Amid a flurry of pandemic-related challenges, a nonprofit theatrical group is finding ways to keep audiences captivated.
With average case rates lessening, Reston Community Players has a new show starting this month that’s strangely not at all connected with COVID-19 despite its name, “A Delightful Quarantine.”
“There has been so much joy in our facility these past few months since we have been back at work,” RCP President Kate Keifer said in an email.
The upcoming comedic play is set to open Feb. 25 at Reston Community Center’s CenterStage, which may be just what audiences need right now, Keifer noted. It’s about seven households quarantining amid an extraterrestrial visit.
“‘A Delightful Quarantine’ is unique and witty and has something for everyone to relate to in it,” Liz Mykietyn, director of the production, said in a statement. “The title caught my eye in a theater catalogue I was perusing over a decade ago and after buying the script, I knew I had to do it. Little did I know at that time that we’d all face our own quarantine.”
The theatrical company has been running shows since 1966, and Keifer says that donations through virtual productions and fundraising events have helped the organization continue its mission.
“What keeps all of our volunteers going through the past two years is the hope and promise of a new show, a new production, or a new creative spark to attach ourselves to,” she also wrote.
Last fall, the organization also launched its first apprentice program production, where teens delivered a satirical show called “The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!)”
They’ll be expanding that program this summer, too, using the new Capital One Hall venue from July 8-17 for a production of “Newsies.”
Cornerstones Celebrates 50 Years — The nonprofit organization will celebrate its 50th anniversary at Reston Community Center tonight. The event begins at 6 p.m. [Cornerstones]
Reston Community Players Launches New Program — The organization has launched a new apprenticeship program for students between the ages of 12 and 18. The opportunity involves 10 performances at Reston Community Center’s CenterStage. [Reston Patch]
Fire Department Cancels Fill the Boot Event — The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department has once again canceled its in-person “Fill the Boot” event for muscular dystrophy this year. The decision was made due to increasing cases of COVID-19. [FCFRD]
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 Reston and Herndon organizations that received grants are:
- Arts Herndon
- Gin Dance Company
- NextStop Theater
- Public Art Reston
- Reston Chamber Orchestra Trust
- Reston Community Player
- The Reston Chorale
- Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art
- Virginia Chamber Orchestra
“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.”
The Reston Community Players are back on the stage after a year of no on-stage performances.
Dark since March 2020, the Reston Community Players have drawn back the curtain for a virtual-only performance of the Cold War-era drama “A Walk in the Woods.”
The show was pre-recorded at CenterStage at the Reston Community Center. It was available on-demand starting last week and will be available through March 25.
The theater’s artistic director Kate Keifer said the theater has been working “tirelessly” to develop new ways of creating and delivering their art to the community.
“It’s a hard time to know when is the ‘right’ time to come back to the stage,” writes Keifer in an email to Reston Now. “We have all missed producing live theater so much during the past year. Filming this production at the CenterStage at RCC… and then streaming it online seemed to be a good compromise to the continued concerns for the health and safety of our volunteers and our patrons.”
Keifer says that while it’s been the pause “equal parts frustrating and fascinating,” it’s given the theater a chance to innovate and learn new skills.
This past summer, the theater organized a two-day virtual telethon with partnership with more than a dozen other community theaters across the region to raise money for the arts.
In the fall, they held a month-long concert series to help with their own operating costs as well make donations to other local non-profits.
This performance of A Walk in the Woods, however, is the first time that they are getting back to doing something similar as they had done in the past.
A Walk in the Woods follows two Cold War nuclear arms negotiations, one Russian and the other American, as they hold a series of informal discussions in the woods about the current state of affairs. The seasons change, as do their understanding of one another.
Keifer admits that it was a challenge for the two-person cast to perform in front of an empty theater, but gave them the opportunity to get creative.
“[It was] definitely not as much fun as performing to a theater full of appreciative patrons,” she says. “But the actors in this production are extremely talented professionals who deliver carefully crafted, emotional performances despite the lack of a live audience. We were also able to explore techniques we don’t typically get to use, such as close up camera angles.”
As for when audiences will be able to see the Reston Community Players again in person, Keifer says the hope is soon.
“We are hopeful to be able to return to the stage before the end of 2021,” she says. ” We are working feverishly on some very exciting plans to make it happen.”
The Reston Community Players is a non-profit 501c and have been performing since 1966. It has called CenterStage their home since 1979.
Photo courtesy of Reston Community Players
Reston Community Players has announced a special month-long concert series, ‘RCP Gives Thanks’, to show gratitude to the Reston community for its support this year.
The virtual mini-concerts will feature some of RCP’s performers while generating donations for their organization in addition to other local non-profits in the Reston area.
Beginning November 1 at 8 p.m., RCP will spread a message of gratitude and camaraderie with uplifting stories of gratitude and performances from memorable past performers, according to a statement from the organization. The fundraising campaign will take place via RCP’s Facebook page.
“‘RCP Gives Thanks’ is our chance to show our gratitude and appreciation for the community that has sustained us for the past 54 years,” said Jolene Vettese, the president of RCP, in the statement. “November is often a time to reflect on what we have in our lives that we are thankful for, and we’d like to share with our community what it is that we are thankful for.”
Donations will go towards defraying the fixed operating expenses that RCP cannot cover due to the pandemic, specifically production cancellations.
RCP will also be staring the proceeds with Shepherd’s Center, LINKS Inc, and Cornerstones as a means of thanking the community. Each non-profit partner will be featured for 10 days of performances and will receive half of all donations raised during those days, according to the statement.
Those interested can visit RCP’s website for more information and the schedule of performances.
Image via Reston Community Players/Facebook
Reston Community Players Win Big — The theatre company, which is based in Reston, won several awards in the 20th Annual Washington Area Theatre Community Honors. The group’s production “Time Stands Still” was selected for outstanding musical and other technical awards. [DC Metro Theater Arts]
Reston Hospital Centers Buys Former BBQ Restaurant — The Reston-based company has acquired 8240 Leesburg Pike, formerly the home of a Korean BBQ restaurant, with plans to retrofit the building for an emergency room in Tysons. [Washington Business Journal]
Number of COVID-19 Cases Continues to Climb — Fairfax County continues to have the highest number of cases. The state’s health department reported 426 confirmed cases yesterday (Sunday). Overall, there are more than 2,600 cases throughout the state. The illness has claimed the lives of 51 people. [Virginia Department of Health]
More Metro Service Reductions — Metro will close 9 p.m. every day. Metrorail will begin at 5 a.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. on weekends. [Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority]
Photo by Marjorie Copson
“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
Reston Community Players is exploring new ways to get youth in the community to experience live theatre.
The nonprofit organization, which has been producing theatrical productions since 1966, launched a new initiative that allows area students to receive discounted tickets for its productions.
The program, Access to the Arts, allocates blocks of discounted tickets for select shows.
Jolene Vettese, RCP’s president, said many of the organization’s productions contain themes and messages that are relevant to today’s youth.
“We believe strongly that young people should have wider and more affordable access to performing arts events in their communities,” Vettese said.
Discounts are available for schools and community groups online. Individuals cannot purchase discounted tickets.
Photo via Reston Community Players
Reston Community Players will continue their 53rd season with “The Diary of Anne Frank,” which is based on the harrowing story of eight people hiding from Nazis in a concealed attic.
The show will run from Feb. 28 through March 14 at Reston Community Center’s CenterStage (2310 Colts Neck Road).
“The Diary of Anne Frank holds themes of family, fear, and love – all seen through the eyes of a young girl,” said Jolene Vettese, President of Reston Community Players. “They are themes that resonate particularly in today’s world and ones we believe are very important for today’s audiences.”
The performance is based on the book, “Anne Frank: the Diary of a Young Girl.” It tells the story of Anne, 13, and seven others Jews who hide in an attic as the Nazis deport the Jews of Holland to their death. The book captures the diary entries of the young girl.
Here’s more from RCP about the upcoming show:
Leading the cast of The Diary of Anne Frank are Sophia Manicone in the title role and Michael Kharfen as her father, Otto Frank. They are joined by Laura Russell (Edith Frank), Madison Chase (Margot), Michael Sherman (Mr. Van Daan), Lorraine Magee (Mrs. Van Daan), Logan Matthew Baker (Peter), Steven Palkovitz (Mr. Dussel), Earle Greene (Mr. Kraler), Jessi Shull (Miep), Francis Kosciesza (Dutch Nazi), Kevin Carrington (Dutch Collaborator) and Ian Brown (Gestapo).
Anne Frank is directed by notable regional director Gloria DuGan. The production team includes Diane P. Mullins (Producer), Jessica Carrington (Stage Manager), Kevin Carrington (Assistant Stage Manager), Maggie Modig (Set Designer, Lead Set Painter), Tom Geutig (Master Carpenter, Sandy Dotson (Set Decoration), Franklin Coleman (Lighting Designer), Sara Birkhead (Lead Electrician) and Stan Harris (Sound Designer).
The curtain time is 8 p.m. for all shows except a 2 p.m. matinee on March 8. Tickets can be purchased online and by calling the box office at 703-476-4500, extension 3.
RCP is a nonprofit organization that has been producing theatrical productions since 1966.
‘The Game’s Afoot’ Gets Thumbs Up — The Maryland Theatre Guide gave Ken Ludwig’s production by Reston Community Players high praises, noting that the director’s “affection for his subject matter is palpable in this nearly farcical murder mystery.” [Maryland Theatre Guide]
Juice Bar Coming Soon to Junction Square — Vb Juice Bar plans to open up soon in Herndon’s Junction Square neighborhood. The business has been posting frequent updates on Facebook, including a recent video of a store tour. Still, there’s no official word on the opening date. [Vb Juice Bar/Facebook]
Stateside: Senate Moves to Scrap Lee-Jackson Holiday — “The Virginia Senate has advanced legislation to scrap the state’s Lee-Jackson holiday celebrating two Confederate generals. The Democratic-led Senate voted largely along party lines Tuesday to pass legislation that would make Election Day a state holiday instead of Lee-Jackson Day.” [NBC4]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
Early Reston Resident, Lawyer Dies — Calvin Larson, a lawyer who practiced bankruptcy law in Fairfax County, died last month. He was a civic activist and one of the early residents of the new town of Reston. Larson — who delivered copies of The Washington Post early in the morning until he was 85 — was also a founder of the Reston Community Association and the Reston Music Center. [The Washington Post]
Reston Community Players Receive Honors — The group was nominated for the 20th annual Washington Area Theatre Community Honors for several productions, including “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” and “Time Stands Still.” [Maryland Theatre Guide]
Staff photo by Jay Westcott
Final Showings of “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” — There are two showings left for the Reston Community Players’ performance on Nov. 8 and 9 at Reston Community Center (2310 Colts Neck Road). Tickets are available online. [Reston Community Players]
County Host Tactical Athlete Wellness Symposium — On November 7 and 8, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department is hosting the 2019 Tactical Athlete Wellness Symposium – Mind, Body, and Soul. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]
Reston Association Markets The Lake House — The association is marketing the venue, which says it is ideal for events, parties and other special occasions. [Reston Today]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
A musical promising the audience a synthesis of comedy and murder is coming to Reston next month.
A local production of the Tony award-winning “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” will open at the Reston Community Center’s CenterStage (2310 Colts Neck Road) on Oct. 18 and run through Nov 3.
Here’s more about the plot from RCC:
Set in London in 1907, Gentleman’s Guide focuses on the low-born Monty Navarro, who suddenly learns that he’s ninth in line for an earldom in the lofty D’Ysquith family and sets out to speed up the line of succession by using a great deal of charm… and a dash of murder. Can he knock off his unsuspecting relatives without being caught and become the ninth Earl of Highhurst? And what of love? Because murder isn’t the only thing on Monty’s mind.
“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder retains a classic aesthetic but with humor that is modern and relevant,” Rich Farella, the director of the production, said in a press release.
The production will be put on by the Reston Community Players, a local non-profit theatre group.
Tickets are available online and start at $24 for students and seniors. Showtimes will take place on the weekends and include matinee and evening performances.
Photos courtesy Reston Community Players
Reston Developer Focuses on Affordable Housing in Campaign for Board Chair — Timothy Chapman, one of four Democrats running to succeed Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Sharon Bulova, says expanding affordable housing is a key component of his campaign platform. Chapman grappled with homelessness growing up and is the co-founder of BrunoClay Management, a construction contractor based in Vienna. [Fairfax County Times]
Herndon Police Department Says Goodbye to K9 Leon — Leon was medically retired in February after losing a battle to cancer on Thursday. [Herndon Police Department]
Review: Another Reason to See ‘Annie’ by Reston Community Players — “There’s an old adage in performance that you should never work with children or animals since they tend to steal the show. Reston Community Players do not shy away from this challenge with their excellent production of the musical ‘Annie,’ now playing at the Reston Community Center through May 18.” [Reston Community Players]
Flickr pool photo by vantagehill
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