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2002, A Great Theater Year But Just A Precursor Of 2003 Plans

Alexandria theater in 2002 should whet theatergoers appetites for 2003.

Local theaters had some great successes over the last 12 months, and they have come intriguing productions, whether comedies, musicals or dramas, scheduled for 2003.

THE LITTLE THEATRE of Alexandria continued to demonstrate the ability to attract top talent, both onstage and among directors and designers. Robert Hall, Jr., returned to play Groucho Marx again in, “The Cocoanuts and” Nicole Mestres McDonald mastered the challenging role of Maria Callas in “Master Class.” Vincent Worthington came in to direct a handsome staging of Shakespeare’s “A Comedy of Errors,” set in Civil War-era New Orleans, and Amy Mirahue Hough met the challenge of embodying the charm of a puppy in “Sylvia.”

The company was a bit over-extended when they attempted their big summer show, the musical “Victor/Victoria.” But they hit pay dirt when Carla Scopeletis directed “The Heiress,” the stage adaptation of Henry James’ novel “Washington Square.”

For 2003, Little Theater plans the musical comedies “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” and “The Music Man” flanking the play “Art” and the comedy “Arsenic and Old Lace.”

PORT CITY PLAYHOUSE, in recent years, has performed in the Career Center Theater at T. C. Williams High School, a highly confined theatrical space that has challenged their designers and constrained their choice of plays.

They’ve succeeded there with such smaller-scale but intriguing pieces as Arthur Kopit’s “BecauseHeCan,” and two memorable productions of “Suddenly Last Summer” and the rarely performed “Portrait of a Madonna,” both one-acts by Tennessee Williams.

Now they’re settling back into the Nannie J. Lee Center’s theater, where they have more room to mount works like Harold Pinter’s “Betrayal” and Gary Marshall and Lowell Ganz’s “Wrong Turn at Lungfish.”

The Lee Center has also breathed new life into the TAPESTRY THEATRE COMPANY.

The company made productions of “Don Juan in Hell” and “Sunday Dinner” the focus in their Jefferson Morris One-Act Play Festival, and also managed a full production of “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

The ambitious programs continue in 2003 with major productions like “Macbeth,” “Rumors,” “The Crucible” and the musical, “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”

Alexandria’s METROSTAGE filled its new theater on North Royal Street with a gamut of productions, beginning with Ron Campbell’s Holocaust play “The Thousandth Night,” in which he plays an actor caught behind Nazi lines.

They slipped a bit with the 24-song revue “Harlem Rose,” Tomas W. Jones II’s musical treatment of the Harlem Renaissance, but stormed back with the charming and touching “Sea Marks” featuring fabulous performances by Catherine Flye and Michal Tolaydo. The two reunited at the end of the year for “The Crummles’ Christmas Carol.” In between, Jones’s second new musical of the year, a black version of Anton Chekhov’s 1901 “Three Sisters,” pleased audiences under the title “Three Sistahs.”

Plans for 2003 include a one-woman show “High Dive,” the east-coast premiere of “Sidney Bechet Killed A Man,” the United Stages premiere of the Canadian play “Bea’s Niece” and the Maltby-Shire revue “Closer Than Ever.”

The good people of the ALDERSGATE CHURCH COMMUNITY THEATRE put on a marvelous musical “1776” and a strong comedy in “Auntie Mame.”

Their plans for 2003 include “Hello, Dolly,” as well as George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart’s “You Can’t Take It With You,” one of the great comedies of 20th-Century American theater. They also plan to mount the Agatha Christie mystery, “The Mousetrap,” which has been playing in London for over half a century.

Alexandria's OLD TOWN THEATRE has been converted from a movie house to a home for small theatrical events, mostly solo performance or small troupe efforts like the mad-house spoof "Crazy Love" which played there most of the summer and fall.

WEST END DINNER THEATER, after renting its space to “Late Night Catechism” for a lengthy run, returned to mounting its own shows. Janine Gulisano acted as the narrator for the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice musical “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” For 2003 they will mount Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera “The Pirates of Penzance.”

Alexandria Theaters

Aldersgate Church Community Theatre

Aldersgate United Methodist Church

1301 Collingwood Road

Alexandria

Little Theatre of Alexandria

600 Wolfe St.

Alexandria

703-683-0496

www.thelittletheatre.com

MetroStage

1201 N. Royal St.

Alexandria

703-548-9044

www.metrostage.org

Old Town Theater

815 1/2 King St.

Alexandria

703-535-8022

www.oldtowntheater.com/

Port City Playhouse

Nannie J Lee Center

1108 Jefferson St.

Alexandria

703-838-2880

www.telgo.com/pcp

Tapestry Theatre Company

Nannie J Lee Center

1108 Jefferson St.

Alexandria

www.tapestrytheatre.com

West End Dinner Theatre

4615 King St.

Alexandria

703-370-2500

www.wedt.com