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  • Writer's picture New Music-Theatre

2019 Spring Season

Updated: Mar 31, 2019

Taking Up Serpents is the first production we will attend this Live & About season

Taking up Serpents

Washington National Opera  Kennedy Center Terrace Theatre

Sunday, January 13, 2019 2 pm

WNO presents the world premiere of Taking Up Serpents by American composer Kamala Sankaram and librettist Jerre Dye. This is the story of 25-year-old Kayla, the estranged daughter of a fire-and-brimstone preacher who is dangerously bitten by one of his own snakes. Kayla’s journey home forces her to confront her troubled upbringing.

Dye pulls from his own experiences growing up in the Deep South in Taking Up Serpents, which explores themes of faith, family, and the patriarchy through the lens of snake-handling practices. Sankaram’s distinctive and eclectic compositional style paints a vivid picture of this highly-charged world by adding contemporary instruments—acoustic and electric guitars and drum kit—to the orchestra pit.

From U Street to the Cotton Club

In Series

Source Theater, 1835 14th St NW

Friday, January 18 at 8 pm

Sunday, January 20 at 2 pm

“Take the A-Train” from DC’s thriving music scene on U St. to the roaring nightlife of the most famous of Harlem clubs from the revolutionary home of the True Reformers to New York’s famed Cotton Club – this joint will most definitely be jumpin’! Playwright Sybil Williams brings us stories of courageous people in turbulent times, told in a musical journey across immortal songs from gospel to the jazz age: songs by Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, Fats Waller, others. KenYatta Rogers returns to direct this toe tapping In Series hit from 2009.

The In Series is also offering a pre-show guided walk and learning tour of Black Broadway by local historian Timothy Wright who will lead audiences through the stories of the music, mural art, and life along U Street in this walking exploration of the hidden sights and sounds of the community. The tour begins at Source Theater (hand warmers and hot drinks provided) two hours before each show, and ends for dinner at famed local restaurant Ben’s Chili Bowl where ticket-holders will receive a discount on a pre-show dinner, and where a signature cocktail is created just for this show!

3 Sistahs

MetroStage,1201 North Royal St, Alexandria VA

Thursday, Feb 21 at 8 pm

Sunday, Feb 24 at 3 pm

3 Sistahs is a smoldering family drama inspired by Chekhov’s Russian masterpiece and set at the height of the civil rights and anti-war movements of 1969. The show had great success when it debuted at MetroStage in 2002 and returns to delight new audiences.

This intimate musical exposes the souls of three strong women as they reflect the promise of the future, while revealing the pain of the present and their regrets of the past. An evening of gospel, rhythm & blues, bebop and funk: a hauntingly beautiful musical score by William Hubbard and book by Thomas W. Jones II.


Olney Theater, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney, MD

Wednesday, March 6 at 8 pm

Sunday, March 10 at 2 pm 

This Tony-winning gem of a musical took Broadway by storm with its romantic folk-rock ballads and an ensemble that plays its own instruments. Set in contemporary Dublin, a street guitarist is about to give up on his dreams when he meets a curious woman who wants to know all about him. Captivated by her optimism, the two embark on a remarkable music-making journey that includes a cadre of unlikely companions — immigrants, oddballs, and lonely hearts. Step into an informal Irish pub atmosphere with this ground-breaking rethinking of a Broadway musical experience. You’ll be tapping your feet to the tunes and feel great warmth engulf you.

Black Pearl Sings!

Alliance for New Music-Theatreat the theater of the Universalist National Memorial Church, 1810 16th Street NW

Wednesday April 24 at 8 pm

Sunday April 28 at 3 pm

Frank Higgins’ play, set in Depression-era Texas, imagines a meeting between a white musicologist from the Library of Congress and a jailed African American woman with a soulful voice and steely spirit. This is a powerful evocative story of how they must work together to fulfill the goals of both these women. Theirs is a journey of race and reconciliation, religion and tenacity, a search for the origins of indigenous folk music, preservation of the musical heritage of a people, and ultimately one of healing and understanding. The work is loosely based on the discovery in prison of legendary folk singer/ guitarist Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter by LoC folklorist John Lomax and their subsequent musical partnership. The work features over twenty American folk and spiritual songs that celebrate the musical heritage of the Gullah people and serves as a reminder of how societies must value and takes pains to preserve their cultural traditions. Directed and choreographed by Thomas W. Jones II and starring Alliance member Roz White.

Grand Hotel

Signature Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave, Shirlington, VA

Wednesday May 8 at 7:30 pm

Sunday, May 12 at 2 pm

It is 1928 and Berlin is at the center of a razzle-dazzle world between two wars. At the bustling Grand Hotel a series of eclectic guests and staff including a fading ballerina, a destitute baron, a wannabe-starlet typist, and an ailing bookkeeper collide in a non-stop musical toast to the high life.

Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer reunites the creative team behind last season’s smash hit A Little Night Music to conjure a scintillating musical destination where captivating characters played by triple-threat Bobby Smith (Titanic, A Little Night Music), the incomparable Natascia Diaz (Crazy for You), and gorgeous baritone Kevin McAllister (Titanic) and more converge with a lavish and lively score to embody the joy, style and decadence of the 1920s.

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