SLHS Theatre Director to Retire After 30 Years

A force behind more than 150 performances at South Lakes High School’s Theatre Arts program is leaving the program. Maria Harris, the program’s theatre arts director, plans to retire after 30 years of coaching students, putting on productions, and watching the program grow over the last three decades.

Harris is now turning toward what she calls her final act: her own acting career and production company, Rising Star Productions, and spending more time with her family and aging parents.

“It’s been a good career, but it’s not over yet,” Harris said. She commutes two hours daily from her home in Loudoun County to SLHS.

After teaching for a few years in Michigan — where she was born — and two other Fairfax County schools, Harris landed a full time job at SLHS. She’s worked as the performing arts chair and taught speech, english, theatre and film — watching the program grow from two shows required per year to an around-the-year program. The job has given her the opportunity to travel with her students — including the prestigious American High School Theatre Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland where the school was selected to represent Virginia. Her students have also won two state championships in the Virginia High School League’s film competition.

Over the years, she said she has most enjoyed watching her students grow. “I’ve really enjoyed my time here at SLHS. I love, love, love my kids and I’m going to miss them the most.” Before shows, she assembles her students into a big circle and leads them through breathing exercises, passing a squeeze of good wishes down the chain of linked hands until they reach her.

Ryleigh Line, one of her students, told Reston Now that Harris has helped many students realize their full potential.

“The most important thing that she does for us is support us and she pushes us to be the best we can be by having high expectations and constructive feedback for us after every assignment and production,” Line said. “The South Lakes community will miss Mrs. Harris very much and are forever thankful for her.”

For Harris, who calls herself a “Motown girl,” the arts were ingrained in her lifestyle since she was five. She received her bachelor’s degree in education from Wayne State University.

While she was working in the school’s program, she launched Rising Star Productions in Reston in order to fill the lack of “cultural theatre” in the community. For years, she worked with her team to bring African American Theatre to Reston Community Center. She has appeared in films including Broadcast News and Accidental Tourist.  Her stages roles include Addapearle in The Wiz, Bloody Mary in South Pacific, Asaka in Once on This Island, and Myrna Thorn in Ruthless! The Musical.

“I wish my students the very best, whether they take their careers into theater or whatever they endeavor to do.”

Photo via Maria Harris

0 Comments

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

0 Comments

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

0 Comments

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

2 Comment

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

0 Comments

Alice in Funkyland Opening This Weekend at Herndon High School

It’s probably not what Lewis Carroll had in mind when he penned the original story 150 years ago, but the Herndon High School Theatre (700 Bennett Street) is hosting an original adaptation of “Alice in Wonderland” that moves the setting to the 1970s.

“Alice in Funkyland” opens this Saturday (Feb. 16) with performances on Sunday (Feb. 17) and the following weekend (Feb. 23 and 24) at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The program is produced for children, with two 30-minute acts and a 15-minute intermission.

A special “Mad Hatter’s Tea Party” event will also be held on Feb. 16 and 17 at noon.

Tickets to the show are $5 and can be bought at the door or online.

The next production for the school theater will be “The Sound of Music” in April.

Photo via Facebook

2 Comment

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

0 Comments

NextStop Theatre Presents Adaptation of ‘East of Eden’

NextStop Theatre Company in Herndon will present its version of East of Eden, the John Steinbeck novel that reimagines the story of Adam and Eve.

Performances kick off tomorrow at 8 p.m. and are scheduled every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through Nov. 18.

The community theatre issued the following description of the show:

East of Eden is a re-imagining of the saga of Adam and Eve, and their sons Cain and Abel. Adam Trask is determined to build a new life and world for himself and his young wife, Cathy. Settling in California’s Salinas Valley, Cathy gives birth to twin boys. But a dark past, the seemingly inescapable sins of man (and woman), and the impending danger of World War I threaten their little corner of paradise. It is an American epic examining whether “good versus evil” is our great choice or our unavoidable fate. 

The theatre will also host a book talk with Evan Hoffman, the director of the show, on Nov. 8 (Thursday).

Tickets can be purchased online.

0 Comments

Friday Morning Notes

Serving the Walker Nature Center — The center has several open volunteer opportunities in July. Volunteers can sign up online. [Volunteer Reston]

The little mermaid — Tickets for the performance of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” are on sale ahead of the July performance. [Herndon Drama]

Stateside: New laws begin July 1 — New state laws going into effect on Sunday would create a program for abducted adults, prohibit lunch shaming and more. [NBC4]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

2 Comment

NextStop Theatre Company Releases 2018/2019 Schedule Ahead of 30th Anniversary

NextStop Theatre Company is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a special community production of Amour, a French music fable about a man who walks through the walls that confine him. The 2018/2019  includes seven shows that will run between August 3 and June 23.

“These shows range from the truly epic to the deeply intimate,” said producing artistic director Evan Hoffmann. “But each one is certain to bring our beloved community a unique and personal experience, filled with the kind of joy and fulfillment that you can only find in live theatre.”

The season will kick off in September with The Wedding Singer, a musical based on the film starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. In the fall, the theater company will feature East of Eden, an adaptation of John Steinbeck’s novel, which brings the story of Adam, Eve, Cain and Abel to California in the 20th century.

The new year will begin with [title of show], a musical comedy about four friends who write a musical as the deadline for submissions is three weeks away.

In February, NextStop will present The Wolves, Pulitzer-Prize nominated play by Sarah DeLappe that explores the lives of suburban high school girls and offers a glance into the lives of young women today.

March features Fallen Angels by Noel Coward. Directed by managing director Abigail Fine, the comedy follows the rivalry between two housewives who await the arrival of a former lover. The season will close out with Singin’ in the Rain.

Subscription options and season packages are available. Prices start at $119. The complete lineup, including show timings and dates, is online

Photo by NextStop Theatre Company

0 Comments

Monday Morning Notes

Meeting on PRC Zoning Ordinance Amendment Tonight — The latest community meeting on a proposed zoning ordinance amendment that would increase the density cap in Reston’s Planned Residential Community (PRC) district is tonight at 7 p.m. at South Lakes High School (11400 South Lakes Drive). [Fairfax County]

Review: ‘Aida’ is ‘an Explosion of Color and Sound’ — According to a reviewer, the new Reston Community Players show features “action and comedy elements, along with the flashy set and costume design, [that] will keep young and old enthralled to the end.” [DC Metro Theater Arts]

Crash Shuts Down Reston Roadway — A collision at Fairfax County Parkway and Sunrise Valley Drive affected traffic this morning. The road was reopened as of about 8:20 a.m., according to the Fairfax County Police Department. [FCPD/Twitter]

Stream Restoration In Progress — In its latest “Reston Today” video dispatch, Reston Association shares information about a restoration project currently underway at Brown’s Chapel Park and Vantage Hill. [Reston Association/YouTube]

Reston Solar Firm Plans Large Farm — SolUnesco (1818 Library St.) has proposed a 400-acre, 60-megawatt solar farm along in Orange County. [(Charlottesville) Daily Progress]

2 Comments

Reston Community Players Readying To Open New Season With ‘Aida’

The Reston Community Players’ 2017-18 season will open later this month with a performance of Elton John and Tim Rice’s musical “Aida.”

The show, winner of four Tony Awards, will be performed Oct. 20 to Nov. 11 at Reston Community Center’s CenterStage (2310 Colts Neck Road).

According to information provided by Reston Community Players about the show:

This musical is popular and special because its story combines a tragedy of love and intriguing politics. Although set in Egypt centuries ago, theatergoers will experience the tension created by the forbidden love between a Nubian princess and an Egyptian soldier betrothed to the Pharaoh’s daughter. Sir Elton John, one of the most successful music artists in the modern era, composed Aida’s stirring music and the amazing Sir Tim Rice, who made his reputation writing hits like Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita, wrote the lyrics. To the delight of audiences, they combined their talents to create Aida, Disney Theatrical Productions’ first Broadway musical for grown-ups.

The show will be performed Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m., with 2 p.m. matinees on Sundays. No show is scheduled Sunday, Oct. 22. Tickets are available from the Reston Community Players website.

For more information, call 703-476-4500, ext. 3.

In its 51st season, Reston Community Players is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that has been producing high quality theatrical productions since 1966. RCP is partially funded by grants from Fairfax County, in cooperation with the Arts Council of Fairfax County.

0 Comments

What’s Going On This Weekend Around Reston?

Lake Anne Plaza is going to get colorful this weekend, and you can be a part of it.

Reston Art Gallery & Studios is hosting “Painting on the Plaza” from 4-6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. According to an event information on Lake Anne Plaza’s website:

“Experience the beauty and vibrancy of the Lake Anne Community as the Plaza comes alive with artists painting en plein air. Join in the fun by painting or watching the artists as they work. Purchase an original artwork to take home. And while you’re at Lake Anne, don’t forget to vote for your favorite painting and enter the drawings for door prizes. Winners will be announced on Sunday at 5:30. The event will be held rain or shine.”

The event is being produced by the Lake Anne Merchants Association and the Friends of Lake Anne. It is sponsored by Pat and Steve Macintyre along with Reston Art Gallery & Studios. For a full schedule and information about how you can participate, check out the event details.

There is plenty else scheduled to take place this weekend in the area as well. Take a look at our list below.

(Editor’s Note: This is just a limited list of all the events taking place in the Reston area this weekend. If you have an event you would like to ensure is listed on the website, be sure to submit it to our Events Calendar.)

  • Reston Association’s semi-annual yard sale (8:30 a.m. to noon) and the Reston Expo (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) are both scheduled for Saturday at 1900 Campus Commons Drive.
  • The JamBrew series wraps up this weekend in Herndon. Tonight, live music will be offered from Right On Records, Tommy Gann and Todd Wight, and Black Masala. The free event is slated for 6-10 p.m. at the Herndon Town Green (777 Lynn St.). On Saturday, from noon to 10 p.m., the OktoBrewFest will rock the town green. Music will be provided by Bach 2 Rock, Darlingtonia, Unsullied, Dr. Robinson’s Fiasco and Throwing Plates. There will also be cold beverages from Aslin Beer Co., wine, nitro brew coffee from Weird Brothers Coffee, pizza from Brama Italian Cuisine, Nordic Knot Pretzels and much more.
  • In celebration of 11 years of service to the community, the Southgate Community Center (12125 Pinecrest Road) will host its annual Family Festival from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. According to information provided by the center, the event will include giveaways, music, moon bounces, refreshments and games.
  • Chicano rock band Quetzal will perform Sunday at 3 p.m. at CenterStage (2310 Colts Neck Road) as part of Reston Community Center’s Professional Touring Artist Series. Tickets are $20 for Reston residents and $30 for non-residents.
  • Friends of the Reston Regional Library will be continuing their fall book sale through the weekend at the library (11925 Bowman Towne Drive). The fundraiser for the library will be open until 5 p.m. today; from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; and from noon to 3:30 p.m. Sunday.
  • Sue Wrbican: Well Past the Echo” will be on view at Greater Reston Arts Center (12001 Market St.) through Nov. 18.
  • The Reston Farmers Market will take place from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at Lake Anne Village Center.
  • The 16th annual TFcon, a convention for fans of the “Transformers” franchise, is taking place this weekend at the Hyatt Regency Reston (1800 Presidents St.). Check out its website for the full schedule and admission prices.
  • Pulitzer Prize-winner display “Disgraced,” exploring Muslim assimilation and identity in America, will wrap up this weekend at NextStop Theatre Company (269 Sunset Park Drive, Herndon). Performances are tonight at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 8 p.m.; and at a 2 p.m. Saturday matinee. Tickets range in price from $17.50 to $55.
  • The National Kidney Foundation’s Northern Virginia Kidney Walk is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Sunday at Reston Town Center. Proceeds benefit awareness of kidney disease, a top 10 public health problem.
  • Many restaurants and bars in Reston will have live music this weekend. These include Crafthouse (1888 Explorer St.) every Friday and Saturday night from 10 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.; and Tavern64 (1800 Presidents St.) every Friday from 6-10 p.m.
  • Kalypso’s Sports Tavern (1617 Washington Plaza N.) will have live music from The Vandalays tonight from 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.; and DJ Kram will play Top 40 hits during those hours Saturday night.
0 Comments

Friday Morning Notes

24-Minute Wait Times for Metro This Weekend — Silver Line trains will run only between Wiehle-Reston East and Ballston, every 24 minutes, to coordinate with the work on the Orange and Blue lines. [DCist]

Theater Costumes Available — NextStop Theatre Company will hold its annual costume sale Saturday from 7-11 a.m. at ArtSpace Herndon (750 Center St.). According to the theater, items available include “wedding dresses, to furs, to Cinderella’s ball-gowns, to stunning men’s suits” along with sweaters, vintage jeans and other items. [NextStop Theatre Company/Facebook]

Ted’s Bulletin Owner Will Sell — The future of the chain, which includes a restaurant in Reston Town Center (11948 Market St.), is unclear as Matchbox Food Group prepares to sell it to &pizza co-founder Steve Salis. [Washington Business Journal]

Transformers Fans Descending Upon Reston — TFcon, a “Transformers” fan convention, is being held for the 16th time. It has been held almost exclusively in Toronto area; however, this year, it is being held at the Hyatt Regency Reston (1800 Presidents St.) today through Sunday. [TFcon]

0 Comments

What’s Going On Around Reston This Weekend?

Reston’s multicultural heritage will be celebrated this weekend at Lake Anne Plaza.

The community’s annual Multicultural Festival, sponsored by Reston Community Center and Reston Association, is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. It will include “music, entertainment, dress, food, and cultural treasures from all over the world,” according to information provided by RCC.

The entertainment lineup includes more than a dozen performers on two stages — the World Stage and the Global Stage — as well as at RCC’s Lake Anne facility. The “Global Market” will feature jewelry, clothing and more from around the world.

For more information about the event, contact Kevin Danaher, RCC’s community events director, at 703-390-6166.

There is plenty else scheduled to take place this weekend in the area as well. Get out there and have some fun on this last full weekend of September!

(Editor’s Note: This is just a limited list of all the events taking place in the Reston area this weekend. If you have an event you would like to ensure is listed on the website, be sure to submit it to our Events Calendar.)

  • Herndon High School (700 Bennett St.) will present its annual Showcase of Bands all day Saturday. South Lakes High School’s band will perform at 6:15 p.m., and Herndon’s band will play at 8:15.
  • Café Montmarte (1625 Washington Plaza N.) will be the host of a comedy performance presented by Funny Friend Productions, beginning at 8 p.m. Saturday. Performers will include Robin Rex, Franqi French, Sumedha Ahuja Bahri, Kevin Skington, Wendy Wroblewski, Gil Segev, Leon Scott, Dan Kaufman and Steve Coltrain. Door charge will be $10.
  • The grand-opening event for Reston Farm Market (10800 Baron Cameron Ave.) will take place from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday. The fun will include train rides, moon bounces, the petting zoo, face painting and more.
  • The JamBrew series continues tonight in Herndon. Aslin Beer Co. will be pouring frosty mugs, Weird Brothers Coffee will be offering tasty drinks, Nordic Knot Pretzels will provide tasty snacks, and there will be much more. Live music will be offered from DJ Barf Dog, Queens Over Kings and Sub-Radio. The free event is slated for 6-10 p.m. at the Herndon Town Green (777 Lynn St.).
  • Lake Anne Brew House (11424 Washington Plaza W.) will host a performance by Grammy-nominated musician Cedric Watson from 3-5 p.m. Sunday.
  • South Lakes High School’s undefeated varsity football team will play at home tonight at 7 p.m. against Centreville. A pre-game party at the stadium (11400 South Lakes Drive) is scheduled to start at 5:45 p.m., featuring burgers, hot dogs, barbecue, ice cream and more.
  • Sue Wrbican: Well Past the Echo” will be on view at Greater Reston Arts Center (12001 Market St.) through Nov. 18.
  • Pulitzer Prize-winner display “Disgraced,” exploring Muslim assimilation and identity in America, will be performed at NextStop Theatre Company (269 Sunset Park Drive, Herndon) tonight at 8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday at 7 p.m.; and at a 2 p.m. Saturday matinee. Tickets range in price from $17.50 to $55.
  • Pediatric Specialists of Virginia will have their Stride Forward 5K and Family Health Fair on Saturday from 8:30-11:30 a.m. at Reston Town Center.
  • The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is Sunday, from 1:30-5 p.m. at Reston Town Center.
  • Many restaurants and bars in Reston will have live music this weekend. These include Crafthouse (1888 Explorer St.) every Friday and Saturday night from 10 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.; and Tavern64 (1800 Presidents St.) every Friday from 6-10 p.m.
  • Kalypso’s Sports Tavern (1617 Washington Plaza N.) will have live music from Lawn Dart Incident tonight from 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.; and DJ Kram will play Top 40 hits during those hours Saturday night.

File photo from 2015 Reston Multicultural Festival

13 Comments
×

Subscribe to our mailing list