Metro Weekly

Alexandria’s MetroStage turns 30

Alexandria's MetroStage celebrates three decades of providing powerful experiences

Metro Stage: 30th-anniversary and Three Sistahs Photo by Chris Banks

Three Sistahs – Photo: Chris Banks

“When you have a 130-seat theater with a semi-thrust stage,” Carolyn Griffin says, “you better have the best actors in town because there are no secrets on that stage.”

True to form, Griffin has consistently recruited the best actors for shows at Alexandria’s MetroStage. In fact, the 30-year-old outfit was originally named the American Showcase Theatre Company, “founded to showcase acting teachers and students.” Griffin changed the name after becoming artistic director a few years later, but never changed focus on presenting strong actors, working in tandem.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had a critic say I had an uneven cast,” asserts Griffin, who has numerous Helen Hayes Award nominations for best ensemble performance to prove it. “I take pride in … these kind of remarkable ensemble pieces that resonate with an audience. And because the audience is so close to the stage, it is really a very powerful theater experience.”

It’s also consistently not the kind of experience — or show — you can get elsewhere. “All you have to do is look in the back of American Theater magazine and you’ll see what the hot shows are,” Griffin says. “Everybody is doing the same shows — and we’re not.” Instead, MetroStage has made its name with less buzzy, history-steeped plays featuring just a couple actors — such as Athol Fugard’s The Island, on tap for next spring — and for small, intimate musicals generally focused on the cultural experiences and impact of African Americans. Griffin concedes this can add to the challenge of attracting audiences to MetroStage’s location of the past 12 years, in a developing but still off-the-beaten-path area near the Alexandria waterfront. But it’s worth it in the end, for her, and for audiences, too.

Take, for example, the musical that kicks off MetroStage’s 30th anniversary season. Directed by MetroStage’s most frequent collaborator, Atlanta-based Thomas W. Jones, who also wrote the book and lyrics, Three Sistahs features original gospel, R&B and funk music by William Hubbard, and focuses on sisters who reconnect at their father’s funeral. The show stars MetroStage veterans Bernardine Mitchell and Roz White, along with newcomer Ashley Ware Jenkins — “three of the most terrific African-American performers you’ll ever see on a stage any place,” Griffin boasts.

Noting one theatergoer who vowed to renew long lost ties to her own sister after seeing the show, Griffin says, “It’s leaving people with a powerful feeling as they leave the theater, and that is what I think theater is meant to do and should do.”

Three Sisters runs to Nov. 2 at MetroStage, 1201 North Royal St., Alexandria. Tickets are $55 to $60. Call 800-494-8497 or visit metrostage.org.

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John F. Kennedy Walking Tour of Georgetown

at Washington Walks Georgetown, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Sun, May 28
Mon, May 29
FULL PRICE: $20
OFFER PRICE: $10

A walk through Washington's tony Georgetown neighborhood is truly a trip through time, with its 200-year-old mansions and marvelous architecture, from Federal to Victorian. In the 1950s, John F. Kenne... [more+]

A walk through Washington's tony Georgetown neighborhood is truly a trip through time, with its 200-year-old mansions and marvelous architecture, from Federal to Victorian. In the 1950s, John F. Kennedy, his wife Jackie and his siblings helped transform this historic neighborhood into the city's politically fashionable place to live. In honor of the centennial of the 35th US President's birth in May 1917, this two-hour walking tour of John F. Kennedy's Georgetown will take you to homes where the Kennedy family lived, a church where they worshipped, and residences of others related to the Kennedy tenure. [less-]

Tour Beautiful & Historic Historic Georgetown on Foot

at Georgetown Waterfront, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Sun, May 28
Sun, June 04
Sun, June 11
+ 7 more dates
Sun, May 28
Sun, June 04
Sun, June 11
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Sun, June 25
Sun, July 02
Sun, July 09
Sun, July 16
Sun, July 23
Sun, July 30
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FULL PRICE: $29
OFFER PRICE: $14.50

Washington, D.C. has some of the richest history of any city in America -- home to museums and monuments, architectural marvels and quaint neighborhoods that trace their roots back through 200 years o... [more+]

Washington, D.C. has some of the richest history of any city in America -- home to museums and monuments, architectural marvels and quaint neighborhoods that trace their roots back through 200 years of urban development. Visit DC Tours offers guided walking tours of neighborhoods like Georgetown to discover the homes of historic and contemporary rich and famous; from the people who built the port city to the Kennedys. [less-]

"Master Class": Tony-Winning Bio of Opera Diva Maria Callas

at MetroStage, Alexandria
OFFER DATES:
Sun, May 28
Wed, May 31
Thu, June 01
+ 8 more dates
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FULL PRICE: $55 - $60
OFFER PRICE: $38.50 - $42

One of the most glamorous celebrities of her time -- and the definition of a diva -- world-renowned opera star Maria Callas comes to vibrant life in this wickedly funny stage bio that won a Tony Award... [more+]

One of the most glamorous celebrities of her time -- and the definition of a diva -- world-renowned opera star Maria Callas comes to vibrant life in this wickedly funny stage bio that won a Tony Award for Best Play. Terrence McNally's "Master Class" finds the singing legend leading a voice class, and while she both cajoles and terrorizes to get the best out of her students, she muses on her past glories and many heartbreaks. DC favorite Ilona Dulaski stars in this production at MetroStage. [less-]

"Ulysses on Bottles" Looks at Life in Israel & Gaza

at Atlas Performing Arts Center, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Sun, May 28
Thu, June 01
Fri, June 02
+ 10 more dates
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FULL PRICE: $40 - $60
OFFER PRICE: $20 - $30

Premiering in the U.S. as part of the "Voices From a Changing Middle East" Festival, this drama is set in an Israeli prison, where a Jewish lawyer takes on the case of an Arab literature teacher, brin... [more+]

Premiering in the U.S. as part of the "Voices From a Changing Middle East" Festival, this drama is set in an Israeli prison, where a Jewish lawyer takes on the case of an Arab literature teacher, bringing the lives of the Israeli middle class and those struggling in the Gaza Strip into sharp contrast. Gilad Evron's prize-winning "Ulysses in Bottles" brings James Joyce's classic novel into play too, exploring issues like personal independence and morality. This Mosaic Theater Company production comes to the stage at DC's Atlas Performing Arts Center. [less-]

"GI Film Festival": Honoring the Armed Forces on the Big Screen

at GI Film Festival-Locations, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Sun, May 28
FULL PRICE: $15
OFFER PRICE: $7.50

The "GI Film Festival" is dedicated to sharing the military experience, both inside and out of the arena of war. The festival is the first in the nation to exclusively celebrate the successes and sacr... [more+]

The "GI Film Festival" is dedicated to sharing the military experience, both inside and out of the arena of war. The festival is the first in the nation to exclusively celebrate the successes and sacrifices of service members through the medium of film. "GIFF" offers documentaries, narratives, features and cinematic shorts filmed by, for and about U.S. troops and their families. From fan favorites to world premieres to panel discussions, you'll explore films from new and established filmmakers hailing from home or abroad. They're all honoring the heroic stories of the American Armed Forces. Check the description for more details on festival events. [less-]

World Premiere Musical "Kaleidoscope" Explores Shadows of Memory

at Creative Cauldron, Falls Church
OFFER DATES:
Sun, May 28
Sun, May 28
FULL PRICE: $30
OFFER PRICE: $15

During the run of a legendary Broadway performer's comeback one-woman show, things take a turn when she forgets anecdotes or creates new stories out of the air, causing concern among the crew that Alz... [more+]

During the run of a legendary Broadway performer's comeback one-woman show, things take a turn when she forgets anecdotes or creates new stories out of the air, causing concern among the crew that Alzheimer's disease appears to be rearing its ugly head. In the new world premiere musical "Kaleidoscope", written by Matt Conner and Stephen Gregory Smith, the shadows of memory are explored with humor and pathos. [less-]

Rooftop Silent Disco Sunday on The Graham Georgetown Rooftop

at The Graham Georgetown Rooftop , Washington
OFFER DATES:
Sun, May 28
Sun, June 11
Sun, June 18
FULL PRICE: $16
OFFER PRICE: $8

You may not have heard about the hottest trend in nightlife, mostly since it involves keeping the sounds to yourself. Join in the most unique and memorable dance party in town at The Graham Georgetown... [more+]

You may not have heard about the hottest trend in nightlife, mostly since it involves keeping the sounds to yourself. Join in the most unique and memorable dance party in town at The Graham Georgetown Rooftop, where you can enjoy spectacular city views of Kennedy Center and Georgetown. While three live DJs each spin a different mix, from electronic dance beats and throwback tunes to Top 40 and more, you can switch between them at will via your free-to-rent wireless headphones. Your selection lights up your headphones in a corresponding color, so you can synch up with others moving to the same music and keep your quiet riot going strong into the night. [less-]

Blues Alley: D.C.'s Premier Jazz & Supper Club

at Blues Alley, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Sun, May 28
Tue, May 30
Wed, May 31
+ 14 more dates
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FULL PRICE: $20 - $30
OFFER PRICE: $10 - $15

Founded in 1965, Blues Alley is the nation's oldest operating jazz supper club, having showcased such internationally renowned artists as Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Wilson, Grover Washingto... [more+]

Founded in 1965, Blues Alley is the nation's oldest operating jazz supper club, having showcased such internationally renowned artists as Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Wilson, Grover Washington Jr., Ramsey Lewis, Charlie Byrd, Maynard Ferguson and Eva Cassidy. Located in the heart of historic Georgetown in an 18th century red brick carriage house, Blues Alley offers a unique and intimate ambiance, reminiscent of the jazz clubs of the 1920s and '30s. Go for just the music and drinks, or make it an evening and choose from authentic Creole cuisine, steak and seafood dishes. [less-]

Cruise Past the National Monuments: Candlelight Dinner & Dancing

at Nina's Dandy, Alexandria
OFFER DATES:
Sun, May 28
Fri, June 02
Sat, June 03
+ 9 more dates
Sun, May 28
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[less-]
FULL PRICE: $98 - $108
OFFER PRICE: $66 - $76

Cruise from historic Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, past the stunning national monuments and museums of DC, to Georgetown and back to Alexandria on Nina's Dandy Dinner Cruise. Soak in the sights, incl... [more+]

Cruise from historic Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, past the stunning national monuments and museums of DC, to Georgetown and back to Alexandria on Nina's Dandy Dinner Cruise. Soak in the sights, including Washington's famous cherry blossom trees -- a gift from Japan in 1912 -- and the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials while enjoying a three-course meal by candlelight, served tableside, followed by dancing on the ship's elegant marble dance floor or under the stars on the upper deck. Live music welcomes you aboard and accompanies the dining experience. [less-]

"Fear Eats the Soul": New Play Brings Acclaimed German Film to the Stage

at Atlas Performing Arts Center, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Sun, May 28
Fri, June 02
Sat, June 03
+ 2 more dates
Sun, May 28
Fri, June 02
Sat, June 03
Sat, June 03
Sun, June 04
[less-]
FULL PRICE: $35
OFFER PRICE: $17.50

In 1974 Germany, widow Emmi falls in love with the younger Ali, a Moroccan immigrant. Everyone is appalled when they marry, although family and friends ultimately accept the couple's unconventional ma... [more+]

In 1974 Germany, widow Emmi falls in love with the younger Ali, a Moroccan immigrant. Everyone is appalled when they marry, although family and friends ultimately accept the couple's unconventional marriage. However, the two find that they must face their own mounting fears and insecurities. Atlas Performing Arts Center presents the U.S. theatrical premiere, adapted from the renowned German film of the same name that won two awards at the Cannes Film Festival. Don't miss this bold exploration of multiracial marriage, star-crossed lovers, and how fear can destroy our hopes and dreams. [less-]

"The Glass Menagerie" -- Tennessee Williams' Masterpiece

at Parlor Room Theater , Washington
OFFER DATES:
Sun, May 28
FULL PRICE: $16
OFFER PRICE: $8

Brimming with poetic language and emotional longing, Tennessee Williams' memory play "The Glass Menagerie" is rightly considered a true classic, a work that's lost none of its power over the generatio... [more+]

Brimming with poetic language and emotional longing, Tennessee Williams' memory play "The Glass Menagerie" is rightly considered a true classic, a work that's lost none of its power over the generations. Set in a Depression-era St. Louis tenement, aspiring poet Tom struggles with a mind-numbing job and a smothering home life. His overbearing mother, a former Southern belle, constantly pushes her son to bring home "gentleman callers" for his painfully shy sister Laura, whose collection of glass animals means everything to her. But when Tom finally produces a male visitor, the guest's presence sends shock waves through the family -- and the fragile fantasy world they've built may be irreparably shattered. Experience this moving, beautiful production at the Parlor Room Theater. [less-]

Ghosts of Georgetown Walking Tour -- A Haunted Trek Through DC

at The Old Stone House, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Sun, May 28
Tue, May 30
Thu, June 01
+ 33 more dates
Sun, May 28
Tue, May 30
Thu, June 01
Sat, June 03
Sun, June 04
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FULL PRICE: $20 - $29
OFFER PRICE: $10 - $14.50

DC By Foot presents a walking tour featuring the Ghosts of Georgetown. Among the historic streets, manicured gardens and Victorian row houses of one of Washington, D.C.'s finest neighborhoods lie deep... [more+]

DC By Foot presents a walking tour featuring the Ghosts of Georgetown. Among the historic streets, manicured gardens and Victorian row houses of one of Washington, D.C.'s finest neighborhoods lie deep, dark secrets about a forgotten past. Come along to hear about the ghosts and spirits that still haunt the nation's capital ... if you dare. You'll hear a historian's take on all of the curses, eerie coincidences and hauntings that make up the darker side of days gone by in this pre-Revolutionary town. [less-]

Tour the Capital Sites on the Washington D.C. Unveiled Electric Roadster Tour

at L'Enfant Plaza, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Mon, May 29
Tue, May 30
Wed, May 31
+ 1 more dates
Mon, May 29
Tue, May 30
Wed, May 31
Wed, May 31
[less-]
FULL PRICE: $56
OFFER PRICE: $33

If a full day of walking the National Mall and visiting the D.C. monuments sounds exhausting, skip the crowded sidewalks and cruise around in a slick electric roadster. You'll get to visit all the sit... [more+]

If a full day of walking the National Mall and visiting the D.C. monuments sounds exhausting, skip the crowded sidewalks and cruise around in a slick electric roadster. You'll get to visit all the sites on your list while getting first-class treatment as your Urban Adventures tour guide shuttles you between the Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Abraham Lincoln memorials, while providing the inside scoop on the White House, Capitol Building and Smithsonian Museum. During your guided tour of just over two hours, you'll also get great tips on other things to see in D.C., plus suggestions for the best places to eat and drink in the capital. [less-]

Politics & Pints Capitol Hill Walking Tour

at US Capitol Building, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Mon, May 29
Tue, May 30
Wed, May 31
FULL PRICE: $30
OFFER PRICE: $15

On the Politics & Pints Capitol Hill Tour, you'll explore the historic Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Discover the birthplace of American government while seeing iconic landmarks and le... [more+]

On the Politics & Pints Capitol Hill Tour, you'll explore the historic Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Discover the birthplace of American government while seeing iconic landmarks and learning fascinating history on this two-hour walking tour. Cap it all off by grabbing a drink in the city's oldest commercial district. [less-]

International Spy Museum: Enter the World of Secret Agents

at International Spy Museum, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Mon, May 29
Tue, May 30
Wed, May 31
+ 81 more dates
Mon, May 29
Tue, May 30
Wed, May 31
Thu, June 01
Fri, June 02
Sat, June 03
Sun, June 04
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Tue, June 06
Wed, June 07
Thu, June 08
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[less-]
FULL PRICE: $23.21
OFFER PRICE: $13

From real-life spy gadgets to the stories behind the coolest secret agents in movies, the International Spy Museum is the first and only public museum in the United States dedicated solely to the worl... [more+]

From real-life spy gadgets to the stories behind the coolest secret agents in movies, the International Spy Museum is the first and only public museum in the United States dedicated solely to the world of espionage. Upon arrival, you'll be given a secret identity, which you'll use to test your spy skills throughout the experience. Then, you'll explore a series of themed rooms, where you'll hear historic tales, examine artifacts and participate in activities. Get ready for exhibits like "Spies Among Us", which focuses on WWII-era German and Russian spy rings, and "Exquisitely Evil", a tribute to the villains of cinema's most famous spy -- James Bond. "Exquisitely Evil" features more than 100 film artifacts from both old and new Bond movies, plus interactive exhibits that allow you to take over the controls of a villain's lair, brave the depths of a virtual shark tank, play spy vs. spy with other visitors, disarm a missile before time runs out and more. [less-]

Relive the News Stories That Have Shaped Our Lives at the Newseum

at Newseum, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Mon, May 29
Tue, May 30
Wed, May 31
FULL PRICE: $15.81 - $26.38
OFFER PRICE: $11.50 - $17

Stories of the world come alive at the Newseum, where you can go behind the scenes to experience how and why news is made. See some of the final photographs of the only journalist who died covering th... [more+]

Stories of the world come alive at the Newseum, where you can go behind the scenes to experience how and why news is made. See some of the final photographs of the only journalist who died covering the 9/11 attacks, witness the epic struggle of the civil rights movement in the '60s, marvel at a comprehensive collection of Pulitzer Prize-winning photographs and hear never-before-told stories from the journalists and photographers who stood on the front lines of history. This high-tech museum features seven levels of galleries and exhibits, theaters, retail spaces and visitor services where you can explore electronic news, unique artifacts, photojournalism, news history and world news. And, since there's so much to see, your ticket is good for two consecutive days. Take your time and see half the first day, then return the next day to catch what you missed. [less-]

Enjoy a Relaxing Daytime Cruise Along the Potomac River

at Washington Marina-National Ferry Corporation , Washington
OFFER DATES:
Mon, May 29
Tue, May 30
Wed, May 31
+ 61 more dates
Mon, May 29
Tue, May 30
Wed, May 31
Thu, June 01
Fri, June 02
Sat, June 03
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Mon, June 05
Tue, June 06
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Fri, June 09
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[less-]
FULL PRICE: $38.50
OFFER PRICE: COMP - $19

National Ferry Corporation provides a 50-minute getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city. Enjoy the fresh air and stunning views of Washington, D.C.'s famous monuments from the Potomac River. On... [more+]

National Ferry Corporation provides a 50-minute getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city. Enjoy the fresh air and stunning views of Washington, D.C.'s famous monuments from the Potomac River. On this outing, you'll pass the Washington Monument, Roosevelt Hall, Titanic Memorial and more, all accompanied by fun facts about the history of our nation's capitol. And if you find yourself hungry or thirsty, there's a full bar and snacks available for purchase on the climate-controlled interior decks. [less-]

"The School For Lies": Freewheeling, Modern Take on Molière Classic

at Lansburgh Theatre, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Tue, May 30
Wed, May 31
Thu, June 01
+ 3 more dates
Tue, May 30
Wed, May 31
Thu, June 01
Fri, June 02
Sat, June 03
Thu, June 08
[less-]
FULL PRICE: $71 - $108
OFFER PRICE: $35.50 - $54

Contemporary slang meets 17th-century farce in "The School for Lies". Adapted from Molière's "The Misanthrope", playwright David Ives ("Venus in Fur", "All in the Timing") transforms Molière's class... [more+]

Contemporary slang meets 17th-century farce in "The School for Lies". Adapted from Molière's "The Misanthrope", playwright David Ives ("Venus in Fur", "All in the Timing") transforms Molière's classic into a modern satire told entirely through verse. The result is a delightfully incongruous comedy of manners that lets you peer inside the Parisian salon of Celimene, a young widow with a sharp tongue and plenty of eager suitors. Tony Award-nominee David Ives and STC Artistic Director Michael Kahn, the team that created the award-winning French trilogy of "The Liar, The Heir Apparent" and "The Metromaniacs", return to old stomping grounds in this uproarious update of one of the greatest masterpieces of French comedy. Outrageous gags and vicious couplets strike a hilarious balance of class and crass in this classic collision of Molière's biting satire and Ives's modern wit. See it at Lansburgh Theatre in D.C. [less-]

"The Father" Explores What Happens When Emotional Signposts Leave

at Studio Theatre - Metheny Theatre, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Tue, May 30
Wed, May 31
FULL PRICE: $52 - $69
OFFER PRICE: $40 - $55

Even at 80, André remains a man of quick wit and domineering personality. But things are beginning to get strange in "The Father", Florian Zeller's internationally acclaimed work. André's trusted wa... [more+]

Even at 80, André remains a man of quick wit and domineering personality. But things are beginning to get strange in "The Father", Florian Zeller's internationally acclaimed work. André's trusted watch goes missing, reappears and is lost again. His daughter's stories don't add up. His furniture disappears. And there are strangers sitting at his table. As the signposts of our lives disappear, this exploration of one man's mind and the loss of it, rings powerfully true. Ted van Griethuysen stars in this production at the Metheny Theatre. [less-]

DMV Comic Andy Kline Live at "No Pulp Comedy"

at The Black Squirrel, Washington
OFFER DATES:
Wed, May 31
FULL PRICE: $4
OFFER PRICE: COMP

"No Pulp Comedy"'s monthly showcase at The Black Squirrel highlights the DMV's best funny folks, and taking the stage in May is comedian Andy Kline, who is a familiar face at D.C.'s hot spots. He's sh... [more+]

"No Pulp Comedy"'s monthly showcase at The Black Squirrel highlights the DMV's best funny folks, and taking the stage in May is comedian Andy Kline, who is a familiar face at D.C.'s hot spots. He's shared the stage with Wanda Sykes and Dave Chappelle, and has been featured on XM Satellite radio. His new CD, "Vintage", features some of the big laughs that have him on the rise, and you can catch him, along with Damo Hicks and Max Rosenblum, at this comedy showcase. [less-]

Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly.