The musical “Pump Boys and the Dinettes” was recently performed at Fauquier High School. On closing night, Tuesday, Feb. 26, the production was top-notch. During the poignant song “Mamaw,” there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
Unfortunately, “the house” comprised only about 40 people. It’s possible the Tuesday night performance – necessitated by snow days – affected the crowd’s size. But we were told attendance at the other four performances was about the same.
That’s a shame.
Not only is it disappointing for the actors and actresses, who worked for months to put together a great show, it’s a missed opportunity for all those who didn’t see “Pump Boys.” They missed a delightful night of musical theater.
Fortunately, there are always lots of opportunities to catch live performances locally.
Looking to see the musical “Mama Mia” for a song? Charles Colgan Sr. High School Center for the Performing Arts in Manassas will perform the show on Friday and Saturday, March 29 and 30.
Sure, you can find the movie on Netflix, but it’s not the same. After all, even the best photograph of the Rocky Mountains pales in comparison to the real thing. It’s the same with live theater, music or dance. Being there is better.
Also, our collective support of the fine and performing arts – even on the local level – is critical to the existence of such opportunities for our fellow residents, especially our children and teens.
Public school theater programs rely on ticket sales to keep their students onstage from year to year. From royalty fees to costs for sets and costumes, putting on a live show is an expensive proposition. School and community programs do most of it on shoestring budgets, so the $10 or $15 you may pay for a ticket goes a long way.
It also buys a lot of entertainment. Fortunately, there have never been more opportunities to enjoy the performing arts in Prince William, either as a participant or as an audience member. The schools are a great place to start. Most of the county’s 12 high schools and several of the 18 middle schools have theater programs. Many are preparing to debut their spring musicals in the coming weeks.
Brentsville High School will present “Seussical the Musical” on Friday, March 22 and Saturday, March 23, as well as Friday, March 29 and Saturday March 30.
Ronald Reagan Middle School will tackle the challenging “42nd Street” from Thursday, April 4 through Saturday, April 6; and the students at Gainesville Middle will perform “Chitty, Chitty Bang, Bang” on Thursday, April 25; Friday, April 26; and Saturday, April 27.
The Pied Piper Theatre in Manassas is also geared to develop young actors and actresses, ages 8 to 18. The group is a part of the Manassas Center for the Arts at the Candy Factory on Battle Street. A performance of “Annie” is scheduled for May.
Community theater for adults also excels in Prince William County. The Prince William Little Theatre presents “Anne of Green Gables” through this weekend and will host auditions for “Annie” in April.
Rooftop Productions, also a part of the Manassas Center for the Arts at the Candy Factory, offers three productions each year in the Kellar Family Theater, located on the building's third floor. “Godspell” opens there Friday, April 5.
If music is your first love, live performances provide what Alexa cannot – the passion of musicians combined with the energy of the audience. Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow and Farm Brew Live in Manassas are obvious choices, but sometimes, smaller is better.
Wineries, taprooms and breweries in Prince William and nearby advertise live country, rock ‘n’ roll and jazz bands.
High school bands, orchestra and choral groups also offer free concerts throughout the year. (To answer an often-asked question: No, you are not allowed to leave after your child is finished performing.)
We encourage you to support these local efforts to bring the arts to our community. You might even find the inspiration to step up to the mic yourself.
It’s like a trip to the Rocky Mountains, only with less altitude.