KENNETH MACMILLAN'S "ROMEO AND JULIET" is a grand, frothy production, nearly operatic in scale, running three hours and requiring four tractor-trailers' worth of sets and costumes. With the Kennedy Center Opera House under renovation, American Ballet Theatre will be performing the work in the Concert Hall. Yes, the Concert Hall, virtually virgin territory for ballet. To accommodate what has been dubbed a concert version of the production, the first several rows of seats will be removed so the stage can be extended. Only one-fourth of the scenery will be used, and the soaring organ pipes and wood paneling surrounding the stage will be in full view. The dancers will get an extra workout jogging from their dressing rooms behind the Opera House down to the Concert Hall, and some will be pressed into service dragging the bodies of their colleagues off the stage after the sword fights. (There will be no house curtain.) With the orchestra performing onstage just behind the dancers, rather than in a pit, ABT production manager David Lansky vows, "It'll sound better than it's ever sounded in our lives." And the dancing? With the cast needing to be extra mindful of the slightly smaller stage dimensions and restaged exits and entrances, "it'll have fresh blood in it," he says.
-- Sarah Kaufman
At the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Tuesday through Friday at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. $27-75. Call 202-467-4600 or visit www.kennedy-center.org
DURING ITS BRIEF CREATIVE LIFE -- three years, starting in 1980 -- Mission of Burma made punk rock with grad-student smarts that never skimped on passion. With tricky rhythms, serrated guitar tones and a bass player whose instrument grumbled like an angry bouncer, the quartet put on live shows that were legendary in Boston, where they were based. (One reason: The group's fourth member worked offstage, looping live sounds back into the mix.) MoB had a national profile, too, on the strength of little more than a couple dozen songs. A few years back, Moby had a smallish hit with "That's When I Reach for My Revolver," from the group's amazing EP "Signals, Calls and Marches." The group reunited in 2001 for the first time in eight years, and it's been touring here and there since, to crowds much larger than any the band pulled in its youth. Maybe it was ahead of its time and the rest of the world is just now catching up.
-- David Segal
At the 9:30 club, 815 V St. NW. Friday at 11:30 p.m. $20. Call 202-265-0930 or visit www.930.com.
SUDDENLY EVERYTHING'S RUSSIAN -- with the upcoming return of Mstislav Rostropovich to the National Symphony Orchestra, Yuri Temirkanov in residence with the Baltimore Symphony and the impending arrival of the Kirov Orchestra next month. Don't overlook the Baltimore Opera's production of Dmitri Shostakovich's "Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk," which comes to the Lyric Opera House on Saturday night for four performances. After its 1934 premiere, "Lady Macbeth" was condemned by no less imperious a music critic than Joseph Stalin, who called it "muddle instead of music" and almost had Shostakovich arrested. Karen Huffstodt stars as Katerina; Christian Badea will conduct.
-- Tim Page
At the Lyric Opera House, 140 W. Mount Royal Ave., Baltimore. Saturday at 8:15 p.m., Feb. 26 at 7:30, Feb. 28 at 8:15 and March 2 at 3 p.m. $37-132. Call 410-727-6000 or visit www.baltimoreopera.com.