‘The Greatest’ Song

Float like a butterfly. Sting like a bee. Sing like a bird? Well, a very deep-voiced bird. In the new opera “Approaching Ali,” boxing legend Muhammad Ali appears as an aging basso, played by Soloman Howard, a product of the Washington National Opera’s Young Artist Program. The opera was commissioned by the American Opera Initiative, […]

On the Spot: Richard Nelson

In the 1920s, the first couple of the American stage — Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne — starred in the hit play “The Guardsman,” a light comedy by Ferenc Molnar, translated from Hungarian, about a husband who tries to lure his wife into infidelity. That version got it wrong, according to playwright Richard Nelson, whose […]

Clever [Expletive] Words

The new play at Woolly Mammoth, “Stupid [Expletive] Bird,” won’t start until you tell it to. An actor reveals a card instructing the audience to say “start the [expletive] play.” The cast then waits until someone gives them the go-ahead. This lets you know right away that Aaron Posner’s new adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s “The […]

On the Spot: Ralph Nader

The Green Party’s champion always has some new cause. Right now, he also has a new book, “Told You So,” a collection of his weekly columns from between 1972 and 2012. What else is he up to? Recruiting billionaires to save the country. We asked him why. Do you ever think about running for president […]

Accidental Kids’ Show

Don’t be embarrassed if you’re a lot older than most of the audience of “The Intergalactic Nemesis.” Even though it’s labeled “for young audiences,” the show was written for your inner 12-year-old, not for actual 12-year-olds. The multimedia theater piece, playing at the Kennedy Center this weekend, started as a pseudo-radio play at a coffeehouse […]

Get Your Preak On

The Preakness Stakes, now in its 138th year, is a horse race run by thoroughbreds and held at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. If horses don’t fire your starting pistol, so to speak, there are other reasons to make the trip. The Race: The Preakness is the second of the three races that make […]

Bike for Your Right to Party

Hundreds of people dressed as robots gathered in the rain in Dupont Circle last week for a bike ride. They were not afraid of rust. They fearlessly took over the streets for the latest D.C. Bike Party (Dcbikeparty.com), a freewheeling bash accompanied by pedicab-bound DJs that happens the second Wednesday of every month. The event […]

‘Candide,’ Indeed

Telling a story in verse is difficult, especially when the story’s as funny, rambling and conceptually complex as Voltaire’s “Candide,” the French satirical novel published in 1759. Playwright T.J. Edwards has put together a verse adaptation of the play, about a young optimist named Candide who believes everything is for the best until numerous hardships […]

Undercover Grubber

Restaurant regulars and industry insiders know that menus don’t always tell the whole story. Additional offerings lurk beyond every bill of fare; you just need to know how to ask for them. Knowledge of off-menu items — retired favorites, test recipes that never got off the ground, winks to frequent diners — can make you […]

It’s Just So Complicated

Actors don’t have to like their characters, but they do have to understand them. When it came to his role as a self-centered adulterer in “The Last Five Years,” now at Signature Theatre, it took James Gardiner years to succeed. “It’s very interesting to examine this piece as a married guy,” says Gardiner, who plays […]