Theater Season Preview

Entertainment for All can be Found in the 2019 Theater Season




Erin Matteson, marketing/publicity chair on the Board of Directors for Little Theatre of Norfolk, summed up live performances best when she said, “You never know what people are going through during their day. So just to have a few hours where you can step out of reality into this magical world of theater and suspend your disbelief to believe the people on stage are really from a different time period—it’s different than what you would experience when watching a movie or a TV show. You’re invested in it. These are real people right in front of you. The music is blaring right in your face. So, you can’t help but feel a part of it. You’re really experiencing something.”

The upcoming Coastal Virginia theater season is packed with opportunities for people of all ages to laugh, cry, reminisce, tap your toes, sing and dance and really experience the essence of live performances. Here is a quick preview of what some local venues have in store for you.

 

Kishi

Zeiders American Dream Theater

Technically open since 2015, Zeiders American Dream Theater (affectionately known as “The Z”), is just now coming up on their first anniversary in their new Virginia Beach Town Center space. A charitable organization that was founded on the belief that creativity drives the growth of individuals and communities, they are backing that sentiment with a full gamut of live entertainment, including three self-produced cabarets, world-premiere plays, music, magic, dance, film documentaries and more.

“We also have a resident comedy company, Plan B Comedy, that will be doing shows throughout our season, too, usually about twice a month,” says James Bryan, marketing director. “We have children’s theater as well, so we do a lot of diverse programming. There’s something generally going on every weekend, and it’s always something different. You’re always going to get a great experience when you come to visit us.”

Here are some of the shows that have been announced for the upcoming season:

  • The Interpreters, Sept. 14
  • Guy Bavil: Master of the Mind, Sept. 28
  • Jae Sinnett Trio with Special Guest Ellis Marsalis, Oct. 5
  • Proteus Festival, Oct. 8–13
  • The Thick Dark Fog & Badger Creek
  • Grotesquerie Lake, Nov. 1–3
  • AfroBeats Dance Fest, Nov. 9–11
  • Basses are Loaded, Nov. 22–24
  • Doo Wop Project, Nov. 22
  • Detroit 48202: Conversations Along a Postal Route, Nov. 23
  • Holidivas, Dec. 12–15
  • Jae Sinnet’s Zero to 60 Quartet, Dec. 14
  • St. Irene’s, Jan. 23–26
  • The Hunts, Feb. 1
  • The Blood is at the Doorstep, Feb. 4
  • Cross That River, Feb. 8
  • Sex on Broadway, Feb. 13–15
  • No Holds Bard; Shakespeare Remade, Feb. 19–22
  • Spinning Tales on Ice, Feb. 26
  • The New Edgar Cayce Musical, March 12–14
  • Daniel Greenwolf: Celtic Magic, March 14
  • Risking Light, March 21
  • Next to Normal, April 4–12
  • Pizza! A Love Story, April 18
  • The Opulent ’80s, April 24; April 30; May 1–2
  • Beyond Bollywood: Namaste India, May 1
  • Jen Kober, May 2
  • Alexis Cole Trio, June 27

Zeiders American Dream Theater website: TheZ.org

 

Virginia Musical Theatre

Celebrating their 29th season, the Virginia Musical Theatre will be doing three productions they’ve never done before, and they are bringing back Mamma Mia, which was an audience favorite from 2017. “We’ve never repeated a show so soon after we’ve done it,” says Executive Director Mark Hudgins. “But there were so many people who asked for it, we’re bringing it back.”

In addition to the four shows they will showcase at the Sandler Center, VMT is doing a tri-production of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama-winning musical, Next to Normal, which has been nominated for 11 Tony Awards. VMT will be teaming up with The Governor’s School for the Arts and Zeiders American Dream Theater to showcase this amazing production at the Z.

“We’re also doing something new with The Governor’s School for the Arts called the Coastal Broadway Collaborative,” says Hudgins. “It’s a three-week summer camp that we’re putting on for aspiring performers from 10 to 21 years old that features really big-name people with tons of Broadway credits. We just finished our first event earlier this summer, but we’ll be taking applications for next year soon.”

This season’s VMT selections includes:

  • Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Oct. 4–6
  • A Grand Night for Singing, Nov. 22–24
  • Chicago: The Musical, Feb. 7–9
  • Mamma Mia!, April 24–-26

Virginia Musical Theatre website: VMTheatre.org

Coastal Broadway Collaborative website: CoastalBroadwayCollaborative.com

 

Little Theatre of Norfolk
Sweet Charity. Photo by Lisa Hogan

Little Theatre of Norfolk

Continuously performing and presenting shows since 1926, Little Theatre of Norfolk is stepping up to their 93rd season with some exciting and fun productions. “Every season we run a fall musical, three plays, and a spring musical,” says Erin Matteson, marketing/publicity chair on the Board of Directors. “We’re following the same suit, except this year we have a hybrid show. It’s technically a play, but it’s got music in it, but not enough to be considered a musical. That’ll be right in the middle of the lineup and it’s called Peter and the Starcatcher, which is kind of a prequel to Peter Pan.”

In between productions, Little Theatre of Norfolk will be presenting free educational workshops to get the community engaged and to provide a way to learn what goes on behind the scenes for those who aspire to be on stage. Check The Little Theatre’s website for workshop themes, dates and times.

Check into Little Theatre of Norfolk’s Flex Pass to save money on this season’s shows:

  • Sweet Charity, Sept. 6–29
  • One Slight Hitch, Nov. 1–24
  • Peter and the Starcatcher, Jan. 10–Feb. 2
  • A Piece of My Heart, March 6–29
  • A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, May 15–June 7

Little Theatre of Norfolk website: LTNOnline.org

 

Way Down Wanderers
Way Down Wanderers

Suffolk Center for the Cultural Arts

If you haven’t been out to the Suffolk Center for the Cultural Arts yet, prepared to be enthralled. In celebration of their 14th season, and to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the “Virginia is for Lovers” slogan, they will be presenting 13 performances and a total of 36 events so everyone can find something they “love” at the Suffolk Center.

“We’re going to be busy,” says Susan Lawrence, executive director. “In addition to the 13 performances, we’re going to have 13 free movies in partnership with Suffolk Tourism, five art gallery exhibits, multiple school shows for our youths, a Plein Air Festival, a Mardi Gras party for our Annual Fundraiser, and many other surprises along the way. We’re very excited about this season’s programing.”

Della Mae with Dempsey
Della Mae with Dempsey

The Drifters
The Drifters

You won’t want to miss these performances:

  • Way Down Wanderers, Oct. 4
  • The Little Mermaid, Oct. 19
  • Ferg Ferguson & Keycentric, Nov. 1
  • Red, White & BREWS, Nov. 16
  • Mary Poppins Returns, Dec. 14
  • Virginia Symphony Orchestra Holiday Brass, Dec. 20
  • Mark Schultz with Daniel Heffington, Jan. 11
  • Masters of Soul, Feb. 1
  • Jim Newsom & the Cloudless Sky, March 13
  • Musical Surprise, March 21
  • Della Mae with Dempsey, April 4
  • Chowan University Choir, April 26
  • The Drifters, May 16

Art Exhibits:

  • Beauty Beneath the Bark, Sept. 12–Oct. 25
  • Fresh from the Studios: The Greater Lanexa Studio Tour, Nov. 14–Jan. 11
  • Sister Cities Young Artists and Authors Showcase, Feb. 6–14
  • Walk on the Wild Side, March 5–April 26
  • Plein Air Festival & Exhibition, May 2

Movies:

  • Rosemary’s Baby, Oct. 11
  • The Amityville Horror, Oct. 18
  • The Exorcist, Oct. 25
  • Brave, Jan. 12
  • The Princess Frog, Feb. 9
  • Coco, March 8
  • The Incredibles, July 12
  • Trolls, August 9
  • Tangled, September 13

Suffolk Center for the Cultural Arts website: SuffolkCenter.org

 

Harlem 100: A Harlem Renaissance Celebration
Harlem 100: A Harlem Renaissance Celebration

The American Theatre

A venue with only 388 seats, The American Theatre continues to bring world-class entertainment to their intimate, up-close-and-personal performances. This year they are adding two new series including “Windows on the World” that will allow audiences to gain a perspective on performing arts around the globe, and “Conversations With …,” which allows audiences to explore national/international topics of interest with people from the national zeitgeist.

“Focusing on community engagement has always been a priority for me since I got here,” says Richard Parison, artistic director. “These new series will provide a way we can grow and mature community engagement to allow our audiences a way to expand their experiences when they come to the American Theatre.”

Also new this year is a $50 VIP ticket for patrons who want to sit on the aisles or in select seats. Every other seat in the theater is $35. People who anticipate frequent visits to the performances this season may also want to look into a Flex Pass Subscription that provides a $5 discount per ticket on groups of eight tickets.

In addition to the shows listed below, don’t miss the Third Annual Virginia Bluegrass and Brew Festival, which has grown from three breweries participating the first year to a total of seven breweries, cideries and distilleries this year.

  • Hampton Arts Gala: Broadway Under the Stars, Oct. 5
  • Conversations with … Donna Brazile, Oct. 11
  • Tiffany, Oct. 12
  • Mendelssohn’s “Italian” Symphony, Oct. 13
  • Visions of the Protest, Oct. 18
  • Harlem 100: A Harlem Renaissance Celebration, Oct. 19
  • Cirque Mei, Oct. 26
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Oct. 31
  • Xanadu, Nov. 2
  • Smooth Jazz with Jeff Lorber, Nov. 8
  • David Sanborn Jazz Quintet, Nov. 9
  • Conversations with…Rich Lowry, Nov. 14
  • The Texas Tenors, Nov. 16
  • Conversations with…David Hogg, Nov. 23
  • ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, Nov. 30
  • An Evening with Jane Monheit, Nov. 30
  • A Debbie Boone Christmas, Dec. 7
  • Winter Classics & Holiday Favorites, Dec. 8
  • Christmas with the Nelsons, Dec. 12
  • The Soul and Spirit of Christmas with CeCe Winans, Dec. 14
  • Conversations with…Connie Schultz, Jan. 16
  • Little Bread Hen, Jan. 18
  • Coastal Virginia Bluegrass and Brew Festival, Jan. 24–26
  • Clowning Around with Avner The Eccentric, Feb. 1
  • Mrs. Krishnan’s Party, Feb. 7–8
  • That Golden Girls Show! A Puppet Parody, Feb. 15
  • The Jazz Side of Aretha Franklin, Feb. 22
  • Linda Eder in Concert, Feb. 29
  • Che Malambo, March 7
  • Young Artist Competition Showcase, March 8
  • 10,000 Maniacs, March 21
  • Town Mouse and Country Mouse, April 4
  • A Night with Buddy Holly, April 4
  • Emily Asher’s Garden Party, April 11
  • Three Souls Unfiltered, April 17
  • God Help Us!, April 25

The American Theatre website: HamptonArts.net

 

Be sure to check each venue’s website for updated listings, special promotions and exciting news.

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