The Arts

Brave Spirits’ ‘As You Like It’

When William Shakespeare wrote a “romantic comedy,” as he understood the notion in his day, everybody onstage, of every class and station in society, ended up falling in love with somebody. Indeed, in plays like As You Like It, the dish would run away with the spoon had Mother Goose not beaten the Bard to…

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NYCB’s Legacy Night

By the time New York City Ballet made its first, now-annual pilgrimage to the nation’s capital in 1974, the company had become a kind of America’s Team on the shoulders of the 20th century’s two most significant American choreographers – George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. So it seems only fair that last night’s opening at…

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Faust’s Old-Time Religion

It’s not for lack of hummable melodies that Charles Gounod’s opera Faust – based on Goethe’s two volumes, which themselves are based on the “Faust legend” that began circulating throughout Europe during the 16th century – is performed notably less than it used to be. We think it’s because the world view required to believe…

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WNO’S ‘Eugene Onegin’

Russian composer Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky and Russian poet Alexander Pushkin seem an unlikely pair of collaborators, not least because Pushkin died (in a duel with pistols, no less) three years before Tchaikovsky was born. Yet collaborate they have, and collaborate they do, in Washington National Opera’s first-rate production of Eugene Onegin that opened last night…

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Finding Our Own Neverland

There is the magic, and then there’s the magic trick. On the long road from playwright J.M. Barrie’s real life to numerous books and a play, from that play to big-budget movie, and from that movie to the Broadway stage, the musical called Finding Neverland has taken on plenty of both. That’s not to say…

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Ailey Dance Company’s 60th

If there is such a thing as “blood memory,” as the late choreographer and company founder Alvin Ailey seemed to think, then it would be an impressionistic thing in the extreme. It wouldn’t tell stories with developed characters. It wouldn’t complete thoughts with explicit meanings or messages. It would suggest and evoke, tease and evade.…

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The Delights of ABT’s ‘Harlequinade’

One of the final works of tsarist Russia’s golden boy Marius Petipa, Harlequinade is dance without a dark side – no lovers dying bestride a tomb, no curses from centuries past, no personalities split into white for good and black for evil. Indeed, it’s intriguing to ponder how many things that were feared within a…

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It’s Always Sunny

I’ve often wondered what was wrong with Sunny Randall. Having starred in no fewer than six crime novels by the late “dean of American crime fiction” Robert B. Parker, how had Sunny somehow become chopped liver after his sudden death at his writing desk in 2010? No, not Sonny Randall, the NFL quarterback that some…

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Emily’s 132nd Birthday

Emily Dickinson, considered by some America’s greatest poet, invites us in every line to gaze at her life “through a glass, darkly” far more than “face to face.” Despite the perfection of her phrases and the unexpectedness of her vision, she seems destined to leave us all wondering what experiences gave voice to such unique…

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Ballet West’s ‘Nutcracker’

‘Tis the season for Nutcrackers. And in the nation’s capital, that means Washington Ballet is installed for an extended run at the Warner Theater. In cities large and small across America, however, there’s at least anecdotal evidence that the local ballet company pays for the rest of its season with ticket revenues from the Tchaikovsky…

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