Editors' pick

Olney Theatre Center

7/15 - 8/3

The Tempest

Shakespeare's magical romantic drama is staged outdoors.
8/16 - 8/17
8/27 - 8/31

As You Like It

Shakespeare's romance is staged by the National Players.
9/3 - 9/28
9/24 - 10/19
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Editorial Review

Olney Theatre Center

By Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, Sept. 11, 2009

The town of Olney isn't quite as rural as it was when the 14-acre complex was established 71 years ago, but the theater still has the most relaxed, bucolic energy of any local stage. With four performance spaces of varying sizes (one outdoor stage, a barnlike historic hall, a state-of-the-art contemporary house and a small black box), the theater doesn't have a single niche. This variety allows artistic director Jim Petosa to ask himself, with every production, "Do I want to play this on a pipe organ, or do I want to play this on a flute?"

Where to eat? Just across the street from the theater, the venerable Olney Ale House (301-774-6708; http://www.olneyalehouse.com) is an area tradition. A short drive away, you'll find great Belgian food at Mannequin Pis (301-570-4800; http://www.mannequinpis.com) and medium-priced Italian at Ricciuti's (301-570-3388; http://www.ricciutis.com).

Concession-stand fare: Limited: sweet and savory snacks; nonalcoholic drinks.

Tickets: $26 to $49.

Getting there: Olney is best accessed by car and has free on-site parking.

Season spotlight: Coming on the heels of the bicentennial of Darwin's birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his "On the Origin of Species," the area premiere of "Trumpery" (June 9-July 4) recounts the naturalist's struggle with a rival scientist and his own doubts.