- $34 for one ticket for orchestra or mezzanine seating (up to $55 value)
The Hampton Years
In the fall of 1939, a new class of African American students arrives at Hampton University. Among those faces are future muralist John Biggers—who seems resigned to holding a plumber’s wrench instead of a paintbrush—and painter/printmaker Samella Lewis. But they’re not the only new arrivals: the college has also acquired a new art professor, Viktor Lowenfeld, a Jewish painter who has recently fled Nazi Germany. Showing he’s more than your typical art professor in a canvas blazer, Viktor recognizes the potential in his new students, and especially in African American art as a cultural force. Together, these three characters fight to overcome the disinterest of the college’s white administration, the obstinance of an art world that denies their work a showcase, and their own personal demons.
Over the course of seven years, Viktor, John, and Samella collaborate, butt heads, and find common ground in the indignities of racism that span the African American and Jewish experience. Jacqueline Lawton’s script (based on a true story) achieves this with vividly told anecdotes, such as mapping a route through a segregated park to enter an art museum or finding one’s work moldering unseen in a museum’s basement. But as John and Samella grow into accomplished real-life artists, they help open the door to all the African Americans who have found their creative voices in the decades since.
Virginia Stage Company
Virginia Stage Company’s mission is to “enrich, educate, and entertain the region by creating and producing theatrical art of the highest quality.” This mission has lead VSC to become one of southeastern Virginia’s leading theater destinations, with more than 70,000 people a year attending their productions each year. This is partly because of the high quality of their productions, partly because of the many musicals that have premiered here before hitting Broadway, and partly because of its majestic location: Wells Theatre. Deserving of its National Register of Historic Places listing, this century-old testament to neoclassical Beaux-Arts architecture is a palace of ornate red and gold, frescoed ceilings, and hanging balconies that matches in grandeur what the Virginia State Company provides in splendor. In addition to performing at the Wells Theatre, VSC further lives up to its mission by performing around the community.