Theatre begins another impressive season

Members of the Cambridge American Stage Tour (CAST) rehearse. They perform The Tempest Sept. 11-12 at the Theatre.

From staff and contributed reports
The Theatre at Washington mailed out schedules last week for another season of worthwhile concerts and other performances at the intimate theater on Gay Street.

The schedule includes two “Smithsonian at Little Washington” chamber performances and return engagements by a number of performers, including Flint Hill-based jazz pianist Bill Harris, Celtic favorites Linn Barnes and Alison Hampton and the return — for the season’s opening weekend Sept. 11-12 — of the Cambridge American Stage Tour (CAST), who’ll be performing Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.”

Among the acts new to town are Pluck, which bills itself as “the world’s funniest string trio,” scheduled to bring its novel blend of comedy, classics and . . . well, intramural argument — from its U.K. headquarters to Gay Street on Nov. 14.

Also back at the Theatre, after an absence of a few years, is the Oct. 9 program of Russian folk music by the Washington Balalaika Society Orchestra.

The schedule for the season:

Saturday, Sept. 11 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 12 at 3 p.m.

“The Tempest” by William Shakespeare

The students from Cambridge University who bring this production of “The Tempest” to the Theatre describe the play as “romantic and tragic, eerie and magical; it deals with loss and betrayal; murderous hatred is followed by abundant comedy.” The play is believed to be the Bard’s farewell to the stage. Cambridge American Stage Tour (CAST) was formed in 2000 and each September its members have toured throughout the United States before returning to college for the new university term. Wishing CAST well on this 10th anniversary tour, the famous British actor Stephen Fry spoke of the student actors’ “freshness and dynamism” and noted that “Cambridge student theatre . . . has always been one of the glories of the University and its life.” Tickets $20 adults, $10 ages 17 and younger.

Kenneth Slowik, viola da gamba and harpsichord, performs Sept. 25 with Jacques Ogg.

Saturday, Sept. 25 at 8 p.m.
Smithsonian at Little Washington: Brilliance of the Baroque: Johann Sebastian Bach
The 19th season in the Smithsonian at Little Washington concert series opens with a performance of music by Johann Sebastian Bach: three sonatas for harpsichord and viola da gamba, BWV 1027, 1028 and 1029, and the original version of the Concerto in C Major, BWV 1061 for two solo harpsichords. Jacques Ogg, harpsichord, and Kenneth Slowik, viola da gamba and harpsichord. Tickets $20 adults, $10 ages 17 and younger.

Saturday, Oct. 2 at 8 p.m.
Excerpts from Verdi’s “La Traviata” and lighter music from operetta and Broadway.
The lovely soprano, Jacqueline Neimat, joined by tenor Antonio Giuliano, baritone Bryan Jackson and pianist George Peachey returns for her annual concert at the Theatre. Tickets $20 adults, $10 ages 17 and younger.

Saturday, Oct. 9 at 8 p.m.
Folk Music of Russia and Its Neighbors — Washington Balalaika Society Orchestra
Performing on traditional folk instruments such as the balalaika, dombra and bayan, the Orchestra has delighted audiences from Carnegie Hall to the Kennedy Center and has grown to be the largest Russian folk orchestra in America. Led by conductor Svetlana Nikonova, 30 members of the Orchestra will perform an evocative evening of folk music from Russia and its Eastern European neighbors. Tickets $20 adults, $10 ages 17 and younger.

Saturday, Oct. 30 at 8 p.m.
A Celtic Harvest: Linn Barnes and Allison Hampton
Each fall, the well-known duo brings to the Theatre a special interpretation of Celtic music. With Irish harp, guitar, lute and pipes, they play lively jigs and other festive music from the Celtic lands. Tickets $20 adults, $10 ages 17 and younger.

Pluck performs Musical Arson! Nov. 14.

Sunday, Nov. 14 at 3 p.m.
“Musical Arson!” as performed by Pluck
Three hilarious musicians compete, ridicule, argue and seduce their way from Bach to the Beatles. Since winning an important award at the 2003 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, these crazy characters have astonished audiences in the U.K., Europe, Australia and Asia with their unique combination of comedy and superb musicianship. Now, it’s Rappahannock’s turn to enjoy Pluck’s melodic buffoonery as they wreak havoc between harmonies. They’ve earned reviews such as “Gloriously funny,” The Scotsman; “Classical music for all shoe sizes,” Sunday Times; “a mix of sweet music and complete mayhem.” Time Out. Pluck’s Trio is Flora Allison, cello/voice; Kit Massey, violin; and Jon Regan, viola. All were trained as classical musicians in England, and, although they met in conventional music circles, they share an unusual desire to do more than just play the instruments that they’ve spent so long learning — something they have undoubtedly achieved with pluck! Tickets $20 adults, $10 ages 17 and younger.

Jazz pianist Bill Harris

Saturday, Nov. 20 at 8 p.m.
Jazz pianist Bill Harris in Concert: Music of Ellington, Strayhorn, Monk & More
Rappahannock’s own Bill Harris will discuss the influence of jazz pianists Ellington, Strayhorn, Monk and others, and play some of their compositions. Tickets $20 adults, $10 ages 17 and younger.

Saturday, Dec. 4 at 8 p.m.
Smithsonian at Little Washington: piano trios by Brahms and Arnold Schoenberg as transcribed by Eduard Steuermann
Two great late 19th-century works performed by a trio from the Smithsonian Chamber Players: Trio in C Major, Op. 87 (1882) by Johannes Brahms; piano trio transcription of Arnold Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht (Transfigured Night) (1899) by Eduard Steuermann. Vera Beths, violin, Kenneth Slowik, cello, Pedja Muzijevic, piano. Tickets $20 adults, $10 ages 17 and younger.

Sunday, Dec. 5 at 2 p.m.
Christmas in Little Washington
For details and further information, please check the Web site at visitrappahannockva.com.

Friday, Dec. 10 at 8 p.m.
Christmas with the Blue Ridge Chorale
A program presented by the Chorale. Tickets available at the door. For further information contact the Chorale at 540-675-3502, or check the Web site at brcsings.com.

Friday, Sept. 3, Oct. 1 and Nov. 5 at 8 p.m.
First Friday Film Nights
Rappahannock Association for Arts and the Community (RAAC) presents films on the first Friday of the month in September, October and November. For information, visit www.raac.org.

Schedule is subject to change. Reserved seating. Reservations are strongly recommended. Tickets are transferable but may not be returned for credit. Call the theater for more information at 540-675- 1253 or e-mail TheatreVA@aol.com; or visit the Web site at Theatre-Washington-VA.com.

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