The Arts

Leguizamo’s Latin History

The National Theater in the nation’s capital is located on Pennsylvania Avenue – as is Donald Trump’s White House. Still, during John Leguizamo’s three Washington performances of Latin History for Morons, there the similarity ends. Far more than an attack on Trump’s benighted “Build the Wall” immigration policies, however, Leguizamo’s play fresh from a Tony-nominated…

Read More

The Venice of Our Dreams

The first time I saw Venice and walked across its flooded Piazza San Marco on makeshift wooden scaffolding was in the icy winter of 1974. The sea the Venetians ruled for centuries had triumphed the night before, a seemingly eternal curse that sounds benign by its official name “high water” – acqua alta – but…

Read More

‘Amadeus’ for the Ages

The late British playwright Peter Shaffer was blessed with two of the most unlikely gifts: creating dazzling intellectual puzzles with more than one satisfying solution, and turning out scripts that delighted multitudes, became hit films and made him a wealthy man. His two best-known works for the stage, Equus and Amadeus, were renowned for the…

Read More

A ‘Thriller’ with a Message

Terry McAuliffe’s just-released short book on the deadly Charlottesville, Va., white nationalist rally in August 2017 is a gripping, moment-by-moment “police procedural” bookended by a political autobiography and a prescription for a brighter future. The three parts don’t always fit together perfectly, but their heart (and clearly McAuliffe’s) is so much in the right place…

Read More

Daniel Silva’s ‘New Girl’

Though a new thriller in Daniel Silva’s remarkable Gabriel Allon series has become a calendar entry for his many fans worldwide each summer, I’ve never thought of these books as “summer reads.” By cliché, if not always in fact, summer reads equal mindless escape, serving up thrills, chills, exotic settings, danger, car chases, shootouts, romance…

Read More

Thoroughly Modern Antiquity

If you knew a dozen respected contemporary artists in Cairo, Alexandria and Luxor – arguably the three most important places for encountering Egypt’s antiquities – and you wanted to help them make a splash in the States, what would you do? If you were Moushera Maaraba, you might ask them to ditch their canvases and…

Read More

Wolf Trap’s Dynamic Duo

Going to an opera at The Barns in northern Virginia certainly is different. It’s different from seeing any opera, or even the same opera, in one of those glittering 19th century palaces that grace Paris, Milan and even Odessa on the Black Sea. And it’s different from seeing any opera, or even the same opera,…

Read More

Arena Stage’s ‘Jubilee’

Though he has staged plays, musicals and even operas around the world, Tazewell Thompson is especially embraced around his DC homebase as a consummate showman. He’s one of those gifted people who intuitively knows an audience’s wishes and grants them in abundance, making them glad they bought a ticket. Thompson’s latest “written and directed by”…

Read More

WNO’S Season Finale: Tosca

From the moment Puccini committed to turning Sardou’s now-forgotten stage potboiler into his next opera, he committed to being all about the drama. And from its first note to its last, the music tells us so. Strings stab, brass slices, drums thunder. There’s nary a quiet, and never a reflective, moment in the entire two-plus…

Read More

‘The Highwaymen’ on Netflix

Only at a time when Game of Thrones is barreling toward its final episode on HBO and Avengers: Endgame is closing out a 20-plus-film blockbuster franchise in theaters would anything starring Kevin Kostner and Woody Harrelson weigh in as a small art film. Yet no one watching The Highwaymen on Netflix can quite shake the…

Read More