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McLean’s Alden Theatre welcomes Olympic gymnast, Paddington and more for next season

The David Dorfman Dance company will perform “(A) Way Out of My Body” in McLean on April 14, 2023 (courtesy McLean Community Center)

The Alden Theatre at the McLean Community Center is about to get busy, with a full slate of music, theater, inspirational speakers and other entertainment over the next year.

The upcoming 2022-2023 season will feature local groups like the Virginia Chamber Orchestra as well as more far-flung yet notable figures, such as gold medal-winning U.S. gymnast Laurie Hernandez and The Peking Acrobats.

Kicking off with a free concert by saxophonist Lil’ Maceo at McLean Central Park on Sept. 11, the lineup is guided by a core theme of “healing, both personally and societally,” MCC said in its announcement on Monday (Aug. 1).

Tickets are currently on sale and can be purchased through the theater’s website. Three of the musical performances are free, while the other shows have varying prices with discounts for seniors and students.

A full rundown of the schedule is below. All events are in the community center at 1234 Ingleside Avenue unless otherwise indicated.

Music

Lil’ Maceo

  • Sunday, Sept. 11, 3 p.m. — McLean Central Park (1468 Dolley Madison Blvd)
  • Free admission

For all ages. Old-school funky, foot-stomping R&B saxophone. Lil’ Maceo’s musical roots in funk, pop, dance and contemporary jazz will get you off your butt and partying.

Sons of Mystro

  • Saturday, Sept. 17, 5 p.m. — McLean Central Park
  • Free admission

The Sons of Mystro are brothers who use their violins to interpret reggae classics and American pop songs by such artists as Al Green, LMFAO, Bob Marley and Dua Lipa. They are winners of the Emerging Artist Under 21 Years Old Award from the International Reggae and World Music Awards.

The Boy Band Project

  • Friday, Oct. 14, 7 p.m.
  • $30/$20 MCC district residents/$25 seniors and students

The Boy Band Project transports you back to a time when the boy band phenom dominated pop culture and TRL was appointment television. Delivered with their own special mix of handsomeness, tongue-in-cheek humor and talent from Broadway’s “Wicked,” “Hairspray” and “Mamma Mia” (and more), these boys recreate the sounds and choreography of your favorite boy bands, from NKOTB to One Direction.

Six Pack Rodeo

  • Sunday, Nov. 6, 2 p.m.
  • $10/$5 MCC district residents/$7 seniors and students

These McLean locals will rock you with their special brand of “country with a kick”– original music, classic rock and even country favorites.

Virginia Chamber Orchestra

  • Sunday, Dec. 18, 2 p.m.
  • $25/$15 MCC district residents/$20 seniors and students

Northern Virginia’s own Virginia Chamber Orchestra has been called “one of the most interesting orchestras in the metropolitan area” by The Washington Post. Celebrate the holidays with festive orchestral sounds.

Jewish American Heritage Month Event — L’Chaim

  • Sunday, May 7, 2 p.m.
  • $30/$20 MCC district residents/$25 seniors and students

From the stages of the lower east side to the bright lights of Broadway, L’Chaim is a musical journey that pays tribute to the Jewish legacy of musical theater by exploring and celebrating the unique role of Jewish composers and lyricists. Rooted in history, heritage and tradition, four Jewish performers bring to life the most iconic songs from the stage of past and present and the historical stories that go with them.

Jennifer Cutting and OCEAN Orchestra: “The Lusty Month of May”

  • Saturday, May 13, 5 p.m. — McLean Central Park
  • Free admission

The ancient Irish festival of Beltane (May Day) signaled the end of winter and the coming of summer. Come hear the celebrated Celtic band in a program of traditional and original music. OCEAN’s soaring vocals, fiery fiddle tunes and rollicking button accordion will have your heart swelling and your toes tapping, while you sing along with songs that stretch back for centuries.

Theater

Native American Heritage Month Event — George Emilio Sanchez: “In the Court of the Conqueror”

  • Saturday, Nov. 19, 7 p.m.
  • $20/$15 MCC district residents/$17 seniors and students

Sanchez’s solo performance work is the second installment of the “Performing the Constitution” series. The performance revolves around the landmark Supreme Court rulings that have diminished the Tribal Sovereignty of Native Nations in the U.S. Part historical, part autobiographical, this piece interlaces Sanchez’s experiences growing up in an Ecuadorian immigrant household navigating generational trauma and indigenous identity. It is Sanchez’s intention to affirm how the voice and experience of Indigenous people and communities of color have the greatest impact on the story of who we are as a nation.

The Joshua Show: “The Joyfully Jolly Jamboree”

  • Sunday, Dec. 11, 4 p.m.
  • $15/$10 MCC district residents/$12 seniors and students

“The Joyfully Jolly Jamboree” has the look and feel of a classic 1950s TV holiday special–complete with 11 original songs, hand-crafted puppets, fake commercial breaks, a hilarious singalong, video projections and incredible choreography. This show oozes with nostalgia and charm for the whole family. Hosted by award-winning puppeteer and Ambassador of Joy, Joshua Holden.

The Barter Players: “Frosty”

  • Monday, Dec. 19, 4 p.m.
  • $15/$10 MCC district residents/$12 seniors and students

A young orphan named Billy discovers magic in a stolen hat, and when he places the hat on a snowman’s head, that snowman comes to life! Can Frosty help Billy find his real family in time for Christmas? Join them on a thrilling quest through New York City as they discover that the real magic of the season is love.

“White Rabbit Red Rabbit”

  • Thursday-Saturday, Jan. 5-7, 12-14 and 19-21, 7 p.m.
  • $20/$15 MCC district residents/$17 seniors and students

No rehearsals. No director. No set. A different actor reads the script cold for the first time at each performance. Forbidden to leave his country, playwright Nassim Soleimanpour distilled the experience of an entire generation in a wild, utterly original play. “White Rabbit Red Rabbit” is a work about contemporary Iran and of Nassim’s generation: computer-literate, well-informed young people who have never known an Iran other than the Islamic Republic. The play has been performed over 3,000 worldwide including by Nathan Lane, Alan Cumming, Whoopi Goldberg, Laura Linney, Martin Short, Sinead Cusack, F. Murray Abraham and Cynthia Nixon, among many others. The actors performing on these dates will be announced on www.aldentheatre.org.

Cahoots NI: “Danny Carmo’s Mathematical Mysteries”

  • Friday, Feb. 10, 6 p.m.
  • $15/$10 MCC district residents/$12 seniors and students

Meet Danny Carmo–it wasn’t long ago that he thought school, and in particular, math wasn’t for him. He was more interested in dreaming about a future on the stage and perhaps the big screen – all he ever wanted to be is a famous magician. But when he knuckled down to learn all the tricks of the trade, he realized that math was not only essential… it was the SECRET to a whole load of magic. Prepare to be amazed, dazzled and bewildered by Cahoots NI’s mind-blowing show where math, theater and digital technology collide to create a fun and interactive performance.

Johnathan Rockefeller Productions: “Paddington Gets in a Jam”

  • Saturday, Feb. 25, 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.
  • $30/$20 MCC district residents/$27 seniors and students, $45/$35 VIP Tickets 1 p.m. show only. VIP includes priority seating and a meet-and-greet following the performance.

Paddington, our favorite accident-prone bear, makes his stage debut in this fun-filled family comedy. Paddington is making his favorite marmalade jam with the help of the Brown’s housekeeper Mrs. Bird, but they run out of sugar, so Paddington heads next door to borrow some from Mr. Curry. The usually grumpy Mr. Curry is even more short tempered than ever as he prepares for a visit from his great aunt who is a stickler for tidiness. Paddington volunteers to help him with his chores, but, unfortunately for Paddington, his good intentions end up leading to chaos. Will Paddington be able to fix everything before Mr. Curry and his great aunt arrive home?

Mad River Theater Works: “Freedom Bound”

  • Saturday, March 4, 4 p.m.
  • $25/$15 MCC district residents/$20 seniors and students

The mission of Mad River Theater Works is to create and perform inspiring original plays with music that uplift characters from the past, challenging racism, sexism and intolerance. “Freedom Bound” is a one-act play with music by Mad River that revolves around Ohio’s most famous incident in the history of the Underground Railroad: the story of Addison White, an escaped slave, and his rescue by the citizens of the town of Mechanicsburg, Ohio. “Freedom Bound” brings history to life through original songs and an array of characters that pop right out of the past to recreate the turbulence and hope of the Underground Railroad.

“Makin’ Cake” with Dasha Kelly Hamilton

  • Saturday, March 18, 6 p.m.
  • $25/$15 MCC district residents/$20 seniors and students

“Makin’ Cake” slices into American history exploring race, culture and class in a refreshing and fun way. It is storytelling in layers and filled with “Aha!” moments and poignant vignettes, digital media, and an onstage baker. This show serves up an experience and a conversation about equity in America. Part history lesson, part social science revelation, “Makin’ Cake” is a short story about America’s sweet tooth and pathway to salvation (and salivation) and leaves room for dessert and dialogue.

Trick of the Light Theatre: “The Griegol”

  • Saturday, March 25, 4 p.m.
  • $15/$10 MCC district residents/$12 seniors and students

New Zealand’s Trick of the Light Theatre shares an eerie, elegant wordless tale about death, love, grief and monsters. After a girl’s granny passes away, she starts to suspect she is being pursued by the smoke demon shapeshifter from the old woman’s stories. In the tradition of “Spirited Away” and “Coraline,” “The Griegol” is a mythic, gorgeously rendered dark fantasy for lovers of theater that conjures magic and laughter out of silhouettes, puppetry, live music and animation.

Windmill Theatre Company of Australia: “Hiccup!”

  • Sunday, April 23; 4 p.m.
  • $15/$10 MCC district residents/$12 seniors and students

It’s a perfect, balmy night in the outback. A sleep-deprived camper, a cheeky quokka and an emu with a penchant for creating wild inventions, awake to discover that a koala has come down with a stubborn and ear-shatteringly loud case of the hiccups! The three embark on an epic journey frantically eating, singing and inventing their way towards a cure before the sun comes up. “Hiccup” is a hilarious rocking musical extravaganza about working together, finding friendship and how to, once and for all, stop the hiccups.

Honolulu Theatre for Youth: “The Pa’akai We Bring”

  • Saturday, May 6, 4 p.m.
  • $15/$10 MCC district residents/$12 seniors and students

Bringing together stories and shared ritual, Honolulu’s Theatre for Youth’s latest performance is centered around practices and perspectives of healing, including elements such as salt, breath and Hooponopono, a traditional system of restorative justice. Each element will be explored using a mix of distinct theatrical tools: chant, movement, puppetry, dance, music, projections, participatory or interactive engagement, discussion and time for reflection. Created in partnership with the Bishop Museum and cultural elders and leaders, the performance is intended for a multigenerational audience and performed by a majority Native Hawaiian cast.

Dance

David Dorfman Dance: “(A) Way Out of My Body”

  • Friday, April 14, 7 p.m.
  • $25/$15 MCC district residents/$20 for seniors and students

“(A)Way Out of My Body” uses “out of body” experience as a metaphor for our times and our body politic. It’s about “life and death, fragility and joy, trauma and resilience. In other words, it’s about what we’ve all been experiencing in the age of COVID — even though it was choreographed before the pandemic” (Tresca Weinstein, Times Union). Dancers propel themselves through space and time, attempting to pass the barrier of reality and plight into the realm of resilience and joy. This collective story of searching for personal “truths” among fantastical sensations is seen through breathtaking lighting and visual design and gripping choreographer by a modern master.

Circus

The Peking Acrobats®

  • Sunday, Oct. 23, 2 p.m.
  • $40/$30 MCC district residents/$35 seniors and students

For the last 32 years, The Peking Acrobats® have redefined audience perceptions of Chinese acrobatics. They perform daring maneuvers atop a precarious pagoda of chairs and display their technical prowess at such arts as trick-cycling, precision tumbling, juggling, somersaulting and gymnastics. They push the limits of human ability, defying gravity with amazing displays of contortion, flexibility and control. Everybody at every age will be thrilled and delighted by The Peking Acrobats®.

Chamber Music

All concerts begin at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10/$5 MCC district residents/$7 for seniors and students

  • District5: Daring, DC-based wind quintet (Sunday, Nov. 20)
  • Beau Soir Ensemble: McLean-local flute, harp and violin trio (Sunday, Feb. 12)
  • Borisevich Duo: An Alden favorite! Glorious husband/wife piano/violin duo. (Sunday, Apr. 16)
  • The Kobayashi/Gray Duo: Chicago-D.C. Piano and Violin Duo (Sunday, June 4)

Speakers

“Tackling Body Image and Flipping Mental Health Challenges”

  • Saturday, Oct. 15, 7:30 p.m.
  • $25/$15 MCC district residents/$20 for seniors and students

Laurie Hernandez is known as the “human emoji.” She is first U.S.-born Latina to make the U.S. Olympic team since 1984 and brought home the gold and silver medals at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, But the road to get there wasn’t easy — she endured year of rigorous training, intense sacrifices and verbal and emotional abuse from her coach causing an eating disorder and depression. She learned to take charge of her mental health by challenging the myths and stereotypes surrounding mental health issues.

Shaquem Griffin made history as the National Football League’s (NFL) first-ever, one-handed player. Now he inspires others to overcome adversity and persevere. Griffin was born just minutes after his twin, Shaquill. Both boys went on to become remarkable athletes in high school and college at the University of Central Florida and both play in the NFL after being drafted by the same team–but Shaquem did it all with just one hand.

Christine Brennan is the first woman sportswriter at The Miami Herald, the first woman to cover Washington’s NFL team as a staff writer at The Washington Post and is now the most widely read female sports columnist.

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