Ideas Floated for New Performing Arts Center at Reston Gateway

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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Reston Community Players Ending Theatre Season With “Annie”

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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Author, Musician to Mark Book Releases With Reston Regional Library Performance

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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Husband and Wife Duo to Perform Friday for Deepwood Sessions

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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County OKs Feasibility Study for Performing Arts Center at Reston Gateway

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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Cabaret Singer Beverly Cosham Coming to CenterStage Next Week

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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Latin Dance Group Bringing Show, Salsa Party to Reston Thursday

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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Musician Luke Brindley to Perform Friday for Deepwood Sessions

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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NextStop Theatre’s ‘Fallen Angels’ Premieres in Mid-March

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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Reston Community Players Take the Stage Friday for ‘Time Stands Still’

The Reston Community Players are set to begin performances for “Times Stands Still” on Friday (March 1).

Donald Margulies’ play first hit the stage in 2009. Ten years later, Adam Konowe, the director of RCP’s production, says that the drama is still relevant. “This is truly a play that could have been ripped from today’s headlines, covering the full range of emotions from love to betrayal, pride to envy and commitment to dissolution.”

What’s the show about? Reston Community Players gave this plot description:

“Time Stands Still” examines the lives of one couple making a living out of documenting the horrors of war. When Sarah, a photojournalist returns from covering the Iraq War after being injured by a roadside bomb, her reporter boyfriend James is swamped by guilt after having left Sarah alone in Iraq. Physically bruised and emotionally beaten, Sarah and James explore whether it is possible for two people who are used to living in dangerous conditions to carve out a normal life.

“It demonstrates that what fulfills us in one sense can be destructive elsewhere,” Konowe said in a press release. “Most importantly, it reinforces that truth — portrayed here through journalism — is worth fighting for and serves society well, even when the news it conveys is difficult to comprehend or appreciate.”

The drama replaced RCP’s previously announced production of “Spring Awakening,” which was canceled “due to unforeseen circumstances,” according to RCP.

The full cast is the following:

  • Jane Steffen as Sarah Goodwin
  • Greg Lang as James Dodd
  • Todd Huse as Richard Ehrlich
  • Alex Sands as Mandy Bloom

Performances will be held at the Reston Community Center’s CenterStage (2310 Colts Neck Road) at 8 p.m. on March 1-2, March 8-9 and March 15-16. A matinee will be held at 2 p.m. on March 10.

A champagne reception will follow the show on its opening night.

After the March 9 performance, two war correspondents — Susan Katz Keating, a national security correspondent for the American Media Institute, and former Fox News Channel Iraq Correspondent Malini Wilkes — will share their experiences covering overseas conflicts as part of an audience talkback panel.

Photos courtesy of Reston Community Players

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‘The Wolves’ and More This Weekend in Reston

Sunday is your last chance to watch NextStop Theatre Company’s final performances of “The Wolves” — a comedy about the lives of high school girls at their daily soccer warm-ups.

Written by Sarah DeLappe, the play was a recent finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

The show tonight (Feb. 22) starts at 8 p.m. at 269 Sunset Park Drive. Tomorrow, the curtain rises at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. The last two shows on Sunday start at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Tickets cost between $35-$60, depending on the demand.

Tomorrow (Feb. 23)

  • All Gardeners’ Meeting (10 a.m.-noon) — Users of Reston’s community garden plots can attend the annual All Gardeners’ meeting, which will include two guest speakers and light refreshments, at the Reston Association’s headquarters. Discussion topics will include soil management, gardening with return on investments and gardening tips.
  • Bored out of your Gourd (11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.) — Head over to Frying Pan Farm Park to make a birdhouse out of gourds the farm grew last year. The program costs $14 per person.
  • Book Talk with Ralph Savarese (4:30-6:30 p.m.) — The author will join a panel of nonspeaking autistic students at ArtSpace Herndon.
  • Reston Runners Annual Meeting and Dinner (6 p.m.) — The running group will meet at RCC Hunters Woods Village Center.

Sunday (Feb. 24)

  • Meet Jason Michael Primrose (12:15 p.m.) — Jason Michael Primrose will introduce his latest sci-fi creation at Scrawl Books.
  • Bird Walks (8-11 a.m.) — Beginning and expert birders are invited to search for birds around Reston. The walks start at the Lake Newport tennis courts.
  • Maple Syrup Boil-Down (noon-2 p.m.) — Head to Colvin Run Mill to learn how sap is boiled down into syrup. Participants will get to taste some maple syrup. Tickets cost $5 per person.
  • Annual NOVA Band Jam (4:30 p.m.) — Support the South Lakes High School at their performance at Ned Devine’s in Herndon. Tickets cost $5 for students and $10 for adults.

Photo via NextStop Theatre Company/Facebook

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Singer Ted Garber to Bring Blues, Rock to Reston on Friday

Singer and musician Ted Garber is bringing his blues, Americana and rock music back to Reston later this week.

Garber started his career by performing covers on the streets of New Orleans before heading to the 9:30 Club, Blues Alley and the Strathmore in the D.C.-area, according to his bio.

Now, Garber is a well-known musician around the Northern Virginia area, who often stops by Reston on his tours and for community events.

Garber is set to perform on Friday (Feb. 22) at 9 p.m. at Red’s Table (11150 South Lakes Drive), an American eatery by Lake Thoreau that was started by three siblings who grew up in Reston. The event does not have a cover charge.

Photo via Ted Garber/Facebook

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Reston Students Win National Award at Junior Theater Festival

Students from a private performing arts school in Reston recently took home prizes at the 2019 Junior Theater Festival.

The festival, which ran from Jan. 18-20 in Atlanta, celebrated student-driven musical theater programs. In addition to watching students’ performances, the more than 6,600 students and educators were able to partake in interactive workshops led by Broadway and West End professionals.

The Lopez Studios Inc. Performing Arts Preparatory School (11425 S. Isaac Newton Square) won a Freddie G Award for Excellence in Ensemble Work.

Three students from Lopez Studios — Jillian Felder, Victoria Felder and Marisa Lopez — received call-backs for future Broadway Junior shoots that will be taped this summer in New York City. The shoots will be “how-to” choreography videos for soon-to-be-released Broadway Junior musicals.

Marisa Lopez and Marcus Pennisi were some of the students named to the Junior Theater Festival All-Stars. They performed in the All-Stars song during the festival’s closing ceremony.

Students from the school also performed “Seusical Jr.” — the musical version for kids based on the books by Dr. Seuss.

This isn’t the first time Lopez Studios has won awards at Junior Theater Festivals. Students from the school have won awards or made it to the final call-back every year of the festival going back to 2014.

Photo by James Barker Photography

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Basic knitting — Want to learn how to knit? The Reston Regional Library will show you “the only two stitches you need to knit anything you want” from 7-8 p.m. tonight. [Fairfax County]

Two musical worlds collide — Koto player Yumi Kurosawa will perform with tabla player Anubrata Chatterjee, bridging the cultures of Japan and India. The performance starts at 8 p.m. at CenterStage. Tickets cost $15 for Restonians. [Reston Community Center]

Movie theatre chain may come to Reston — “Upscale movie theater chain Cinépolis is close to a deal to open an eight-screen theater at Halley Rise, making the mixed-use project in Reston its first location in Northern Virginia.” [Washington Business Journal]

Students helping students — Leadership students from South Lakes High School recently organized a workshop to teach leadership skills to student ambassadors from Terraset Elementary School. [Fairfax County]

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NextStop Theatre Creates Program for D.C.-Area Playwrights

NextStop Theatre Company is rolling out a new program to strengthen the network of D.C.-area playwrights.

The Herndon-based, nonprofit theatre company unveiled The Playwrights’ Initiative on Friday (Feb. 8) to help connect artists and to provide resources often needed for new theatrical works.

“I have long aspired for NextStop to get involved in developing new work,” NextStop Theatre Company’s Artistic Director Evan Hoffman said in a statement. “But I wanted to start by consulting with playwrights. I wanted to find out how we could best serve them and their creative process.”

Hoffman says that playwrights often say they face two challenges. “They lamented that the writing process can be very lonely work and that finding the people and space to gain objective feedback is daunting,” Hoffman said. “It is my hope we can help to ease both of those struggles through this program.”

The program has two components.

First, the theatre company will host an inaugural “Playwrights’ Mixer and Pitch-fest” on March 23. NextStop Theatre Company plans to invite 30 local playwrights network with each other and local directors and producers before each playwright pitches their work to the group.

After the event, playwrights in attendance will have the opportunity to complete a survey about the pitches, which will help NextStop Theatre Company select the works for a series of free staged readings. The theatre company plans to have professional actors and directors take part in the developmental readings, which are slated to take place over six months.

The Playwrights’ Initiative is partly funded by a grant from ArtsFairfax.

Photo by NextStop Theatre Company

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