It’s 2023, and that brings forth the end of the Little Theatre of Alexandria’s current theatrical season (2022-2023) and ushers in the beginning of yet another year of top-notch entertainment in Old Town.
The most exciting aspect of the 2023-2024 season is that it will also signal the 90th Anniversary of LTA, that dates to its humble beginnings in 1934 (more about that and related events to come). And, speaking of the upcoming season, here is LTA’s lineup:
- Freaky Friday: July 22-August 12
- Two on the Aisle: September 8-30
- Young Frankenstein: October 20-November 11
- A Child’s Christmas in Wales: December 1-16
- Annie: February 9-March 2
- To be announced: March 22-April 13
- Is He Dead?: May 17-June 8
And, how about LTA’s showing for the 2023 WATCH (Washington Area Theatre Community Honors) Awards? This is the first year since its inception in 2000 that the program has included two years in its period of qualifications (2020 and 2022). Between these two years, there were 27 community theatre companies participating, with 98 productions (38 musicals and 60 plays). The WATCH Awards ceremony will take place on Sunday, March 19, 2023 at the Birchmere in Alexandria.
LTA congratulates its many nominees in numerous categories and wishes them success in the final judging and selection process. Although it was never easy to rehearse; build and paint the sets; rig for lighting and sound; create costumes; direct; and manage each production during that two-year period when so restricted by regulations pertaining to COVID-19, they all have persevered, exercised patience, and created outstanding productions that entertained audiences. They are all to be congratulated and thanked for their dedication to the theatre.
Additionally, now in its 15th year, LTA’s Education Program offers a comprehensive year-round schedule of classes, camps, and workshops attended by students of all ages, with the youngest thespians-in-training being just three years old.
The Little Theatre of Alexandria seeks to create a vibrant and thriving artistic space where our members, volunteers, and greater community can engage in rewarding theatrical experiences that entertain, educate, and build community pride and spirit. Having been a landmark in Old Town Alexandria for 90 years, it is the oldest award-winning theatre in the Washington Metro Area and one of the few community theatres in the country with its own building and an ambitious seven-show season.
Proud of its role in Northern Virginia, LTA is pleased to celebrate its past and looks forward to staging first-rate productions for the next 90 years. It is truly ‘theatre in your back yard.’
Founded in 1934, The Little Theatre of Alexandria began as a small play-reading group. Full productions ensued, and in 1939 the group bought a rickety former blacksmith’s shop located in Ramsey Alley, between Lee and Fairfax Streets, for rehearsal space and construction of sets and costumes. Since 1934, the theatre has mounted over 450 productions and established a robust schedule of theater classes for all ages.
Early productions were held upstairs at Gadsby’s Tavern and recreated life in the 18th century, right down to the visit of President and Mrs. Washington journeying from their Mount Vernon home. Over the years, audience members included a veritable “Who’s Who” of Washington. President Harry S. Truman attended on more than one occasion, and notes say that Lynda Bird Johnson even participated as a serving wench! In June 2001, President George W. Bush made LTA his first Washington-area theatrical outing when he came to see his sister-in-law perform in Neil Simon’s Proposals.
During the early 1940s, with war in both Europe and Asia, LTA decided to suspend operations. In a time of war rationing, theater seemed like a luxury that was best set aside until peace returned. In late 1945, the theatre resumed normal operations. During the 1950s, an empty lot at the corner of Wolfe and St. Asaph Streets became the permanent home of LTA. At first, the City of Alexandria generously agreed to rent the space to LTA for $1 per year. The theatre building was finally completed, and the first production – the comedy Send Me No Flowers – opened on November 18, 1961. A west wing was added five years later to accommodate dressing rooms, a sewing room, a rehearsal hall, and a carpenter shop. A later addition included more shop space and the Council Green Room. In the 1970s, LTA formally purchased the land from the City of Alexandria. Today, LTA is the oldest award-winning theater in the Washington metro area and one of the few community theaters in the country with its own building and an ambitious seven-show season.
In the 1980s, LTA began to offer classes in performing arts in addition to it’s already full schedule of shows. Today, LTA now offers the community a comprehensive schedule of classes for all ages in addition to an award winning summer camp program for kids.