In a panel discussion on the role of arts in a rapidly gentrifying D.C. region, 1st Stage Theatre’s artistic director Alex Levy spoke on WAMU’s Kojo Nnamdi Show yesterday about the theater’s role in Tysons’ ongoing evolution.
Levy said on the show that before he came to Tysons, he’d heard it called a cultural wasteland — comparing it to the spots on old maritime maps where it’s just mermaids and openness.
“As I got here, that’s the conversation I heard forever, that this thing doesn’t belong out here,” said Levy. “But as soon as the company started, there was a great love for it because people want the arts in their community. They need it in their community.”
The theater is located above a garage and a salsa/bachata nightclub and Levy said many visitors don’t realize the theater is there until they walk inside.
“Anybody who has driven around Tysons, the thing you see most is a crane,” Levy said in the interview. “Most of what they’re building are large residential buildings. One of the reasons I moved my family to this community was to be a part of that conversation… You can’t build a community — the thing Tysons wants to be — without a cultural life.”