Now On Stage

The curtain is rising to reveal a theater season filled with top performances

Theatre in Hampton Roads

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Hampton Roads is awash in theater.

We have an overflowing cornucopia of producing theaters—those who cast, rehearse and (usually) build the plays they perform. Fully professional endeavors such as the Virginia Stage Company, the Virginia Opera Association, the Lyric Opera of Virginia and the Virginia Musical Theatre, and the host of semi-pro, avocational, community and academic groups all fall in this category.

Their efforts often overlap and intersect the work of presenters like The Sandler and Ferguson centers in Virginia Beach and Newport News, Hampton’s American Theatre, and the City of Norfolk’s venue, Chrysler Hall, who bring in pre-packaged shows.

For example, Virginia Musical Theatre (producing) makes its home at the Sandler (presenting). VMT’s 2013–14 “Broadway at the Center” series of musicals begins with Nunsense, the pun-filled spoof that spawned a franchise of convent-centric comedies (Oct. 4–6).

Little Women: The Broadway Musical (Dec. 6–8) is next on the VMT schedule, after which Children of Eden, a look at generation gaps in the days of Adam and Eve and Noah, continues the familial theme (Feb. 28–March 2). Since Happy Days! A New Musical, the beloved TV show turned musical comedy, wraps up the VMT season, it’s adolescent/offspring-oriented to the very end (April 25–27).

VMT slots its shows around a varied series of Sandler presentations, including a trio aimed at young and family audiences:

Aladdin & Other Enchanting Tales, with Ali Baba, Sinbad, the Sultan and such, will bring to its multi-generational audience a fantastic look at the magic that comes from within the human heart. (Oct. 17, morning and afternoon).

What’s not to love about shows for youngsters such as X Out Bullying (Virginia Stage Company, Feb. 3–5) and Dinosaur Train Live! (Feb. 20), an audience interactive musical, live actor and “hybrid puppeteer” version of the PBS series?

My Heart In A Suitcase, aimed grades 4–8 especially, relates a poignant and unforgettable story of Holocaust survival (April 7).

Sandler Center will also host a new series of Virginia Opera performances. The VOA still calls Downtown Norfolk’s Harrison Opera House home, as it has since its first show at what was then the Norfolk Center Theater, and all but their first production will play both houses.