Creative Cauldron Reprises Christmas Folktale

December 12, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 


December 12, 2012

Creative Cauldron has remounted its critically acclaimed production of The Christmas Cabin of Carnaween, an Irish folktale adapted for the stage. When it first premiered in 2009, Michael Toscano of The Washington Post hailed it as “poignant and bracing…a reminder of the season’s rich ideals.” Last season, the Maryland Theatre Guide praised the production:  “this uplifting, engaging and poetic tale celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and reminds of ‘the Christmas within’.”  Performances are weekends through December 23 at ArtSpace Falls Church, 410 South Maple Avenue.

This year’s production of The Christmas Cabin of Carnaween is sponsored by Jon Wiant, Irelands Four Provinces Restaurant and Sislers Stone. The tale is set in Ireland in the days of the great potato famine.  The story follows the journey of Oona Hegarty, a tinker’s child who spends her days caring for the young, the sick, and the elderly in other people’s homes, but dreams of one day having a cabin of her own.  Her wish would go unfulfilled were it not for the intervention of the fairy people who come to her aid one snowy Christmas Eve.  Creative Cauldron Producing Director Laura Connors Hull says “this beautiful story is a classic gem that will melt even the hardest of hearts this holiday season.  Each year, we look at this tale with fresh new eyes, and each year new patrons find their way to the Cauldron to celebrate the spirit of the holidays with friends and family.   Just like A Christmas Carol and The Nutcracker, our patrons have made attending Christmas Cabin of Carnaween their new holiday tradition.”

Katie Culligan reprises the role of Oona Hegarty.  Last season, Katie appeared as Virginia in Creative Cauldron’s Helen Hayes Award recommended production of Nevermore. Katie’s other professional credits include Ford’s Theatre – A Christmas Carol with a special performance at The White House for President George W. Bush; Arena Stage – Legacy of Light; The Cumberland Theatre – The Rocky Horror Show; The American Century Theatre – Stage Door; and The Washington Savoyards – Iolanthe.

Christmas Cabin of Carnaween is underscored with live traditional Irish music from “Mag Meall”  “Mag Meall” is the musical trio of Rosemary Gano, Mary Wilkerson and Brogan Latil, who play Irish music in the “pure drop” manner, playing and singing in the style heard in pub sessions and at traditional dances and events.  Rosemary and Mary are both classically trained musicians who were drawn to Irish music, honing their skills on traditional instruments through study with Irish musical masters. Mag Meall literally means “plain of joy”.  It is a mythical realm achieved only through death or glory where sickness and death do not exist.

Also performing in the cast will be Judy Butler, Penny Fleming, Jim Lynch, Anna Brotman Krass, Denise Perrino, and young cast members from Creative Cauldron’s Learning Theater ensemble: Colter Adams, Charlie Adams, Arwyn Fleming, and Libby Brooke.  Margie Jervis is the Scenic Designer and John Sami, the Lighting Designer.

Creative Cauldron is a not-for-profit arts organization operating in Northern Virginia since 2002 that provides opportunities for learning and participation in the performing and visual arts for children and adults.  Classes, workshops and performances in all disciplines are offered year round at the site.  Creative Cauldron’s programs are funded in part through grants from the Arts Council of Fairfax County and the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts and the City of Falls Church.

Tickets for “Christmas Cabin of Carnaween” are $15 for Adults and $12 for students and seniors.  Performances are Friday, December 14 and 21 at 7:30 pm, Saturday, December 15 and 22 at 2pm and 7:30 pm and Sunday, December 16 and 23 at 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm.

Reservations can be made online at or by calling 571-239-5288.  ArtSpace Falls Church is located at 410 South Maple Avenue in the Pearson Square Building.  Free Parking is available in the garages at 400 and 410 South Maple Avenue.

Oliver Twist with a Twist

November 7, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

November 7, 2012

Creative Cauldron is celebrating the bicentennial year of Charles Dickens’ birth with an original adaptation of Oliver Twist, one of his most vivid and compelling stories. Co-directed by Laura Connors Hull and Matt Connor, the story is told through the lens of a contemporary graphic novel and the production sheds new light on the tale. Connor also composed the music for this original production. The set and costume design is by Margie Jervis.

Oliver Twist is presented as part of Creative Cauldron’s Learning Theater program that provides the opportunity for student actors to perform with professionals. A DC Theater Arts reviewer wrote “If your child is interested in theater, then [this] Oliver Twist is a production that you must take them to.”

“This ensemble of 17 young actors, ranging in age from 6 to 14, came together seven weeks ago in the Learning Theater Workshop. On stage, they pull your heart a hundred ways and I’m amazed at the range of emotion they display in this play — sad and heavy themes that are almost unimaginable in 21st Century Falls Church,” commented Jon Wiant, Creative Cauldron board member.

Oliver Twist performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 pm through November 18 at Creative Cauldron at ArtSpace Falls Church, 410 S. Maple Avenue. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for student/seniors and can be ordered online at

Cole Porter Show Gets Helen Hayes Recommendation

October 24, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

October 24, 2012

Creative Cauldron’s original production of Cole Porter: You’re the Top! received a Helen Hayes Awards Recommendation.  The distinction for the fun, stylish musical review of Cole Porter’s songs has helped make it a hit with audiences as it enters its final weekend of performances at ArtSpace Falls Church. The Fairfax Times calls the show “a charming, musically engaging production highlighting a sublime, halcyon era epitomized by Cole Porter songs [and] provides a most appealing evening of entertainment.”

Helen Hayes Awards Recommended show "Cole Porter: You're the Top!" stars Sean Thompson and Carolyn Cole at Creative Cauldron. Photo courtesy of Gary Mester

Critically-acclaimed actor Sean Thompson (seen last season at Creative Cauldron in the Helen Hayes Awards Recommended Nevermore) and Helen Hayes Award winner Carolyn Cole provide the star power You’re the Top!
This weekend is the last chance to see the stylish, sophisticated, scintillating Cole Porter: You’re the Top! Final performances are this Friday, October 26th and Saturday, October 27th at 8:00 pm and Sunday, October 28th at 2:00 and 6:00 pm.  Purchase tickets online; $22 for adults and $20 for students and seniors at
Creative Cauldron is located at 410 S. Maple Avenue in the building known as Pearson Square.  Free parking is available in the garages at 410 and 400 S. Maple Avenue.

Creative Cauldron Kicks Off “Season of Enchantment”

September 23, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

September 23, 2012

Creative Cauldron’s 2012-2013 Season, billed as “The Season of Enchantment” will launch with Cole Porter: You’re the Top!  October 5 through 28.  This musical salute to one of the wittiest and most prolific writers in the American Songbook will be co-directed by Stephen Gregory Smith and Laura Hull.  Sean Thompson, who appeared as Edgar Allan Poe in last season’s critically acclaimed Nevermore, will join forces with Helen Hayes Award-winning actress Carolyn Cole, who brought down the house in last season’s Women of the Blues. Audiences will be treated to a panoply of Porter standards as well as lesser-known tunes as they follow his career from Paris, to Manhattan, to Broadway and Hollywood.  Tickets are $22 for Adults and $20 for Students and seniors.

Sean Thompson will join Helen Hayes Award-winner Carolyn Cole in "Cole Porter: You're the Top!" at Creative Cauldron. The show opens Friday, October 5 with performances weekends through October 28. For tickets and more information, go to

“This will be Creative Cauldron’s fourth season in ArtSpace Falls Church, and it will be a season filled with enchantment and overflowing with great music and unforgettable stories…. stories will appeal across generations,” stated Creative Cauldron Producing Director Laura Connors Hull. “We’re thrilled to kick things off with a delectable review of the works of the great American composer Cole Porter, featuring the powerhouse duo of Sean Thompson and Carolyn Cole.”

An Opening Season gala fundraiser “A Sophisticated Soiree” will be held on Saturday, October 6th.  The evening begins with a pre-performance reception at the Tax Analysts Building, 400 South Maple Avenue, with light repast and libations catered by Pizzeria Orso, followed by the show at 8:00 pm and a post-performance cast party with dessert’s provided by Kendall’s Cakes.  Tickets are $100 per person, $175 for couples. All proceeds will benefit the Creative Cauldron operating fund.

Creative Cauldron will celebrate the Bcentennial year of Charles Dickens’ birth with an original adaptation of Oliver Twist from Nov 2 through 18. This classic tale will be told through the lens of a contemporary graphic novel, and feature original songs by critically acclaimed composer Matt Conner. It is presented as part of the Learning Theater program that provides opportunities for student actors to perform with professionals.

The holidays will be celebrated with Christmas Cabin of Carnaween from December 7 through 23.  This delightful Irish folktale set in the time of the great potato famine follows the journey of a tinker’s child who longs to one day have a home of her own.  Her dream would go unfulfilled were it not for the wee people who come to her aid on a beautiful snowy night on a hillside in Carnaween.  This production has become a signature for Creative Cauldron drawing praise from The Washington Post when it first premiered in 2009: “poignant and bracing….a reminder of the season’s rich ideals.”

The third annual “Passport to the World” Festival will be held from January 12 through February 23 featuring performances by professional music, dance and theater troupes representing cultures, and traditions from around the globe, including Raymi, Veronneau, Kamel Zennia, Somapa Thai Dance, and Hui O Ka Pua ‘Ilima. On Sundays at 2 pm during the series, Creative Cauldron will present family friendly story theater presentations of international folk tales with musical accompaniment and dance provided by partnering groups.  “Tales from the Pacific Islands,” “Tales from North Africa” and “Tales from the Andes” will be created and presented through a grant from the Arts Council of Fairfax County.

Peter Pan and Wendy, an adaptation of the J.M. Barrie novel will be presented March 1 through 23. This original production, the second offering in the Learning Theater program, will feature the inspired puppet creations of scenic designer Margie Jervis. When the carefree and careless Peter Pan flies into the nursery of the Darling home, Wendy follows her instincts for maternity and adventure, bringing her little brothers along to the magical Neverland to take care of the motherless Lost Boys. Soon the Darling children are swept into Peter’s deadly battle with Captain Hook and his mostly fearsome pirate crew. With so much excitement afoot, the Darling children find it hard to return home.

Thunder Knocking on the Door, an intoxicating Blues musical filled with humor and heart and the extraordinary music of three-time Grammy award winner Keb’ Mo’ will close out the season from May 2 through 26. In a small Alabama town, a mysterious, Blues-playing stranger named Marvel Thunder arrives at the home of the Dupree family, ready to challenge the son and daughter of the only man who ever outplayed him on the guitar in a “cutting contest.” Since its 1999 premiere at Arena Stage, Thunder has played to sold out houses around the country.

The season will be complemented with concerts performed by guest artists featuring a wide range of musical genres: from Blues, Bluegrass, Broadway standards, Folk, American roots music to Tin Pan Alley.  Creative Cauldron is located at ArtSpace Falls Church, 410 South Maple Avenue in the City of Falls Church. To reserve tickets or get further information log on to or call 571-239-5288.

History & Musical Theater Converge at Creative Cauldron

July 23, 2012 by · 4 Comments 

By Falls Church Times Staff
July 23, 2012

On Saturday, July 28 at 8 pm, Creative Cauldron’s FOURTHWall Cabaret tackles one of America’s controversial topics: was there or wasn’t there a private relationship between Thomas Jefferson and his slave, Sally Hemings?  Many have an opinion about this and many are passionate in their convictions.

P.J. Thiesen and Alvin Smithson drew inspiration for the subject for a new musical.  After four  years of research, many hours at the Jefferson Foundation and countless interviews with members of the Hemings family, “What Kind of Love: An Evening with Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings” was created.

The audience will have a chance to sample this new work in a concert reading format that will feature eight actors and musical assistance from a quartet called “The Classical Revolution.” Read more

Through SATURDAY, 5/5: Elephant Man Opens at GMHS

May 3, 2012 by · Comments Off on Through SATURDAY, 5/5: Elephant Man Opens at GMHS 

The George Mason High School Theater Arts Department presents the Elephant Man by Bernard Pomerance, opening Thursday, May 3rd at 7:30 pm. The show runs through Saturday, May 5th.  Tickets are $8 for students and seniors and $10 for adults.

The play is directed by seniors Bryan Ward and Rebecca Thackrey and produced by Theater Arts Director Pamela Ricker.  The Play is set in London’s industrial revolution of the late 1800’s, and tells the story of Joseph Merrick, known as The Elephant Man, who had a bone disorder which caused him to develop terrible deformities.  Merrick was a side show freak until he was rescued by Treves, a surgeon at the London Hospital.  The play examines issues of people’s fear of the unknown and prejudices based on appearance as well as our intolerance of perceived imperfections of all kinds.

The play is a serious drama and will be staged with creative lighting, projections, and short animations to create the settings and communicate the themes. Technical support will be by John Ballou and the George Mason Technical Theater Crew, as well as Mr. Ballou’s classes. Starring roles include Sean Driggers as The Elephant man, Samuel Blagg as Dr. Treves, Emma Pierce as Lady Gomm, Joseph Warren as Ross and Kikki Skotte as Mrs. Kendall.  The supporting ensemble brings the size of the cast up to 40 in all.

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This is a very intellectual, symbolic, and challenging script and the George Mason cast is more than up to the challenge of bringing it to life. There should be striking and impressive technical elements to the show as well, which promise to make it a memorable piece of theater.


FRIDAY 2/24: Alice in Wonderland, Jr. at MEHMS

February 21, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Opening night for Alice in Wonderland, Jr. is Thursday, February 23 at Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School (MEHMS).  Students and staff have been working hard for weeks to prepare this musical production. With a cast of over 90, the show will delight with singing, large dance numbers and eye popping colors. There are many memorable and familiar characters including Alice (in small, medium and tall), the always late White Rabbit, the all knowing Cheshire Cat, the delightfully funny Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee, the “off with your head” Queen of Hearts, the madcap Mad Hatter and March Hare, and the amazingly long and upbeat Caterpillar.

"Alice in Wonderland, Jr." will be performed Thursday, Friday and Saturday (February 23 – 25) at 7 pm at MEHMS. Shown above are Tweedledee (Jacob Plata) and Tweedledum (Andrew Connelly) with "medium" Alice (Tea Abbraciamento) Photo courtesy of Carol Sly.

The show opens Thursday and runs through Saturday, February 25 in the MEHMS Cafetorium at 7pm. Tickets are $8 per person. The lobby opens at 6 pm, and the seating area opens at 6:30pm. Admission is through the front doors only. Concessions are available each night with a  variety of snacks, treats and drinks.  There is plenty of parking in front, on the side and behind the school.

When in Falls Church, Do As the Italians Do

February 8, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

February 8, 2012

Travel to Italy this weekend as the Washington, DC based Commedia dell’Arte performance troupe, Faction of Fools presents two performances at Creative Cauldron’s continuing Passport to the World Festival at ArtSpace Falls Church.

On Saturday, February 11 at 7:30 pm, Faction of Fools Artistic Director Matthew R. Wilson will perform “The Great One-Man Commedia Epic,” a one-man show in which he performs 12 different characters drawn from the historical commedia dell’ Arte canon.

The piece was originally commissioned in 2004 for Italy’s 20th annual Stage Internazionale.  Young lovers have their lives thrown into chaos as their wedding plans are threatened by squabbling fathers, boasting war heroes and a host of well-meaning but dim-witted servants.  The entire town is drawn to the brink of tragedy before love prevails, normalcy is restored and comedy triumphs. This one-man show is a treat for avant-garde theater fans, scholars of dramatic history, and the fun-loving child in all of us. Read more

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