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On September 11, 2020, The Little Theatre of Alexandria held its first show since the pandemic started in March, 2020. (Staff photo by James Cullum)

The Little Theatre of Alexandria is back to full strength. After two-and-a-half years of Covid restrictions, the theatre returned to full capacity on June 27.

The venue will still require proof of full Covid vaccinations for theatergoers, who must still wear masks indoors during performances.

“We will no longer be holding out every 3rd seat for social distancing,” LTA announced on its website. “However, we will still be requiring proof of full COVID vaccination AND wearing a mask indoors, including during the performance. This policy applies to all persons, regardless of age.”

The pandemic forced the theater to close for six months — from March to September of 2020, followed by nearly two years of restricted seating.

As for performances, from July 23 (next Saturday) to August 13, LTA will next present “Something Rotten,” an award-winning musical farce set in Renaissance-era England.

In the musical, brothers Nigel and Nick Bottom have to exist in the same universe as The Bard, and wear their hearts on ruffled sleeves — with a colorful cast of supporting characters.

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Morning Notes

Golf could return to former Topgolf Alexandria property — “The shuttered Topgolf Alexandria and neighboring former Ruby Tuesday restaurant on South Van Dorn Street may be resurrected as a golf-centric venue by the underlying landowner, whose efforts to rezone the properties for residential use have been slow to advance.” [Washington Buisness Journal]

Alexandria Film Festival 2021 extended into December — “The festival, held in a virtual format, is giving viewers more time to view films through Dec. 10.” [Patch]

Little Theater’s Christmas Carol completely sold out — “Congratulations to the Cast & Crew of LTA’s A Christmas Carol – your spirited production is completely SOLD OUT!” [Facebook]

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Police outside the McDonalds where a shooting occurred, staff photo by James Cullum

What a busy week in Alexandria.

Our top story this week was on a juvenile who was shot outside the McDonald’s at the Bradlee Shopping Center on Tuesday, Sept. 21. There have also been a number of concerning incidents at Alexandria City Public Schools, including a juvenile who was arrested for trespassing and assault and battery at Alexandria City High School.

Meanwhile, while the COVID-19 transmission rate remains high, public events are still happening in Alexandria.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. Police: Juvenile shot at shopping center near Alexandria City High School
  2. Police dispatched three times for fighting at Alexandria City Public Schools in less than a month
  3. Police: Six hospitalized after overdoses on Alexandria-Fairfax border
  4. Poll: What do you think of Metro’s proposed Blue Line crossing to National Harbor?
  5. BREAKING: Flooding reported in Alexandria
  6. Interview: Port City Publius opens up about Alexandria
  7. BREAKING: Video shows brawl at Alexandria City High School cafeteria just two days after school starts
  8. Juvenile arrested for trespassing and assault and battery at Alexandria City High School
  9. Multiple violent charges dropped against Fairfax County man held without bond for assaulting police during arrest
  10. Preserving Arlandria’s affordability against gentrification could cost upward of $100 million
  11. JUST IN: One person injured after shots fired in West End Tuesday afternoon

Have a safe weekend! 

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August Wilson’s ‘Fences‘ might just be one of the best productions that The Little Theatre of Alexandria has put on in years.

The 1985 Pulitzer Prize-winning play is a close look at the lives of a Black family in Pittsburgh during the 1950s and 1960s. Chances for success have passed by Troy Maxson (Albert Bolden), a former star baseball player beyond his prime and beaten down by society and circumstance. Maxson’s son, Cory (Jared Diallo), is a football star, but his father’s bitterness over his own missed chances cloud Cory’s bright future.

With only memories of greatness keeping him going, the audience sits transfixed as they watch Troy slowly ruin his life while his wife Rose (Brenda Parker) takes the reins of responsibility.

Parker and Bolden deserve awards for their performances, as happiness and innocent love awaken to betrayal, disappointment and survival. Parker’s performance is particularly captivating, as she carries a majority of the play by bravely lifting the weight of extreme personal loss and responsibility.

“When a person has spent their entire life trapped behind real and imagined fences, they cannot go after their dreams,” said director Eleanore Tapscott. “At a time when the minority power brokers are working fast and hard to literally whitewash the nation’s history — and that of African Americans — it is important to tell this story, because by exploring African American perspectives and culture, and examining and recognizing America’s legacy of racism, we have a change, by working together, to make ‘good trouble’ and effect positive change for the future.”

All theater-goers at The Little Theatre must show proof of vaccination at the door and wear masks during the performance. The show runs until September 25.

The next show at The Little Theatre of Alexandria is the thriller “Wait Until Dark”, which runs from October 16 to November 6.

Courtesy image

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There’s a lot in store this week in Alexandria. Here’s a few events to look forward to.

Wednesday, September 8

  • Blue Oyster Cult at The Birchmere (7:30 p.m.) — The 1960s-era band is known for such hits as ” The Reaper”, “Burnin’ for You”, and “Godzilla”. All guests must provide proof of vaccination if they want to attend the performance.
  • Outdoor story time for toddlers (11:30 a.m.) –This outdoor program is perfect for ages two-to-five, and will  be held outdoors and in-person at Burke Branch Library. Masks are required, and you might want to bring something to sit on.
  • Trivia night at The Light Horse (7 p.m.) — “Grab your mates & head down to 715 King Street for a great evening of Q&A in a fun and friendly atmosphere. Delicious food, cold craft beers and delish cocktails await”

Thursday, September 9

  • Julia Fordham at The Birchmere (7:30 p.m.) — The British singer-songwriter is performing after her shows were rescheduled from April and October 2020, and all tickets from those shows will be honored. Additional tickets for Thursday night are on sale.
  • Willa Cather book discussion (7 p.m.) — “In the upcoming year, a statue of novelist Willa Cather will be installed in statuary hall in the U.S. Capital Building. Let’s celebrate with a discussion about one of Cather’s intriguing novels, The Professor’s House.”

Friday, September 10

  • August Wilson’s “Fences” at the Little Theatre of Alexandria (7 p.m.) — “Join Manumission Tour Company on September 10th at 7pm to see a special performance of August Wilson’s famous play, FENCES. Proceeds raised from this special showing will go to the production of an upcoming MTC about black history in Old Town’s South East Quadrant.”

Saturday, September 11s

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In its first regular show since shutting down last year, the Little Theatre of Alexandria is back to suspending disbelief with its latest farce, Neil Simon’s Rumors.

“Laugh hard,” director Matthew Randall said. “Laugh loud. Laugh together. It feels amazing, and I hope you enjoy every single moment.”

The plot revolves around the friends of Charlie Brock, the deputy mayor of New York City, who arrive for a party at his house in 1989 to find that he shot himself in the ear. While Charlie is doped up on Valium and kept out of sight upstairs, his friends slowly try to unravel what happened.

Randall cast real-life couple Chris and Ken Gorman as Charlie’s friends Stephanie and Mike Rudden, who are the first to arrive at the scene. Their first instinct is to hush up the incident, as Charlie’s political career and their reputations hang in the balance. While nervously tending to their patient, the Gormans realize that Charlie’s wife Myra is missing, and so are the housekeeper and cook. They also see that the house isn’t at all ready for a party, and that’s when more guests ring the doorbell.

Mike Donahue and Jayne L. Victor bring a refreshing portrayal to Lenny and Claire Ganz, Charlie’s friends who walk into the house immediately after getting into a car wreck. Donahue, while periodically screaming by turning his injured neck, drives the comedic energy of the production. As Charlie’s lawyer and best friend, Lenny is ready to call the police until the arrival of psychologist Ernie Cusack (Peter Halverson) and his wife, Cookie (Janice Rivera).

Then, as Ken runs upstairs to check on Charlie, he trips on his slippers and the gun goes off, making him temporarily deaf. Naturally, more guests arrive (Roxanne Waite as Cassie Cooper and Kirk Lambert as Glenn Cooper) in the ensuing chaos. In the climax, Lenny is forced to wear a smoking jacket and pretend to be Charlie after the arrival of the cops (Joe Dzikewicz and Eileen Copas).

The show runs until August 14. Capacity is currently limited to 145 patrons in the 215-seat venue.

Audience members still have to wear masks, and LTA says if anyone is caught unmasked that they will be asked politely to comply. If they refuse, the show will be stopped. If the issue persists, the show will be canceled entirely.

via LTA/Facebook

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Morning Notes

Inova Alexandria Hospital rezoned to allow Landmark project to move forward — “Inova’s Alexandria hospital campus is now zoned to allow for future residential development, after city council voted 7-0 to allow the rezoning to make it easier for Inova to sell the Seminary Hill hospital land to a developer.” [Alexandria Living]

New Harris Teeter grand opening set in Alexandria — “A new Harris Teeter grocery store in Alexandria is holding a grand opening on Wednesday, June 23 beginning at 8 a.m. at 4550 King St., in the West Alex development at the corner of King and Beauregard streets.” [Alexandria Living]

Little Theatre of Alexandria presents ‘Will Rogers’ USA’ at Fort Ward Park on July 3 — “Covid-19 is not keeping the Little Theatre of Alexandria down! LTA is coming back in 2021 even stronger than ever, and to prove it, they are presenting a delightful (and free!) evening of Will Rogers’ USA, in the Fort Ward Park Amphitheater off West Braddock Road, Alexandria, 7 pm, July 3.” [Zebra]

Today’s weather — “Mainly sunny (during the day). High 77F. Winds NE at 5 to 10 mph… Clear skies (in the evening). Low 57F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New job: Server at Cafe 44 — “Café 44 is a stylish American eatery situated along the Waterfront in Old Town Alexandria. We cater to a local crowd, attracting those who appreciate a spectacular view, quality food, great wine and craft cocktails. Whether you are a regular or a first-time guest, you are received with warmth and enthusiasm. Known as a hidden gem, we’re the ideal place to gather with family and friends.” [Indeed]

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The Little Theatre of Alexandria is expanding capacity and easing restrictions, but you still have to wear face masks when the 2021-22 season begins next month with Neil Simon’s Rumors.

LTA is expanding capacity to 145 patrons in LTA’s 215-seat capacity venue at 600 Wolfe Street in Old Town. Face masks will still be required for members of the audience, and the plan is to return to full capacity in January.

“The seating capacity for Rumors, Fences, Wait Until Dark and A Christmas Carol will increase to 145 patrons per performance,” LTA’s spokesperson Rachel Alberts told ALXnow. “Up to 2 patrons will sit together with one empty seat between each pair. Masks will still be required for the new season. Starting with our January musical Bright Star and continuing with Blue Stockings and Prelude to a Kiss, our plan is to go back to full capacity seating with no social distancing.”

The Little Theatre reopened last September with socially distant performances. Their first show back after the shutdown — Love Letters — featured two married actors onstage, and only allowed 40 audience members. There were also no bathroom breaks, intermission or concessions.

“We anticipate that the situation will continue to evolve (presumably for the better), allowing us to further ease restrictions soon,” LTA said in a press release. “All audience members are required to wear face masks. If a patron removes his or her face mask, we will ask them to put it back on. If it happens a second time, we will stop the show and ask them to leave.”

LTA is requiring all staff to be vaccinated, including actors and crew, by August 17.

“Put plainly, if you want to work at LTA after August 17, you must be vaccinated and be prepared to prove it,” LTA said in the release. “The most important benefit, of course, is that everyone in the LTA community–employees, contractors, teachers, students, actors, designers and crew, and volunteers–can all be confident that working at LTA is safe!”

Courtesy LTA

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Morning Notes

Police Provide Guidance on Indecent Exposures in Del Ray — “The Police department encourages anyone who is a victim or witnessed these incidents to call 9-1-1.  If you live in the neighborhood, please review your security cameras and call police if there is suspicious activity.” [City of Alexandria]

City Hall Walk-in Payment Hours Expanded — “Beginning Monday, March 1, in-person services are now available Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.” [City of Alexandria]

Little Theatre of Alexandria Presents ‘The Revolutionists’ — “Come watch as four sassy women lose their heads in this irreverent, girl-powered comedy set during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror.” [Gazette]

‘Port City Publius’ Bashes Anti-Establishment Facebook Group — “The group is a tinpot dictatorship in which comments and posts that don’t share the narrow worldview of the moderators are routinely deleted and removed, and the offending poster evicted from the membership. This authoritarian intolerance for diverse and divergent viewpoint–not to mention an outright manipulation of the discourse in the group (‘IT’S CANCEL CULTURE!!’ comes the ironic scream from the cover of the CPAC brochure most of these people probably have laying on their kitchen counter)–is pretty hypocritical for a group allegedly concerned with integrity.” [Port City Publius]

Former Delegate Krupicka Publishes Poetry Book — “”It took a while, but I fell into routine of writing poems inspired by grace and the need for grace in life. Fast forward a few years and I had a good number of poems. Enough for a collection. Well, here it is. This project took close to five years in total to write, edit and then get the nerve up to publish.” [Zebra]

Today’s Weather — “Cloudy. Periods of rain early. High 54F. Winds WNW at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 70%… Some clouds early will give way to generally clear conditions overnight. Low 27F. Winds NW at 10 to 20 mph.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Full Time Nanny for 1 Child — “We are looking for a nanny who can watch and care for our five-month-old daughter while both parents are working from home, ideally one who can start as soon as possible. Nanny would be responsible for ensuring that the baby gets fed, has playtime, and takes naps on a reasonable schedule; takes her outside as weather permits; and helps ensure she is hitting her developmental milestones. We are taking our COVID precautions seriously, and since the nanny would effectively become part of our bubble, we would want to work with someone who is also diligent about our daughter’s safety. The nanny must also be Infant CPR certified.” [Indeed]

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Alexandria is famous for celebrating the holiday season, and there are still a couple of in-person and virtual performances to help get into the spirit of things.

Tickets are still available for the Little Theatre of Alexandria‘s in-person rendition of A Christmas Carol, which runs until Dec. 19. The theatre has limited capacity to 46 guests, and seating is spaced out so that only up to groups of three people from the same group can watch the show together.

A Christmas Carol is being performed by just five actors, as opposed to the annual sold-out production with dozens of actors. It has been adapted for the times and directed by Emmy-winning journalist and actor Michael J Baker, Jr., who also stars as Ebenezer Scrooge.

Tickets cost $20 apiece and the remaining performances will be held at 8 p.m. on Dec. 16, 17, 18 and 19.

On Dec. 26 and 27, more than 90 students from the Metropolitan School of the Arts will perform six separate virtual renditions of The Nutcracker ballet at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial. Each show will be performed by three casts at the school.

“We knew performing the Nutcracker this year was going to be a challenge, but we also wanted the show to go on,” said Jacqueline Doherty, the show’s artistic director. “We’re so proud of the students’ commitment and passion to make this ballet come to life, despite the COVID restrictions. They were dedicated to making this show happen.”

The shows will broadcast on the Metropolitan School of the Arts’ YouTube channel, and tickets range from $40-$80.

Photos via LTA and Metropolitan School of the Arts

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