Welcome to CapBiz A.M., your morning primer on business news with a focus on Washington.

Much ado, finally: The Shakespeare Theatre Co. has locked up a deal six months in the making to acquire the former campus of Southeastern University, with plans to transform it into an actors’ housing and rehearsal campus for performances in its downtown theater. (CAPBIZ)

Holding back: Washington law firms outperformed their counterparts around the country by several measures including revenue, demand and productivity last quarter, according to a new report. So why are they still being so cautious? (CAPBIZ)

Senior executive: District-based AARP has named Jo Ann Jenkins as its next chief executive, elevating one of its insiders to the top job. In her new role, Jenkins says she hopes to help seniors navigate career issues in today’s uncertain economic recovery. (CAPBIZ)

Not backing down: New SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet has announced plans to move forward on a new $2.5 million grant program for business accelerators and incubators. And that’s sure to irk at least a few members of Congress. (OSB)

Slow shopping: Retail sales growth slowed to a near halt in April, with consumers shopping less online and cutting back on purchases of furniture and electronics. Some of that may be tied to a late holiday. Still, it appears shoppers are still fairly cautious about the economy. (AP)

Mood brighter on Main Street: Optimism among small business owners jumped to its highest level in more than six years last month, according to the National Federation of Independent Business. More of them are planning to create jobs in the next six months, too. (REU)

On Wall Street

Stocks edged up again on Tuesday, with the Dow and S&P closing ever so slightly higher – but that was enough for each close at their second record high in as many days. (Get the latest updates here)

What’s on tap today

MBA purchase applications (7:00 a.m.)

NAHB Housing market index (10:00 a.m.)

Alexandria SBDC forum on influence and leadership (9:30 a.m.)

Challenge Cup health care semifinals at 1776 (4:00 p.m.)

MIT Enterprise Forum in Chevy Chase (6:30 p.m.)

Help: How to work effectively while traveling abroad (ENT)

Follow: Jo Ann Jenkins, the next CEO of AARP

Extra: Why a foreclosure in the neighborhood may be bad for your health. (WP)