Sara’z Showbitz: “Les Miz,“ “Messiah“ and “Billy Elliot”

 By Sara Dudley Brown, Theatre Editor

Welcome to Sara’z Showbitz Zebra column.  This column is an ongoing account of upcoming theatrical and musical productions that I think might have wide local and/or community interest.  If you have an event that you think may interest the community coming up at your school, church or theatre, contact me at sdbg@cox.net.  Please include who, what, where, when, pricing, and how to buy tickets.

“Les Miserables,” High School Edition, opens this weekend at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. This is a huge endeavor for professional actors and singers, but it’s especially challenging for the students of an intense high school.  It’s taking hundreds of volunteer and student hours to get this production ready!  I, for one, will be there on Opening Night!  Hope to see you there!

Performance Dates and times:

March 24 & 25 at 7 pm, March 26 at 2 pm, and March 31 & April 1 at 7 pm.

You may purchase tickets at the door with cash or check only, or reserve tickets online at TJDrama.com until three hours before show time.

Location: Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology Auditorium, 6560 Braddock Road, Alexandria, VA 22312.  Enter through Door 12.

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Messiah,” Parts 2 and 3 by George Frideric Handel will be performed by the Sanctuary Choir of Vienna Presbyterian Church on Palm Sunday, April 9, at 6 pm in the soaring church sanctuary located at 124 Park Street, NE, Vienna, Va.  The performance is free, but there will be a free will offering during the service.  You are advised to arrive early to get seating.  The choir performed the first section of “Messiah” during the Christmas season and there were few if any seats available for late comers.  However, the entire performance will be broadcast to the Narthex outside the sanctuary if you are late and can also be seen online at Viennapres.org/worship-live/ if you are unable to attend this evening event.

Soloists for “Messiah” will feature Metropolitan Opera soprano Danielle Talamentes (who also grew up in Vienna Presbyterian Church where her mother was the organist), mezzo-soprano Jennifer Mathews, tenor Patrick Sobolik, and bass Joshua Hong.  Accompanying this performance will be Kristina Schenck, piano, and Daryl Scott, organist.  The 60+ member sanctuary choir will be led by Lance Vining.  The Reverend Peter G. James will provide narration.

Location: Vienna Presbyterian Church, Palm Sunday, April 9, 6 pm, 124 Park Street, NE, Vienna, Va.  Free.  Parking in the church lot and on street.                    ****************************************************************

“Billy Elliot the Musical” opens April 27 and runs through May 6 at West Potomac High School.  This is the 32nd season of Beyond the Page Theatre Company (BTPTC).  Following hit productions this year of “School of Rock—The Musical” and “Night of the Living Dead,” they are continuing their current season:  Beyond the Silver Screen with “Billy Elliot the Musical.”

This production is based on the 2000 film of “Billy Elliot,” with music by Elton John and book and lyrics by Lee Hall.  It’s the story of Billy, a despondent, motherless young boy who trades boxing gloves for ballet shoes.  His personal struggles play out against a heartbreaking, working-class family story and community strife and violence caused by the UK miners’ strike (1984-1985) in County Durham, England.

This is the first regional presentation of “Billy Elliot the Musical.” After it ran on Broadway for 4 years, through 2012, there were limited North American national tours from 2010 to 2013.  In 2016 the Grandstreet Theatre in Helena, Montana, became the first American, non-professional theatre company to stage the musical.

This upcoming landmark production will feature West Potomac High School student, Natalie Edwards, who was a cast member of the national tour.

Tickets and assigned seating for all shows are $12 for students and $15 for adults, and are available online until two hours before each performance.  Any remaining seats, as well as general admission seating, will be available at the door one hour before performances.  Tickets are available at www.westpotomactheatre.org.  Performance dates:  Thursday, April 27 – 5pm; Friday, April 28 – 7pm; Saturday, April 29 – 2pm and 7pm; Thursday, May 4 – 5 pm; Friday, May 5 – 7pm; Saturday;, May 6 – 2pm and 7pm.

Location:  West Potomac High School, Springbank Auditorium, 6500 Quander Road, Alexandria, VA 22307.