The Washington Post Critics choose their favorite shows of the week.
With the melting-hot summer days commanding the outdoors, the cool inside of a museum is the best way to chill out. Lots of worthwhile art can be seen around town, including: "Arnold Newman Photographs Artists" at the Hirshhorn, a skillful compilation of the legendary art photographer's work; "After Matisse" at the Phillips, an exploration of the influence on modern artists by the master of color and shapes; and the accomplished sprinkling of sculpture now in the huge spaces of the National Gallery, "A Century of Modern Sculpture: The Patsy and Raymond Nasher Collection."
The Summer Opera Theatre's new production of "Die Fledermaus," featuring Metropolitan Opera soprano Myra Merritt, will have its first performance tomorrow night at the Hartke Theatre on the Catholic University campus.
Music of Mozart, Viotti and Beethoven will be performed by the Orchestra of Original Instruments tonight in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, with Christopher Hogwood conducting and fortepianist Steven Lubin and violinist Stanley Richie as soloists.
Pianist-comedian Victor Borge will perform in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall Thursday and Friday nights.
The premiere of "Incidental Music for Percussion and Mime/Dancer" by Lawrence Moss will be given tomorrow night at Strathmore Hall.
Also worth noting: Canadian Brass, Wednesday night in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall; trumpeter Edward Carroll and organist William Neil, Tuesday night at the Washington Cathedral; the Fairfax Symphony with Marvin Hamlisch, Tuesday night at Wolf Trap; the D.C. Youth Orchestra, Friday night at Calvin Coolidge High School; the Prevailing Winds Woodwind Quintet, Wednesday night in the Smithsonian's Brubeck Courtyard; the Women's Ensemble of George Mason University, tonight at George Mason University.
Sorry to rub it in (the attraction is a solid sellout, but some people who can't use their tickets have put them up for sale), but literally and figuratively, the one and only dance attraction in town this week is the Bolshoi Ballet, completing its two-week run at the Kennedy Center Opera House with a final performance today of "The Golden Age," followed Tuesday and Wednesday by a "highlights" program, and ending Thursday through Saturday with the full-length "Raymonda."
"La Bamba," introducing dynamic Lou Diamond Phillips, chronicles the meteoric success story of 17-year-old rock 'n' roller Ritchie Valens, whose hits "Come on Let's Go," the teen lament "Donna" and the Spanish-language classic "La Bamba" put the newcomer at the top of the charts in only eight months in 1958. The teen-age Cinderella story ended tragically when Valens died in the plane crash with Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper. Los Lobos re-creates the Chicano musician's sound, with Luis Valdez writing and directing the biography with a John Hughes flair for portraying sweet adolescence.
Mark Harmon is at the head of the class in "Summer School," a rowdy tale of remedial English students set in Southern California. It's "Welcome Back, Kotter" on a surfboard. Harmon shows surprising comic sense in this genial romp aimed at the Clearasil crowd. Carl Reiner directs and Jeff Franklin writes the script for this screwball caper, full of hidden, good-for-you morals. A good weekend for young adult cinema.
It's like a '60s Newport Folk Festival stretched out over eight days at Wolf Trap: Sunday brings Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie; Thursday it's Peter, Paul and Mary; Saturday, Judy Collins; and next Monday, Joan Baez.
Fans of reggae with R&B edges will want to catch Third World, at Constitution Hall tonight with the irrepressible Yellowman.
From Scotland, the Oyster Band; from Washington, New St. George: both bands (at the Birchmere on Tuesday) feature eclectic and partly electric takes on folk traditions from England, Scotland and Ireland.
Good rock bands abound: from the frenetic exhortations of the Replacements (at the Bayou Wednesday) to the studied eclecticism and pop gems of Squeeze (at the Post Pavilion Saturday). Some roots figures are here as well: Jerry Lee Lewis and Fats Domino, who will tickle their ivories at the Patriot Center on Friday.
If the Neville Brothers were a jazz band, they'd probably sound like the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, up from New Orleans to Fort Dupont's Summer Theatre Friday and Saturday.
If you haven't seen it yet, Studio Theatre is extending "As Is," its exploration of AIDS, for two weeks with four new cast members. New Playwrights Theatre's charming "A Sondheim Evening" is likewise extended, and Source Theatre's Seventh Annual Washington Theatre Festival has some unusual offerings, among them two nights of 10-minute plays tonight and tomorrow.