The service will include performances by Nicholas Rodriguez, E. Faye Butler and Will Gartshore. George Fulginiti-Shakar, a music director, pianist, and vocal coach, will also participate. A NASA scientist will speak about Mead’s work as an astronomer, and Ted Van Griethuysen will read a sonnet. Nova Payton and Tom Story will sing, and a chorus consisting of Rachel Zampelli, Nicholas Vaughn, Mark Hairston, Matthew DeLorenzo, Sam Ludwig and Natascia Diaz will perform “Let the Sunshine In.” The conductor and musical director is Jon Kalbfleisch.
Arena Stage service will honor philanthropist Jaylee Mead
“It’s beautiful combination of artists from all over the city celebrating her legacy and her life,” said Arena Artistic Director Molly Smith. “Jaylee was a gift to all of us.”
Mead, along with her late husband, Gilbert, became trustees of Arena in 1992. Together they donated more than $50 million to theaters in Washington — Arena, Signature and Studio Theatre, among them — earning numerous awards for their service to the humanities and generosity to the city.
The memorial will be at 6:30 p.m. Monday. It is free to all; there is no reserved seating.
Spirit in the night
Ian Gallanar is trying to scare you.
The artistic director of the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company oversaw the selection of “Richard III” as this year’s outdoor movable production because “in the October slot, in the creepy ruins of a building, we like to do things that are a little more of the Halloween-themed side of things,” he said. “And certainly Richard III is not only one of the greatest villains of all time — lots of murders, killing children, all the rest of it — [but also] the atmosphere really lends itself to a production like that.”
Ah, yes. The just-right atmosphere for murder. This will be CSC’s fifth movable Shakespeare production staged on the “haunted ruins,” as CSC describes them, of Patapsco Female Institute (PFI) Historic Park.
Gallanar has “a particular passion” for CSC’s movable shows. “Part of our mission [is that] we want to change the way people think about Shakespeare. And this kind of production really does that for people. It’s theater in the way they’re not used to. . . . It’s much more intimate.”
The production is set in World War I, as far as the “visual and technological universe” goes, said Gallanar. (Just don’t look for any other parallels. “We’re not trying to say that Richard III is the kaiser or anything.”) The PFI building “was used as a convalescent home for American soldiers in World War I, and I’m always really interested . . . in finding those links between the text and the physical space itself,” Gallanar said.
Rehearsals have been on-site from the beginning, which gives the actors a chance to get used to being able to touch the scenery. “In a normal production, we’re taught, ‘You can’t touch the wall or lean on this; it’s an illusion.’ But in a place like this, there’s no scenery here; it’s real walls and stairs and all the rest of it. I encourage the actors to relate to things physically.”