Best Of This Week

January 06, 2008

THEATER

LIGHT UP THE SKY -- 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. Through Feb. 10. Vagabond Players, 806 S. Broadway. $15. 410-563-9135.

Moss Hart famously quipped, "Theater is not so much a profession as a disease." In his classic 1948 comedy Light Up the Sky, he skewers the men and women who have been afflicted with a particularly virulent strain of the infection.

The story is set in a Boston hotel room during the out-of-town tryout of a Broadway-bound drama by an unknown playwright. When the actors misread the reaction of the opening night audience, they fear the play will be a flop and turn savagely upon one another.

Light Up the Sky is one bug that everyone will want to catch.

[MARY CAROLE MCCAULEY]

TELEVISION

CASHMERE MAFIA -- 10 p.m. tonight. WMAR-TV (Channel 2)

Network television attempts to repeat the estrogen-fueled success of HBO's Sex and the City with tonight's debut of Cashmere Mafia. The ABC dramedy hews closely to Sex and the City's hallmarks: four powerful women (Lucy Liu, Miranda Otto, Bonnie Somerville and Frances O'Connor) and, of course, Manhattan. The twist is that instead of chasing after New York's business titans, they are the industry elite. Tonight, hotel magnate Juliet (Otto) is shocked to discover that her husband has a mistress. Meanwhile, Mia (Lucy Liu) and her fiance are pitted against each other for the same job, putting their engagement to the test.

[TIM SWIFT]

FILM

WUTHERING HEIGHTS -- 11:15 p.m. Thursday. TCM

The movie that won best picture from the New York Film Critics Circle in that fabled year, 1939, wasn't Gone With the Wind or The Wizard of Oz. It was William Wyler's film of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights, also No. 73 on the American Film Institute's Top 100 movies list. It tugs the audience immediately into a romantic, haunted vision of the Yorkshire moors. Its melancholy pull isn't a matter of special effects; until the end the ghosts remain off-screen. The picture's greatness arises from its aching beauty and the astounding piece of acting at its core: Laurence Olivier's performance as Heathcliff, the stableboy locked in destructive thrall with a country squire's daughter, the capricious, moody Cathy (Merle Oberon).

[MICHAEL SRAGOW]

WASHINGTON

WASHINGTON ANTIQUES SHOW -- 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. The Omni Shoreham Hotel, 2500 Calvert St. in Northwest Washington. $15-$25. 301-351-6619 or washingtonantiques.org.

Featuring period furnishings and decorative arts, vintage jewelry, porcelains, ceramics, silver and architectural garden accents, the Washington Antiques Show is one of the country's most established antiques events. This year's show boasts many rare items including George Washington's watering can and a pair of 19th-century garden urns.

This year's theme - "Inspirations from the Garden" - will bring together many exquisite garden motifs in honor of the memory of the late Lady Bird Johnson. Proceeds from the show benefit needy Washington families.

[TANIKA WHITE]

ART

DOUBLE TAKE -- Noon --5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. The Contemporary Museum, 100 W. Centre St. Donations of $3-$5 are suggested. 410-783-5720 or www.contemporary.org.

Through clever visual slights-of-hand and double entendres, artists Alexandra A. Grant, Bernhard Hildebrandt and Mary Temple create lyrical images and installations from everyday life that challenge viewers' powers of perception and evoke the poetic qualities of light and shadow.

[GLENN MCNATT]

CLASSICAL

BRAZILIAN GUITAR QUARTET -- 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Wilde Lake Interfaith Center, 10431 Twin Rivers Road, Columbia. $12-$29. 443-367-3123 or candlelightconcerts.org.

Four classical guitars can be better than one, at least if they're played with the kind of sensitivity and virtuosity that has generated considerable praise for the Brazilian Guitar Quartet. The members of the ensemble - Everton Gloeden, Tadeu Do Amaral, Luiz Mantovani and Clemer Andreotti - are award-winning , much-traveled soloists and teachers. In an appearance next weekend for Candlelight Concerts in Columbia, they'll celebrate the richness of Brazilian guitar music. A transcription of the overture from Bach's Orchestral Suite No. 4 will also be on the program.

[TIM SMITH]

POP MUSIC

WU-TANG CLAN -- 9 p.m. Wednesday. Rams Head Live, 20 Market Place. $49.50-$85. 410-244-1131 or ramsheadlive.com.

Since breaking into the hip-hop scene in 1993, the Wu-Tang Clan has sustained one of the most high-profile careers in the genre. The Staten Island, N.Y.-based collective, featuring nine rappers, has also spawned some of rap's most charismatic MCs, including Method Man and Ghostface Killah. As a group, though, Wu-Tang has crafted the most complex and inventive music in hip-hop. Although bitter creative differences among group members fueled some controversy before the release of 8 Diagrams, Wu-Tang's latest album, the CD ranks among the group's most compelling and challenging work.

[RASHOD D. OLLISON]

FAMILY

ARTHUR LIVE! -- 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday. Hippodrome Theatre of the France-Merrick Performing Arts Center, 12 N. Eutaw St. $20-$35. 410-752-7444or ticketmaster.com.

This musical adventure is based on Marc Brown's books and the award-winning PBS cartoon series. With his sister DW and buddies Buster and Brain, Arthur, a lovable aardvark, meets a wise and wacky tooth fairy and discovers the importance of teamwork and the joys of just being a kid. The interactive show features a pop-up storybook set and original songs.

[LIZ ATWOOD]

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