It had been a busy 30th anniversary season for The Lake Braddock Theatre. It opened with the one-act play "Extremities," which earned an All-Star Cast designation for senior Meg Seay at the Virginia Theatre Association's High School Competition in Reston. Weeks later, 40 Cappies critics came to Lake Braddock to see William Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night." The hilarious comedy directed by '91 LB graduate and '04 Helen Hayes Best Actor Award Winner Jon Cohn was well-received by the four-year-old Critics and Awards Program as published critiques appeared in area newspapers during the month of December. But even with all this success, much like the weather, things got even more intense during winter.
The 4,000-plus enrollment Lake Braddock Secondary School first opened its doors in 1973 and since then has won or competed for state titles in almost every one of the Virginia High School League's sponsored events. However, in one VHSL category, Lake Braddock had been 0 for 30: The State One-Act Play Festival. Though hosting the festival more times than any other Patriot District school, Lake Braddock never finished higher than a tie for third on the Northern Region level. This January, LBT's production of "As Is" finished second to Hayfield at the District Festival held at Braddock, advancing to the Regional Festival at Herndon. In February, LBT was lucky enough to finish second to Regional Theatre powerhouse George C. Marshall, thus advancing to the State level. In March, LBT traveled to Charlottesville High School to compete against the top two AAA schools from across the state. The end result was a tie for first with Prince George High School. Tie-breaking procedures gave the state title to Prince George, but the second place finish for LBT was the greatest VHSL run in the school's 30-year history. Along the way, senior Brendan Hill received Outstanding Performance and Best Acting honors at every level.
THROUGHOUT THE VHSL roller coaster, LBT's actors and technicians remained committed to two other related projects that resulted in sold-out shows. The first was the Lake Braddock Musical Theatre's "Hello Dolly," a collaboration of Lake Braddock's orchestra, choral music and theatre departments, which featured the talents of students from all five of Lake Braddock's grade levels. The production sold-out the 700-seat Little Theatre for three of the four performances and even rivaled attendance for the next-door Patriot District Basketball tournaments in the gym. Three weeks later, the smaller scale production company Lake Braddock Laboratory Theatre, sold out three consecutive performances of Kindertransport in the 150-seat Recital Hall. A Holocaust-era drama about the legacy of the 10,000 Jewish children who escaped Germany to England from 1938 - 1939, brought the Burke community to the smaller, more intimate setting of the Laboratory Theatre. LBT was able to satisfy the close to 200 people who had to be turned away that weekend by extending the run of the show. The extra performances allowed LBT to donate a portion of the receipts to the Mark Craver Fund, which was created to remember the popular Lake Braddock English teacher who passed away in January.
NOW LBT EMBARKS on the year's last production, a zany classic hit by the Pulitzer Prize winning playwrights of "The Man Who Came To Dinner" and "Once In a Life Time," George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart's 1936 comedy, "You Can't Take it With You." In a few weeks, LBT will welcome you to the home of the Sycamore Family of New York City. Grandpa owes 22 years of back taxes. His daughter, Penny, has begun 11 plays yet never finished one. Her husband Paul hoards thousands of pounds of gunpowder to build fireworks in the basement. Her ballerina daughter Essie makes candy that her xylophonist husband Ed boxes up and distributes with flyers containing anti-government slogans he prints himself. Is it any wonder that Paul and Penny's daughter Alice is worried when her fiancé and his parents, the Kirbys of Park Avenue, come to dinner a day early? Best known for the 1938 Frank Capra film starring James Stewart, "You Can't Take it With You" is one of the most successful family comedies in entertainment history.
The production will feature seniors playing key roles of the ensemble cast. Brian Dudolevitch will cause problems as Essie's Russian choreographer Boris Kholenkov. He champions the cause of the exiled Russian Grand Duchess-turned waitress Olga Katrina, played by Grace Lenihan. Matt Ference will showcase his musical talents as Essie's xylophonist husband Ed. Tackling the lead roles of Alice and Grandpa are Kathleen Mason and Justin Jones. This year's previous festival award winners Brendan Hill and Meg Seay will take on the smaller roles of fireworks creator Paul and the drunken has-been actress Gay Wellington, respectively. Newcomer Paul Tinsley will showcase his acting talents in his first play as the intimidating head G-Man. Rounding out the cast are Megan Lange and Michelle Gomez in the supporting roles of the uptight Mrs. Kirby and the smart aleck maid Reba.
The Lake Braddock Theatre production of "You Can't Take it With You" is stage managed by junior Elizabeth Holtan and will be presented on the following dates and times: Thursday, April 29, at 7:30 p.m., Friday, April 30, at 8 p.m., Saturday, May 1, at 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. All seats are $7 presale/$8 at the door. Tickets can be reserved beginning Monday, April 26 by calling the following phone numbers: 703-426-1070 for information only and 703-455-1762 to reserve tickets on answering machine or send an email to www.lbttickets.com. For more information, check the website at www.lbtheatre.com.