It‘s show time again, as local theatres gear up for their upcoming season and Alexandria is fortunate to be home to some of the finest performing arts in the country.
From the beloved Little Theatre of Alexandria to the edgy MetroStage both award-winning theatres the latest crop of offerings range from classics like Chicago to the musical theatre parody Musical of Musicals (The Musical!).
The Alexandria Symphony Orchestra, led by the energetic Maestro Kim Allen Kluge, continues to bring the finest of classical music and performers to our area, while the Tony Award-winning Signature Theatre has brought added recognition to the arts in the region.
So let the curtain go up on the latest season offerings from some of the best theatres in the country all located right in our own backyard.
Alexandria Symphony Orchestra
Now in its 66th season, the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Kim Allen Kluge will help bring Mother Nature into the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall with guests such as pianist Carlos Rodriguez, violin duo MarcOlivia, pianist Yuliya Gorenman, Bowen McCauley Dance, the Heritage Signature Chorale, The Metropolitan Chorus, Alexandria Choral society, violinist Allison Bailey, mezzo Elizabeth Bishop, and former Baltimore Ravens player turned tenor Ta’u Pupu’a.
The ASO will open its 2009-2010 season with ASO favorite pianist Carlos Rodriguez and guest violinist Leonid Sushansky. Sushansky will perform during Vivaldi’s “Summer” and “Autumn,” selections from The Four Seasons. Rodriguez will close the evening with Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F.
While the ASO will perform the entirety of The Four Seasons throughout the course of the season, on November 14, it will also provide a counterbalance in the performance of “Winter,” from Piazzolla’s The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, a tango-influenced score written in answer to Vivaldi. Violin duo MarcOlivia, based in Northern Virginia, will share the spotlight.
Valentine’s Day weekend will focus solely on one of the most gifted musicians ever, Ludwig van Beethoven. Pianist Yuliya Gorenman, who is on faculty at American University and has been called “a pianist without fear,” is the perfect artist to perform music by Beethoven, who was greatly respected for continuing to create after becoming deaf at the mid-point of his career.
On March 13 and 14, ASO will celebrate spring as renowned mezzo Elizabeth Bishop, a regular with Washington National Opera and The Metropolitan Opera, will be joined onstage by tenor Ta’u Pupu’a, who, before an injury forced a career change, performed in the spotlight of the NFL with the Ravens and Browns.
During the Sunday matinee concert, Bowen McCauley Dance joins the ASO for Haiku Suite: Three Nature Poems for Sakahachi and Orchestra, a composition by Music Director Kim Allen Kluge. A sakahachi is a traditional Japanese bamboo flute that is held like a clarinet and produces a tone that is both melancholy and mystical.
The ASO will be joined by three well-respected choruses for its season finale, topped off by Orff’s powerful Carmina Burana. The Heritage Signature Chorale led by Music Director Stanley Thurston, The Metropolitan Chorus led by Artistic Director Barry Hemphill, and Alexandria Choral Society led by Artistic Director Brian Gendron, will culminate the season May 22 and 23, 2010.
In addition to the regular season performances, the ASO will hold its traditional Holiday Concert on Sunday, December 13, at Alfred Street Baptist Church, as well as the Children’s Arts Festival June 6, 2010 at the Schlesinger Center.
Families interested in introducing children to classical music can take advantage of ASO’s $5 youth ticket program.
For more information, visit www. Alexsym.org.
Founded in 1984 as American Showcase Theatre Company, Inc., MetroStage is the oldest professional theatre in Northern Virginia. The intimate 130-seat theatre now resides in a converted lumber warehouse on North Royal Street and continues to provide an eclectic slate of theatre offerings, including the return of several audience favorite shows and entertainers.
Musical of Musicals (The Musical!)
August 27-October 18
Beginning tonight, the popular parody Musical of Musicals (The Musical!) returns in this hilarious spoof of musical theatre. One story becomes five different musicals as written in the distinctive styles of Rodgers and Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim, Kander&Ebb, Jerry Herman, and Andrew Lloyd Webber. An all-time audience favorite,
Donna Migliaccio and Bobbie Smith reprise their Helen Hayes nominated roles in this critically acclaimed production along with Janine Gulisano-Sunday.
Pearl BaileyBy Request
November 19-December 20
An evening of marvelous music and memorable stories performed by Roz White as Pearl Bailey, the legendary songstress, acclaimed actress and irrepressible show biz personality. Pearl’s “most requested songs” include Baby, It’s Cold Outside, St. Louis Blues and Ain’t She Sweet. White is joined by Hot Lips Page, played by MetroStage favorite William Hubbard. Playing to sold out audiences last season, Pearl Bailey returns to MetroStageby request.
January 21-March 14
A musical biography of Mahalia Jackson, starring Bernardine Mitchell, winner of the 2005 Helen Hayes Award for this role. Mahalia chronicles the life of the “Queen of Gospel Music,” from her beginnings in the segregated South to her debut on the stage of Carnegie Hall, culminating in her triumphant performance on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. This brilliant musical tribute also features William Hubbard, who received a Helen Hayes nomination for this performance.
April 15-May 9
Acclaimed singer/songwriter Paul Scott Goodman, an authentic Scottish Jewish guitar-playing rocker, tells his story of living and surviving the Soho music scene in the ’80s; as an artist, a lover, and ultimately a father. The “son of a standup comedian,” Goodman’s songs tell a story of love and hope, a story due in no small part to Arthur Miller. With wry wit and uncompromising honesty Tiny Dancer captures the unique sights and sounds, challenges and complexities of life as an artist in Manhattan. Goodman returns to MetroStage after his award-winning musical Rooms: A rock romance premiered here last season.
For more information, visit www.metrostage.org.
Little Theatre of Alexandria
Founded in 1934, the Little Theatre of Alexandria began as a small play-reading group in Old Town and is the oldest award-winning theater in the Washington metro area. One of only a few community theaters in the country with its own building, LTA stages an ambitious seven-show season.
September 12-October 3
Charlie is a tremendously shy Englishman who has a pathological fear of speaking to strangers. When his friend invites him to a fishing lodge for a getaway, Charlie pretends to be a foreigner who cannot understand English in order to keep him from facing his fear of strangers. Taking advantage of the fact that he won’t understand, those at the lodge confide in him. Charlie discovers not all is what is seems and he must find a way to save the day without blowing his cover.
Art of Murder
October 31-Noverber 21
Everyone who’s ever met Jack has thought about killing him. Peek into the New York art world where greed and vengeance play with the sanity and lives of everyone involved. Meet Jack, the eccentric painter, Vincent, his art dealer, and Anne, the reluctant wife. Plot twists and turns will have you guessing who is to be murdered and who is the murderer. Winner of the 2000 Edgar Award Winner for Best Mystery Play.
The Ghosts of Crooners Past are back! Frankie, Sparky, Jinx, and Smudge the charming plaid-clad quartet from Forever Plaid are transported back from the cosmos to stage a nostalgic holiday party for world-weary Earth mortals. As ordered by a heavenly phone call from Rosemary Clooney, the boys blend their tight harmonic renditions of ’50s and ’60s musical hits.
Dog Sees God
November 27-December 19
When CB’s dog dies, CB begins to question the existence of an afterlife. A chance meeting sets in motion a friendship that will push teen angst to the very limits. Drugs, suicide, eating disorders, teen violence and sexual identity collide and careen toward an ending that’s both haunting and hopeful.
NOTE: Please note this is a 10 p.m. performance. This show contains references to drug use, sex and other sensitive topics. It is not recommended for children.
January 16-February 6
Two young men are left by their miserly fathers in the care of two not-so-attentive servants and fall in love with disastrous results. Upon the fathers’ return, all hopes, eyes, and gratuitous culinary items are directed toward Scapino to sort out the mess. Scapino! has everything you want in a comedy: wily servants outsmarting their masters; young lovers kept apart by their parents; misers who do anything to hold on to their money; gypsies; chase scenes; mistaken identities; and more.
February 27-March 20
Follow the story of two women Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly who are engaged in a continual game of one-upsmanship as they try to plan their futures from behind bars. They plot and scheme, they sing and dance, they use their considerable charms to sway public opinion in their favor. Based on the 1926 play by a reporter about actual criminals and crimes.
Lady Windermere’s Fan
Oscar Wilde’s play about infidelity, misunderstand
ings and deception and honor centers around the arrival of a mysterious woman hoping to break into London’s society. Lady Windermere learns from a friend that Lord Windermere is spending a great deal of time with a Mrs. Erlynne, and, fearing that he is being unfaithful to her, Lady Windermere decides to escape their ruined marriage. Join LTA for Wilde’s first great stage success, a biting satire on the morals and manners of Victorian England.
Bernard, a successful architect, has three fiances. How? They are all flight attendants with different flight schedules. With his housekeeper’s help, Bernard is able to ensure each lady that she is the only one. Unfortunately for Bernard, a new, faster Boeing jet has been introduced, altering his carefully planned timetable. Bernard’s troubles begin in keeping up with his lies and schedules, and complications arise when the girls’ behavior does not match Bernard’s careful planning.
For more information, visit www.thelittletheatre.com.
After 13 years of operating in a renovated auto garage in a blighted neighborhood of Arlington, Signature Theatre is now the cultural anchor of Shirlington Village and recipient of the prestigious 2009 Regional Theatre Tony Award.
August 11-October 4
Signature opened its season August 11 with Dirty Blonde, a funny, bawdy production that explores the life of cinematic legend Mae West and West’s most fixated fan Jo.
November 10-January 17
In the vein of earlier productions like Allegro and Les Misrables, Signature reinvents this American classic in a brand new production that features such beloved songs as Make Believe, Bill, Can’t Help Lovin ‘Dat Man, and Ol’ Man River. Spanning the years 1880 to 1927, this lyrical masterpiece concerns the lives, loves and heartbreaks of three generations of show folk on the Mississippi.
I Am My Own Wife
January 12-March 7
I Am My Own Wife tells the fascinating real-life story of Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, a German transvestite who managed to survive both Nazi rule and the repressive East German Communist regime. Von Mahlsdorf was an iconic figure who created a safe-space in the bowels of her antiques museum for East Berlin’s “undesirables” homosexuals, cross-dressers and prostitutes. But in order to survive, she sacrificed her ideals becoming an informer for the East German secret police, the Stasi. Winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize and the 2004 Tony Award for Best Play.
February 9-April 4
The first musical ever presented at Signature gets a brand new environmental staging in the MAX Theatre. No one’s work better represents Signature than composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim’s. And Sweeney Todd is Sondheim’s masterpiece with all its gothic gore, lush songs and romantic melodrama.
[title of show]
March 30-June 20
[title of show] is a witty musical written by two struggling writers about two struggling writers writing a witty new musical. It is a love letter to musical theater a can’t-miss for those who know Broadway or want to know Broadway or just want to get a glimpse into the creative process of putting together a show for Broadway.
May 18-June 20
Sycamore Trees is a recipient of an Edgerton Foundation New American Plays Award. Composer Ricky Ian Gordon is the second recipient of the American Musical Voices Project Award to present a new work of musical theater on Signature’s stage. Sycamore Trees is the moving story of his family’s struggles and their reliance on each other through good and bad.
For more information, visit www.signature-theatre.org.
Arena Stage Crystal City
In preparation for the opening of the theater’s renovated complex in Southwest D.C., Arena Stage has undertaken ARENA RESTAGEDa two-year festival of American voices. Part One was an ambitious staging of 10 productions and Part Two will continue the exploration of American work and provide the theater with necessary time to move into the new Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater in time for the Fall 2010 opening.
The Quality of Life
September 11-October 18
Two wildly different couples one New Age Liberal and the other Midwestern Conservative meet one weekend in the wake of personal tragedies. Through laughter, debate, empathy and ultimately love, can these couples from opposite backgrounds join together to find thei
r common ground? This new play explores the promise of love, the unity of humanity and the quality of life.
January 1-February 7
Kent LeVay invites his fiance, Taylor, to meet his parents at their luxurious Martha’s Vineyard summer home. Taylor, under the microscope and unaccustomed to the surrounding wealth, challenges the household dynamic. The family ties unravel when Kent’s womanizing older brother surprises everyone with his white girlfriend. Be a fly on the wall as playwright Lydia Diamond (The Bluest Eye), astutely examines African American social aristocracy.
The Light In the Piazza
March 5-April 25
One windy day in the Tuscan countryside, Clara loses her hat in a sudden gust, and as if guided by fate, it lands at the feet of the handsome Fabrizio. As their whirlwind courtship unfolds, Clara’s mother, Margaret, is unable to conceal the family secret and must reconsider not only her daughter’s future but her own as well. Arena’s own Molly Smith directs an intimate, chamber version of this musical that won six Tony Awards.
The History (and Mystery) of the Universe
May 28- July 4
Does humanity have a chance to survive on Spaceship Earth? Explore this question with Renaissance man R. Buckminster Fuller, inventor of the geodesic dome. Join Arena for a journey inside one of the most remarkable minds of the 20th century in a virtuoso multimedia performance. A hero of the green movement, Bucky framed many of the great environmental ideas of his time and ours.
For more information, visit www.arenastage.org.