Arts & Entertainment

Local School Theater Fall Plays Bring ‘Eurydice,’ ‘Millie’ to Stage

Now that autumn winds have taken hold of Northern Virginia, the public has a variety of indoor entertainment to choose from courtesy of local high school drama departments. The product of months, days and hours of preparation will soon be available for public consumption with just the raise of the curtain. The productions range from a Hellenistic retelling, a jovial interpretation of Neil Simon, a Mid-Western comedy, a musical investigation of love and an ensemble cornucopia with something for everyone.

Marshall High School

George C. Marshall High School Theater will perform “Eurydice,” an off-Broadway play set amongst the Greek gods and mythological figures of yore. The play tells the classic tale of Orpheus from the perspective of his wife, Eurydice. The tension of the production rests on Eurydice’s decision to live with either her husband Orpheus or in the underworld with her father Hades.

“Eurydice” runs Nov. 10, 11, 12 and 13. The play will be performed at George C. Marshall High School, 7731 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students and seniors. For more information, visit theatreatmarshall.org or call 703-714-5400.

George Mason High School

George Mason High School Theater plans to sing away any winter blues with a rendition of the musical “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”

“After some very heavy dramas, we wanted to try a bit lighter fare,” said director and drama teacher Pam Ricker. “The show is a silly, over-the-top saga of a girl who comes to New York to strike it big by marrying into money, but who unwittingly gets in the middle of a kidnapping/human trafficking plot.”

“Millie (of the title) thinks ‘love’ is an outdated idea that gets in the way of progress,” continued Ricker. “She comes to learn that it is actually the core of relationships and is what makes life worth living. The show is very different from any recent Mason production, because it is a huge dance show. There are a multitude of tap numbers and lots of other jazzy 1920s dancing.”

Ricker has been assisted in bringing Millie’s multitude of dance numbers to the stage by student choreographers, Meredith Johnson and Daria Butler. The duo has worked with 55 Mason students with various levels of experience in tap and dance.

Ricker’s colleagues have assisted to bring this production to the stage. GMHS music teacher Mary Jo West leads the jazz band orchestra, while fellow GMHS tech and design teacher John Ballou and guest painter/designer Rand Angelicola are mentoring students with set design and construction.

“Thoroughly Modern Millie” is being co-directed by Sam Waters with vocal direction by Lauren Glass.

Ricker is confident she has the cast to provide great performances.

“Millie is Sophie DeLeo. Dorothy is Kiki Skotte. Muzzy is Lu Sevier. Jimmy (Millie’s love interest) will be played by Rand Walter for two performances and Stephan Cotner for two performances,” said Ricker. “Mr. Graydon, the boss, will be played by Jason Kutchma for two performances and Misha Terman for two performances. There are a myriad of other interesting supporting characters giving strong performances. It is nice to see some new faces on the Mason stage with newcomers Kiki [Dorothy] and Lu [Muzzy].”

The show runs on Nov. 16, 17, 18 and 19, with each performance starting at 7:30 p.m. in the George Mason Auditorium, 7124 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church.
Tickets are $10. For more information, call 703-248-5500.

Falls Church High School

After stretching their dramatic legs with a fall 2010 performance of “The Diviners” and the audience’s imagination with a modern rendition of “Harvey” (about an invisible rabbit), Falls Church High School Theater will present a “fun, light-hearted” production, “The Man who Came to Dinner.”

“It is set at Christmas time,” said Brennan Jones, a student at FCHS who handles publicity for the play. “That is something we thought appropriate for the season. We did a very depressing show [“The Diviners”] last year in the fall. While it got a lot of good feedback, we wanted to do something in contrast to that.”

“The Man Who Came to Dinner” was written by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart. It takes place in 1930s Ohio and concerns the pratfalls and hijinks when a radio critic, Sheridan Whiteside, gets hurt visiting a wealthy industrialist, Ernest W. Stanley for dinner during the holiday season. “The Man Who Came to Dinner” has been performed on Broadway, in London and was a major motion picture in 1942.

“This is a big show,” said Jones, who also plays Ernest W. Stanley. “We have a chance to work with a lot of new people, which we thought was good.”

After modernizing their spring 2011 production, “Harvey,” the FCHS acting troupe is taking a more nuanced approach to putting their own unique interpretation of “The Man Who Came to Dinner.”

“We are trying to add a few things,” said Jones. “One of the main things in the play is the main character is a radio broadcaster. We are trying to add things in between scenes like a radio broadcast here and there. We are trying to make little things come to life. We want to keep it true to period, but we are adding our own touches within the time period to make it special.”

The play runs from Dec. 1 through Dec. 3 with performances starting at 7 p.m. A 2:30 p.m. matinée will run on Dec. 3, 2011.

Tickets are $8 at the door, $6 online and $5 if purchased at lunch. For more information, visit fchsdrama.org or call 703-207-4509.

J.E.B. Stuart High School

J.E.B. Stuart High School Theater will also bring mirth along with some intrigue to the stage this winter with “Rumors,” a play from famed playwright Neil Simon.
“This contemporary comedy is quite a departure from last year’s fall production of Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” explained Marie Cocco, a J.E.B. Drama Booster. “A year earlier, the fall play was equally serious – Ann of Green Gables. “Rumors” will give our actors a chance to stretch their talents by exploring their comedic skills and feed off the audience’s laughter and light-hearted enjoyment.”

Neil Simon’s “Rumors” was first performed in 1988 and has enjoyed success on Broadway. It has inspired Tony nominated performances from its cast. “Rumors” is a farcical play centering on intrigue at a dinner party for upper class suburbanites and their efforts to conceal the evening’s unusual events from the police and the media.

Cocco believes that not only the audience but the student actors will find enjoyment in Neil Simon’s work. “It’s a great opportunity for students who’ve immersed themselves in very serious past productions to expand their range and provide a new and engaging experience for our audiences.”

The play has performances on Dec. 1, 2, 3, 9 and 10 at 7 p.m. A matinee is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 10, 2011. Performances are located at the J.E.B. Stuart Auditorium, 3301 Peace Valley Lane, Falls Church.

Tickets are $8 for students and seniors, and $10 for adults. For more information, visit stuartdrama.org or call 703-824-3900.

McLean High School

While McLean High School does not have a full-scale production currently planned for this fall, they still have plenty to offer. Senior Terry Mittelman, will be directing the one-act play “The Long Christmas Dinner” by Thorton Wilder.

First published in 1931, the play takes place over 90 years or 90 Christmas dinners with a blend of dramatic seriousness and humor to evaluate the American experience. “The Long Christmas Dinner” will be part of an ensemble holiday show to highlight McLean’s dramatic and musical talents.

The holiday show will take place Dec. 1 and 2, with performances at 7 p.m. in the McLean High School auditorium theater. Tickets are $10.

Following the holiday break and with little rest for the weary, the McLean theater troupe will hope to have a production of “Wallace and Women” ready for competition and the public.

“Wallace and Women” is a dark comedy by Jonathan Marc Sherman that was first performed in the 1980s. It is the story of how Wallace deals with the suicide of his mother and finds romance after his mother’s self-inflicted departure.

Performance times and further information for this play have not been determined.

For more information on all McLean High School productions visit, mcleanhstheatre.org or call 703-714-5700.

News-Press calls and emails to Marshall High School Theater requesting an interview were not returned.