back yet is “The Ultimate Doo-Wop Show”, June 25. It’s sort of like a class reunion with the music of the Drifters, the Platters, the Shantels and so on. Happy time travel.

The green witch is back at the Kennedy Center for a long broom ride with “Wicked”, which tells the story of the life and times of Glinda and Elfalfa in Emerald City and Oz in big, big Broadway musical style. A tough ticket, but a great, spectacular show with music by Stephen Schwartz (“Pippin” “Godspell”) Now playing through August 21.

Ethan McSweeny is one of the Washington theater scene’s finest directors and he’s getting a chance to show it, not once but twice and one thing’s true: he’s not afraid of taking chances.

First off, he helmed “A Time To Kill”, an Arena Stage project which is an adaptation of John Grisham’s heated novel about race, the law and sundry other items with a bit cast, which is now winding up its run June 19. Last chance there. First chance to see McSweeny’s take on “The Merchant of Venice” begins June 21 for a nice long run through July 24 at the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Sidney Harman Hall.

“Merchant” is an enticing project for actors—Portia, the merchant, Antonio and various suitors—and it’s often been controversial because of its romantic comedy touches mixed in with a revenge plot that tethers dangerously between bigotry and remarkable tolerance. Could be there’s a cross-pollination between the two plays with concerns about tolerance, ethnicity and so on? Who would have thunk it: Grisham next to the Bard.

A couple of unusual projects going on right now: there’s the Forum Theatre’s “bobrauschenbergamerica” by Charles L. Mee running through June 25 at the Round House Theatre’s Silver Spring location 8461 Colesville Road in Silver spring and there’s Scena Theatre’s producing of “Purge", a new play by young Finnish playwright of Estonian roots, at the H Street Playhouse at 1365 H Street N. Robert McNamara directors, and the cast includes the gifted husband-wife team of Kerry Water sand Eric ZLucas and Colleen Delany through July 3.

We’re not done yet with Georgetown University Glass Menagerie project: it’s full-stage production of “The Glass Menagerie”, with Sarah Marshall as Amanda Wingfield, is back, at Arena Stage’s Mead Center through July 3.

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