Tysons, VA

After kicking its new season off by exploring generational divides, 1st Stage Theatre in Tysons has a comedy opening this week about an air guitar competition.

“Airness” will delve into a woman’s journey when she enters an air guitar competition and befriends a group of nerds, according to the theater’s description of the show.

The show, which is a regional premiere co-production with D.C.-based Keegan Theatre, starts on Thursday (Dec. 5) and runs until Dec. 29.

Performances for “Airness” are:

  • Thursdays — 7:30 p.m.
  • Fridays — 8 p.m.
  • Saturdays — 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
  • Sundays — 2 p.m.

General admission tickets are $42 or $39 for seniors. Students and military tickets are $15.

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In an effort to make the arts more accessible to young audiences, Tysons’ 1st Stage Theatre is rolling out a free subscription for local high school students.

The theater announced on Tuesday (Nov. 19) its new Youth Engagement Subscription (YES) Pass for high school students in Fairfax County. The YES Pass gives students one ticket per show for a year — a free subscription for all mainstage shows.

“Our YES Pass ensures that no student is denied access to live theater due to economic barriers and guarantees that all young people will have an opportunity to be part of the discussion and the artistic life of Fairfax County,” according to a press release from 1st Stage.

The free subscriptions are being sponsored by the Ruth and Hal Launders Foundation.

Students interested in the YES Pass can contact Deidra Starnes at [email protected] or apply online.

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Wednesday  (Oct. 16)

  • Panel Discussion on Human Trafficking — 7 to 9 p.m. at Vienna Volunteer Fire Department, Second Floor (400 Center Street S.) —  This panel will discuss human trafficking in local neighborhoods and how to end it.
  • Boro Fall Festival — noon to 2 p.m. at Whole Foods (1635 Boro Place) — This free event offers attendees a chance to try fall foods, participate in crafts, enjoy live music and enter into a raffle.

Thursday (Oct. 17)

  • Avenir Pumpkin Festival — 5 to 8 p.m. at Modera Avenir Place Apartments (2677 Avenir Place) — This event is free to attend and features a Biergarten, music and pumpkin decorating.
  • Local Candidate Forum — 7 p.m. at George Mason High School (7124 Leesburg Pike) — This public forum will allow community members to gather and hear from local candidates running for office on Nov. 5.
  • Wild Game Beer Dinner — 7 to 10 p.m. at Caboose Commons (520 Mill Street NE) — This event will feature a five-course meal from chief David Rabin. Tickets are $90 and will include meat such as antelope, bison and goat.
  • Meet Author Bill Lewers — 7:30 p.m. at Patrick Henry Library (101 E. Maple Avenue) — This author will discuss his upcoming fiction book “Gatekeepers of Democracy,” which discusses those who serve on election day. Copies will be available for purchase during the book signing.

Friday (Oct. 18)

  • One Man, Two Guvnors” — 8 to 10:30 p.m. at Vienna Community Center (120 Cherry Street SE) — This play explores the life of someone who ends up employed by gangsters in England around 1963. Tickets start at $15.

Saturday (Oct. 19)

  • Vienna Halloween on the Green — 10:30 to 12:30 p.m. at the Vienna Town Green (144 E. Maple Avenue) — Kids ages two to 10 are welcome to join in some seasonal fun including trick-or-treating, crafts, games, pumpkin decorating and age-appropriate activities. This event is free and open to the public.
  • Recycling Extravaganza– 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Recycling Center (217 Gordon Road) — People are encouraged to bring things they may not be able to get rid of at the curb including toxic chemicals, shredded documents, and electronics. A list of accepted items can be found online and people wishing to drop things off must prove residency.
  • Party for a Cause — 9 p.m. t0 2 a.m. at Inca Social (2670 Avenir Place) — This free event will raise money for breast cancer awareness and support for families.

Sunday (Oct. 20)

  • McLean Pet Fest — 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at McLean Central Park (1468 Dolley Madison Blvd) —  This event gives pet owners the chance to learn about opportunities that will enhance the lives of their furry friends while watching a pet-parade. This event is free and open to the public.
  • Ito’s Taste of Colombia — all night at Blend 11 (111 Church Street NW, Suite 101) — Chef Andrés Julian will prepare a five-course meal for guests that includes traditional Colombian dishes. The price is $55 with an optional $21 wine pairing.

Photo via McLean Community Center/Facebook

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As 1st Stage Theatre outgrows its current Tysons home, the theater is hoping to move to a proposed mixed-use development by the Spring Hill Metro station.

The theater’s artistic director Alex Levy told the Fairfax County Planning Commission Wednesday night that the theater is negotiating with the county and the developers of the proposed Tysons West development known as The View.

“The stunning new venue that was designed in The View was built specifically for a thriving company like ours,” Levy said. “It will serve as the heartbeat of an exciting and thriving new development.”

Levy told Tysons Reporter last year that the theater has been growing in attendance by 15% year after year — creating capacity issues at the theater’s current space at 1524 Spring Hill Road.

While the theater wants to expand, Levy has said that 1st Stage wants to stay in Tysons.

Levy praised the county and developers for working on the art spaces with specific users in mind and aiming to offer reduced rent for a not-for-profit company, like 1st Stage.

“What makes 1st Stage’s success remarkable is it happens in a landscape in which most of the D.C. region has strong arts funding and subsidized venues,” Levy told the commissioners.

Paul Kohlenberger, the president of the Greater McLean Chamber of Commerce, told the commissioners that he supports the idea of subsidizing the lease for 1st Stage at The View.

“Visionary Project”

Vienna-based Clemente Development Co.’s development would add six buildings, including a 600-foot-tall office building that would snatch the “tallest building in the region” title from Capital One’s headquarters in Tysons East and the Washington Monument.

Plans for The View also include a 455-foot-tall office building, a 394-foot-tall building for hotel and residential uses and a 108-foot-tall building with retail and office space.

“We think the diversity of height in and around Tysons is absolutely critical,” a representative for the developer told the Planning Commission.

Known as the Iconic Tower, the tallest building would capitalize on its height with a publicly-accessible botanical garden and observation deck.

While the commissioners have lingering concerns about making the buildings bird-friendly and the logistics with an athletic field tied to the project, they were mostly supportive of The View — especially its focus on the arts.

“One thing that doesn’t work is a theater that is designed for everyone,” John Carter, the commissioner for the Hunter Mill District, said. “Those tend to fail because there’s no such design that works for everybody.”

That’s Entertainment

In addition to the planned black box theater, The View wants to have an art walk, seasonal ice loop, open-air theater on the green and a Tysons Community Center at a nearby site.

“The arts are essential to thriving and robust communities,” Linda Sullivan, the president of ARTSFAIRFAX, said, along with pointing out that Capital One’s planned performance hall and The View will be “important anchors and drivers” of the arts locally.

The Landing Public Sky Park would include an outdoor amphitheater. Meanwhile, the Theater on the Green — also known as the Common Green — would be located between The Landing and one of the buildings.

“The Theater on the Green will provide space for outdoor dining, an open lawn, wayfinding, special paving and banding to visually guide pedestrian flow, a stage for events and performances, outdoor seating, outdoor games, artful lighting, access to multi-modal paths and a continuation of the Art Walk Loop,” according to county documents.

The 20,000 square-foot theater would be available for 35 years.

More from the developers’ plans for the black-box theater:

The proposed development anticipates that the applicant will construct the 199-seat black-box theater, which will be leased to an arts, entertainment, or theatrical group at a very significantly discounted rate. The theater will include “back of house” space for rehearsal, set construction, and other support activities.

The applicant has been in discussions with local theaters and arts groups, as well as national experts in this field; these discussions have continued to inform the design and practical parameters of the proposed theater space.

“The arts can have a ripple effect,” Sullivan said, adding that national studies have shown that arts have a positive economic impact.

Phillip Niedzielski-Eichner, the commissioner for the Providence District, deferred the decision on the “visionary project” to next Thursday, Oct. 10.

The View heads to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, Oct. 15.

Images via Fairfax County

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Tysons’ 1st Stage Theatre is back with a show exploring generational divides to launch its new season.

Trying” explores the relationship between Judge Francis Biddle, the chief judge of the American Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, and his young Canadian assistant — the last in a long line of unsuccessful secretaries.

The play’s regional premiere is this Thursday (Sept. 19). The show runs until Oct. 20.

Performances for “Trying” are:

  • Thursdays — 7:30 p.m.
  • Fridays — 8 p.m.
  • Saturdays — 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
  • Sundays — 2 p.m.

General admission tickets are $42 or $39 for seniors. Students and military tickets are $15.

The drama is the first show for 1st Stage’s 12th season, which has five more shows, including “Airness” and “The Royale.”

First photo by Teresa Castracane, second photo via 1st Stage/Facebook

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A musical about how women won the right to vote is coming to the Town of Vienna for a sold-out preview ahead of a national tour.

19: The Musical” chronicles the struggles of women suffragists, including Alice Paul, Ida B. Wells, Susan B. Anthony, Carrie Chapman Catt, and Inez Milholland.

Ratified Aug. 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment made it illegal to deny U.S. citizens the right to vote on the basis of sex. The show’s national tour for this fall coincides with the amendment’s centennial next year.

From the musical’s website:

The inspirational story of these fearless women is brought to life through jazz, traditional musical standards style, spoken word, hints of gospel and dance. 2020 is the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment; our goal is to get a full production of 19 up and running, and onto a stage by the end of 2019.

The show’s book and lyrics were created by Jennifer Schwed and Doug Bradshaw, the cofounders of the Alexandria-based Through the 4th Wall. The show’s music is by film composer Charlie Barnett.

All 200 tickets got snapped up for the special preview performance at the Vienna Community Center (120 Cherry Street SE) on Friday (May 17), according to the musical’s Facebook page. The preview will include songs, dance and narration from the first and second acts of the show.

Photo via Facebook

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Tysons’ 1st Stage Theatre won five Helen Hayes Awards at last night’s ceremony — scoring four of its wins for its “Fly by Night” production last spring.

The theater’s production of the rock-fable “Fly by Night” racked up nine nominations, while the father-son story “Swimming With Whales” and Aaron Sorkin’s “The Farnsworth Invention” each earned six nods. One nomination for “A Civil War Christmas” brought 1st Stage up to a total of 22 nominations — the second most for any theater, trailing Arena Stage’s 25.

Named after the “First Lady of American Theatre” Helen Hayes, the awards recognize excellence in professional theatre in the D.C. area and are split into two main categories: the “Hayes” for productions featuring a majority of theater union members and the “Helen” for productions with fewer union members.

Here is 1st Stage Theatre’s full list of wins:

  • Outstanding Direction in a Musical (Helen): Kathryn Chase Bryer for “Fly by Night”
  • Outstanding Ensemble in a Musical (Helen): “Fly by Night”
  • Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical (Helen): Caroline Wolfson in “Fly by Night”
  • Robert Prosky Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play (Helen): Matthew Wilson in “Swimming With Whales” (also shared with Josh Adams in Theater Alliance’s “The Events”).
  • Outstanding Production in a Musical (Helen): “Fly by Night”

Yesterday’s awards ceremony boosted the theater in nominations and wins from last year.

In 2018, 1st Stage won two of its 10 nominations. Frank Britton took home the Robert Prosky Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play (Helen) for 1st Stage’s production of “Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train.” Also, Jose Guzman received the James MacArthur Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play (Helen) for the same show.

Photo via Twitter

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Tysons’ 1st Stage Theatre will find out tonight if it gets to take home awards for any of its nearly two dozen Helen Hayes Awards nominations.

Named after the “First Lady of American Theatre” Helen Hayes, the awards recognize excellence in professional theatre in the D.C. area. The awards are split into two main categories: the “Hayes” for productions featuring a majority of theater union members and the “Helen” for productions with fewer union members.

The Tysons theater racked up 22 total nominations in the Helen categories and trailed Arena’s 25 nominations for the most for any theater, along with the second most for a single production — nine for rock-fable “Fly by Night” — behind 13 for “The Wiz” at Ford’s Theatre.

The father-son story “Swimming With Whales” and “The Farnsworth Invention” by Aaron Sorkin — the screenwriter and director behind “The West Wing” and “The Newsroom” — both received six nominations for the theater, while “A Civil War Christmas” earned one.

Here is 1st Stage Theatre’s full list of nominations for each show:

  • “Fly by Night” — Musical Direction, Direction in a Musical, Ensemble in a Musical, Supporting Actor in a Musical, Supporting Actress in a Musical (2), Lead Actor in a Musical (2), Production in a Musical
  • “Swimming With Whales” — Costume Design, Sound Design, Direction in a Play, Ensemble in a Play, Robert Prosky Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play, Production in a Play
  • “The Farnsworth Invention” — Direction in a Play, Ensemble in a Play, Supporting Actress in a Play, Robert Prosky Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play (2), Production in a Play
  • “A Civil War Christmas” — Musical Direction

Last year, 1st Stage won two of its 10 nominations. Frank Britton took home the Robert Prosky Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play (Helen) for 1st Stage’s production of “Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train.” Also, Jose Guzman received the James MacArthur Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play (Helen) for the same show.

The winners for this year’s nominations will be revealed tonight (May 13).

Photo by Ryan Maxwell Photography 

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“The Member of the Wedding” will open tonight (May 9) at Tysons’ 1st Stage Theatre, closing out the theater’s 11th season.

Based on the 1946 novel of the same name by Carson McCullers, the drama focuses on a young girl’s dreams of leaving her small Southern town with her brother and his fiancee.

Here is 1st Stage Theatre’s description of the show:

In 1945 rural Georgia, the long, hot days of summer bring struggle, longing, and opportunity for 12-year-old Frankie Addams and her family’s housekeeper Berenice Sadie Brown. Frankie longs to escape with her newlywed brother on adventures in the Alaskan wilderness. Berenice struggles to balance enduring the deeply entrenched racism of the rural South with her role as surrogate mother to Frankie and her 6-year-old cousin. Adapted from the beloved novel of the same name, this evocative, poetic coming of age drama explores the pains of youth and the meaning of family.

The play will run until June 2. Performances for “The Member of the Wedding” are:

  • Thursdays — 7:30 p.m.
  • Fridays — 8 p.m.
  • Saturdays — 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
  • Sundays — 2 p.m.

General admission tickets are $39 or $36 for seniors over 65. Students and military tickets are $15.

Photo via Facebook

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Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods is back at Wolf Trap for a new series of concerts and shows aimed at children and their parents.

Since 1971, the program has been an annual tradition at the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts. Acts vary from puppetry to dance and music.

The first performance will be David Engel’s Willy Wonka-themed magic show on June 18 and 19. The event is planned to include bubble-play and puppetry.

Performances run Tuesday through Saturday at 10:30 a.m., beginning June 18 and running through August 3. Tickets range from $10 to $12 and children under two may attend free of charge.

Other upcoming shows include:

For the adults, this summer’s concert series feature Lionel Richie and other big-name acts.

Photo via Wolf Trap

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