Good theatre can happen anywhere...
...but it can happen again and again when you have a home.
After three months of demolition and construction, paid labor and volunteer sweat, $200,000 in cash and priceless contributions, 1st Stage opened its doors on September 18, 2008. It was created by two former Fairfax County public school teachers and a local singing/acting teacher, together with the young artists they had met and taught over many years. The vision: create a home for young local artists to launch and nurture their professional theatre careers, and provide the community with some wonderful theatre experiences.
Planning for 1st Stage began early in 2007. Most of the principle members of the planning group were associated in one way or another with the theatre program at George Marshall High School in Falls Church. Many had gone on to college and conservatory training programs in theatre and now wished to bring their talent and energy back to their community. Prior to 1st Stage, the only professional theatres in the county were Wolf Trap and the Theatre of the First Amendment at George Mason University.
In June of 2008, 6,500 square feet of flex space on Spring Hill Road in Tysons Corner was rented. The architectural firm of Butz-Wilbern designed the 100-seat performance space along with a classroom, library, and backstage support areas. General contractor M. Raina and Associates supervised construction although a significant portion of the work was completed by a volunteer crew of about 25 individuals. After three months of preparation, 1st Stage was ready to open.
The first season opened with The Suicide, a little-known, darkly comic play by Russian playwright Nikolai Erdmann. The mind-bending fantasy The Violet Hour, by Richard Greenberg, followed. Pig Farm, a raucous comedy (and a riff on government interference), opened in early 2009. Our first guest director, Jessica Lefkow, brought the comedic mystery Red Herring to our stage in the spring. Our inaugural season ended with the touching production of Shakespeare's R&J, a re-telling of Romeo and Juliet set in a prep school.
Sixteen actors made their professional debut on our stage in our first season. The season won many positive reviews, in outlets ranging from Michael Toscano in the Washington Post's Fairfax section to The Examiner, the Connection newspapers, DC Theatre Scene, Potomac Stages and ShowBiz Radio.
The founding members of 1st Stage were Lucas Beck, Deb Crerie, Jane Kalbfeld, Nathaniel Krause, Mark Krikstan, Alex Mandell, Peter Van Valkenburg, David Winkler, and Cheryl Patton Wu.