By Carolyn Griffin
MetroStage loves music. In our intimate cabaret-style theatre music fills the air. Our performing artists are exceptional, and our musicians, always center stage as well, are the best. So we decided to offer a romantic musical tribute for the holidays. For anyone wanting to embrace the holiday season with beautiful music or to escape the traditional holiday fare, Isnt It Romantic was chosen for you. Opening this week, Isnt It Romantic is a new musical revue celebrating romance in all its many forms and stages with the music of some of the most prolific, beloved songwriters of the twentieth century; Jerome Kern, George and Ira Gershwin, and Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. Collectively, they have written some of the most enduring songs of the past, songs for all ages, songs to share across generations.
We are pleased that the incomparable Jimi Ray Malary has returned to MetroStage to sing these classic songs. After an 11-week run in Milwaukee, Malary returned to his hometown of Seattle for a week before traveling to Alexandria to perform on our stage. Audiences will remember Malary from past seasons when he sang the songs made famous by Nat King Cole and Duke Ellington. We like to call Alexandria his second home since our audiences have fallen in love with him. He is being joined by the beautiful jazz singer Lori Williams who performed in All Night Strut here several years ago. MetroStage likes to keep things in the family so not only are our musicians the best, but they are seen on our stage in many of our shows. In addition, our bass player, Yusef Chisholm, is married to the beautiful Ms. Williams.
One of my favorite features of this theatre, built in 2001 out of an old lumber warehouse, is the intimacy. Come to a show at MetroStage, and you will experience an evening (or afternoon) of entertainment which will not only entertain but oftentimes touch your heart as well. In Isnt It Romantic, the songs, the talent and the music will fill the space with the sounds of the past, music that defined an era, and that should continue to be remembered and celebrated.
A continuing source of pride at MetroStage is the eclectic nature of our seasons offerings. With music as a mainstay, it can be rock (tick, tick, BOOM and, most recently, ROOMS, a show MetroStage recently premiered that is heading for New York), or in Isnt It Romantic, the classic standards of the 1930s and 40s. Our last show, Pearl Bailey By Request, thrilled audiences with classics like Baby Its Cold Outside, and Aint She Sweet. The next show coming up in January is Cool Papas Party, with music that is hip and cool for a show depicting the story of Sammy Davis Jr. and the Rat Pack. And finally the return next season of an all time favorite Musical of Musicals (The Musical!), a spoof on the Broadway musical theatre genre for all the fans of Oklahoma, Phantom of the Opera, Cabaret, Chicago, Sweeney Todd, and Hello Dolly. If music is your passion, come to MetroStage now and in the future. The range is limitless, the experience priceless.
Carolyn Griffin is the Artistic Director of MetroStage and co-founder of The Alexandria Arts Forum. Isnt It Romantic opens tonight at MetroStage, 1201 N. Royal Street, and runs through December 21.