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The 2 Sides Project

Posted on | May 1, 2017 | No Comments

Documenting A Search for Healing from the Vietnam War

By Kris Gilbertson

Margot Carlson Delogne’s father, Capt. John W. Carlson, was an Air Force pilot shot down near Bien Hoa, Vietnam, on December 7, 1966. Margot was two years old. “The only things I thought about that country were pretty much, I hate it because they killed my father, and I’m never, ever going there,” she says. “I grew up like that, focused on what I had lost.”

When she got older, Margot started thinking about how her father had dropped bombs on people, and that there was another side to this, that there must be a daughter like herself, in Vietnam, who lost her dad. She wondered about how that woman grew up, what she felt, and how she explained what happened to herself and her children.

Poster for the The 2 Sides Project: The Film, premiering at the GI Film Festival in Washington, DC, on May 25, 2017. (Scot Howard —

In March 2015, Margot heard a story on NPR about two sides that had come together to fight the closing of a plant. “They’d been really opposed to each other but came together for this common purpose and got it done,” she says. “I remember getting to work that day thinking, I’ve got to get a start on this.”

Delogne is Vice President of Corporate Communications for Patients Like Me, a website for people living with chronic medical conditions. She reached out to her wide network, explaining that she wanted to take Gold Star sons and daughters to Vietnam to visit the sites where their fathers died and to meet with their Vietnamese counterparts. She called it The 2 Sides Project; she had no idea how to proceed. Read more

“Wonderland: Alice’s Rock & Roll Adventure” Rules at Imagination Stage

Posted on | June 25, 2017 | No Comments

By Sara Dudley Brown, Theatre Editor

Alice meets the White Rabbit, who is very late! (L-R: Erin Weaver, Matthew Aldwin McGee, Ensemble)
Photo by Margot Schulman

You most definitely don’t want to be late or, God forbid, miss experiencing this “curious” adventure of “Wonderland: Alice’s Rock & Roll Adventure” presented by Imagination Stage in their beautiful facility in Bethesda, Md.  This is the single best production I’ve seen at Imagination Stage in the seven years I’ve been bringing grandchildren to their shows and let me hasten to say that I’ve seen some pretty wonderful shows on this stage!  Read more

“LIFE: A Comic Opera in Three Short Acts” presented by the Del Ray Players of Alexandria, Va.

Posted on | June 21, 2017 | No Comments

By Sara Dudley Brown, Theatre Editor

Poster for “LIFE: A Comic Opera in Three Short Acts”
Poster by Neal Learner

The Del Ray Players will present the world premiere of “LIFE: A Comic Opera in Three Short Acts,” Alexandria writer-musician Neal Learner’s sung-through musical, at the Capital Fringe Festival July 9-23 in Washington, DC.

This 60 minute musical centers on a family of four from the birth of twin children through the death of the parents. It’s written to be funny, absurd, thoughtful and sad as it explores our common humanity through life’s major milestones and will be performed entirely in song.  The score defies musical categorization, Learner says, blending classical, Broadway, pop, folk and rock styles.

Rehearsal photo: Dallas Milholland (Joan) and Joshua Simon (Charles)
Photo by Neal Learner

This 2017 Fringe Festival performance of LIFE is being produced by the Del Ray Players, a new nonprofit performing arts organization dedicated to presenting local theatre, music, and spoken word performances. The Del Ray Players also recently produced “The Great Del Ray Poetry Slam,” at Fireflies and an evening of cabaret with the Alexandria Singers at St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub, both in Del Ray.

Rehearsal photo: Stefany Pesta (Sally), Will Hawkins (Max), Joshua Simon (Charles), and Dallas Milholland (Joan)
Photo by Neal Learner

I sat in on a full cast rehearsal a little less than two weeks pre-opening and I can tell you this opera has all the elements to make it unforgettable! First, the voices are fresh, true, and in all four cases, beautiful.  Second, the actors/singers (and they are most definitely both!) coax the audience into the story through the fascinating ever changing rhythms and complex harmonies of the music; they easily draw us into childhood silliness and fun and the messy business of raising a family, then deliver an aching end of life sadness in the three part story arc of “LIFE.”  And lastly, the music is drawn from many genres and is therefore not only lush and interesting to hear, but as sung by this terrific cast, easy to love.  I certainly did and want to hear more.  If you never thought you’d be interested in hearing another opera or “sung-through” musical, think again.  I truly believe that this tiny opera in three short acts, corresponding to three phases of life, has something for everyone.

Rehearsal photo: Dallas Milholland (Joan), Will Hawkins (Max), Stefany Pesta (Sally), Joshua Simon (Charles)
Photo by Neal Learner

LIFE is being directed by Clare Shaffer, a professional DC-based director who specializes in new play/musical development. Musical direction is by Brandon Scott Heishman, choreography by Bryan Stopak, Stage management by Caelan Tietze and Lighting by E-hui Woo.. The four member cast is comprised of Will Hawkins, Dallas Milholland, Stefany Pesta and Joshua Simon.

This work will be staged five times from July 9 – 23 (see link below) at Eastman Studio Theatre, Gallaudet University, 800 Florida Avenue NE, Washington, DC 20002.

For times and tickets:  Visit

Little Theatre of Alexandria Dedicates Its Splendid Shakespeare Garden

Posted on | June 15, 2017 | No Comments

 By Sara Dudley Brown, Theatre Editor

William Shakespeare’s image embedded in the garden
Photo by Sara Dudley Brown

Last evening the Little Theatre of Alexandria officially dedicated its lovely Shakespeare Garden featuring not only flowers mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays and attractive benches, but bricks with interesting attributions donated by LTA actors, backstage crew, board and council members, as well as local citizens who chose to honor a family member, a loved one, or themselves. Read more


Posted on | June 14, 2017 | No Comments

An Irish rock and roll songstress uses some profound life experiences to forge a new chapter. 

By Steve Houk

Life is full of changes. We all experience them. Some are small, and some are big. But change is part of our lives.

Imelda May has gone through some profound life changes over the last few years, as profound as it gets, really. Having her first baby, getting divorced from her longtime partner and bandmate, reassessing her career, figuring out what’s next. Yeah, some big time changes.

And out of all of that turbulence came a revelation: a stunning, beautiful, and for her, a very different new record, aptly titled Love Life Flesh Blood, released in April of this year. It’s not the Imelda as sassy rockabilly siren that people have come to know, although she’s still in there. It’s an introspective, deeply personal collection of music that signifies a new chapter in this exceptional singer’s life and career. And often for musicians, their music is just the elixir they need for handling the many changing tides of life. Read more

Britt Conley’s Stained Glass Work Shines at Virginia Bronze Community Handbell Ensemble Concert

Posted on | June 10, 2017 | No Comments

By Sara Dudley Brown, Theatre Editor

Virginia Bronze Community Handbell Ensemble performing “Mystical and Majestic: Music and Light” with Artist Britt Conley’s stained glass and interactive light show in background
Photos by Forrest MacCormack

Here is a multi-sensory experience you are not going to want to miss, and don’t have to since it’s going to be repeated in a week! If, on Saturday, June 17 at 4 pm, you make the short jaunt down Route 123 or Route 95 S toward Lorton, Va. to the Workhouse Arts Center which is housed in the old Lorton prison, I guarantee you will witness something extraordinary.  Let your senses come alive to the sound of the Virginia Bronze Community Handbell Ensemble playing heavenly classical music while you gaze upon four six-foot-tall, stunningly beautiful stained glass artworks, which will come to musical life before your eyes through expert lighting.  It’s a totally exhilarating experience not to be forgotten. Read more

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