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To Be! In McLean

January Is Shakespeare Month at The Alden.

Never "Too Much of a Good Thing," The Alden in McLean has declared January 2014 "Shakespeare Month" and has pulled together a month-long celebration of the Bard which will include films, a discussion with local experts and two performances by the acclaimed American Shakespeare Center on Tour. Prices vary and some events are free. The Alden is located at 1234 Ingleside Avenue, inside the McLean Community Center.

The celebration will start on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 1 p.m. with a free showing of the 1953 movie "Kiss Me Kate," starring Kathryn Grayson, Howard Keel and Ann Miller. Cole Porter composed the score for this film in which a divorced couple appears in a musical version of "The Taming of the Shrew." It includes familiar hits like "Too Darn Hot," "Brush up Your Shakespeare" and "So in Love."

On Wednesday, Jan. 15, at 7:30 p.m., The Alden will show the silent film with live accompaniment, "The Rest Is Silence: Silent Shakespeare." A streamlined version of "As You Like It" from 1912, which uses the early English theatrical device of cross dressing, will be the springboard to other silent films that used the same device, including those starring Charlie Chaplin, Laurel & Hardy and the delightful Charley Chase in "Bromo and Juliet." Tickets are $10, $6 for MCC tax district residents.

For those who just don’t "get it" when it comes to Shakespeare, experts from the Shakespeare Theatre Company, Folger Shakespeare Library and American Shakespeare Center will come together at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 22, for "Brush up Your Shakespeare." This free presentation will help novices better understand the Bard. Special attention will be paid to "The Merry Wives of Windsor" and "Othello," which will be presented by the American Shakespeare Center on Tour at The Alden.

One of the most respected theatre companies in the world, American Shakespeare Center (ASC) of Staunton, Va., will perform two of the Bard’s best-known works at The Alden on Saturday, Jan. 25.

The first of the two plays presented at The Alden will be "The Merry Wives of Windsor," a comic delight featuring the popular character Falstaff. The show will start at 2 p.m. The play deals with love, marriage, jealousy, revenge and social class, which gives it a level of modern-day relevance not always found in Shakespeare’s plays. Live music will begin at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $30, $20 for MCC tax district residents.

ASC’s second show, "Othello," will begin at 8 p.m. One of Shakespeare’s most famous and engaging tragedies, it is a passionate story about jealousy, betrayal and "one who loved not wisely but too well." Live music starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $30, $20 for MCC tax district residents.

ASC’s motto, "We do it with the lights on," reflects their mission to present Shakespeare authentically. House lights remain up, allowing for interaction with and asides to the audience. Because the music of the day was integral to Elizabethan theatre, the actors open each performance with a half hour of live contemporary music that relates to the plays – ASC’s playlists can be found under "americanshakespearecenter" on Spotify.

Tickets are on sale now. Discounts are available to seniors, students, groups of eight or more, or to patrons who purchase their tickets a month or more in advance of the date of the performance. For more information or to purchase tickets online, visit: www.aldentheatre.org or call 703-790-0123, TTY: 711.