Falls Church Fall Arts & Entertainment Preview

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& Entertaiment s t r A Fall

2022 Art • Music • Theater • Festivals



MR. TAKEN An Original Play By Ward Kay



William Shakespeare’s



By Pa ul L

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By Allsion M o o re



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Here’s My Van Morrison Story BY NICHOLAS BENTON


This is my Van Morrison story, one that I’ve repeated to friends numerous times over the years but is still worth a retelling. It comes now as Van the Man nears an appearance at Northern Virginia’s Wolf Trap on September 7 and after he was nominated this year for an Oscar for the best song, and moreover for the central role of his music, in the Oscar-nominated film, “Belfast.” I met Van to interview him when I was a stringer for the Berkeley Barb in 1972, during the year he spent in the San Francisco Bay Area that resulted in his great album, “St. Dominic’s Preview.” On that album, his lengthy song, “Almost Independence Day,” comes about as close as one could to emoting a real summer night in that period in the Bay Area. Like most of his stuff, and maybe including himself as he officially is pushing 80, it just doesn’t grow old. But this story is about 50 years ago. I could write so much about this, my favorite living musician, composer and performer, whom I became enthralled with the first time I heard his one-ofa-kind voice (described by critic Greil Marcus, who said, “No white man sings like Van Morrison,” and wrote in his book that, “As a physical fact, Morrison may have the richest and most expressive voice pop music has produced since Elvis Presley and musical style in 1972.” I’ve seen him perform literally dozens of times over the years, including multiple times at the Fillmore in San Francisco in 1971 and 1972. Facts, dates and places of his over 40 studio albums and much more can be had from Wikipedia. Meeting and interviewing him in 1972 was something quite special, as well as what led into it and what then happened after. For now, I will just say that despite his reputation for being grumpy, at best, on the stage, my late friend Jim and I found him very affable and pleasant when we sat down with him in a break amid a rehearsal at a small club in San Anselmo, a Marin County suburb of San Francisco. When we walked in it was to a rehearsal of the opening bars of his classic, “‘Caravan,” that closes with two pronounced downbeats. I have always since associated those opening bars with the musty smell I first encountered of that little club. The wider context was the fact that, as I told Van that day, a friend and I happened upon a concert he was giving in Buffalo, New York, six months before. My friend Bobby and I were cross-country hitchhiking west from Springfield, Massachusetts on a snowy November day. The guy who stopped to pick us up turned out to be a modestly wellknown musician himself, the lead singer

VAN MORRISON will perform at Wolf Trap, Sept. 7th. (P���� C�������: W��� T���) of Georgie Porgie of Georgie Porgie and the Cry Babies (I learned much later that his name was George Leonard. He and the group, composed of his sisters, became inducted into the Rhode Island Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. See Wikipedia!). Riding in the back seat of Georgie’s classic 1954 Ford, and he in a huge fur coat, we traveled across Upper State New York in a constant snowstorm, sharing a little weed along the way. Coming into Buffalo, New York, despite the fact he would be late to his own concert downtown, in a wonderfully generous gesture, he offered to drop us at the University of Buffalo where we hoped to find a place to crash (sleep) that night. Georgie insisted, saying the Cry Babies would cover for him until he got to his show. It was around 9:30 p.m. We looked on the bulletin board in the student union, and lo, we saw that Van Morrison was giving a concert that very night in the school gym. We asked directions and I can still see and hear the crunching of the snow as we hurried across the way to the gym, where I could hear Van’s music playing. Alas, we got into the gym just as the concert was ending, but lucky for us, he did an encore. Fast forward now to my interview with Van. I told him this story and he was very interested. I did my story about the interview and called his agent who said Van saw it in the Barb and loved it. Well, it was a year after that when Van’s new album, “St. Dominic’s Preview,” was released. In his song, a wonderfully characteristic stream of consciousness piece named for the title of the album, Van inexplicably includes the following line: “It’s a long way to Buffalo and a long way to Belfast city, too!” Buffalo? No explanation for why that reference was there, but I like the idea that it was a form of “shout out.” Van would not remember after all this time, I’m sure, so I will go on thinking that. Besides, there is another line late in that same song where he makes reference to having “a pen and notebook ready.” which could be another reference to the interview where I had, in fact, those things.



Signature Theatre’s ‘The Color Purple’ Presents a Vibrant Show

by Kylee Toland

Falls Church News-Press

As Signature Theatre hosts its final shows in their reopening season, “The Color Purple” was a substantial finale to a successful 2021/22 season. Based on the 1982 Pulitzer Prizewinning novel by Alice Walker, “The Color Purple” was adapted into a 2005 Broadway musical, 20 years after the Academy Award-nominated film starring Whoopi Goldberg was released. Signature Theatre’s performance of the beloved and criticized story of a young African-American woman facing numerous hardships and trying to overcome them in the early 20th century is bound to have one in tears with sadness and joy. The musical focuses on Celie — played by Nova Y. Payton — a young Black woman living with her sister Nettie — played by Kaiyla Gross —in the southern United States with their abusive father. The two sisters enjoy playing and singing together, beginning the play with an upbeat song called “Huckleberry Pie.” The chemistry between Payton and Gross is outstanding enough to make the audience believe these two are actually siblings.

Celie is the older sister at 14 years old and has already given birth to two children, later revealing her and Nettie’s father is also the father of her babies. Compared to her headstrong sister, Celie is quiet and submissive; often the victim of their father’s vicious character. After being separated from Nettie and facing the abuse of her new husband “Mister,” Celie talks and sings to God as to why her life is often one obstacle after another. “Mister” is played by Torrey Linder, who performs the character as a mean, spiteful man who dislikes Celie for the sole reason that he wasn’t able to marry her sister instead. He treats Celie just as brutally as her father did. Linder’s vocals for songs such as “Big Dog” and “Mister’s Song” highlights Linder’s ability to play an abusive man who, by the end of the play, tries to make right with those he has done wrong. Throughout many of the musical numbers, the main cast is often backed up vocally by a trio of women — played by Gabrielle Rice, Jalisa Williams and Nia SavoyDock. These women do a fantastic job of boosting the songs that once start off small and end up loud and powerful. Songs featured such as

“Mysterious Ways” and “Push Da Button” are amplified due to their clean and entertaining vocals. Celie then meets Mister’s son Harpo — played by Solomon Parker III — and his fiance Sofia, who is headstrong just like Nettie and tries to help Celie fight back against her abusive husband. Although each cast member played their role in an unique and significant way, Sofia’s actress Frenchie Davis stole the show. Her fierceness and humorous play on the character had the audience laughing and applauding throughout the show. Her featured song “Hell No!” was a prominent tune due to its lyrics relating to issues all women have to face, even in today’s world. One thing that stands out in the play is the relationship between Celie and Shug Avery, played fantastically by Danielle J. Summons. Shug Avery is one of Mister’s past lovers and someone whom Celie idolizes emotionally and romantically the moment Shug comes to stay with them. In the novel, Celie and Shug’s relationship is both platonic and sexual, with Shug helping Celie realize sex isn’t supposed to feel agonizing but rather pleasurable. In the play,

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(Photo Courtesy: Christopher Mueller)

Celie and Shug share a kiss toward the end of Act One, with Celie feeling reciprocated love while singing the heartwarming “What About Love?” between her and Shug. Signature Theatre’s stage is smaller than most, but it benefitted this showing of the play. The vocals of all the performers were clear and loud, making each song powerful and emotional. The back walls surrounding the stage had “blinds” that would turn in and out and reveal a character or setting not shown on the stage at the present moment. This was magnificent to see during the song “African Homeland” where Celie is reading a letter from Nettie about her missionary work in Africa; the blinds in the back of the stage showed a red sky with some cast members in African garments, painting the visual of what Nettie is telling Celie. Another mouth-dropping, eye-

widening visual Signature Theatre’s performance perfected was the imprint of a tree with branches on one side-wall on the stage. It is something one notic-es right away when scanning the stage. At first, one may believe it is there to imply that most scenes will be taking place outside; how-ever, at the end of the show when Celie is singing the tearinducing “I’m Here,” the branches begin to bloom with purple flowers, some-thing the audience might not catch until hearing the gasps of others first noticing it. This visual, paired with the incredible cast and music, makes Signature Theatre’s adapta-tion of “The Color Purple” one that will stick with audiences for a long time. “The Color Purple” will be showing at Signature Theatre until October 9th. For inquiries about ticket purchasing for the show, visit sigtheatre.org.

Register Now Save The Date... BalletNova Presents:

The Nutcracker Contact us: 3443 Carlin Springs Road, Falls Church VA 22041 info@balletnova.org BalletNova.org

Youth Workshops. Enrichment Classes. Teens. Pre-Professional Division. Adults.

Mainstage Performances Nov 26-27 @Kenmore Middle School

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Local Arts Scene: What To Look for This Fall

VIENNA OKTOBERFEST allows attendees to endulge in PROVIDENCE PLAYERS are gearing up for their �irst show CAPITAL ONE HALL is featuring its second season of authentic food and beverages. (P����: P���� J����) in October called “November”. (P����: D���� W��������) “Broadway in Tysons.” (P����: C������� M����) Signature Theatre: Signature Theatre in Arlington is starting their 2022-23 season with performances of “The Color Purple” and “No Place to Go;” the former running until October 9th and the latter until October 16th. In November and December, productions of “Into the Woods” and “Which Way to the Stage” will begin, allowing audiences to enjoy comedic and fantastical performances. Visit sigtheatre.org for more information. Keegan Theatre: The regional premiere of “The Outsider” is coming to Keegan Theatre in Washington, D.C. until September 24th. From October 22 to November 20, TonyWinning Composer and Lyricist William Finn presents “Elegies: A Song Cycle,” while the end of December features Keegan’s Holiday Tradition

“An Irish Carol” by Matthew J. Keenan. Visit keegantheatre.com for more information.

Capital One Hall: Capital One Hall is bringing back their Broadway in Tysons for a second season. Shows such as “Tootsie,” “Hairspray,” “Anastasia” and “Get On Your Feet” will be featured from November into April, with single tickets for each show going on sale in midSeptember. On September 23rd, Capital One Hall is featuring an “all-new theatrical experience” called “Wheel of Fortune LIVE!” which allows guests to audition to go on stage and “feel like they stepped into the game show itself.” Visit capitalonehall.com for more information. Creative Cauldron: Every weekend through September, Creative Cauldron in Falls

Church is hosting “the best musical and musical theater talent in the DMV” with their cabaret series. From October to December, performances of “Ichabod: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” “The Princess and The Goblin” and “The Christmas Angel” will be shown, as well as holiday cabaret series occurring the month of December. Visit www.creativecauldron.org for more information

Providence Players:

The Falls Church-based theater company Providence Players announced the first show of their fall season “November,” which opens in October. Board member and marketing lead for Providence Players David Whitehead calls “November” a humorous take on the day in the life of an “incumbent president of the United States.” Written by David Mamet in 2008, the show “makes fun of

- Visitors Welcome - Open Hours 10am - 6pm Monday-Saturday - Open Sunday Hours Too 12noon - 4pm

the present situation” in politics, with a “great production” and “really good cast” backing up the performance. Visit providenceplayers.org for more information.

Synetic Theater: Synetic Theater in Arlington kicks off their 2022–23 season with a show based on an Georgian epic poem “Host and Guest” from September 12 — October 2. Starting in October, “Dracula” will be showing from October 13 — November 6, and throughout the month of December, the 19th century folk tale “Snow Maiden” will be performed at Synetic until the 23rd. Visit synetictheater.org for more information. George Mason University Center of the Arts: George Mason

University Center of the Arts features a variety of performances, including shows, concerts and dances. “Grand Piano Celebration,” Mason School of Theater’s “Head Over Heels” and “Nrityagram Dance Ensemble” are just a few of the many productions the university is hosting this fall season. Visit cfa.calendar.gmu.edu for more information.

Little Theatre of Alexandria: The Little Theatre of Alexandria 2022 — 23 season begins in December with the production of Ken and Jack Ludwig’s “Tiny Tim’s Christmas Carol.” Visit thelittletheatre.com for more information.

Reston Multicultural Festival: The Reston Multicultural is a celebration of the “diversity and community spirit that is found



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Theatres and Festivals Gear Up for the Fall in Reston.” The festival features a stage that will be active throughout the day with performances by National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Heritage fellows and about a dozen arts and crafts vendors who range from South America, Asia, Europe and various other cultures represented at the festival. Local and county community organizations will be on the site as well, having hands-on activities people can participate in while learning about different cultures. Visit the restoncommunitycenter.com for more information.

DC Jazzfest at the Wharf: From Saturday, September 3 — Sunday, September 4, the 18th annual DC Jazzfest will be hosted at the Wharf. Mambo Legends Orchestra, Heidi Martin and Christian McBride & Inside Straight are just a few of the many talents performing at the festival. Visit www.dcjazzfest.org for more information. Falls Church Fall Festival: The 46th annual Falls Church Festival returns to the Little City, with events such as The Taste of Falls Church, a beer garden, live music, children’s entertainment and booths from local crafters, businesses and civic organizations. Admission is free to the public, but food, beer and amusement rides require the purchase of one or more tickets. Visit www.fallschurchva.gov for more information. Art on the Avenue: A regional multicultural arts and music festival, the Art on the

Avenue festival held in the Del Ray neighborhood in Alexandria will be on October 1. Attendees will be “greeted” by more than 300 artists, musicians and food vendors, along with kids activities. Visit www.artontheavenue.org for more information.

Clarendon Day: Clarendon Day returns on Saturday, September 24 in Arlington. Known as Arlington’s “best loved and most diverse” street festival, the event includes several music stages, a large kid’s area, arts and crafts vendors, business and nonprofit exhibitors from Clarendon and the region. Foods and beverages from local and regional restaurants will also be displayed. Visit www.clarendon.org for more information. Civil War Show: The Annual Civil War Show will be held on Saturday, September 24 — Sunday, September 25 at the Arlington Fairfax Elks Lodge. The event features 20 tables of Civil War photographs, along with the 37th Annual D.C.Antique Photo & Postcard Show. Rosslyn Jazz Fest 2022: Jazz is back in Rosslyn this milestone year. Beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday, September 10, the festival is bringing a diverse lineup of four fantastic acts to the stage: Cimafunk, Mwenso & The Shakes, Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio, and Groove Orchestra. Visit www.rosslynva.org for more information.

Farm Day: On October 8, Falls Church’s annual Farm Day returns this year to Cherry Hill Park. Enjoy a day of old fashioned fun and activities for the whole family, including a petting farm, pony rides, pumpkin painting, scarecrow making (bring your own long pants and a sleeved shirt), live music, tours of the Cherry Hill Farmhouse and barn, blacksmith demonstrations, and more. Visit www.fallschurchva.gov for more information.

Vienna Oktoberfest: On October 1, the Vienna Oktoberfest takes place on the Town Green and historic Church Street in the heart of Vienna. The festival features live entertainment on three stages: Main Stage, Kid’s Stage and Acoustic Stage; a primary and secondary beer garden, access to beer and wine at all food locations, multinational food vendors and more. Visit viennaoktoberfest.org for more information.

UCP Fall Art & Craft Fair:

City of Fairfax Fall Festival:

The United Christian Parish in Reston will hold its Sixth Annual Fall Art and Craft Fair on Saturday, October 29. This juried fair will showcase a wide variety of handmade items from area artists and crafters just in time for one’s holiday and gift giving needs. Glass art, wood products, hand weaving, fabric crafts, gourds, pottery, jewelry, gnomes, paintings and more will be available. Visit www.fxva.com for more information.

The 46th Annual City of Fairfax Fall Festival on October 8 will feature more than 400 arts, crafts, information, food and gourmet food vendors, children’s activities and three stages of music and entertainment for all ages. Located in Old Town Fairfax, Special Events Assistant Manager for the City of Fairfax Deanna Payne said an exciting

MPAartfest: The Mclean Project of the Arts Arts Festival focuses on the visual arts in the DMV area accompanied by “creative music” performed at the festival. Hosted in Mclean on Sunday, October 6, the music curator for the festival Ken Avis said the event tends to try to feature “creative original artists” and “local area musicians.” MPAartfest has various jazz, international and blues bands throughout the day. Visit mpaart. org for more information.

new element being featured in this year’s festival is Flippenout Productions, which are “highly skilled, professional athletes who deliver daring and bold acrobatic routines with a giant wall and a trampoline.” Visit www.fairfaxva.gov for more information.

Mosaic Fall Festival: The Mosaic Fall Festival from Saturday, September 24 — Sunday, September 25 at the Mosaic District in Fairfax will highlight live entertainment and musical performances, FRESHFARM Farmers Market with 50+ vendors and URBN market, a “unique market” of 90 handmade and vintage vendors. Beer and wine gardens will also be present at the festival. Visit mosaicdistrict.com for more information.

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A Walk on the ‘Wild Side’ at Falls Church Arts Gallery


Falls Church Arts Gallery is currently holding an art show themed “Wild.” This is fitting, as a wide and wild variety of art media are used, including photography, porcelain, silk screen, oil as well as acrylic painting, and even a long T-shirt with dye. As for subjects, these range from works suggesting everything from the “wild kingdom” of nature to wild, fast-paced motorcycles and amusement park rides. Let us take a walk on the “wild side,” so to speak, and begin with two paintings in the Cubist style. In Greg Skrtic’s Cubist acrylic painting “Annelise’s Garden,” a girl is surrounded by light, playful patterns, vibrant colors, and nature. The Cubist structure forms a stainedglass-like look. The card beside the picture notes poignantly that when the artist’s “daughter passed, our family created a memorial garden. This is how I dream of her in her garden—bleeding hearts and Japanese maples with an arabesque design that encircles the sun-lit stained-glass window that frames her like a halo. On her right wrist is a rose bracelet while on her left forearm a golden serpent ascends.” An equally striking Cubist work, this one in monochrome, is John Ballou’s oil painting “Two Musicians on a Rodeo Bull,” in which square vignettes of instruments such as the tambourine in the upper left hand corner, bongo drums at the middle top, and a saxophone are being held. Two characters can be seen with their facial expressions being engrossed by the rhythm of the wild instruments. Sheet music can imply the structure of music, but the painting somehow reminded us of a literary work of the early twentieth-century when Cubism and jazz improvisation were in vogue: Hermann Hesse’s “Steppenwolf,” and its description of “the sublime intoxication of performing in the orchestra” as jazz musicians “played faster and wilder.” Yet there is a Wild West presence here as well, with the saxophone man seen to be wearing a cowboy boot and spur. Sharp black-and-white contrasts represent the excitement of the music while there is a shadow behind the woman which appears to belong to her but is actually a dark bull shadow, give the painting a wild feel as they are perhaps taking part of an entertaining evening. Now we are still in the wild season of summer! Noreene Janus’ acrylic painting “Where’s My Beach

Towel” depicts a colorful beach towel with contrasting primary colors which draws the viewer in with the use of multiple horizontal lines. There is a combination of abstraction and realism between the background and foreground. As the exhibit card beside the painting states with clever punchline: “Frantic masses of shapes and colors presented horizontally with two bands across the top. The color of the horizontal bands suggests sand and sea. The jumbles of abstract shapes suggest the midsummer beach crowds. Wait, there’s no room for my towel.” Also “wild” with a self-styled “supersaturated summer vacation” feel, Carrie Spence’s “Summer Girls” is a mixed-media work in which a bee-like insect can be seen watching the television with a theme of buzzing both from the bee and the television screen. Artist Carrie Spence pays tribute to various paintings by Van Gogh with Starry Nightlike spiraling sky swirls the room itself looking as if it could be a very loose take on Van Gogh’s “Bedroom in Arles” set in the future with simplistic furniture pieces and a window. Sci-fi touches with saturated colors and clear outlines give this work an additional edge. Before leaving the summer season behind, we must admire John Valenti’s “Wild Whirl,” a color photograph of an amusement park or fair captured in action. Striking neon green and yellow colors jump out at the viewer. A calmer carnival mood is captured in photography in Naomi Lipsky’s “At the Fair,” as the artist’s daughter queues up for a “a ride at the county fair.” There are various artworks of wildlife, such as Frey Christensen’s “Tyger, Tyger.” Owing its title and unusual spelling to William Blake’s famous poem beginning “Tyger, tyger burning bright,” the work depicts a forest scene of multitudinous animals including “Malayan Tapir, Javan Rhinoceros, Orangutan, Sumatran Tiger, Slow Loris, Sumatran Elephant, Bali Myna, Sun Bear, and Proboscis Monkey.” Marker on watercolor paper is the medium. At first, the animals are not immediately apparent, but as the viewer looks deeper into the painting, more details begin to surface. Here there may be a message involving corporate social responsibility, for the cards speaks of: “Slash-andburn practices behind the common additive destroy irreplaceable habitat and carry a high death toll, roasting all creatures unable to escape. How much more will be lost to the fire?” A more placid view of nature

is seen in the oil painting “Swan Lake,” executed in careful detail by Iryna Smitchkova. Here two swans, black and white, have arched necks, suggesting almost a yin-yang pattern. Looking closely at the canvas, an intricately patterned texture can be seen which is not apparent from afar. According to the painter: “In nature, swans are known for their devotion to one another. So when I started to create the image of two beautiful birds, I wanted to convey how wonderful the feeling of love and fidelity is.” Two canvases cover the bright lights of Broadway, New York City’s theatre district. Bob Gilbert’s “Phantom and West Side” depicts a Broadway in downtown Manhattan with colorful posters of different Broadway large advertisements of the Broadway musicals “South Pacific,” “West Side Story,” “Hair,” and “The Phantom of the Opera.” Not only is the painting visually filled with city crowds heading into the theatres but is also suggestive of city sounds. Viewing the painting, one the can almost hear the busy traffic mixed with music as enthusiastic theatre goers rendezvous to enter theatres. Yet the true wildness here is the wildly improbable: the four musicals referenced appeared in vastly different decades and would unlikely be playing all together at the same time. Another Manhattan-themed painting is the same artist’s “Theater District,” in which taxis can be seen with spattered in rain. Digital photography makes its appearance with James Hengst’s “Driftwood Tree.” The poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow speaks of “drift-wood fire without that burned” in his poem “The Fire of Drift-wood” and is matched by Sara Teasdale in her poem “Driftwood” which imagines “driftwood burning.” Yet the theme of this painting in the Falls Church show is not how all things perish with time but rather a timeless view of “Treasure Beach, on Jamaica’s south coast,” where one finds “sandy beaches” uncorrupted by “megaresorts.” Instead, according to the exhibition card, the pictured “tree grows wild from the soil between two of the beaches, its branches twisted by the wind and tides into beautiful shapes resembling driftwood.” Wild flashcard views of more of the exhibition would include the ancient symbols of griffin and sphynx (Veronica Barker-Barzel’s “Griffin and Pregnant Sphinx” relief), Shaun van Steyn’s film photography “Wild Buffalo,” and Casey Wait’s “Get in Line,” an acrylic on cradled board

FALLS CHURCH ART’S wild show on display through Oct. 2nd. (P���� C�������: F���� C����� A���)

depicting a large white cat. To enjoy a close-up look at these and other works too numerous to present here, take a “walk on the wild side” in visiting Falls

Church Arts’ “Wild,” an exhibition of pictures for sale which continues through October 2. For further information, please visit www. FallsChurchArts.org