Don’t miss Orioles players, John Means & Paul Fry, as they guest host at our Brews and O’s event!

BEST OF THIS WEEK

THE BALTIMORE SUN

TELEVISION

THE RICHES / / 10 p.m. Tuesday. FX

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This decidedly off-beat drama about a family of grifters that tries to steal the American Dream by assuming the identity of a dead family returns for Season 2.

The series was troubled last year by an inability to maintain a tone that was both credible and comically dark. But it was always a joy to watch droll Minnie Driver and super-charged Eddie Izzard as the mom and pop hustlers trying to pass as members of the upper-middle class in McMansion Land.

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[DAVID ZURAWIK]

CLASSICAL

ST. JOHN PASSION / / 7:30 p.m. Friday at Christ Lutheran Church, 701 S. Charles St. Free admission. Call 410-752-7179 or go to bachin baltimore.org.

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Although not as well-known as his profoundly stirring St. Matthew Passion, Johann Sebastian Bach's St. John Passion is a work of similar power and beauty. First performed in 1724, on Good Friday in Leipzig, this piece for soloists, chorus and orchestra combines narrative from St. John's account of the Crucifixion with reflective arias and chorales.

The Bach Concert Series presents a free performance of the St. John Passion this Good Friday, conducted by T. Herbert Dimmock. The soloists include William Clark as the Evangelist and Phil Collister as Jesus bass. The audience will be invited to sing with the choir during the chorale sections of the score, as the congregation would have in 1724.

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[TIM SMITH]

THEATER

A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC / / 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays; 2 p.m., 8 p.m. Saturdays; 2 p.m., 7:30 p.m. Sundays through April 13 at Center Stage, 700 N. Calvert St. $10-$65. Call 410-332-0033 or go to centerstage.org.

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Composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music is an ingenious meditation on the waltz, though it's woven so thoroughly into the plot, you'd never know it. Not only is the music itself composed in 3 / 4 time, but the story line (adapted from an Ingmar Bergman film) also features four romantic triangles.

Night Music features Sondheim's most famous song, "Send in the Clowns," and the chance to appear in such a plum has attracted a slew of Broadway veterans to Center Stage. They include Barbara Walsh and Stephen Bogardus (both previously nominated for Tonys) and Emmy winner Polly Bergen, in the role of grande dame Madame Armfeldt.

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[MARY CAROLE McCAULEY]

POP MUSIC

ARETHA FRANKLIN / / 8 p.m. Thursday at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St. Tickets are $97-$372. Call 410-547-7328 or go to ticketmaster.com.

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In soul music, there's only one queen. Aretha Franklin -- owner of 20 Grammys and a mile-long list of hits -- has mastered just about every style under the pop umbrella. And when she wants to, she can infuse opera with down-home feeling. Granted, the voice isn't as clarion as it used to be. But at 65, the Detroit legend remains an unmatched powerhouse.

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[RASHOD D. OLLISON]

WASHINGTON

16TH ANNUAL ENVIRONMENTAL FILM FESTIVAL / / Through Saturday; times vary at various locations throughout Washington. Most viewings are free. Call 202-342-2564 or go to dcenvironmentalfilmfest.org.

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Watch classics such as Chinatown, set during a major Los Angeles drought, documentaries such as The 11th Hour, which explores various ecological problems the planet continues to confront, and many more at this event, which aims to increase awareness of environmental issues around the world.

The selections -- including animated, archival, children's and experimental films -- will be shown in several libraries, embassies, universities, theaters and museums throughout Washington. The majority of screenings include discussions with filmmakers or experts on the subject matter.

During the final day, the Carnegie Institution of Washington, 1530 P St., N.W., hosts a tribute to World Water Day, with water-themed films and a panel discussion on the global water crisis.

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[JENNIFER CHOI]

ART

HEROES AND VILLAINS / / 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday; Sunday through Friday by appointment at Sub-Basement Artist Studios, 118 N. Howard St. Call 410-659-6950 or go to subbasementartist studios.com.

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Steven Pearson, who teaches at McDaniel College, used to be a realist painter before turning to abstraction. His compositions on birch plywood let the wood grain show through as part of designs that play with the moral color symbolism of 1980s-era comic book illustration, in which red and blue costumes invariably signal the good guys, while the villains always end up wearing green or purple.

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[GLENN MCNATT]

DVD

ATONEMENT / / Available Tuesday. Universal Pictures. DVD: $29.98. HDDVD: $39.98

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Director Joe Wright and screenwriter Christopher Hampton transform Ian McEwan's acclaimed novel about the power of a lie. The Golden Globe winner expands on the nuances of Ian McEwan's novel about a budding and 13-year-old writer, Briony (Saoirse Ronan), who lets her emotions run away with her and ruins the lives of Cecilia (Keira Knightley), her older sister, and Cecilia's childhood pal and adult true love, Robbie (James McAvoy).

Wright provides three movements of superb romantic drama in England and two traumatic flights of World War II poetry at Dunkirk and in a British hospital. If you succumb to that unusual blend, you'll experience both war and lies as tears in the human spirit -- and by the end reap the rewards of an art that is compassionate and sensually alive.

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[MICHAEL SRAGOW]

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