Local Commentary

Guest Commentary: Another Season of Live Theater, Concerts & Cabarets

By Laura Connors Hull

Another opening…another show. Thanks to the generous support of so many patrons and funders (including the Little City Catch Foundation), Creative Cauldron is proud to announce its 2019-20 season of live theater, concerts and cabarets. It will be our 11th year of programming at ArtSpace Falls Church, and our 18th year as a non-profit arts organization.

We begin the journey in October with a regional premiere of “Disenchanted,” a hilarious hit musical that features the storybook heroines from classic fairy tales. They’ve come to life to set the record straight about “happily ever after.” “Disenchanted” won the Outer Critics Circle Award for “Outstanding Off-Broadway Musical,” and has played to sold-out houses around the globe. We have a fabulous, professional cast that are sure to keep audiences in stitches.

November features another one of our Learning Theater productions, an original adaptation of “The Jungle Book.” A large ensemble of talented, young performers enrolled in our Learning Theater Ensemble will perform along with two adult actors, Will Stevenson and local Falls Church actor, Gus Knapp. If you’ve ever seen a Learning Theater show, you’ll know that they have the same professional polish of our adult offerings. Local families and grandparents have learned that this is the perfect way to introduce young people to the magic of live theater.

The holiday season rings in with another visit from our favorite, precocious Parisian. “Madeline’s Christmas” is sure to work its magic once again. We’ve come to call this delightful musical adaptation of the classic Ludwig Bemelman’s tale a Christmas confection. It’s the perfect treat for the entire family to share over the holidays. And for adult audiences, we will once again feature our Holiday cabaret series with terrific musical theater performers from the Washington metropolitan area.

When winter sets in January, we’re just heating up with our annual “Passport to the World of Music” concert series. Curated by Ken Avis and Lynn Veronneau, of the Wammie Award winning jazz/samba group Veronneau, this series features blues, jazz, Latin, fusion, folk and musical groups that have national and international performing credits. They deliver a first rate festival of music that allows you to travel the world without ever leaving Falls Church.

“Crowns,” an inspirational musical about a Brooklyn teen who goes to live with her grandmother in South Carolina, and learns the beauty, ceremony and symbolism of hat-wearing from her resilient, southern sisters will be mounted in February. “Crowns” has played to sold out houses in theaters around the country, including Arena Stage.

Our spring Learning Theater production, “Cinderella’s Dream,” will take a 21st century look on one of the most well-known fairytales ever written. These original productions are adapted by Ellen Selby and feature the wonderful music of Matt Conner and Stephen Gregory Smith, and the inspired scenic creations of resident designer, Margie Jervis. Matt and Stephen are the team behind our “Bold New Works for Intimate Stages” project that produced five critically acclaimed musical premieres in the past five years, and Margie Jervis is a two-time Strauss Award- winning artist with more than two decades of professional design experience. We are blessed indeed to have these talented people as part of our permanent staff.

In April, we expect to ignite the fan base of country music icon, Patsy Cline, with a musical play that is based on a true story about the legendary singer’s unlikely friendship with a fan from Houston named Louise Seger. “Always Patsy Cline” features 27 of Patsy’s heartfelt songs including: unforgettable hits such as “Crazy,” “I Fall to Pieces,” “Sweet Dreams,” and “Walking After Midnight.” American Theater magazine has deemed this the most produced musical in America and we are pleased to bring it to Falls Church.

Following on the heels of our successful “Bold New Works” Commissioning project, Creative Cauldron is launching a “Bold New Musical Voices” national competition for musicals written by women. Submissions will be reviewed this fall and winter and three to five winners will have their works presented in a workshop reading in May. From these finalists one production will be chosen to receive a full production in our 2020-21 season.

Our final production of the season, “Into the Woods,” needs no explanation. With its imaginative book by James Lapine that skillfully intertwines characters from Grimm fairy tales, and its luscious score by Stephen Sondheim, this Tony Award-winning musical has become a timeless masterpiece.

The summer months of July and August will be filled with summer camps, and on the weekends, our professional summer cabaret series. The line up of performers gets better with every season.

While Creative Cauldron will never have the resources of larger professional venues, we know we can promise first-rate talent and imaginative staging that will make you join a chorus of patrons who call us a “local gem.”

Laura Connors Hull is the founder and producing director of Creative Cauldron.