Backstage

Not Such a Quantum Leap

Scott Bakula will perform show tunes at Sidney Harman Hall on Friday to benefit Ford's Theatre.
Scott Bakula will perform show tunes at Sidney Harman Hall on Friday to benefit Ford's Theatre. (Courtesy Of Ford's Theatre)
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By Jane Horwitz
Special to The Washington Post
Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Fans of Scott Bakula's star turn in the 1989-1993 TV series "Quantum Leap" or his more recent four-year stint as Capt. Jonathan Archer on "Star Trek: Enterprise" already know he can sing. At Sidney Harman Hall on Friday, they'll be able to hear him perform an evening of show tunes, in a benefit for the Ford's Theatre renovation.

"I never set out to be on TV or in a movie. Theater's my first love," says Bakula, and he hopes to do more of it now that his kids are older.

Before his "Quantum Leap" days, he was nominated for a Tony Award as the male lead in "Romance/Romance." Recently in Los Angeles, he starred in the play "Quality of Life" and in a revival of Richard Rodgers's "No Strings."

Bakula says he's tried to squeeze singing into his television work whenever possible. He just shot an episode of "Boston Legal" in which he plays the piano and croons "Once Upon a Time" to Candice Bergen. Tunes from "Man of La Mancha" figured in a "Quantum Leap" episode when his character, Dr. Sam Beckett, mind-and-body-melded with an understudy to go on as Don Quixote. He'll sing some "La Mancha" songs at the Ford's benefit.

"A lot of the 'Quantum Leap' fans who will be there on Friday night will enjoy that," says the actor. The Duke Ellington School of the Arts Female Ensemble will harmonize as Bakula's chorus on some numbers. (Visit http://www.fords.org, then click on "Performances.")

Bakula has a soft spot for Ford's. He marked his return from intergalactic travel in 2006 to star in a well-reviewed revival there of the Civil War musical "Shenandoah."

The first half of Friday's performance, shaped with director Dennis Deal, will trace Bakula's "own personal journey through the musical world," including his debut at age 13 as Amahl in "Amahl and the Night Visitors." The second half will be "more of a sit back, relax and here come some standards, here comes some Rodgers & Hart . . . here comes some jazz, here comes some me at the piano," Bakula says.

"I think it's going to be fun. I'm scared to death of the whole night."

Fresh Ink

The Inkwell, a fledgling organization dedicated to nurturing and producing new plays, is in the midst of a mini-festival at H Street Playhouse through Jan. 28. (Go to http://www.inkwelltheatre.org for the schedule.)

Born last September, when it presented pieces at the Kennedy Center's Page to Stage festival, the Inkwell is a descendant of the Hatchery, a new-play incubator that presented works in 2005 and 2006. Jessica Burgess, a carryover from the Hatchery, is artistic director.

For "suggested donations" of $10 or so, the public can attend open rehearsals and bare-bones "Inkubator" productions of two plays -- Anne McCaw's "OK," about the women behind the men who fought the gunfight at the OK Corral, and "Underground" by James McManus, about a West Virginia mining accident. A third new work, "The F Word" -- as in fat -- by Melissa Blackall, will have a staged reading.

Burgess, who directs around town and was in charge of finding new works for Catalyst Theater, will stage "OK" and was deeply involved in choosing all three plays, which are "about what it means to be American here, now."


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