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Traveling Players Ensemble is one of the organizations to receive funding from ArtsFairfax (via Traveling Players Ensemble/Facebook)

ArtsFairfax has awarded grant funding to 40 nonprofit organizations in Fairfax County, the arts agency recently announced.

This year, ArtsFairfax received requests for over $937,000 in funding and allocated a total of $441,900.

The Operating Support Grant program is designed to assist local, nonprofit arts organizations with funding to support their basic operational needs.

In recognition of the challenges that the arts community has faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, ArtsFairfax says it increased the minimum grant amount to $1,000 and waived a requirement that recipients match the funds they receive.

ArtsFairfax President and CEO Linda S. Sullivan says the program was also modified to place more emphasis on equity and how organizations are considering issues of diversity, access, and inclusion in their operations, programs, and services.

“The past year has created an unprecedented hardship for arts organizations and artists,” Sullivan said. “The Operating Support Grant provides arts organizations with critically needed funding for basic operations — funding that helps keeps the doors open — as they develop artistic programming for audiences return.”

The Tysons, Vienna, McLean, and Falls Church organizations that received grants are:

“Fairfax County residents benefit from a dynamic and diverse arts sector,” Sullivan said. “To sustain and grow our cultural capital over the long-term requires a consistent source of public and private funds. ArtsFairfax’s Operating Support Grants are a direct investment in our community ensuring that the arts remain centerpieces and economic engines in our community.”

Photo via Traveling Players Ensemble/Facebook

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Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews (via Steve Klamkin/Facebook)

The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.

We’ve searched the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean, and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Tuesday (Aug. 24)

Wednesday (Aug. 25)

  • Tysons Summer Soiree — 6-8:30 p.m. at Tysons Plaza (1420 Spring Hill Road) — The Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce invites both members and non-members to its annual summer soiree, which celebrates local businesses and nonprofits making a difference in the community. There will be food, drinks, entertainment, an auction, and an AirStream tasting bar from Lost Whiskey. Tickets cost $40 for chamber members and $55 for non-members.

Thursday (Aug. 26)

  • The Princess Bride in Concert at Wolf Trap — 8 p.m. at Filene Center (1551 Trap Road) — The Academy Award-nominated movie “The Princess Bride” will screen at Wolf Trap with the National Symphony Orchestra playing the score. Wolf Trap says “missing this cinematic concert experience would be inconceivable!” Tickets start at $42, and gates will open at 6:30 p.m.
  • Summer Live Music Series: Rock Creek Revival — 5:30-8 p.m. on the Upper Promenade near Boro Park (8350 Broad St.) — This week’s live music performance at The Boro features the band Rock Creek RevivalRSVP for more information.
  • Films in the Park: Step Up — 7:30-9:30 p.m. at Strawberry Park (2910 District Ave.) — The Mosaic District’s movie series continues with “Step Up.” The film is rated PG-13 and will run for one hour and 44 minutes. Grab your picnic blanket and join your neighbors at Strawberry Park for a movie night!
  • Crafty Happy Hour — 5 – 6 p.m. at The Plaza at Tysons Corner Center — AR Workshop Alexandria and Barrel & Bushel are teaming up to host a happy hour and craft activity. AR Workshop will be there showing guests how to paint eco-friendly reusable tote bags or coaster sets. The crafts are complimentary for the first 50 guests to register, so sign up early to get your free craft!

Friday (Aug 27)

  • Star Wars: A New Hope in Concert at Wolf Trap — 8 p.m. at Filene Center (1551 Trap Road) — Episode four of the Star Wars Series, A New Hope, is ready for the Wolf Trap audience with the National Symphony Orchestra playing the score to the movie. Tickets start at $40 and gates open at 6:30 p.m.
  • Charmed Life — 8-9 p.m. at Boro Park (8350 Broad Street) — This autobiographical story written and performed by Lori Brown Mirabal is the next show in 1st Stage Theater’s Logan Festival of Solo Performance. It pays homage to famous opera singers, specifically Black women. Buy tickets online ahead of time to guarantee your seat.

Saturday (Aug 28)

  • Brandi Carlile at Wolf Trap — 8 p.m. at Filene Center (1551 Trap Road) — Six-time Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile comes to Wolf Trap. Carlile will perform with Amythyst Kiah, who fuses folk, blues and rock music in her latest album “Wary + Strange.” Tickets start at $47, and gates open at 6:30 p.m.
  • Over the Edge — 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at The Hyatt Regency (7901 Tysons One Place) — The Hyatt Regency teams up with the company Over the Edge to host an urban rappelling fundraiser that will benefit Helping Haitian Angels, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting orphaned and abandoned children in Haiti. Nearly 50 participants have already signed up to rappel down 14 stories of the hotel. No prior experience is required to register.
  • VietFest— 10 a.m.-10 p.m. in Bloomingdale’s Parking Lot (1961 Chain Bridge Road) — Enjoy Vietnamese culture, music, food, and activities at the annual VietFest. There is food, fun, and entertainment for all on Saturday and Sunday (11 a.m.-8 p.m.) Check the website for more details on the event.

Photo via Steve Klamkin/Facebook

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Vienna’s Chillin’ on Church block party returns this Friday (via Town of Vienna/Facebook)

The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.

We’ve searched the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean, and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Tuesday (Aug 17)

  • 123 Andrés at Wolf Trap — 10:30 a.m. at Theatre-in-the-Woods at Wolf Trap (1551 Trap Road) — Latin Grammy winners 123 Andrés brings a full band, high energy show recommended for children ages four to eight. Listen to the songs in both English and Spanish about family and community. Audience members are welcomed to sing and dance along!

Wednesday (Aug 18)

  • Soul In Motion at Wolf Trap — 10:30 a.m. at Theatre-in-the-Woods at Wolf Trap (1551 Trap Road)Soul in Motion features dances, rhythms and folklore songs from the traditional cultures in Senegal, Guinea, Brazil, and Cuba. Unique percussion instruments like djembes, djundjun, and shekeres will be introduced to the audience in this trip around the world.

Thursday (Aug 19)

Friday (Aug 20)

Saturday (Aug 21)

  • Falu at Wolf Trap — 10:30 a.m. at Theatre-in-the-Woods at Wolf Trap (1551 Trap Road) — Grammy-nominated Falu and her band will take the Wolf Trap audience on a musical journey through South Asia and around the world. Falu teaches South Asian culture through song in three languages: English, Hindi, and Gujarati.
  • Zakir Hussain and Red Baraat at Wolf Trap — 7:30 p.m. at Filene Center (1551 Trap Road) — Percussionist Zakir Hussain and party band Red Baraat team up with Falu’s Bollywood Orchestra for an evening of “high-energy Indian fusion with the timeless elegance of Bollywood’s musical golden age.”
  • Making Opera Soup — 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. & 3-4:30 p.m. at Boro Park (8350 Broad Street) — This show written by and starring award-winning opera singer Lori Brown Mirabal will kick off 1st Stage Theater’s Logan Festival of Solo Performance on Saturday and Sunday. See the 1st Stage website for times and more details.
  • Tinner Hill Music Festival — 11 a.m.-9 p.m. at Cherry Park (312 Park Ave.) — The 27th Tinner Hill Music Festival will celebrate local African American culture with a day-long concert, food, face painting, petting zoos, yoga and more. The full lineup of musicians, food vendors, and activities can be found on the Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation’s website. Buy tickets online.

Sunday (Aug 22)

  • Yacht Rock Revue at Wolf Trap — 8 p.m. at Filene Center (1551 Trap Road) — A Yacht Rock Revue performance is the late 70s/early 80s in a nutshell: soft rock hits, tight bell-bottom jeans, sunglasses at night, breezy dancing, and sax. Tickets start at $27.

Photo via Town of Vienna/Twitter

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1st Stage Theatre’s production of The Brothers Size (courtesy Teresa Castracane/1st Stage Theatre)

Two Tysons arts organizations are among the five honorees selected by ArtsFairfax for its 2021 Arts Awards, an annual celebration of Fairfax County’s arts community.

ArtsFairfax, a nonprofit that has been designated as the county’s arts agency, announced the winners of this year’s awards on Tuesday (July 27).

“For ten years, our annual Arts Awards has recognized the creative visionaries who inspire us, engage us, and create transformational change in our communities,” ArtsFairfax President and CEO Linda S. Sullivan said in a press release. “This year’s honorees exemplify the impact that artists, arts and cultural organizations, and those that support them are making to the future of Fairfax County.”

In addition to marking their 10th anniversary, this year’s Arts Awards herald a return for both the awards themselves after they were canceled last year and local arts groups, which are tentatively starting to reemerge from the upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic.

1st Stage Theatre is this year’s recipient of the Arts Impact Award, which “recognizes an arts organization, program, or activity that has provided a significant opportunity or impact through their transformational programs and individuals served,” according to ArtsFairfax.

The only professional theater company in Tysons, 1st Stage “serves as a cultural hub” and has proven skilled at adapting to the “community’s changing needs and challenges” with accessible performances, ArtsFairfax says.

The nonprofit highlights the virtual Community Conversations program that 1st Stage developed to kept audiences engaged when the theater was shut down during the pandemic.

1st Stage could not be reached for comment. The theater will reopen its doors at 1524 Spring Hill Road in November after kicking off its 2021-2022 season with the Logan Festival of Solo Performances at The Boro.

The Traveling Players Ensemble will receive the Arts Education Award, which goes to “an arts organization or individual arts educator that has provided superlative arts education opportunities, experiences, or training in the arts for youth, adults, and artists,” according to ArtsFairfax.

Operating out of a Tysons Corner Center studio, the Traveling Players provides camps, classes, and other opportunities for youths to gain theatrical skills and experience. The company adapted its summer camp program to a virtual world last year, putting on a one-act play festival via Zoom in December.

“Traveling Players is honored to be the recipient of the Arts Education Award,” said Jeanne Harrison, founder and producing artistic director of the Traveling Players. “As an educational theatre company, teaching and training is our organization’s sole focus and mission.” 

Traveling Players will celebrate the award at their summer performances, including shows on the Plaza at Tysons Corner Center on Aug. 4 and 5.

This year’s other honorees are:

The 2021 ArtsFairfax Awards will hold a reception on Oct. 15 in The Atrium at Capital One Hall (7750 Capital One Tower Road), which will open for its inaugural season that month. Tickets are now available for purchase.

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Matthew Aldwin Mcgee stars as Dredgie McGee in Under the Sea, which will be performed June 2-26, 2022 as part of 1st Stage Theatre’s upcoming season (photo by Stephanie Richardson)

1st Stage Theatre in Tysons has unveiled its 2021-2022 season lineup.

1st Stage is reopening its doors to patrons in August for the first time since the venue at 1524 Spring Hill Road closed in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re thrilled to finally be bringing people back together,” 1st Stage Artistic Director Alex Levy said in a statement. “One of the things that I think we felt so strongly over the last year and a half is not only how crucial of a role the arts plays in our lives but specifically how important live theater is. We’ve missed coming together to share in stories and be in communion with our friends and neighbors.”

The theater will kick off the season with a reimagined version of the Logan Festival of Solo Performances, which will take place outdoors at Boro Park (8350 Broad Street) with lawn seating available for up to 100 people per performance.

Last month, The Boro played host to 1st Stage’s first in-person event in more than a year, a fundraiser that the theater said drew almost 1,000 people and raised $87,000.

“The festival will activate the new space and provide programming for residents and partnerships between local restaurants and 1st Stage, allowing our 1st Stage family to come together in person and to celebrate the return of live theatre,” the theater said in a press release.

1st Stage will resume indoor performances once the Logan Festival wraps up.

Levy says 1st Stage decided to start with the outdoor festival before returning inside as a precaution due to the continued threat of COVID-19. The theater will have “increased” safety measures and keep monitoring the community health situation.

“We are in continued conversation and assessment to make sure that we are providing the safest atmosphere possible for our audiences and artists,” Levy said.

The 2021-2022 season shows are:

More information on showtimes and tickets can be found on the 1st Stage Theatre website.

Photo by Stephanie Richardson

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Morning Notes

Water Caffi Fields baseball diamond in Vienna (photo by Amy Woolsey)

New Laws Take Effect in Virginia — A host of new laws passed by the General Assembly take effect today, including the legalization of simple marijuana possession, the abolition of the death penalty, and a requirement that drivers change lanes when passing bicyclists. The fine for littering is now $500, up from $250, and it is now illegal to intentionally release a balloon outside. [Patch]

MPAartfest Returns In Person This Fall — The McLean Project of the Arts announced yesterday (Wednesday) that its annual, free art festival will officially be back in person at McLean Central Park from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 3. The event will feature a one-day juried fine art and craft show/sale, food vendors, and more. It will also stream online. [McLean Project for the Arts]

Jones Branch Connector Awarded — “The Jones Branch Connector, a joint effort by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and Fairfax County to build a new crossing over the Capital Beltway in Tysons, has been named the 2021 National Project of the Year by the American Society of Highway Engineers.” [VDOT]

1st Stage Finds Success with Return to Live Theater — Almost 1,000 people attended 1st Stage’s Celebration at The Boro on Sunday (June 27), according to an email sent to supporters yesterday. The event, which centered on a concert reading of the musical “A New Brain,” was the Tysons theater’s first in-person production since February 2020 and raised $87,000 for the venue. [1st Stage]

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Production of the new mural by artists Jessie and Katey to be unveiled at The Boro this week (courtesy The Boro)

(Updated at 12:15 p.m.) The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.

We’ve searched the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean, and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Tuesday (June 22)

  • Duck Harbor (Online) — 8 p.m. — A heartwarming web series about a bi-coastal love story written by E.M. Lewis and Bob Bartlett, this online, live theatrical performance from 1st Stage airs for free every Tuesday at 8 p.m. All aired episodes and bonus content will also be available through Duck Harbor ALL ACCESS for $15.

Thursday (June 24)

  • Summer Live Music: Zach Cutler — 5-8 p.m. at the Upper Promenade near Boro Park (8350 Broad St.) — This week’s live music series at The Boro features local guitarist Zach Cutler. RSVP to receive more information.
  • Films in the Park: The Birdcage — 7:30-9:30 p.m. at Strawberry Park (2910 District Ave.) — The Mosaic District’s Films in the Park series continues this Thursday with The Birdcage starring Robin Williams and Gene Hackman. The film is rated R and will run for one hour and fifty-seven minutes. Grab your picnic blanket and join your neighbors at Strawberry Park for a movie night!
  • Concerts in the Park — 7-9 p.m. at Cherry Hill Park (312 Park Ave.) — This week’s Concert in the Park in Falls Church features local cover band Nomad. They’ll be playing classic rock songs from artists like The Beatles, Rolling Stones and more. Email [email protected] with questions or concerns.

Friday (June 25)

  • Wolf Trap Salon Series (Online) — 7 p.m. — A series of online opera recitals curated by the artists in the show. The virtual performance gives “an intimate look into artistry…providing a unique glimpse into how they interpret art, songs and the world around them.”

Saturday (June 26)

  • Drag Storybook Hour10:30 & 11:30 a.m. at Dolley Madison Library (1244 Oak Ridge Ave.) — Come join one of two drag storybook hours to celebrate Pride Month. This event is free and appropriate for all ages. It’s co-sponsored by Fairfax County Public Library and the McLean Community Center.
  • Mural Unveiling at The Boro — 12-4 p.m. at The Boro (8350 Broad St.) — Muralists Jessie Unterhalter & Katey Truhn have finished their mural at The Boro, and there is a party to celebrate its completion. RSVP to see the unveiling, eat snacks, games, arts and crafts, live music and more fun!
  • ShowPlace ICON F9 Car Meet — 4-8 p.m. at the ShowPlace ICON Theatre parking lot (1667 Silver Hill Dr.)Join other car enthusiests to celebrate the release of “F9: The Fast Saga.” The car meet-up is free and will happen rain or shine.
  • Mosaic Skateland Grand Opening — 5:30-10 p.m. at Mosaic Skateland (2910 District Ave.) — The Mosaic District invites the community to a “disco-inspired celebration” at its new roller rink, featuring live music from the band Groovalicious. In honor of Pride month, 50% of roller rink tickets sales will be donated to Fairfax County Public Schools Pride, which works to make an inclusive and respectful  enviornment for all students. Purchase tickets in advance or on site.

Sunday (June 27)

  • Summer Sunday Concert: JoJo & The Pinecones — 5 p.m. at the McLean Central Park gazebo (1468 Dolley Madison Blvd.) — McLean’s Summer Concert series continues this Sunday with a free, family-friendly show by the New York City based group, JoJo & The Pinecones.
  • 1st Stage Celebration at The Boro Benefit  — 5-8 p.m. at Boro Park (8350 Broad St.) — A live concert reading of “A New Brain” by William Finn and James Lapine will be preformed as the 2021 benefit for 1st Stage. In-person tickets are sold out, but the event will also be available for free online. Register online for a link to the live-stream. There is also an option to donate to the theater.
  • Aspirations to Reality — 7 p.m. at Church of the Holy Comforter (543 Beulah Rd.) — Artists from HALO Inc. will sing in a variety of styles and deliver a spoken narrative at this free outdoor concert on the church’s front lawn. The concert is part of the Town of Vienna’s Liberty Amendments Month festivities.
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Morning Notes

Wolf Trap Goes Full Capacity Starting in August — Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts will return to full capacity in August for the second half of its summer season. Unveiled yesterday (Tuesday), the lineup for August and September includes Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Indigo Girls, and Renée Fleming with the National Symphony Orchestra. [Patch]

Justice Department Will Assist in Bijan Ghaisar Case — The Justice Department will allow FBI agents to cooperate in the prosecution of two Park Police officers charged with manslaughter for shooting and killing McLean resident Bijan Ghaisar in 2017. The move reverses a decision made during the Trump administration and could help the Fairfax County prosecutors on the case. [The Washington Post]

Longtime McLean Hardware Store Owner DiesMcLean Hardware owner Glenn Kirby Wiggs died on June 5 at Medstar Washington Hospital Center at 71 years of age. He had operated the store for almost 40 years after purchasing it in 1984, and he continued visiting twice a week from his home in Frederick, Maryland, even as his health declined. [Patch]

Merrifield Student Advances in Spelling Bee — Akshita Balaji of Merrifield is one of 30 students to advance to the Scripps National Spelling Bee’s semifinal round after she spelled two words correctly and gave an accurate definition for a third word during yesterday’s quarter-finals. Broadcast on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. on June 27, the semifinals will determine the 10 to 12 spellers who will go to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., for the finals on July 8. [Inside NoVA]

1st Stage Celebration Sold Out — Tickets for 1st Stage’s first in-person event since February 2020 have sold out. The theater company’s June 27 outdoor concert reading of “A New Brain” at The Boro will still be available for other viewers to watch via an online livestream. [1st Stage/Twitter]

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The first in-person show for 1st Stage since the COVID-19 pandemic began is coming to The Boro in Tysons.

The theater is holding an outdoor performance of the off-Broadway musical and book, “A New Brain,” in the form of a concert reading at 5 p.m. on June 27 at Boro Park, an outdoor space of the development located at 8350 Broad St.

“For over a year now, we’ve been looking forward to bring live theater back to our beloved audiences,” the nonprofit said in a news release. “We’re so excited to see you again and to offer this wonderful musical experience of hope, recovery and rediscovery.”

With a book by William Finn and James Lapine, “A New Brain” follows a composer who undergoes a surgery while trying to create a song for a children’s TV show. The concert reading will be directed by Kathryn Chase Bryer with music direction by Walter “Bobby” McCoy.

The event will also be livestreamed. In the case of rain, it will only run online.

Organizers hope to bring the community together and raise money to support 1st Stage’s safe return to in-person theater. Donations will be matched up to $20,000, thanks to a reciprocal gift.

Citing the COVID-19 pandemic, the theater company announced in March that it was canceling in-person shows for the remainder of the 2020-2021 season, though it has provided some online performances and classes. The organization hopes to return to its space this winter.

“‘The 1st Stage Celebration at The Boro’ will be one of the first live cultural experiences in the Tysons region following more than a year of cultural drought,” organizers said. “With an outdoor in-person audience, and a free companion livestream, this will be the first opportunity for our full community to gather together since our last production in February 2020.”

The event is currently selling $500 sponsorships, which includes seating for two as well as with food and drinks.

Tickets will be available June 1 for $20 each, with attendees allowed to bring a chair or rent one for $10. Food can be brought or possibly bought — the group is working on food possibilities with restaurants. A cash bar will also be available.

“Four of our incredible donors got together to provide this [$20,000] to aid the theatre and inspire others to give,” Heidi Fortune Picker, director of engagement for 1st Stage, said. “Honestly, we have been overwhelmed by the generosity of our 1st Stage family during this time.”

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The show will not go on for the theatrical performances that 1st Stage Theatre had planned for the remainder of its 2020-2021 season — at least not in the form they were originally conceived.

The Tysons-based theater company announced this afternoon (Thursday) that it will not move forward with productions of “The Waverly Gallery,” “The Nance,” and “Mlima’s Tale” as planned “due to the ongoing health crisis.”

“While we were holding out a sliver of hope that the new vaccines might give us a chance to move forward as planned, it is clear that there simply won’t be a safe option,” 1st Stage said in an emailed newsletter.

In lieu of the anticipated in-person performance, the company will instead present a virtual, live reading of “The Waverly Gallery” performed by the original 1st Stage cast. A finalist for the 2001 Pulitzer Prize in Drama, “The Waverly Gallery” is a memory play written by playwright and film director Kenneth Lonergan that follows the concluding years of a grandmother’s struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.

1st Stage will hold the live reading via Zoom on Mar. 20 at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $5 and can be purchased through the organization’s website.

The theater company does not indicate whether there are any plans to do similar live readings of “The Nance” by Douglas Carter Beane or “Mlima’s Tale” by Lynn Nottage, but it says it is working on getting the necessary permissions to move its fourth annual Logan Festival of Solo Performance up to this spring with outdoor performances.

The scrapped productions had originally been scheduled for 2020 as part of 1st Stage’s 13th season, but the theater decided in July to delay the season to this year so that it could focus on virtual offerings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

That pivot will continue with a newly announced slate of online classes, including an introductory “Drama Games” course and two improvisation courses, one aimed at adults and the other at middle and high school students. Registration for the classes is now open with a deadline of Mar. 11.

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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