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Limited Engagements

Theater Notes

"It's like an athlete before a championship game — I just gotta go out there and do the best I can." So says Scott Wichmann in anticipation of the last performance of "Jails, Hospitals and Hip-Hop," the edgy and impressive one-man show that Wichmann has been performing since mid-February. What makes the last performance so special? The play's originator, Danny Hoch, will be in the audience.

Hoch — who was the only person to perform "Jails" before Wichmann — will watch the show, then offer a post-show discussion and be available to meet audience members. "I'd be lying if I said [I wasn't nervous]," says Wichmann. "But I think he's going to be excited to see someone else do it."

After the raw and raucous "Jails" closes, look for Wichmann to switch gears drastically for his role as Snoopy in Theatre IV's "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown." "Jails, Hospitals, and Hip-Hop" plays the Barksdale Theatre April 14 at 11 p.m. Tickets are $12, $10 in advance. Call 282-2620.

Another Richmond stage exclusive will also be around for only a brief time. The world premiere of Theatre 4 a Change's latest production, "Background," will open and close this weekend. Odetta Tamu, the company's founder and the show's playwright, describes the play as a "comedy with a conscience."

"There are a lot of mindless comedies that are just there for the benefit of laughing," Tamu explains. "With this show, you'll laugh at first but then it will make you think."

"Background" tells the story of several characters working as extras on the set of a TV sitcom. "They are all waiting for their 15 minutes of fame," Tamu says. The playwright got the idea for the play while working as an extra for New Millennium studios, the Petersburg producers of "Linc's" and "Legacy." "Industry people especially will be able to relate to this show," says Tamu.

"Background" will play at the Firehouse Theatre, 8 p.m., April 14-15. Tickets are $12 (a portion of the proceeds will go to Operation Mozambique). Call 743-3456. — D.L. Hintz

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