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June 2011 Artfully Speaking

Touch it. Experience it. Own it.

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Stephen Sondheim’s glorious Broadway musical, “Follies,” has a brand new, star-filled production at the Kennedy Center in D.C. this month ... and we’re going!


This June we are meeting friends from Kansas City for a whirlwind four-day weekend in D.C. Our trip is planned around a performance of “Follies” in the Eisenhower Theatre at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. We’re huge Sondheim fans and when it was announced that Bernadette Peters would star in a full-scale revival of this show, we booked the flights, hotel and tickets as fast as we could.

“Follies” is a concept musical centered around a reunion of performers celebrating the end of an era as the theatre where they worked 40 years earlier is being demolished. Reminiscent of the Ziegfeld Follies, the various characters relive the past and reveal how their lives and relationships have progressed and changed since then. The score is a treasure trove of Sondheim gems: “Losing My Mind,” “In Buddy’s Eyes,” “I’m Still Here” and “Broadway Baby” are just a few.

The Kennedy Center production not only showcases Peters, but also British musical theatre legend Elaine Paige and American Tony Award-winning actress Linda Lavin. It also features a full 28-piece orchestra and elaborate costuming and staging. This bucks the current trend of economizing on musicians, sets and costumes in other musical productions and will certainly be a night to remember. It is rumored that this production may move on to New York following this run.

Washington D.C. itself is a show worth taking in. We are looking forward to doing as much as possible. Aside from all the memorials and monuments, most museums are free and open to the public. On previous visits, we have especially enjoyed the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian and the National Air and Space Museum. One very sobering, meaningful attraction not to miss is the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Being show people, a visit to Ford’s Theatre seems to be in order and we want to take the tour of the National Cathedral. I was there several years ago when the son of one of the original famous sculptors was working on restoring some of the elaborate stonework. He gave me a personal guided tour and an up close and personal view of the many fanciful gargoyles high atop the gothic structure.

D.C. also serves up some great restaurants and there are two favorites I am looking forward to visiting again. Georgetown is a wonderful section of town and a favorite spot is 1789. Located in a restored Federal house and surrounded by antiques and period art, this is a great place for a leisurely lunch or dinner. We Nebraskans know good meat, but The Prime Rib on K Street classes it up with black and gold lacquered panels, leopard print carpet and jazz. It’s the place for a romantic dinner and you may see well-known power brokers at the next table.

We’re getting geared up for the trip and think it’s truly “a capital idea!”

-end- metroMAGAZINE




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