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Stage: theater, music, dance

December 18, 2003

Last call for music of the holidays

Only eight more listening days till Christmas. Listening to music of the season, that is. You know how fast it will fade from earshot as soon as the actual holiday is over, so get out there and enjoy concerts while you still can.

The Concert Artists of Baltimore, led by Edward Polochick and featuring cantor Avi Albrecht, presents a holiday event to benefit Gallagher Services, a Catholic Charities program that aids Baltimore-area residents with developmental disabilities.

The concert is at 7:30 tonight at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St. Tickets are $15 to $60. Call 410-252-4005, Ext. 115.

Polochick will be back in the same hall the next two nights to lead the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's annual, justly popular presentation of Handel's Messiah. The Concert Artists of Baltimore Symphonic Chorale and guest soloists will be featured. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday. Tickets are $22 to $38. Call 410-783-8000.

- Tim Smith

Gospel 'Crowns'

Three years ago, Washington-based photographer Michael Cunningham and writer Craig Marberry published a book called Crowns: Portraits of Black Women in Church Hats.

Last season, playwright/actress Regina Taylor's stage adaptation, titled simply Crowns, debuted at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, N.J., before transferring off-Broadway.

Now this small-scale gospel musical, which examines black women's lives through their relationships with their hats, is making its premiere at Washington's Arena Stage, where it opens tonight. Taylor directs a cast of six women and one man, who are accompanied by two on-stage musicians. (Taylor is also the author of Drowning Crow, a modern retelling of Chekhov's The Seagull, which received a staged reading at Center Stage last season and will be produced on Broadway next month.)

In conjunction with Arena's production, the Smithsonian's Anacostia Museum & Center for African American History and Culture, 1901 Fort Place S.E., Washington, is presenting an exhibit of 30 of the photographs and five of the hats that inspired the play. The exhibit continues through Feb. 29. For more information, call 202-287-3306.

Show times at Arena Stage, 1101 Sixth St. S.W., Washington, are 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesday and Sundays; 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays; matinees at 2 p.m. Saturdays and most Sundays, noon selected Tuesdays and Wednesdays, through Feb. 15. Tickets are $42-$60. For more information call 202-488-3300.

- J. Wynn Rousuck

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