The Big Three

October 11, 2007

THEATER

SHOW IS CUT ABOVE

Catch a performance of the Tony Award-winning musical Hairspray when it returns to Baltimore on Tuesday. Set in 1962 Baltimore, the play follows Tracy Turnblad, the big-haired, big-hearted and self-described "pleasantly plump" high schooler, as she pursues her one and only passion -- to dance.

After winning a spot on the local TV dance program, The Corny Collins Show, Tracy is transformed from an unpopular outsider into a teen celebrity. But with her newfound stardom, Tracy is introduced to the civil injustices present in Baltimore's education system and TV station. Based on the film written and directed by Baltimore's John Waters, the play explores the issues of racial segregation, body image and societal change in the 1960s.

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"Hairspray" will play at the Hippodrome Theatre at the France-Merrick Performing Arts Center, 12 N. Eutaw St., Tuesday to Oct. 21, with showtimes at 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays; 2 p.m. Saturdays; and 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $24-$69, plus a $2 restoration fee. For tickets, visit the Hippodrome Theatre Box Office, go to broadwayacrossamerica.com or call 410-547-7328.

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[BRAD SCHLEICHER]

EXHIBITION

JAPANESE FRIENDS

Head to Port Discovery this weekend to advance your understanding and appreciation of Asian education, calligraphy, cooking, music and extracurricular activities inside an 1,800-square-foot exhibition. Guests will meet five Japanese children via video messaging, who will introduce each activity and highlight the similarities and differences between U.S. and Japanese culture, in an effort to replace misguided stereotypes about Japanese lifestyles.

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"The Five Friends From Japan" exhibition opens Saturday and runs through Feb. 3 at Port Discovery Children's Museum, 34 Market Place, during regular museum hours. The exhibit is free with the purchase of museum admission ($10.75, and free for those younger than 2). Information: go to portdiscovery.org or call 410-727-8120.

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[BRAD SCHLEICHER]

MUSIC

EXPLORE ASIA

Tan Dun, the Chinese-born composer who won an Academy Award and a Grammy Award for his film score to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, will be the guide for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's first Explorer Series program of the season, a program inspired by different regions and aspects of Asia.

He will conduct two Russian works, Borodin's popular Polovtsian Dances (from an opera about a nomadic Asian tribe) and Shostakovich's Overture on Russian and Kirghiz Folk Themes. Tan Dun's The Map, a 2003 concerto for cello, video and orchestra, will take the audience deep into the world of the Hunan province, where he was born.

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Program is at 8 tonight at the Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Tickets are $21-$84. Additional performances are at 8 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday, and 3 p.m. Sunday at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St. Tickets are $25-$57. Call 410-783-8000 or go to bsomusic.org.

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[TIM SMITH]

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