The lowdown -- James Joyce, Vladimir Lenin and artist Tristan Tzara meet in 1917 Zurich in Tom Stoppard's Travesties, which opens tomorrow at the Johns Hopkins University's Mattin Arts Center, produced by Theatre Hopkins and directed by Tim Fowler. The play includes numerous references to Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest. Referring to Stoppard's approach to Wilde's comedy, Theatre Hopkins producer Suzanne Pratt says, "I liken it to his use of Hamlet in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead." The cast features Tony Colavito as Joyce, Brian Hurwitz as Tzara, Michael Simon as Lenin, Laurel Peyrot as Cecily and Rebecca Ellis as Gwendolen.

If you go -- Showtimes at the Mattin Center's Swirnow Theater, on the Homewood campus of the Johns Hopkins University, are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sundays, through June 25. Tickets are $15. Call 410-516-7159.


KAL's pen

The lowdown -- There's words, there's fightin' words and then there's the humble editorial page cartoon, a species of inspired doodling that has spawned more than its share of outrage. Former Sun editorial page cartoonist Kevin Kallaugher, a.k.a. KAL, whose exhibition, Mightier Than the Sword: The Satirical Pen of KAL, opens Sunday at the Walters Art Museum, is a worthy heir to a long tradition of tweaking the high andmighty. The Walters' show surveys more than 200 of KAL's caricatures of the world's movers and shakers drawn from his 17-year stint with The Sun and his 27-year career with The Economist of London. Highlights of the show include stunning digital animations of some of KAL's most expressive cartoons and an interactive educational gallery featuring hands-on activities like -- what else? -- drawing your own caricatures following KAL's step-by-step instructions.

If you go -- Mightier Than the Sword: The Satirical Pen of KAL runs through Sept. 3 at the Walters Art Museum, 600 N. Charles St. Call 410-547-9000.


Three operas

The lowdown -- The regular music season may have ended, but there's no letup in the action, especially for opera fans. No less than three productions open this weekend in the Washington area. Wolf Trap Opera, an exceptional showcase for emerging artists, opens its summer season with Telemann's recently unearthed Orpheus, while the ambitious Ignoti Dei Opera ensemble, which specializes in reclaiming the past, will present the U.S. premiere of another baroque gem, Cavalli's La Didone. And then there's the Summer Opera Theatre Company, a longtime source of quality productions, which launches its 28th season with Mozart's The Magic Flute.

If you go -- Orpheus will be performed at 8 p.m. tomorrow and June 23, 2 p.m. Sunday and June 25, at the Barns at Wolf Trap, 1645 Wolf Trap Road, Vienna, Va. Tickets are $58. Call 877-965-3872 or visit wolftrap. org. La Didone will be performed at 8 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Greenberg Theatre, American University, 4200 Wisconsin Ave., N.W., Washington. Tickets are $45, $35 students and seniors. Call 202-885-2587 or visit early The Magic Flute will be performed at 2:30 p.m. Sunday and June 25, 7:30 p.m. June 21 at Hartke Theatre, Catholic University, 3801 Harewood Road, N.E., Washington. Tickets are $40 to $110. Call 202-319-4000 or visit


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