Even though the banquet hall at Medieval Madness is eternally stuck in the 15th century, its court isn't content to perform the same show forever. Every four months, the troupe updates its production of comedy and knightly combat, swapping out nods to politics and modern life as often as kings jail their favorite jesters for disobeying the fashion police. Each evening's reverie begins with a four-course meal served family style at long banquet tables. Like the show, the menu regularly rotates, though it always includes a succulent pear sauce crafted from an 800-year-old recipe, a perfect complement when drizzled over roasted meats or smeared on an opposing clan's coat of arms. Throughout the evening, guests watch on as the duke and duchess lob insults at each other, wenches break into tawdry songs, and knights fully clad in chain mail part the tables to challenge one another in exhilarating sword fights.
The Metropolitan School of the Arts - formerly the Metropolitan Fine Arts Center - was founded more than 14 years ago. This multidisciplinary performing-arts organization takes a holistic approach to teaching and encouraging performance-arts skills, creating performance opportunities in dance, music, and theater for a diverse population of students of all ages and abilities. Its students have gone to perform on Broadway, at The Juilliard School, and in highly esteemed companies, such as the Mark Morris Dance Company, The Washington Ballet, and Ford's Theater and Signature Theater. Youth programs include year-round programs in dance, theater, music, music-theater, and acting, as well as a performing-arts program in the summer, all for children as young as 2. Adult classes range from basic to advanced, including ballet, jazz, and tap lessons, plus yoga and ballet-barre fitness workouts.
When Kim Allen Kluge took over as music director of the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra in 1987, the outfit was made up of a small but enthusiastic group of community musicians. Sensing the potential of the orchestra, Kluge augmented the ensemble with freelancer virtuosos, quickly establishing the ASO as the premier professional symphony in northern Virginia. Today, the collective performs in the elegant Schlesinger Concert Hall on the Northern Virginia Community College campus, which makes for an acoustically friendly venue and a convenient base of operations for pranks on the Dean.
An old-fashioned ambiance reigns in The Carlyle Club, expressed in an art-deco design scheme, frequent visits from respected jazz musicians, and guests’ predilections for saying “horse feathers.” Tall palm fronds back cushy leather booths and elegant marble tables loiter near the bar, all within sight of the intimate, blue-curtained stage. A bow-tied wait staff completes the back-in-time vibe, as do vintage posters and the intricately patterned wallpaper.
THEARC is home to the only community theater in its area, which hosts the I Can summer program, an internship that teaches area young people ages 14–24 about technical-theater management. The eight-week paid internship will invite 10 new interns beginning this June for an introduction to the creative and practical skills required to produce and design plays. Interns also receive training in life skills such as resume writing, setting long-term goals, public speaking, and financial literacy. I Can aims to empower young people from disadvantaged backgrounds with the skills they need to achieve academic and career success. THEARC relies on the help of donations to provide each intern with the basic supplies they need to participate in the program.
When Lazy Susan Dinner Theatre's doors open for each evening's performance, guests are greeted and escorted to their tables where they can order cocktails. Then, with thirsts parched and pocket watches swinging, they move onward to a hot buffet of made-from-scratch Pennsylvania Dutch dishes, including breads, roast beef, chicken, fish, and housemade desserts. But sweets aren't the only treat here. After dessert, the curtain opens to family-friendly Broadway-style shows that incite laughter, explore American history, or challenge theatergoers to discern which actors are real ghosts. And to tie the dinner and show together even tighter, the performers are the same people pouring the coffee. DC Metro Theater Arts notes that "the warm ambiance found at The Lazy Susan is indeed half of the fun of going."