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Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises is populated with the writer’s most colorful cast of characters. There’s the grizzled journalist Jake Barnes and all his ex-pat pals, the charismatic matador Pedro Romero, the merrily rotund Count Mippipopolous, and, of course, the glamorous, carefree divorcee Lady Brett Ashley. All will be on their feet when The Washington Ballet premieres Hemingway: The Sun Also Rises. To recreate these characters—using movement, costumes, and music rather than words—choreographer Septime Webre is not only relying on his dancers, but a network of Washington arts professionals. Local playwright Karen Zacarias helped develop the libretto, University of Maryland designer Helen Q. Huang costumed the cast, and local chanteuse E. Faye Butler and NPR White House correspondent Ari Shapiro will both portray Parisian crooners. And this being a Hemingway novel, there will be plenty of drinking, at least of the simulated variety. It’s like the Helen Hayes Awards all over again, with all the booze and fewer speeches.

The ballet runs May 8 to May 12 at the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater, 2700 F St. NW. $22–$65. (202) 467-4600. washingtonballet.org.