Fourth (Estate) Friday
At our next monthly hour-long Rappahannock News public story conference — 9 a.m. tomorrow (Friday, March 27) at Before & After, on Main Street in Sperryville — we’d like to explore the subject of changes in the neighborhood. In particular, your thoughts are welcome on what the apparent closing of River District Arts and relocation of Middle Street Gallery (see the related story on this page) might mean to the arts scene in Rappahannock. Read the news story, and then we’ll buy your coffee — espresso drinks and B&A’s bodacious baked goods not included — tomorrow for an hour. (Actually, we’ll buy the coffee whether you do your homework or not.)
The Grammy winner on Gay Street
Celebrated composer and acoustic guitarist Laurence Juber returns to the Theatre at Washington in about a week for a solo concert during his tour of the East Coast from his home base in California.
Always among the most highly attended at the Theatre, Juber’s concert is 8 p.m. Saturday, June 11. Juber has called the 200-seat theater “one of my favorite venues to play [since] it has just the right combination of intimacy and pure acoustics.”
Juber received his first Grammy as a young musician when he was lead guitarist for Paul McCartney’s “Wings.” His arrangement of “The Pink Panther” earned him his second Grammy. Juber moved to California years ago where he composes, arranges, and performs extensively — when he is not on the road playing to audiences stretching from London to Little Washington. He has recorded 23 solo albums; his “LJ Plays The Beatles” was voted one of Acoustic Guitar’s all-time Top Ten albums.
As a studio musician, Laurence Juber can be heard on recordings from artists as diverse as Dan Hicks & the Hot Licks, Seal and Barry Manilow, plus he is featured on the soundtracks to the TV show “Home Improvement” and the Academy award-winning movies “Dirty Dancing,” “Good Will Hunting” and “Pocahontas.” His music is also featured in the Ken Burns’ documentary, “The Tenth Inning.”
The San Francisco Chronicle wrote that “the notes spin out of the songs with such finesse and musical agility, it’s hard to believe he has only 10 fingers and six strings . . . his playing is just short of sleight of hand and, like all magicians, he makes it seem effortless.”
Tickets for the June 11 concert ($25, $10 ages 17 and younger) are available at theatrewashingtonva.com or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
An excellent ‘Cinderella’
Last Sunday, I accompanied three local ballet students to the Manassas Ballet Theatre production of “Cinderella.” My wife and I have seen “Cinderella” performed by the best ballet companies in the world, but at the end of the first act, she commented, “I’ve never seen it done better.” The comedic antics of the stepsisters were impeccable. These brats were portrayed more as hapless wannabes than the traditional evil siblings. Although enjoyable to watch, they were perhaps a bit too active in later scenes and detracted from soloists or other dancers. Kaitlin Frankenfield as Cinderella, Joshua Burnham as the Prince, and Sara Ordway as the Fairy Godmother all demonstrated their extensive training and professional experience. The production included many roles for children, not all of whom were professional dancers.
They were, nevertheless, disciplined performers and confirmed the “regional” aspect of the company. There was a campaign to provide the costumes for “Cinderella” whose success added to the professional feel of the production. Set designs were convincing without being intrusive — a subtle excellence. Live music was provided by the Theater Orchestra, composed of professional musicians from the region. All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
The Manassas Ballet Theatre performs in the Hylton Performing Arts Center on the George Mason campus. See manassasballet.org for specifics. Our trip took 60 minutes from Mountainside Physical Therapy and Dance Center to the free parking. MBT Artistic Director Amy Wolfe wants the company to be a nationally recognized regional ballet. They are certainly a welcome addition to the cultural community within easy reach of most of Rappahannock County.
— Robert Burney