All the Region's a Stage

A Beautiful Array of Theater Offerings Await You This Fall Season

Paul Rudd once said that theater “is the most enriching and thrilling thing one can do as an actor.” It’s also one of the most enriching experiences any of us can have, as audience members. Great theater, after all, is more than entertainment. At its best, it invites us to confront the human condition—our common desires, our tragic flaws and our moments of transcendence—and to grow in the process. 

The good news is that we don’t have to travel very far to enjoy it. Indeed, in recent years the theater scene in Coastal Virginia has blossomed, with a beautiful array of offerings.

This fall is no exception. The Virginia Stage Company—our region’s premier professional theater—is staging three productions: a new musical set partially in Ocean View; an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ beloved Oliver Twist, and the company’s annual holiday favorite, A Christmas Carol. (See our in-depth interview with interim artistic director Patrick Mullins.)

If you can’t get enough of Scrooge, Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim, you may also want to attend Virginia Musical Theatre’s adaptation of the classic, scored by local composer Chip Gallagher, with lyrics by Jeff Meredith. Earlier in the season, VMT will also stage the ever-popular Beauty and the Beast.

Companies based at our local universities also play integral roles in our regional theater scene, as do a variety of community-theater organizations and the children’s theater company Hurrah Players, a cherished institution in our community for well over two decades.

If you are thinking bigger, Broadway in Norfolk brings some of the world’s most exciting theatrical productions to Norfolk’s Chrysler Hall, including Annie and Elf the Musical this fall.

“We’re very excited to announce our 2016–2017 Broadway In Norfolk series. With such a variety of shows to choose from, from Broadway classics to Tony Award-winning musicals, theater lovers will be thrilled with the selection,” says John Rhamstine, director of SevenVenues.

In spite of the excellence to which these companies continually aspire, it is sometimes difficult, as you can imagine, to attract audiences in our day and age of electronic entertainment. But theater offers something that no movie, television show or video game can—a more human and communal experience where people can gather together in a space with live actors and musicians in the same way that citizens routinely did in ancient Greece. Theater, in other words, connects us to both our community and our cultural history in ways that no other art form can.

In short, whether you’re a longtime theatergoer or are new to the art form, there is much to look forward to in the coming months. 

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