One of baseball’s all-time greats both on and off the field is exciting fans this spring – not at Nationals Park, but in Columbia Heights at the Gala Theatre. The story of Roberto Clemente is told in musical form as a retrospective from his funeral.
Clemente died on December 31, 1972, in a plane crash while on a post-earthquake relief mission to Nicaragua. Weeks earlier, he had completed his 18th season with the Pittsburgh Pirates, reaching the traditional baseball greatness milestone of 3,000 hits as the season ended.
More than his Hall of Fame exploits on the field, the bi-lingual show in Spanish and English traces the human side of Puerto Rican Clemente, from his fight against discrimination to his many humanitarian efforts.
The D.C. presentation makes for something of a spring doubleheader about the ground-breaking integration efforts of mid-20th-century baseball players. The other half: 42, the movie about Jackie Robinson.
Like Robinson, Clemente spent a minor league season in Montreal. Clemente came to the major leagues in 1954, seven seasons after Robinson. But he still encountered discrimination in his team travels. His efforts led him to Dr. Martin Luther King and to actions on behalf of the poor in Puerto Rico and elsewhere.
Clemente was a serious man. But he played the organ, wrote poetry, and danced, making the concept of a musical about his life not so far-fetched.
The show is called DC-7: The Roberto Clemente Story.
DC-7 is the type of aircraft in which he was killed. Modesto Lacén, who originated the role of Clemente in 2012, Off-Broadway, is also the star of the Gala production. Luis Caballero, author of the story, lyricist, and co-composer of the music along with Harold Gutiérrez, is the director. In its debut season, the production won six ACE Awards, six ATI Awards, and two HOLA Awards.
Gala Hispanic Theatre is located at 14th Street and Park Road NW in the business heart of Columbia Heights, two blocks from the Columbia Heights Metro. The show runs through May 26. Parking is available at a discount in the Giant parking garage on Park Road NW
Ticket contacts are 202.234.7174 and Gala Theatre.
The Spanish Steps in Sheridan-Kalorama will be the site of a free jazz concert this Saturday April 27 from 1 to 3 pm. Beasley Real Estate is sponsoring the event to benefit the Spanish Steps Preservation Project.
Bring a picnic and a blanket and enjoy the music. Local, professional musicians and vocalists will perform. A student group from the SITAR Arts Center also will entertain.
The Spanish Steps, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, are located at 22nd Street and Decatur Street near Dupont Circle, in one of the city’s toniest neighborhoods. There are magnificent mansions, many of which are now diplomatic embassies or residences. At night, there is a wonderful view of Washington.
Donations are welcome at the concert.
The concrete steps, we counted 35 or so, were constructed in 1911 on a slope too steep for carriages but allowed pedestrians to cross on 22nd Street. After years of neglect, the steps were restored in 1999. Landscaped with trees and flowers in bloom, the steps are topped with a lion-head fountain and set off with sturdy balustrades.
Although the imposing Spanish Steps in Rome are taller and more famous, DC’s steps are more intimate and aren't commercial. Day or night, it’s a place to watch the world go by.
The Spanish Steps are a walkable distance from the Dupont Circle subway.
For more information, call Beasley RE founder and managing partner Jim Bell at 202.607.4000 or email Etomlinson@BeasleyRE.com.
Spring’s arrival will be celebrated Friday, April 19 from 6 pm-8 pm on Georgetown’s Canal Square courtyard at 1054 31st Street NW with interesting art, spectacular jewelry, delicate food and good cheer.
Come take a load off your feet, mingle with your neighbors after a long wind-tossed winter, and nibble on tasty comp’d appetizers. Artists and galleries will show their work.
The Sea Catch restaurant hosts six Galleries 1054 openings per year.
The restaurant will provide hors d’oeuvres, including crab melt, coconut shrimp, Thai chicken skewers and an assortment of French mini pastries. Sea Catch will provide a cash bar in the courtyard.
Among the Canal Square merchants participating will be Syra Arts displaying new Egyptian collections from Azza Fahmy Jewelry at the Alla Rogers Gallery, Parish Gallery, Winter Palace Gallery and Mocha DC Gallery.
This will be the first of a series of such receptions at Canal Square every third Friday of the month through October, with a hiatus during July and August. Mark your calendars and come on down to Canal Square, Georgetown's oldest enclave of art galleries located along the historic C&O Canal.