The Arts

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”…

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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…

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‘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…

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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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