TELEVISION'A Private Matter'It's docudrama, which means you...



'A Private Matter'

It's docudrama, which means you don't know what's true and what's invented. But it stars Sissy Spacek and Aidan Quinn, which means the acting is terrific. "A Private Matter," at 8 tonight on HBO, is set in 1962 and based on the life of the woman who played Miss Sherri on the "Romper Room" children's show. She took thalidomide while pregnant and then had to decide whether to have the child when she found out about the high risk of deformities her baby faced. Quinn and Spacek play the husband and wife whose private tragedy goes public. The ingenious gimmick behind the Tony Award-winning musical "City of Angels" is its split-screen-style presentation. In Hollywood in the 1940s, a novelist hammers out the screenplay for his best-selling detective story. As he struggles over his typewriter, the scenes he is writing are enacted across the stage. The touring company at Washington's National Theatre, 1321 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., is up to the level of its Broadway counterpart in almost every respect. Performances are today at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and tomorrow at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tickets are $30-$50. For more information, call (202) 628-6161.


J. Wynn Rousuck "Exploring Materials" at Grimaldis Gallery presents four sculptors' works of austerity and depth. Costas Varotsos' "Horizon" suggests the industrial age and romantic nature, plus psychological intensity. Ivy Parsons' "Bow Down" speaks of an elemental force that transcends history. Osami Tanaka's "Engaged Book I" carries religious reference, and Cristina Iglesias' "Untitled" has overtones of architecture and art history as well as religion. These works engage each other on a level of shared strength. Grimaldis Gallery, 1006 Morton St., is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays. Call (410) 539-1080.

John Dorsey "Batman Returns" is the must-see of the summer, not because it's good (it's not) or it's awful (it's not), but because everybody's going to be talking about it and nobody will talk to you if you haven't seen it, so you better see it or you will be really rTC unpopular. It generally chronicles the boy-girl thing between Batman (Michael Keaton) and Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer) and the Boy-It thing between Batman and Penguin (Danny DeVito). Rated PG-13. ***.

Stephen Hunter

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