A roundup of some of this week’s theatrical news and notes from Disney’s Newsies, DC Black Theatre Festival, Will on the Hill from Shakespeare Theatre Company, Wolftrap, Synetic Theater and Happenstance Theater.
As a way to promote Disney’s “Get Up and Go” initiative, cast members from Disney’s Newsies, currently playing at the National Theatre, will be heading to the Newseum to show 200 Manassas Park Middle School students how to combine health and the arts.
“This is something we do on tour, going to different schools and places to promote ways kids can lead healthier lifestyles,” says 17-year-old Benjamin Cook, who plays Race in the production. “We’ll be teaching kids the Paper Dance from the show and show them different ways to be healthy and active and have fun at the same time.”
Other Newsies cast members scheduled to appear include Andrew Wilson (Dance Captain), Jack Sippel, and Nico DeJesus.
The event is scheduled for 11:30 a.m., this Friday, June 12, in the Newseum Great Hall, 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC. Directions.
To kick-off the 2015 DC Black Theatre Festival, Vanessa Bell Calloway will star in Letters From Zora: In Her Own Words, a one-woman show delving into noted author Zora Neale Hurston’s controversial views on segregation, integration and social justice.
Directed by Anita Dashiell-Sparks, and written by novelist Gabrielle Denise Pina with an original score by Ron McCurdy, the production utilizes Hurston’s personal letters to create an authentic multi-sensory dramatization in the jazz-age era.
“Each year DC Black Theatre Festival is pleased to be able to give many deserving actors, playwrights and producers a platform in which they can perform and share their story with the world. So many African American playwrights get over looked in the crowned field of theatre. This year the festival is hosting over a 100 performances, workshops and theatre competition in the DMV area. The ultimate goal of The DC Black Theatre Festival is to build a lifelong commitment to and a love of theatre in the community.”
The 10-day festival includes more than 150 provocative and ground breaking theatrical performances, by local and national artists, writers, producers, and theatre companies.
Letters From Zora, a winner of the 2014 NAACP Theatre Awards, plays June 19 and 20 at the THEARC Theatre, 1901 Mississippi Ave. SE, Washington, DC.
For a complete schedule, visit DCBlackTheatreFestival.com.
Brandon Uranowitz, who this past Sunday was a Tony nominee for his role in An American in Paris, has joined the long list of performers that will take part in this Monday’s Will on the Hill at the Shakespeare Theatre Company.
DC audiences will remember Uranowitz from his starring role in Studio’s Torch Song Trilogy, which earned him a 2014 Helen Hayes nomination.
The 13th Annual Will on the Hill, a favorite bipartisan event of theatre and political fans alike, will feature a staging of Midsummer Madness, an original play by Peter Byrne, directed by STC Associate Artistic Director Alan Paul. A limited number of VIP tickets are still available. Details and Tickets
In what’s sure to be a concert to remember, six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald will perform with the National Symphony Orchestra at Wolf Trap’s Feline Center at 8:15 p.m., Monday, June 22.
“We’ve tried to beef up our NSO programing over the past 2-3 years, and having a performer like Audra McDonald come in and join us is going to be amazing,” says Peter Zimmerman, Wolf Trap’s senior director of programming and production.
McDonald will sing a selection of beloved show tunes and pop standards with the NSO, under the baton of conductor Andy Einhorn. Expect songs from some of McDonald’s most beloved musicals, including Ragtime and The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess.
For tickets, visit wolftrap.org.
This fall, the Synetic Theater will open its new season with a new adaption of Alice in Wonderland, penned by screenwriter, playwright and former Washington Post critic Lloyd Rose for the Women’s Voices Theatre Festival of Washington, D.C.
The production will be directed and choreographed by visionary Synetic co-founders Paata and Irina Tsikurishvili, respectively.
The play takes a fresh take on Lewis Carroll’s fairy tale and will bring new life to favorite characters such as the Cheshire Cat, Mad Hatter, and murderous Queen of Hearts, throughout Alice’s fantastical adventure.
Paata sikurishvili told us: “We are excited with this production to take Alice to Synetic’s version of Wonderland. Utilizing our signature cinematic style of contemporary physical theater, we will take this Alice far beyond what many people have come to expect from Lewis Carroll’s tale, with the help of our stellar design team and actors. Audiences can expect a darker and more sophisticated take on Alice that will be thoroughly enjoyed by teens and adults but could be scary for younger children.”
The Happenstance Theater came onto the DC theater scene back in 2005 at the inaugural Capital Fringe Festival with the staging of PRUFBOX.
Since that time, artistic co-directors Sabrina Selma Mandell and Mark Jaster have helped create more than 20 works of visual, poetic and physical theatre, collaborating with numerous artists, organizations, museums and businesses.
In honor of its 10th anniversary, the theater is remounting IMPOSSIBLE! A Happenstance Circus at the Round House Theatre main stage in Bethesda and is returning to the Capital Fringe with the premiere of its new show, BrouHaHa.
On June 20, the troupe will be doing a free performance of Pinot & Augustine at the Reston Town Center, and on July 15 will have a 10th Birthday Hangout at Busboys & Poets.
In the year ahead, Happenstance Theater will have some of its shows represented by AccelArt and will be launching PLAYdate at the new Logan Fringe space in early 2016.
For more information, visit happenstancetheater.com.