Monday, November 8, 2010

When You Have Some Extra Time in Washington . . .

The next time you have a business trip to Washington, take some extra time to look around. The city is popping with great new attractions you should check out.

Start with the new Arena theater complex – or technically now the Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater. The Arena has been a landmark for Washington theater for decades and was the second theater in the country, outside of New York, to win a Tony, in the mid-‘70s. Now it has literally repackaged itself – a glistening new contemporary building on the same site in Southwest Washington, a new mission to develop and showcase the best of American theater, even a new café run by José Andrés, one of DC’s – and the nation’s – top chefs. This long-awaited center opens this month with a highly praised new production of Oklahoma!, symbolizing the company’s commitment to American classics. The $135-million complex is worth a visit even if you don’t get to see a production. But try to.

Just across the river from Georgetown, in Rosslyn, is a new culture center called the ArtiSphere. It offers art galleries, a ballroom, venues for music and other performances and three theaters. The edgy Washington Shakespeare Company has moved there from its former home in Crystal City and is inaugurating its new space with two soaring new productions presented in repertory, Richard III and Frederic Schiller’s Mary Stuart. Here’s a rave review of the two shows. (I should disclose that I’m not totally objective about WSC, since I’m a long-time board member.)

The Artisphere is in the original home of the Newseum, the world’s only known museum dedicated to journalism – or as they say today, “the media.” A couple of years ago the Newseum moved to Pennsylvania Avenue, near the Capitol, and now it’s better than ever. The permanent exhibits of the history of journalism, with dramatic examples of the best print and electronic news coverage of the past century, are worth a half-day, anytime. And the Newseum always offers a wide range of temporary exhibitions, currently ranging from Sports Illustrated photography to media coverage of Elvis. Be sure to allow plenty of time; you’ll want to explore it all.

We try to keep up with all the goings-on in Washington, from new restaurants to special events at the theaters and museums. If you have any extra time in the city and want to explore, give us a ring. We’d love to give you some tips.

- Potomac Communications Group

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