For more than a decade, the Providence Players of Fairfax have graced the regional theater stage with well-crafted, crowd-pleasing productions. Michael Cristofer’s Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning drama The Shadow Box takes shape at the James Lee Community Center, mixing pathos and humor with a stirring peek behind the hospital curtains at a day in the life of three families dealing with terminally ill brethren. Dramatic without being maudlin, the play celebrates relationships, family, and the inevitable conclusion of all carbon-based life forms with wit, dignity, and unflinching realism. The play contains mature language and themes, so parents should leave wee ones at home and spare them a mouthful of soap.
Music director Emil de Cou takes listeners on a sonic journey that sails the Virginia Chamber Orchestra's sound waves to baroque and neoclassical shores, then back through the romantic and contemporary coasts of jazz. The featured piece of the program, Grieg's Holberg Suite of 1884, takes the charming string movement to the late 17th century, when the playwright Ludvig Holberg lived and when flimsy top hats had to be filled with stale oatmeal so that they could stay upright. Maestro Cou mines more neoclassical splendor as violins, cello, and a four-part string orchestra resonate throughout the hall during Handel's concerti grossi from Twelve Grand Concertos, Opus 6. The orchestra breaks 20th-century ground with a composition by Washington native Duke Ellington. His “Solitude” gently exposes listeners to a heartbreakingly simple tune that has stood the test of time better than hand-whittled watches.
Saphira, the matriarch and founder of Saffron Dance, didn?t even exist 20 years ago, much like ?I survived Y2K? bumper stickers. Saphira was known as Rachael Galoob-Ortega, a lawyer who practiced in DC and Florida for a decade. But her high-power career and hefty paycheck couldn?t extinguish her passion for dance. And so she became Saphira, an international belly-dance artist and instructor with numerous accolades, including being featured in American Belly Dancer, a documentary about belly dance in the United States.
Saphira opened Saffron Dance six years ago, and along with 18 fellow instructors, channels her years of expertise into dance courses that get progressively more challenging from week to week. Welcoming all levels, her classes teach both Egyptian-inspired belly dance and community-focused tribal belly dance. Regardless of the class type, Saphira and her teachers encourage pupils to express their unique voices through dance, all while keeping proper alignment, mastering precision, and having fun.
A keeper of culture in the capitol city since 1966, the Metropolitan Chorus celebrates the beauty of the human voice without limiting itself to a certain genre. Apart from symphony-assisted classical concerts and annual productions of Handel's Messiah, the chorus also shows the jazz roots of artistic director Barry Hemphill. After all, Hemphill is the son of frequent Satchmo-collaborator Shelton "Scad" Hemphill and was babysat by none other than Billy Holliday growing up. Yet even though the ensemble's influences are so varied, a common thread ties its concerts together: a strong emphasis on American composers old and new.
Converted from a historic 1930s art-deco theater, the modern iteration of the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse is a combination restaurant, movie theater, and performance space. Besides screening blockbusters, the venue also hosts regular comedy shows featuring standups who have shared their skills on The Tonight Show, David Letterman, and Conan O'Brien. Between laughs, audience members can take bites from a complete menu or sips of selections from a full-service bar.