The Summer in the Parks programs for 1983 include another go-round for the Carter Barron Amphitheatre, the continuation of the successful Fort Dupont Jazz series and the renewal of Monday night big-band concerts at the Sylvan Theatre on the grounds of the Washington Monument. The Fort Dupont and Sylvan Theatre series are free.
The 4,200-seat Carter Barron, once the major summer concert venue in Washington and now beginning its 33rd year under the ownership of the National Park Service, will continue its mix of family and youth entertainment with a series of weekend concerts. The opening weekend will feature pop-soul star Phyllis Hyman on June 18 and the hot salsa/Latino bands of Celia Cruz and Tito Puente on June 19. Other major headliners include saxophonist Davis Sanborn, singers Melba Moore and Nancy Wilson and jazzmen Paul Winter and Donald Byrd. The D.C. Youth Orchestra will once again have a Friday night series with special guest performers, but there will be no dance events scheduled for the facility.
This year all Carter Barron tickets will cost $2 each, and are described alternately as covers and service fees. Tickets will be available at the box office on a weekly basis, beginning Monday of each week; the Park Service is hoping that this system will keep tickets from being snapped up by a small group.
Carter Barron has had an up-and-down history. During the '50s it was a variety showcase; in the '60s it was the spot for family-oriented black entertainment; in the '70s, a number of outside promoters tried various rock, pop and soul programming with mixed results, but the larger Merriweather Post Pavilion and Wolf Trap proved too competitive.
The Fort Dupont Summer Theatre, which opened in 1974 and has always presented its concerts without charge, had been facing funding problems in recent years. This year, as last, the concert series is being underwritten by the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. The big-band concerts on the Washington Monument grounds have been made possible by a joint subsidy from American Express and the American Cafe'. Al Dale, regional program director for the National Park Service, said this year's underwriting campaign has been extremely successful.
The schedules, with some dates still to be filled in:
Carter Barron--June: Phyllis Hyman, LaVerne Reed Dancers and Phillip Manuel (18); Celia Cruz and Tito Puente (19); David Sanborn (25); a reggae festival with the Gladiators (their first American tour), Denroy Morgan and the Mighty Invaders (26).
July: The System, Kurtis Blow, the Dynettes (9); Flora Purim, Airto and the Paula Hatcher Quintet (10); Paul Winter, Alex DiGrassi and Liz Story (16, 17); Astrud Gilberto (23); Donald Byrd Quintet and Lenny White Quintet (24); Taj Mahal, Sweet Honey in the Rock and Charlie Fair (30, 31).
August: Melba Moore (6); Nancy Wilson (12). Several more major acts have been signed to fill out the summer series, but won't be announced until funding is committed.
The D.C. Youth Orchestra series at Carter Barron begins July 8 with pianist Ruth Laredo and continues with violinist David Nadine (July 15), a pops concert (July 29) and baritone Ben Hecht (Aug. 5).
At Fort Dupont: In June--Les McCann Quintet, Phil Upchurch, Gene Harris Trio-Jam (24, 25); in July--Phoebe Snow, Young Bucks (8,9); Pieces of a Dream, La Verne Reed Dancers (16, 17); Stanley Turrentine, Mary Blankemeier (22, 23); Jon Lucien, Larraine Rudolph (29, 30); in August--Jean Carn and the Persuasions (5, 6); Lonnie Liston Smith, George Howard, Harold Howland Ensemble (12, 13); Roy Ayers and the Jim Allen Trio featuring Brenda Jones (19, 20); a 17-piece orchestra with Jimmy Witherspoon (27); Witherspoon, Joe Williams and Shirley Horn (28).
The Sylvan Theatre concerts kick off next Monday with the Fred Irby Big Band.