Email signup
Musician Michael Cavanaugh will perform Billy Joel songs with the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra in Tysons on March 8 (courtesy Capital One Hall)

The man behind “Uptown Girls” will get an early birthday party this week in Tysons, Fairfax County’s aspiring downtown.

The Fairfax Symphony Orchestra is set to return to Capital One Hall on Friday (March 8) for “The Music of Billy Joel,” a tribute to the “Piano Man” that will pair the classical group with Broadway star Michael Cavanaugh.

Preceding Billy Joel’s 75th birthday, which will come in May, the concert continues a new series by the FSO and Capital One Center that began last month with a recreation of the 1964 show that introduced the Beatles to the U.S.

“We are so thrilled for another exciting performance with the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra and cannot wait to welcome the incredible Michael Cavanaugh to the stage at Capital One Hall,” Capital One Center Managing Director Jonathan Griffith said in a press release. “The music of Billy Joel has been the soundtrack for generations of music fans, and we can’t wait for this special performance in Tysons!”

A singer and pianist, Cavanaugh was nominated for a Tony and a Grammy in 2003 for portraying Billy Joel in the musical “Movin’ Out.” He got handpicked for the role by Joel, who saw and joined him on stage during a show that Cavanaugh had in Las Vegas in 2001, according to his website.

After “Movin’ Out” closed in 2005, Cavanaugh began touring across the country to perform renditions of Billy Joel’s songbook. His collaborations with classical orchestras started with the Indianapolis Symphony in 2008.

In a recent interview for WTOP, Cavanaugh described the New York-born singer-songwriter’s music as “eclectic” and “emotional.”

Some of that variety will be on display at the Capital One Hall concert, which will include hits like “Piano Man,” “Just the Way You Are,” “New York State of Mind” and more.

FSO Executive Director Jonathan Kerr said the orchestra “can’t wait” to return to Capital One Hall with another “unique” collaboration “between great artists and the symphonic world.”

“We’re not simply performing music you love; we’re crafting a cultural time machine that transports you back to pivotal moments in music history,” he said in the press release.

The pop-meets-classical series will conclude with a visit to Tysons by the Indigo Girls on May 11 at 8 p.m.

Tickets to the Billy Joel tribute concert start at $35 and are still available through the Capital One Hall and Fairfax Symphony Orchestra websites. The show will start at 8 p.m. with doors opening at 7 p.m.

This weekend, the Tysons concert venue (7750 Capital One Tower Road) will also host shows by the Virginia Chamber Orchestra and the Fairfax Jubil-Aires, a Clifton-based choir.

Omnium Circus is coming to Capital One Hall in Tysons, with a diverse cast including aerial silk artists Jen Bricker-Bauer and Dominik Bauer (courtesy Omnium)

A circus that accommodates both performers and audience members with disabilities will swing back into Tysons later this February for a new, one-day-only show.

Omnium Circus will launch its 2024 tour of the production “I’m Possible” at Capital One Hall (7750 Capital One Tower Road) on Feb. 24. It will be the third visit to the Tysons performing arts venue for the nonprofit-run circus, which first stopped by in February 2022.

“Capital One Hall has always been a special venue for us and we are excited to bring our show and our new cast to such a welcoming audience,” Omnium Circus founder and executive director Lisa Lewis said. “We look forward to continuing the tradition of creating wonderful circus experiences for the whole family with all of the D.C. metro area!”

A former clown trained by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, Lewis unveiled Omnium Circus to the world with a live-streamed show in December 2020. The circus planned to premiere in-person at Lerner Town Square at Tysons II in fall 2021, but the multi-week stay got canceled.

Instead, the circus performed live for the first time at Gallaudet University in D.C. that November before putting on a one-day show at Capital One Hall on Feb. 26, 2022.

The organization has since traveled around the country, and just last month, it collaborated with Alamo Drafthouse for interactive screenings of the musical movie “The Greatest Showman” in Arlington.

Led by Ringmaster Danette Sheppard Vaughn, the upcoming show at Capital One Hall will feature some new cast members, including D.C. resident Ermiyas Muluken as the main character, Johnny, and Deaf dancer Malik Paris in his circus debut. Patrons can also expect contortionists, acrobatics, comedy and “gravity-defying aerial acts.”

Omnium Circus presents all of its performances in English and American Sign Language. Other accommodations include ADA seating, live audio description, tactile experiences, and relaxed seating rules and a calming area for neurodiverse and sensory-sensitive audience members, according to a press release.

Tickets for the Capital One Hall show are currently on sale, starting at $39. The circus will perform in the venue’s main theater, with doors opening at 1 p.m.

The Beatles tribute band Classical Mystery Tour will join Fairfax Symphony Orchestra at Capital One Hall for a throwback concert on Feb. 10, 2024 (courtesy Matthew Baird)

The Fairfax Symphony Orchestra and Capital One Hall in Tysons will throw back to 1964 next month — specifically to the D.C. concert that helped introduce The Beatles to America.

The Merrifield-based classical orchestra has partnered with Classical Mystery Tour, a Beatles tribute band, for a Beatles 60th Anniversary Tribute concert that will take over Capital One Hall on Feb. 10, starting at 7:30 p.m.

Recreating the Fab Four’s Feb. 11, 1964 show at the Washington Coliseum, the concert will kick off a new series that the Fairfax Symphony has planned for this year at Capital One Hall (7750 Capital One Tower Road), extending a partnership that dates back to the performing arts venue’s launch in 2021.

“Our partnership with Capital One Center is like a finely tuned ensemble,” Fairfax Symphony Executive Director Jonathan Kerr said in a press release. “Together, we’re able to curate an immersive series of concerts that resonate with audiences. We’re excited to ‘perform’ in such a harmonious partnership that enriches the community!”

Envisioned as a showcase for “generation-defining music,” the series will continue on March 8 at 8 p.m. with the Music of Billy Joel. For that concert, which is timed to the 45th anniversary of Joel’s album “52nd Street” and his upcoming 75th birthday, the orchestra will be joined by musician Michael Cavanaugh, a Tony and Grammy nominee for his starring role in the Billy Joel jukebox musical “Movin’ Out.”

The series will conclude — at least for this season — with a collaboration with the Indigo Girls on May 11 at 8 p.m. Amy Ray and Emily Saliers, who make up the folk rock duo, have been performing arrangements of their music with symphonies around the country since 2012.

Supported by a partnership with ArtsFairfax, which vets community groups seeking to use the Tysons venue, Capital One Center Managing Director Jonathan Griffith says the concert series is intended to blend “popular music artists spanning multiple decades, with melodious, symphonic accompaniment.”

“Capital One Center is thrilled to partner with the Fairfax Symphony to bring three, very different and dynamic collaborations to life,” Griffith said. “…Together with the FSO, we’re creating unique concert experiences to serve our diverse Fairfax County and broader region, all made possible by the special public-private partnership between Capital One, Fairfax County and ArtsFairfax.”

The next show coming to Capital One Hall will be standup comedian Fortune Feimster, who is returning for two shows at 7 and 9:30 p.m. this Saturday (Jan. 20).


Sugar plum fairies are getting ready to descend on Fairfax County, which will host multiple productions of Pytor Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” this holiday season.

The 131-year-old ballet, now a Christmastime tradition, will first waltz into Tysons, with two shows at Capital One Hall (7750 Capital One Tower Road) on Sunday, Dec. 3.

Produced by Talmi Entertainment with dancers from around the world, NUTCRACKER! Magical Christmas Ballet is returning to the concert hall’s main theater as part of its 31st annual North American tour. Doors will open an hour before the 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. showtimes.

“We’re the only nationally touring Nutcracker production, so we strive to top ourselves each year,” Talmi Entertainment Executive Producer Dan Talmi said in a press release. “There is a sense of pride and responsibility when it comes to this show. It has become a holiday tradition in households across the country and our team works year round to give audiences the best of everything.”

Starring Ukrainian ballerinas Karyna Shatkovskaya and Elena Pechenyuk as Clara, the production deviates in its second act by shifting the setting from the usual Land of Sweets to a Land of Peace and Harmony “where there are no wars and no children suffer.” Clara and the Nutcracker Prince are guided through the land by two dancers in the unique acro-ballet adagio “Doves of Peace.”

Other notable elements include marionettes and animal puppets, a hand-crafted Christmas tree that grows up to 100 feet tall, and the introduction of a Herald character that represents “the spirit of the forest.”

For those interested in a more local production, Capital One Hall will also host the Dance Academy of Virginia’s inaugural performance of “The Nutcracker Sweet” in The Vault at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 4.

In addition, the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra (FSO) and Fairfax Ballet Company will team up once again to present “The Nutcracker” at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts (4373 Mason Pond Drive) in Fairfax.

Scheduled for 4 p.m. on Dec. 16 and 17, the production is one of the few in the D.C. area with live music by a full orchestra, according to the FSO. This iteration — the seventh that the orchestra and ballet company have brought to GMU — will feature New York City Ballet members Emily Kikta and Aarón Sanz as guest soloists.

“Our unique production has become a cherished tradition of the season,” FSO Executive Director Jonathan Kerr said in a statement. “Audiences delight in the incredible dancers on stage, while Tchaikovsky’s unforgettable music is performed live by our orchestra musicians. The dance, live music, plus the stunning, digital scenery creates a winter wonderland in a magical production that’s perfect for the entire family.”

Capital One Hall sign at sunset (file photo)

A rock band that once represented Turkey in the popular Eurovision competition will take the stage at Capital One Hall in Tysons on Black Friday for a humanitarian cause.

The Capital One Center performing arts venue (7750 Capital One Tower Road) will host Manga in its main theater on Friday, Nov. 24 for a benefit concert to help children whose injuries from the earthquakes that devastated Turkey and Syria in February required amputations.

The fundraiser was organized by the American Turkish Association of Washington DC (ATADC), a nonprofit that promotes Turkish culture locally through cultural, educational and social events and programs.

“When you purchase your tickets, you are not only in for an unforgettable musical experience, but also contributing to a noble cause,” ATADC President Sevtap Schreffler said in a statement. “…We invite our community and American friends to support our fundraiser concert this giving season where Manga band will perform to give these children a new beginning in their lives.”

The proceeds will specifically go to the Bridge to Türkiye Fund’s Project CATE and Child Wellness Center, which are providing prosthetics and long-term medical, psychological and educational support to over 1,000 child amputees, according to Schreffler.

The 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit southern Turkey on Feb. 6 left over 50,000 people dead and displaced many more. Months later, decimated cities are still recovering, as are the injured victims, who were “disproportionately” children, according to the ATADC.

Doors for Friday’s concert will open at 6 p.m. A Eurovision runner-up in 2010, Manga blends hip hop, electronic music and Anatolian melodies, per a press release.

Tickets are being sold through Ticketmaster and start at $45.

Other upcoming events at Capital One Hall include a concert by blues musician Joanne Shaw Taylor on Saturday (Nov. 25) and shows from comedian Jim Jefferies on Dec. 1-2.

With former board chairs John Mason and Shelly Hazel, and current chair Scott Cryer, ArtsFairfax president and CEO Linda Sullivan announces at the 2023 ArtsFairfax Awards that she will retire (courtesy A.E. Landes Photography/ArtsFairfax)

The woman who oversaw ArtsFairfax’s transformation from an events programmer into the top advocate for Fairfax County’s arts and culture community will soon step down as leader of the nonprofit.

Linda Sullivan announced her plan to retire after 14 years as president and CEO on Oct. 26 at the 2023 ArtsFairfax Awards, an annual celebration and fundraiser that she established to honor notable local artists, arts and cultural organizations and their supporters.

At the awards ceremony, which was held at Capital One Hall in Tysons and raised $175,000, Sullivan said she was “very proud” of her tenure leading the county’s official arts agency.

“It has been a privilege to work with all the elected officials, community leaders, board members, and staff members as we met our strategic goals and grew both the organization and the strength of its services,” Sullivan said. “Serving and supporting the arts in Fairfax County has been a labor of love and joy.”

When Sullivan first joined as a consultant in 2009, ArtsFairfax was still named the Arts Council of Fairfax County and most known for producing the annual International Children’s Festival hosted by Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts from 1971 to 2011, according to the organization.

Even as the county government made deep budget cuts in the wake of the 2008 recession that included eliminating the children’s festival, ArtsFairfax sought to pivot and expand its mission from programming events to actively working with the county and providing support services to local artists and arts organizations.

John Mason, a former Fairfax City mayor who chaired the arts council’s board of directors at the time, says hiring Sullivan in 2010 to lead the organization through that transition as its president and CEO is “the best thing that I did as chairman.”

“Her term led to a more dynamic, engaged board and staff,” Mason said. “Commendable initiatives included engaging Fairfax County and contributing to its Comprehensive Plan with a strong arts program and, importantly, a comprehensive arts facilities plan for the next decade or so. Additionally, she initiated the challenge of engaging arts organizations and helping to ‘market’ them.”

An arts management consultant with prior experience leading museums and art centers, Sullivan told FFXnow in an interview that she remains proud of the council’s rebranding as ArtsFairfax. Since then, the nonprofit raised its profile and doubled both its budget and the amount of grants it offers to arts organizations.

Recipients of the most recent round of operating support grants, for instance, ranged from theater companies and dance troupes to orchestras and George Mason University’s Fall for the Book Festival. Read More

An art installation at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Fifteen years after it emerged from the shell of the former Lorton prison, the Workhouse Arts Center will take the spotlight at Capital One Hall in Tysons as the top honoree of the 2023 ArtsFairfax Awards.

The center will receive the Jinx Hazel Award at the annual ceremony and fundraising event on Oct. 26, ArtsFairfax, the county’s official arts agency, announced earlier this month.

Awards will also be bestowed on developer and philanthropist Lola Reinsch, George Mason University’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and the Inova Schar Cancer Institute.

“The 2023 ArtsFairfax Awards honorees all demonstrate how the arts revitalize communities, improve our wellbeing, and spark creativity in unexpected places,” ArtsFairfax President and CEO Linda Sullivan said. “We’re thrilled to celebrate each of these awardees for enriching the lives of Fairfax County residents.”

Given to Capital One Hall last year, the Jinx Hazel Award recognizes “an individual or organization whose vision and commitment has helped shape the cultural life of Fairfax County,” ArtsFairfax says.

Opened to the public in September 2008, the Workhouse Arts Center is the only multi-disciplinary arts facility in the area of southern Fairfax County recently rebranded as Potomac Banks, according to ArtsFairfax.

The 55-acre campus hosts art studios, galleries, performing arts space, classrooms and the Lucy Burns Museum, drawing about 100,000 patrons annually with exhibits and special events like Fourth of July fireworks or the upcoming BrewWorks Festival.

The center is still being built out, with a new location for Bunnyman Brewing expected to open in a recently refurbished building this year. Future developments could include an amphitheater, more events and educational venues and even housing, depending on the master plan that the county is currently finalizing.

Reinsch is this year’s recipient of the ArtsFairfax Philanthropy Award, which goes to a person, corporation or foundation “that has provided leadership funding or long-term monetary support to the arts.”

As president, owner, and CEO of the Reinsch Companies, a residential and golf course developer, Reinsch has been a regular donor for numerous local arts nonprofits, including the McLean Project for the Arts (MPA), the Virginia Chamber Orchestra, 1st Stage theater in Tysons and the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts.

Her contributions to MPA include a matching gift to support a future art and education center at Clemyjontri Park, according to ArtsFairfax.

Meanwhile, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute will be recognized with an Education Award for providing arts education classes, clubs and events to older residents of Northern Virginia.

The ArtsFairfax Impact Award will go to the Inova Schar Cancer Institute for its Arts and Healing program, which supports a permanent art collection, ongoing exhibitions, performing arts events and 20 artists-in-residence to help patients and their families going through treatment or recovery.

Tickets and sponsorships for the awards ceremony are now for sale. Reston Community Center is the visionary sponsor for the awards, which typically attract over 300 guests, according to ArtsFairfax.

“The arts are the heartbeat of all truly great communities, and we can’t envision any world in which the arts aren’t central to what makes us human,” RCC Board Chair Beverly Cosham said. “The arts play a central role in Reston’s neighborhoods and Fairfax County has embraced their vital importance to building vibrant places to live and learn. ArtsFairfax is the catalyst for these successful efforts.”

The Vienna Jammers backstage for the Big Jam at Capital One Hall in 2022 (photo by David Reynolds Jr.)

In the beginning, there were the Brute Red Trash Cans.

The simple, plastic buckets were among the first instruments utilized by the Vienna Jammers, along with PVC pipes, bits of metal and other construction materials lying around Vienna Elementary School.

Fast forward about 17 years, and the student percussion group is getting ready to perform on actual marimbas, hand drums and more with Madonna’s former DJ at Capital One Hall in Tysons for the Big Jam, an annual fundraiser and year-end concert.

Set for 6 p.m. this Saturday (May 13), this year’s concert will celebrate the Jammers’ 10th anniversary as a nonprofit and feature a guest appearance by Eric Jao, also known as DJ Enferno, a Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology alum who has also worked with Shakira and Rihanna.

“It’s gonna be a big blowout. We’ve got lots of cool things planned,” Vienna Jammers Executive Director David Reynolds Jr. said, hinting at team-ups with the Legacy Dance Institute and a marimba-playing robot designed by one of the Jammers’ older students.

Though the performance venues have gotten bigger, and the instruments more polished, the Vienna Jammers haven’t lost touch with the scrappy, experimental spirit that fueled its creation.

During the 2005-2006 school year, Reynolds was working as a music teacher at Vienna Elementary when James Madison High School junior Dave Cohen — known by the group as “Dr. DC” — approached him and proposed starting a percussion ensemble for kids as a community service project.

The Jammers began as an after-school activity with about 20 fifth and sixth-graders playing instruments available in the school, from Orff xylophones to the aforementioned trash cans and construction materials.

Reynolds says the initial focus on “found sounds” and non-traditional instruments came partly out of necessity and partly as a nod to the international group STOMP, which closed out a 29-year run in New York City in January.

“The beauty of the marimba for me and percussion is that I can teach a simple part to one group and then teach another simple part to another group, and then you put those two groups together and it sounds like a very complex piece of music,” Reynolds said. “…It sounds like professional quality stuff, but it’s being created by kids, and so I think that kind of adds to the allure of it.” Read More

The National Philharmonic performs Gustav Holst’s “The Planets” at Capital One Hall, accompanied by images of space from NASA (courtesy Elman Studio)

A local classical composer is preparing to blast off for the world premiere of his newest symphony.

The suite “Cosmic Cycles, A Space Symphony” will be performed for the first time by the National Philharmonic at Capital One Hall (7750 Capital One Tower Road) in Tysons at 7:30 p.m. next Thursday (May 11).

Composer Henry Dehlinger, who was born in San Francisco but now lives in Oakton, was commissioned to develop the piece for the orchestra as part of an ongoing collaboration with NASA for the 2022-2023 concert season, according to a press release.

A second performance is scheduled for May 13 at the Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda.

“Cosmic Cycles is a dream project because it bridges the gap between art and science,” Dehlinger said. “Together with two of D.C.’s biggest stars — NASA and NatPhil — we’re taking the audience on an exploration of the universe through an immersive experience that combines symphonic music and visual storytelling.”

Known for choral music and jazz arrangements as well as symphonic works, Dehlinger previously worked with NASA on “Return to the Moon,” a brass fanfare that debuted with the March 12, 2022 rollout of the main Artemis I launch vehicle for the agency’s new lunar program.

The National Philharmonic has also collaborated with NASA in the past, most recently when it played Gustav Holst’s “The Planets” in February 2022 at Capital One Hall and Strathmore. The music was accompanied by images of planets taken by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

“Capital One Hall is a great venue with an oversized screen that really lends itself to a visual and aural presentation that is designed to project the awesomeness of space and the universe,” said National Philharmonic Director Piotr Gajewski, who will conduct both concerts.

For “Cosmic Cycles,” the process was flipped: Dehlinger composed the music in response to images provided by NASA.

“Henry Dehlinger has been a long-time collaborator with NatPhil and his style of music with sweeping melodies and brilliant orchestrations is perfect, I thought, for the images that NASA was putting forward,” Gajewski said. “When I saw the images, I immediately thought of Henry.”

Gajewski counts Dehlinger as a close friend, per the press release. This will be the third time that the philharmonic has premiered one of Dehlinger’s pieces.

Here’s more on “Cosmic Cycles” from the National Philharmonic:

Cosmic Cycles, A Space Symphony is a seven-movement symphonic suite that draws inspiration from images captured by NASA’s Hubble and James Webb Space Telescopes and visualizations created by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Each movement carries a programmatic title, alluding to the images, illustrations, and videos which informed the composer’s writing process: 1. The Sun; 2. Earth, Our Home; 3. Earth as Art; 4. The Moon; 5. Planetary Fantasia; 6. The Travelers; and 7. Echoes of the Big Bang. In the upcoming performances, these symphonic poems will be paired with HD projections of the visuals.

The concert will be preceded by a lecture and question-and-answer session with a NASA astronaut, along with educational “Ask a Scientist” booths and a kiosk with a touchable lunar rock. At Capital One Hall, those activities will begin at 6:45 p.m., and the booths and kiosk will also be open during intermission.

Tickets are available online through Capital One Hall’s website. Prices start at $19, but all kids get free admission.

Arlington artist Joseph Cortina will make an augmented reality exhibit for the McLean Project for the Arts’ 60th anniversary gala (courtesy MPA)

McLean Project for the Arts is going to Tysons for its diamond jubilee.

The nonprofit will celebrate six decades of supporting and showcasing the work of artists in the mid-Atlantic region with a 60th anniversary gala at Capital One Hall (7750 Capital One Tower Road) on Sept. 18.

Announced yesterday (Tuesday), the celebration will be highlighted by an augmented reality exhibit crafted especially for the occasion by Arlington painter and digital artist Joseph Cortina, whose work was previously displayed by MPA at its Emerson Gallery in December 2020.

“We are delighted to include this new work by McLean area artist Joseph Cortina as we celebrate sixty years of exhibitions at MPA,” Executive Director Lori Carbonneau said in a press release. “After exhibiting Joe’s work in our MPA galleries and seeing his company’s (Cortina Productions’) installations in museums in Chicago, Boston, and New Orleans, we are thrilled for it to be a highlight of our 60th anniversary year and a centerpiece of our…celebration.”

Titled “Illusion of Depth,” the installation will serve “as a reflection on the meanings of depth, from seeing into and beyond the obvious limits,” building on “fascination with the concept and dimensions of depth and its effects on visual experience,” according to the press release.

In addition to the art exhibit, the gala will feature a cocktail reception with hors d’oeuvres and “light fare,” dancing, and live music by the band Round Midnight.

MPA is currently fundraising for the gala, reporting $239,000 raised toward its goal of $350,000, as of Aug. 18, according to the event page.

MPA has two galleries in the McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Avenue), where it regularly puts on contemporary art exhibitions from both emerging and established creators from around the region. It also offers classes, summer camps and the annual MPAartfest at McLean Central Park.


Subscribe to our mailing list