“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.
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]
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!”
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]
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
Beyer Calls Breonna Taylor Ruling Unjust — “Breonna Taylor should still be alive. She did not deserve to die. This is not justice.” [Twitter]
Visit Alexandria Thanks Community With Video — “Here’s our tribute to Alexandria’s small businesses, hospitality workers, health department and city government, who are standing together in the face of the COVID-19 crisis. We thank you!” [Twitter]
You Can Put Your Likeness on Seats at the Little Theatre of Alexandria — “With social distancing in effect, we can fill only 46 of our 215 seats. A clever way of distancing our audiences while giving our performers the feeling of a sold-out event is to fill our unused seats with silhouettes sporting your face or that of a friend, family member, or pet.” [Facebook]
Rocklands Barbecue and Grilling Co. Wins Rammy Award — “Among the winners was Jamal Flowers of Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling Co. in Alexandria for manager of the year. Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling Co also won a 2020 Honorary Milestone RAMMY Awards for 30 years.” [Patch]
City Giving Away Free Flu Shots — “This Saturday, from 9 AM until 3 PM, the City will be hosting the first of two free flu shot clinics. Saturday’s event will be drive-up (max of 4 to a car) at @TCWTitans at 3330 King St. This year, it is even more important than ever to get a flu shot!” [Twitter]
Transcript Reveals Details About City’s Only Homicide This Year — “The homicide case of Karla Dominguez has left many disappointed with and upset by the city’s criminal justice procedures in the era of COVID-19.” [Alex Times]
Today’s Weather — “Overcast (during the day). High 77F. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph. Cloudy skies at night. Low 59F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]
New Job: ACPS Communications Specialist — “Responsible for researching, developing, implementing and evaluating communications for special projects to include capital projects, facilities projects, communication projects and projects that support schools, departments and the superintendent.” [Indeed]
Virginia Tech Announces Advisory Board for Innovation Campus — “The board consists of company leaders along with several tech pioneers. Members include Sanju Bansal, founder and CEO of Hunch Analytics; Dave Calhoun, president and CEO of Boeing; Ted Colbert, executive vice president of Boeing; Joe DeSimone, professor at Stanford University and executive chairman and co-founder of Carbon; Lynne Doughtie, former chairman and CEO of KPMG; Regina Dugan, CEO of Wellcome Leap; Steve Mollenkopf, CEO of Qualcomm; Russ Ramsey, board chair of Greater Washington Partnership; Kathy Warden, CEO, of Northrop Grumman Corporation; Glenn Youngkin, co-chief executive officer of The Carlyle Group.” [Patch]
Beyer: Trump and Republicans Should Feel Same Urgency With COVID-19 as Ginsburg Replacement — “Imagine if Donald Trump and Senate Republicans felt this urgency about responding to a pandemic that has now killed over 200,000 Americans. 4 months ago the House passed a bill to help American families and boost the economy. Mitch McConnell said he didn’t feel any ‘urgency.'” [Twitter]
Volunteers Honored in Virtual Ceremony — “On Saturday, August 29, New Hope Housing (NHH) – an Alexandria nonprofit that helps homeless families and individuals – recognized a group of volunteers at its Annual Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast.” [Zebra]
Little Theatre of Alexandria Auditioning for ‘A Christmas Carol’ — “LTA’s A Christmas Carol for 2020 will be the most unique ever. It will feature live, virtual, and animated elements. We are looking for a family who can portray Mr. Cratchit, Mrs. Cratchit, and Tiny Tim. Tiny Tim will also portray Turkey Boy and Boy Scrooge. These three characters will participate in Zoom rehearsals in October and three rehearsals at LTA in early November, with a taping date of Saturday, November 15.” [Facebook]
Tall Ship Providence Gets Repaired — “Our Providence team has had a very busy weekend! While in the boat yard, they have sanded the hull to prepare it for a new coat of paint and performed other routine maintenance in preparation for the scheduled Coast Guard inspection.” [Facebook]
Today’s Weather — “Sunny skies (during the day). High 72F. Winds NW at 5 to 10 mph. Clear skies (at night). Low 54F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]
New Job: Global Trade Group Command Media Manager — “Manage of Global Trade Group (GTG) Command Media throughout the lifecycle of drafting to final posting in the corporate electronic library. Reviews draft policies and procedures submitted by corporate trade segments/functions and non-trade functions to ensure alignment with corporate GTG trade-related command media. Recommends changes to ensure alignment with GTG trade policies and procedures. Maintains GTG
records relating to trade policies and procedures, tracks status of all command media submitted to GTG by the Policy Review Board (PRB) and ensures suspense deadlines are met.” [Indeed]
It wasn’t an ordinary performance at the Little Theatre of Alexandria (LTA), but on Friday, September 11, the doors opened for a memorable evening of drama at a distance.
“I was anxious before I came to the theater, but everything is so well managed,” said Mary Hutzler. “It was an interesting experience. I thought the play was very powerful and I really felt engaged.”
The theater’s first show back, “Love Letters” by A.R. Gurney, was well chosen for the times. Only 40 people were allowed in the show, everyone (except the actors) wore face masks and couldn’t get up during the performance, which featured real-life married couple Nicky and Steve McDonnell reading fictional love letters to each other seated at opposite ends of the stage.
“LTA did a really smart job in planning it,” Nicky McDonnell said after the show. “We’re married, so we didn’t have to socially distance from each other.”
The couple met in New York 27 years ago, and throughout diverse acting careers that span decades never worked together until this production. Rehearsals were conducted with the director via Zoom.
“They need to connect (with the audience),” Director Joanna Henry said. “They do it brilliantly.”
The show runs until September 27. The next show, “Mixed Doubles” by LTA member Rick Lore, will run from October 2-18; followed by “Belle of Amherst” by William Luce from November 6-22; and the season will end with a COVID-friendly version of “A Christmas Carol” from November 28-December 19.
It’s not unusual for the Little Theatre of Alexandria to be bursting at the seams with a sold-out audience, as ushers, actors, assistant directors and set designers rush around to present their latest offering. Not this year.
For the first time since World War II, LTA was forced to shut down until calmer days prevail and cancelled its formal 2020-2021 season, which was supposed to open with “Sister Act” and continue through Christmas with its annual sold-out rendition of “A Christmas Carol” and into next summer.
LTA has a plan — a fall programming season with four one-act and two-act shows. The theatre will only be able to accommodate 45 audience members and the shows will be completely free of charge and not play consecutively so that staff can meet CDC and health department guidelines.
“We are going to be producing four shows with very small casts – mostly one to two people,” Rachel Alberts, the LTA governor of public relations, told ALXnow. “We are approaching this as a gift to our patrons. We know people are worried about getting in the theatre. We also know how much they miss it. That’s why we’re offering this for free.”
The first show, “Love Letters” by A.R. Gurney, will premier on September 11 and run for just over two weeks. The second show, “Mixed Doubled” by LTA member Rick Lore, will run from October 2-18; followed by “Belle of Amherst” by William Luce will run from November 6-22; and ending with a COVID-friendly version of “A Christmas Carol” from November 28-December 19.
The theatergoing experience is going to be much different, Alberts said. For one thing, there will likely be no singing in the theatre until the pandemic calms down.
“With the cast and crew there’s usually over 100 people, from designers to sound people to actors,” she said. “It’s a huge endeavor. Hopefully we’re going to be completely opening back up in January with ‘Mamma Mia!,’ but depending on what’s going on in the world we will absolutely honor all CDC and public health recommendations.”
LTA, which was founded in 1934, is now also conducting auditions via Zoom for the January show, and Alberts said that the theatre will survive the pandemic, even though it took a significant financial hit.
“LTA isn’t going anywhere,” she said. “We’re one of the oldest theatre is still in operation in the country, and we only closed once after World War II for a small period of time. We own our building and we’re financially safe.”
May 26, 2020Dear LTA Family—I hope this message finds you happy and healthy.In April 1943, The Little Theatre of…
Staff photo by James Cullum
There are Now 36 Cases of COVID-19 in Alexandria — “On March 30, the Alexandria Health Department confirmed four additional cases of COVID-19 in Alexandria, bringing the total to 36. AHD is identifying and contacting individuals who came in close contact with the confirmed cases.” [City of Alexandria]
DASH Further Reduces Service — “As part of a wider effort to protect the health and safety of the Alexandria community and DASH employees, DASH implemented an Enhanced Sunday Operating Plan on weekdays and Saturdays, beginning March 30. No changes are anticipated to Sunday service; however, King Street Trolley service will discontinue until further notice.” [DASH]
Old Town Books Launches GoFundMe Campaign — “You’re making it possible for us to make ends meet while our sales floor is closed and before the new SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans roll out. I didn’t know what to expect when starting this fundraiser – crowd funding is not something I *ever* expected to do for this business. But this fundraiser is helping keep our staff working and our online store open. It’s motivating us to keep trying, to keep working despite the bleak economic projections for the year. We’re not giving up. Thank you for your support!” [Facebook]
Mason & Greens Grocer Opens in Old Town — “It’s not the grand opening they were planning, but the new bulk grocer in Old Town, Mason & Greens, is now open. For now, Mason & Greens is offering online shopping for pick-up or delivery.” [Alexandria Living]
ACPS Unveils Story Hour For Younger Students — “It’s such fun to see all these famous faces reading for America’s children in this time of need and we are grateful that some publishers are allowing us to publish read-alouds on the website at this time.” [ACPS]
Little Theatre of Alexandria Issuing Refunds — “Please submit this form before Friday, April 10. For Moonlight and Magnolias and Blue Stockings, we will not be able to process refunds after Thursday, April 30.” [LTA]
Ascend Cycle Offering Virtual Classes — “Virtual high fives! While we can’t be together in person, this is the next best thing! You see us & we see you! Connect with your favorite instructor and friends live while breaking a sweat! We are offering daily live virtual classes designed to connect our community and provide personalized attention. Drop into class for just $10.” [Ascend Cycle]