A majority of Reston residents would support having a larger performing arts venue in the area, a survey commissioned by Reston Community Center suggests.

RCC has been mulling the possibility of bringing a new performing arts venue to Reston since at least the summer of 2019, when it partnered with the Center for Survey Research at the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service to conduct the community survey, which also measured public opinion of the organization’s facilities, programming, and priorities.

Center for Survey Research Director Dr. Kara Fitzgibbon presented the community survey results to the RCC Board of Governors on July 26. The board also reviewed the findings of a strategic plan survey that RCC sent out earlier this summer to see if people’s feelings had changed in the intervening two years.

According to the UVA presentation, 68% of the 1,906 people who responded to the 2019 survey are somewhat to very interested in Reston having a larger performing arts venue, with the largest percentage (29%) saying that they are very interested.

An additional 12% of respondents said they would be slightly interested, while 11% said they wouldn’t be at all interested, and 9% felt that RCC’s existing facilities, such as the CenterStage theater, are sufficient.

Reston Community Center gauged support for a new performing arts venue in its 2019 community survey (via RCC)

“The levels of general support indicate that the opportunity is one that RCC should explore and help the community realize in one way or another,” RCC Executive Director Leila Gordon said by email. “What happens next will be determined through study, engagement and development of a plan to realize what the community wants.”

Gordon says RCC’s interest in having a larger performing arts venue “is longstanding,” spurred in part by a proffer from Boston Properties for up to 65,000 square feet of development in its Reston Gateway neighborhood near the still-closed Reston Town Center Metro station.

Gordon told Reston Now in June 2019 that if a facility comes to fruition, RCC would advocate for it to have a stage spacious enough to accommodate dance, orchestral, and theatrical shows with large casts, and it would primarily serve community nonprofits and public school arts programs.

She clarified by email yesterday (Tuesday) that Boston Properties has offered to include that amount of space in “Block J” of its mixed-use development, but it hasn’t committed to making that an arts center.

A Fairfax County spokesperson confirmed that the proffer is still on the table and that the county has until July 2022 to decide whether to accept it.

RCC’s community survey indicates that the level of support for a new performing arts center would vary depending on whether it is built by a developer or by the community center, which would require voter approval for a bond referendum to fund the project.

The percentage of “very supportive” respondents goes from 37% if the facility is built by a developer to just 14% if RCC has to finance it. 32% of respondents said they wouldn’t be at all supportive of RCC issuing a bond to fund the project.

“The RCC board has long maintained that such a venue requires multiple funding partners to realize,” Gordon said. “We will continue to explore the opportunity with the community and see where it leads.”

The Center for Survey Research distributed the questionnaire to a sample of 5,500 Reston households. A version of the survey that anyone who lives or works in Reston could answer was also made available online and in paper form from Aug. 5 to Sept. 16, 2019, according to the presentation.

This year’s strategic plan survey obtained 267 responses. Respondents named facilities upkeep and modernization as their top priority, though some said RCC’s programs are “too niche” or duplicative of Reston Association offerings.

Gordon says she didn’t register any significant changes from 2019 to this year, but the number of people who cited time constraints — either from their own busy schedule or RCC’s schedule — as a barrier to participation in the 2019 survey stood out.

Reston Community Center’s 2019 community survey found time is a barrier to participation (via RCC)

“To the extent we can, RCC works collaboratively with Reston’s nonprofit and civic infrastructure to get Restonians the most ‘bang for the buck’ from their community investments,” Gordon wrote. “Ultimately, the 2019 Community Survey helps all of us better understand what people are seeking in their spare time (what precious little of it they have!) and how we can fulfill their expectations.”

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Campfire (via Flickr/Steven Miller)

Monday, June 21

  • Paint Your Lost Dog (5-9 p.m.) — Grab a drink at Lost Dog Cafe in Dunn Loring and paint your favorite canine onto ceramic. All materials are provided, but bring a photo of your pup to transfer to the ceramic. Afterwards, staff will put it in a kiln and your work of animal art will be available a week later for pick-up.

Tuesday, June 22

  • Storytime for Little Historians (11 a.m.) — Sit criss-cross applesauce at Lake Anne Plaza for a story about the Reston community. Every Tuesday this summer, Reston Museum hosts a morning storytime where little ones learn about the community they live in.

Wednesday, June 23

  • Rainbows, Haloes, and Glories (7:30 p.m.) — Join the Analemma Society at Turner Farm in Great Falls to learn about sky phenomenons. How are rainbows created? What’s a halo? Why do green lights suddenly appear sometimes? Get the answers. This event is for all ages.

Thursday, June 24

  • Boy Erased (7 p.m.) — Virtually meet Garrard Conley, author of the critically acclaimed book “Boy Erased” (now, a movie). In an event sponsored by the Fairfax County Public Library, Conley will talk about radical compassion and answer audience questions.

Friday, June 25

  • Making Matters (6 p.m.) — This year’s Smithsonian Folk Festival is going virtual and will highlight maker culture from across the world. Learn Senegalese metalsmithing, Peruvian basket weaving, and much more.
  • Campfire Summer (7 p.m.) — Celebrate summer with a campfire at the Walker Nature Center. There’ll be stories, s’mores, and fireflies. This is a family event, but make sure to bring a flashlight.

Saturday, June 26

  • Inferno (8 p.m.) — Experience this walk-through artistic journey inspired by Dante’s “Inferno.” Held at Workhouse Art Center in Lorton, this walkable 45-minute interactive performance will mimic Dante’s walk through the afterlife.

Sunday, June 27

  • Freedom 5k (8 a.m.) — Kick start the summer and the July 4th holiday with a 5k run and a 1k fun run starting from Fairfax Corner. The course runs past the Fairfax County Government Center and has been certified by USA Track & Field.
  • Summer Sunday Concert  (5 p.m.) — Head over to the McLean Community Center for a Sunday evening outdoor concert featuring the jazzy New York-based JoJo & The Pinecones. This concert is family-friendly and is definitely music everyone will love to dance too.
  • Growing Pride (2-7 p.m.) — Head to the Garden on Eisenhower Ave. in Alexandria to celebrate pride and shop from more than a dozen LGBTQ+ makers and allies. There’ll also be food, live music, and workshops.

via Flickr/Steven Miller

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Morning Notes

Hail Spotted During Evening Showers — Hail pelted Reston and Herndon last night when a rainstorm passed through the area around 7:45 p.m. The storm moved through fairly quickly but still made an impression. [Capital Weather Gang/Twitter]

Reston Association Annual Meeting Tonight — Reston Association will hold its annual members’ meeting virtually at 7 p.m. today. Member comments will be followed by an announcement of the results of the 2021 Board of Directors election and an introduction of the new directors. [RA]

Developers Undeterred by Silver Line Delays — The second phase of Metro’s Silver Line will not open until next year, but developers and local economic leaders still have a “positive long-term outlook” for the Reston and Herndon area. In the short term, though, the delays have “added challenges to those under construction and looking to break ground.” [Bisnow]

Fairfax County Joins Solarize Program Again — For the fifth year in a row, Fairfax County is participating in the Solarize Virginia program, which helps reduce costs for homeowners and businesses seeking to adopt solar power technology. This year’s program runs from April 12 through June 30, and for the first time, participants have the option to also install battery storage systems. [Fairfax County Government]

Outdoor “Twelfth Night” Production Coming to Herndon — The Herndon Community Arts Lab, Arts Herndon, and Dark Horse Theatre are putting on performances of Willian Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night or What You Will” on the Arts Herndon Lawn Stage in Old Town this spring. There will be a “pay what you will” preview on April 23, followed by regular performances on April 24 and 25, and May 1 and 2. [Patch]

Local College Student Bombarded by Camel Calls — A college student was baffled by a rash of callers asking to buy a camel he didn’t have until he learned about a Craigslist post advertising a camel for sale in Fairfax County with his phone number. The legality of private camel ownership in the county is unclear. [DCist]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Morning Notes

Democracy Drive in Reston Town Center Closed — The street will be closed all week for “ongoing infrastructure updates with repairs and modifications being made to the waste lines in the Southwest Building,” a Reston Town Center spokesperson says. The street remains accessible to pedestrians, and all stores are open. [Potomac River Running/Twitter]

Kennedy Center to Fully Reopen in the Fall — The Kennedy Center will hold a grand reopening in September, launching an extensive lineup of performances and activities to celebrate its 50th anniversary. A limited number of in-person concerts are also being planned for this spring and summer. [Washingtonian]

Task Force Proposes Strategies to Preserve Affordable Housing — Fairfax County Affordable Housing Preservation Task Force presented a report to the Board of Supervisors yesterday (Tuesday) with recommendations for maintaining the county’s approximately 9,000 existing market affordable multifamily units. [Fairfax County Government]

Reston Startup Raises Millions in Funding — The cybersecurity startup ThreatQuotient Inc. raised $22.5 million in equity and debt funding that it hopes to use to accelerate the growth of its data platform, which gives clients information they can utilize to automatically detect and respond to threats. The company says it saw “record bookings and revenue growth” last year. [Washington Business Journal]

Celebrate National Beer Day at a Local Brewery — National Beer Day comes every year on April 7 to mark the end of the Prohibition-era ban on the sale and consumption of low-alcohol beverages like beer. Local options for celebrating include Herndon’s Aslin Beer Company as well as Bike Lane Brewery and the Lake Anne Brewhouse in Reston. [Patch]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Reston Community Center’s CenterStage will come to life once again with three performances in the fall.

A limited number of tickets will go on sale on September 1 for Reston residents and employees and the general public on September 8.

CenterStage has adopted new safety protocols in order to maximize safety for the Professional Touring Artist series. Audience members are requested to wear masks and no intermissions will take place.

In order to facilitate social distancing, audience capacity will be limited to 43 pairs of tickets.

Shows may be live-streamed in the community room if a show sells out of CenterStage seating.

The following shows are planned for the fall:

Trout Fishing in America

Sunday, November 22, 3:00 p.m.
$10 Reston/$20 Non-Reston

This Grammy-nominated music act returns to Reston to entertain audiences of all ages.

Mark Brutsché is Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Saturday, December 5, 3:00 p.m.
$5 Reston/$10 Non-Reston

Mark Brutsché brings his unique spin on this childhood favorite that will be fun for the whole family. 

Lúnasa, a Celtic Holiday

Special Guest Daoirí Farrell. Opening with MALINDA

Thursday, December 17, 8:00 p.m.
$25 Reston/$50 Non-Reston

Irish band Lúnasa brings its holiday show to the CenterStage, along with Dublin-born bouzouki player Daoirí Farrell and rising star MALINDA.

RCC also plans to continue its winter and spring line-up as well, which will include shows from Regina Carter, Reduced Shakespeare Company, and mutts Gone Nuts. Tickets for the 2021 portion of the schedule go on sale on December for Reston residents and December 8 for all others. The center noted that all decisions are “pending public health status and performer traveler restrictions.”

Unless otherwise noted, all performances take place at CenterStage, which is located at RCC Hunters Woods.

More information on how to purchase tickets is available online.

Photo via RCC

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The Diary of Anne Frank” is playing at the Reston Community Center this weekend.

The production by the Reston Community Players walks the audience through the life of a 13-year old girl who hid from the Nazis during the Holocaust, according to the event description.

“This powerful new adaptation captures the claustrophobic realities of their daily existence while Anne’s transcendent spirit is revealed as she voices her belief, ‘in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart,'” the event page said.

Showtimes take place on 8 p.m. March 6-7 at CenterStage (2310 Colts Neck Road), the website said. The sold-out Sunday matinee will begin at 2 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased online.

Tomorrow (March 7)

  • Veronneau in the Wine Room (6:30-9:30 p.m.) — Lynn Veronneau and Ken Avis will be performing multi-cultural jazz at Lake Anne Coffee House & Wine Bar (1612 Washington Plaza). Reservations can be made by calling 703-481-9766.
  • Babysitting Class (11 a.m. until noon) — This event will help teenagers learn how to take care of kids while babysitting. Ages 12-14 are welcome to attend the free event at PM Pediatrics (905 Herndon Parkway).
  • ZUMBA Spring Fling (9-10:30 a.m.) — Herndon Community Center (814 Ferndale Ave) is hosting a Zumba fundraiser to benefit Parks & Recreation Scholarship Fund, which helps subsidize summer camps. People over the age of 16 are welcome, and tickets are $10. The class will be taught by instructors and there will be refreshments and door prizes, according to the event page.

Sunday (March 8)

  • Reston 10 Miler (8-10 a.m.) — Runners in the area can gather at South Lakes High School (11400 South Lakes Drive) for a competitive race. Awards will be given out for the first few people to complete the course. Online registration starts are $50. 
  • Why Native Plants (4-5 p.m.) — Certified Virginia Master Gardener Elisa Meara will be at the Green Fare Organic Cafe (408 Elden Street) to host a workshop about native plants that locals can integrate into their own gardens this summer. Tickets are free and those interested can register online.

Photo via Reston Community Players/Facebook

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In recent years, Boston Properties has proffered to set aside a parcel of land in a recently approved mixed-use development for a new performing arts center. The circular center would be located on Block J as part of Reston Gateway, 4.8 million square feet of development near the future Reston Town Center Metro Station.  It would contain up to 50,000 square feet and would sit near an office building with eights levels, including three levels of underground parking.

The proposed proffer has prompted Reston Community Center to explore Reston residents’ opinions on the center and whether or not RCC should play a role in pushing the initiative forward. These questions will be posed in a community survey that will be conducted this summer.

RCC Executive Director Leila Gordon told Reston Now that if the center determines it should construct such a venue, it would seek a bond referendum to fund the construction. Gordon said that RCC’s Board of Governors has no intent to raise the current tax rate.

If RCC takes part in the effort, it hopes to ensure the facility is large enough to host dance, choral and orchestral music, and theatrical musics with large casts. Its primary service audience would be community-based non-profit arts organizations and Fairfax County Public Schools’ arts programs.

Gordon also reiterated that RCC will not compete with the Wolf Trap or negatively impact its operations. RCC also hopes to ensure the center is accessible to all — with affordable rents for local art users and affordable ticket pricing.

Others have also discussed leveraging cash contributions from the county, nearby towns like Herndon and Vienna, and other entities.

“If those were to be realized, those contributors would potentially achieve calendar access to use of the new venue, and/or perhaps some role in its mission. This would be a complicated scenario to pursue, but it’s one worth exploring,” Gordon wrote.

Discussions are preliminary, as RCC has not yet discussed future possibilities with Boston Properties or the county’s land use staff.

Rendering via handout/Fairfax County Government

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The classic story of a young orphan girl in search of her parents in New York City who gets selected to stay at wealthy Daddy Warbucks’ residence is coming to Reston in two weeks.

The Reston Community Player’s production of the Broadway musical “Annie” will conclude the nonprofit theatre group’s 52nd season.

“How can you not love a spunky little girl who, against all odds, keeps hope alive and looks forward to a better tomorrow?” Director Sue Pinkman said in a press release. “Each year, another generation of little girls gets to know this classic character.”

The role of “Annie” will be shared by two actresses. The full cast is the following:

  • Kylee Hope Geraci, Eva Jaber as Annie
  • Doug Marcks as Daddy Warbucks
  • Jennifer Redford as Miss Hannigan
  • Claire Jeffrey as Grace Farrell
  • Joshua Redford as Rooster Hannigan
  • Emily Jennings as Lily St. Regis
  • Richard Durkin as Franklin Delano Roosevelt
  • Nathan Ramee as Bert Healy
  • Jane Keifer as Molly (orphan)
  • Della McCahill as Tessie (orphan)
  • Elizabeth Cha as Kate (orphan)
  • Madelyn Regan as July (orphan)
  • Elenora Fiel as Duffy (orphan)
  • Eliana Redford as Pepper (orphan)
  • Whimsy as Sandy
  • Ensemble: Marissa Dolcich, Richard Durkin, Andy Gable, Aidan Goggin, Earle S. Greene, Kate Keifer, Kirk Kaneer, Nathan Ramee, Katie Pond, Jennifer Stevens, Sara Watson

Performances will be held at the Reston Community Center’s CenterStage (2310 Colts Neck Road) at 8 p.m. on April 26-27, May 3-4, May 10-11 and May 17-18. Matinees will be held at 2 p.m on May 5, May 11-12 and May 18.

The production of the family-friendly musical is appropriate for all ages.

Photo courtesy Reston Community Players

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Newbery award-winning author Kwame Alexander and musician Randy Preston will team up on Saturday (April 6) for a performance at the Reston Regional Library.

The free show at from 2-4 p.m. 11925 Bowman Towne Drive will celebrate the paperback release of Alexander’s “Booked” and “The Crossover” in addition to the release of Alexander’s newest picture book called “The Undefeated.”

Books will be available for purchase, and a limited number of free copies will be given to Fairfax County Public School educators at the event, which is hosted in partnership with the Reston Regional Library and Scrawl Books.

Photo via Reston Regional Library

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A husband and wife singer-songwriter team is set to perform at the Deepwood Sessions, a series of house concerts hosted in Reston, this Friday (April 5).

Chris and Jenna Badeker, who met and began singing together in college, formed Wild Harbors in 2017, according to their website. The duo describes their sound as alternative pop with “gutsy, lyric-driven songs laced with intricate vocal harmonies.”

They recently released their first full-length album, “Monument,” on March 15.

The 7 p.m. show asks attendees each for $10. Each concert for the Deepwood Sessions has a suggested minimum donation, which goes to directly to the artist.

According to the website, the series hosts acoustic and unplugged concerts featuring independent artists with a variety of styles and musical genres.

RSVP-ing in advance is strongly recommended.

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Fairfax County is looking into who should pay for and manage a community-based performing arts center set for Boston Properties’ Reston Gateway project.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a feasibility study with private and public entities at its meeting last week on Tuesday, March 19.

“The community has demonstrated strong interest and support for such a facility,” Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins wrote in her motion, which Chairman Sharon Bulova read due to Hudgins’ absence.

The 60,000-square-foot performing arts center is slated for the mixed-use project, which includes nearly 2 million square feet of office space, two hotels with 570 rooms and 162,300 square feet in retail and restaurants. Located on the north side of Sunset Hills Road between the Reston and Town Center parkways, the project will connect the future Reston Town Center Metro station to the border of Reston Town Center. 

Block J has been identified as a possible location for the performing arts center, according to Hudgins’ motion. The feasibility study aims to assess if the county or another entity can finance, construct, maintain and program the performing arts center.

Before the board voted, Providence District Supervisor Linda Smyth cautioned the board about the upkeep the performing arts will require.

“Having worked through a lot of this sort of thing with the Cap One project in Tysons, we found that operating and maintaining some sort of arts center is costly,” Smyth told the board. “It requires the right people to do it.”

Photos via Fairfax County and Cooper Carry 

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Singer Beverly Cosham is set to take CenterStage exactly one week from today for a free show.

Known for her cabaret and theater performances, Cosham will perform songs from the Great American Songbook.

The performance starts at 2:15 p.m. next Thursday (March 21) at RCC Hunters Woods (2310 Colts Neck Road).

The show is a part of a joint venture between the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at George Mason University and Reston Community Center.

Photo via Reston Community Center 

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Contra-Tiempo, a Los Angeles-based dance company, will bring a performance to CenterStage followed by a dance party with the cast on Thursday (March 14).

The urban Latin dance theatre combines salsa, Afro-Cuban, hip-hop and contemporary dance with theater, text and original music, according to the group’s website.

Professional dancers, artists, immigrants, educators and activists comprise Contra-Tiempo.

From the Reston Community Center:

This urban Latin dance theatre experience takes on joy as the ultimate expression of resistance. Whenever humans have survived immense hardship and injustice, prevailing with their humanity intact, the presence of joy has always been at the root. An invigorating blend of physically intense and socially astute performances that push the boundaries of Latin dance as an expressive cultural and contemporary form, Contra-Tiempo brings salsa back to its roots as a mode of expression for the struggles of the working class.

The performance starts at 8 p.m. at RCC Hunters Woods (2310 Colts Neck Road). After the show, attendees can learn from the performers how to salsa in the community room.

Tickets cost $20 for Restonians.

Photo by Eric Wolfe, courtesy Reston Community Center

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Luke Brindley will bring folk rock and acoustic guitar music to the Deepwood Sessions, a series of house concerts hosted in Reston, this Friday (March 8).

Based in Virginia, Brindley is a fingerstyle guitarist and singer-songwriter. He also runs with his brothers a music venue, bar and cafe in Vienna called Jammin Java.

He released the “Dream Songs EP” in 2018.

The 7 p.m. show asks attendees each for a $15 minimum donation. Each concert for the Deepwood Sessions has a suggested minimum donation, which goes to directly to the artist.

According to the website, the series hosts its acoustic and unplugged concerts featuring independent artists with a variety of styles and musical genres.

RSVP-ing in advance is strongly recommended.

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A play about two women’s rivalry for the affections of a mutual lover is coming to Herndon’s NextStop Theatre (269 Sunset Park Drive) next month.

Fallen Angels” dramatizes sexual desire and frustration as two housewives prepare to meet with an “exotic” former lover. The show originally opened in London in 1925 and was considered amusing but scandalous for its depiction of sex and adultery — both subjects that were seen as obscene and disruptive.

Ticketing in advance is recommended, as ticket prices may increase as seating fills. Tickets range from $35 to $50. The show will run Thursday-Sunday from March 14 through April 7. Student and group tickets are available at a discount.

Photo via NextStop Theatre

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