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Local Theater Offers Plenty of Options this Winter

Enjoy a show at one of the community theaters.

In spite of the cold weather, there’s no reason to spend the next few weekends inside. Not with the wealth of live theater options being offered in this area. From the Aldersgate Church Children’s Theater’s version of “Guys & Dolls, Jr.” to the musical comedy, “Das Barbecü” at Little Theatre of Alexandria to the poignant “Collected Stories” at Port City Playhouse, there’s something for everybody. See one show or see them all — and know that you’re supporting the local theater community and having a fun inexpensive evening as well.

So, here’s what’s in town. “Das Barbecü” opened this past weekend to a packed open house. This area premier is unlike most shows that one will experience and is certainly not the “same old-same old.” In fact, it takes a while to put it all together in one’s mind. No surprise — five actors play a total of 30 characters. When Frank Shutts, who directed the show, was asked what it was like backstage with all those costume changes, he said that it was just wild. The story line is so convoluted that they included an insert with the history of “The Ring” and a genealogical chart to help the audience along.

In his notes, he writes, “What if we took the characters and plot of Wagner’s grand operas, “Der Ring des Nibelungen,” and set them in modern-day Texas? That must have been the answer the creators of ‘Das Barbecü’ proposed to the Seattle Opera Company in 1991 when they were commissioned to create a way of introducing the general public to ‘The Ring.’”

Join Shutts and cast and crew for a wild ride and an evening of enjoyable comedy.

“COLLECTED STORIES,” by Donald Margulies, opens at Lee Center Port this weekend. Put on by Port City Playhouse, it is directed by Adriana Hardy and produced by Jennifer Lyman; special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc. Pat Jordan stars as Ruth Steiner and Eleanor Morrison as Lisa Morrison.

The storyline has a respected author and professor employing one of her gifted young students as her assistant. The two begin an emotional journey — one rises and the other declines; one reaches out and the other holds on. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, Collected Stories builds on the human heart and its "powerful need for family."

“GUYS & DOLLS, JR.” is the third show for ACCT2, the children’s theater which offers opportunities to young actors between the ages of 7 and 17. They’ve had tremendous success with Music Man, Jr. and Godspell, Jr. and build on the tradition with this latest production. The children’s program emphasizes the educational aspect of theater — character study, stage presence, set design, props function, lighting and sound. They also work on discipline, interaction and compassion.

The original version of “Guys & Dolls” was first performed in the United States on Nov. 24, 1950 at the 46th Street Theatre in New York City. This version has been adapted by The Broadway Junior Collection of Music Theater International. Susie Poole and Dru Vander-Linden are producing the show; Madalaine Vander-Linden serves as stage director and music director.

<sh>Where & When:

<bt>Little Theater of Alexandria

“Das Barbecü”

600 Wolfe St.

Wednesday through Saturday @ 8 p.m. and Sunday @ 3 p.m. through Feb. 5

Tickets: $13 - $17. Call 703-683-0496.

(Brad Hathaway’s review will appear in next week’s issue.)

<bt>Port City Playhouse

“Collected Stories” by Donald Marguiles

Lee Center Stage, 1108 Jefferson St.

Jan. 21, 22, 28, 29 and Feb. 1, 4, 5 @ 8 p.m.

Tickets: $12, $10 seniors and students. Visit www. portcityplayhouse.com or call 703-838-2880.

<bt>Aldersgate Church Children’s Theater

“Guys & Dolls, Jr.”

1301 Collingwood Road

Jan. 21 & 22 @ 7:30 p.m., Jan. 23 @ 3 p.m.

Tickets: Call 703-799-7061 or visit www.presaleticketing.com.

AX0119-453 (WATCH logo)

<ro>News Flash:

<1st>Nominations for WATCH awards have just been posted. The Fifth Annual

Washington Area Theatre Community Honors Presentation Ceremony will be held

Sunday, March 6, at Birchmere. Following are the nominations for the above three theaters:

ALDERSGATE (first year participating)

Annie (5)

Outstanding Set Construction, Bill Austin, Chris Ball, Joe Bly, Laura Clement, Bobbie Herbst, Cory Herbst, Justin Lange, Christine Nixon, Susie Poole, Peter Thomas, Barbara Wheeler

Outstanding Set Decoration, Janie Bauer

Outstanding Music Direction, Jeff Taylor

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical, Marie Wakefield as "Agatha Hannigan"

Outstanding Musical, Annie

The Importance of Being Earnest (1)

Outstanding Costume Design, Carol Coyle

The Little Theatre of Alexandria

Cabaret (10)

Outstanding Choreography, Amy Carson

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical, Amy Conley as "Fraulein Schneider"

Outstanding Music Direction, Christopher A. Tomasino

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical, Doug Sanford as "Emcee"

Outstanding Direction of a Musical, Frank D. Shutts II

Outstanding Hair Design, Howard Vincent Kurtz

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical, Karen Jadlos Shotts as "Sally Bowles"

Outstanding Makeup Design, Scooter Choi

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical, Tom Flatt as "Herr Shultz"

Outstanding Musical, Cabaret

George Washington Slept Here (1)

Outstanding Special Effects, Ken & Patti Crowley

Lend Me a Tenor (1)

Outstanding Makeup Design, Frank D. Shutts II & Martha Bargar

Over the River and Through the Woods (8)

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play, Bernard Engel as "Frank Gianelli"

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play, Donald Neal as "Nunzio Cristano"

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play, Elissa Hudson as "Emma Cristano"

Outstanding Properties, Lenard & Sharon Dove

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play, Marilyn Hausfeld as "Adia Gianelli"

Outstanding Set Decoration, Myke Taister

Outstanding Direction of a Play, Suni Chapman

Outstanding Play, Over the River and Through the Woods

Shenandoah (1)

Outstanding Special Effects, Ken Crowley, Patti Crowley & Art Snow

Sleuth (7)

Outstanding Direction of a Play, Albert Coia

Outstanding Properties, Heather Franklin & Margaret Snow

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play, Joe Jenckes as "Andrew Wyke"

Outstanding Set Design, John Downing

Outstanding Special Effects, Ken Crowley

Outstanding Set Decoration, Nancyanne Burton, Anne Lash and Jean & Allan Stuhl

Outstanding Play, Sleuth

Port City Playhouse

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1)

Outstanding Cameo in a Play, Juliette Kelsey Chagnon as "Sandra"

<ro>Auditioning for “The Philadelphia Story”

<1st>Even as the children’s theater was performing “Guys & Dolls, Jr.,” Roland Gomez was busy auditioning for the upcoming “The Philadelphia Story.” It will be performed March 4-20. Call 703-799-7061 with inquiries.