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Kennedy Center says ‘yes’ to ‘One More Night’

It’s the big break they’ve been waiting for.

“One More Night,” a musical comedy by local composing-writing duo Gary Fitzgerald and Lou Ann K. Behan, is scheduled for an Aug. 31 professional staged reading at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

The reading is part of the center’s Page-to-Stage Festival, three days of free readings and open rehearsals of plays and musicals being developed by local, regional and national playwrights, librettists and composers.

When Mark Krikstan, artistic director of 1st Stage in Tysons Corner, told Behan and Fitzgerald that the theater company would sponsor them for the festival, “it began an almost magical series of events,” said Behan, who wrote the book, the lyrics and some of the music.

After seven years spent nurturing their collaborative musical efforts, the pair say it’s not a moment too soon.

“We knew this was the break we needed,” said Behan, an Oak Hill resident. She and Fitzgerald previously collaborated on another musical, “Over the Boardwalk.”

Fitzgerald of Fairfax, a graduate of New York’s Juilliard School of Music, has worked with Andrew Lloyd Webber, Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein. Fitzgerald was in the pit for the original Broadway opening of “Cats” and for “Merrily We Roll Along,” “Nine” and “Dream Girls.”

“His life before moving to Virginia is packed with incredible stories,” Behan said. “His knowledge of the business of musical theater is impressive. I could not have imagined a better collaborator.”

When not writing, Behan works as a licensed attorney in Virginia and New Jersey, consulting on medical negligence cases.

While planning auditions for The Kennedy Center reading, Behan received notice that “One More Night” had been selected for the First Act Feedback Festival in New York City. That event, which took place in July, is sponsored by Theatre Resources Unlimited and Musical Theatre Writers.

“One More Night” is a family-friendly story featuring historical characters from the early 1800s. Napoleon’s youngest sister Caroline and her husband, Joachim Murat, Napoleon’s former general, are sent to rule the newly conquered Kingdom of Naples, Italy.

According to Behan, intrigue, strategic moves and defiant dancing combine to drive King Murat quite crazy. The queen sees that her household is in turmoil. There’s just one problem: She’s dead.

The Kennedy Center reading is set to take place at noon in Rehearsal Room No. 1. Seating is limited to 100. For more, visit

For McLean student, the world’s a stage

Alexander Stone of McLean capped off a summer of musical theater by being named the 2013 Signature Idol this month for his renditions of “In These Skies” from the musical, “Ace,” and “Prayer” from “The Scarlet Pimpernel.”

The competition, sponsored by the Tony Award-winning Signature Theatre in Arlington, searches for the best undiscovered singers in the region. Signature’s Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer, Broadway’s Carolee Carmello and WETA’s Robert Aubry Davis made up this year’s celebrity panel.

Stone’s ride to Idol-dom began when he was nominated Lead Actor in a Musical for the 2013 CAPPIES, an international program, founded in Fairfax County, for high school theater and journalism students and teenage playwrights. Stone was nominated for his portrayal of Mark Cohen in McLean High School’s production of “RENT–School Edition.”

Judy Bowns, CAPPIES international director, announced at the organization’s June gala that Stone had been awarded a full scholarship to The Open Jar Musical Theater Institute. The institute in New York City offers students one-on-one training with Broadway stars, performers, directors, choreographers, agents and casting directors.

Stone, a rising junior at McLean High School, participated in master classes conducted by composer John Kander and Tony Award-winning director and choreographer Susan Stromen. Nancy Pruett, a senior at McLean, and Rachel Lawhead, a junior, also attended the weeklong institute. They were among 60 teens chosen from the nearly 1,200 who auditioned nationwide.

Prior to traveling to New York, Stone attended the University of Michigan’s MPulse Performing Arts Vocal Arts Institute, and Signature Theatre’s Overtures program, professional instruction in vocal and performance technique, dance, acting and auditioning.

“I am excited about the possibility of pursuing theater as a career,” he said. “I certainly know that the way is not easy. We will see how opportunities present themselves. As they arrive, I will work to be as prepared as possible.”

Stone will next appear along with fellow junior Lilly Lord in McLean Theatre Company’s fall production, “Last Five Years.” A reduced version of that show will serve as the school’s entry in the Virginia Theater Association’s state competition in October.

Scholars on a mission at NASA academy

Forty of Virginia’s best and brightest high school sophomores participated in a weeklong Virginia Space Coast Scholars Summer Academy program this month at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.

Among them were Andrew Jhu and Luke Rolinich, both from Fairfax High School, and Madison Sievers of Lake Braddock Secondary School.

Designed to inspire students who possess technical or scientific interests, the program has an online component during the school year that introduces students to NASA’s science missions and research platforms with a focus on the work of NASA Wallops and the Summer Academy experience.

At the academy, the scholars interact with NASA scientists, engineers and project managers to hear first-hand about past and future missions at NASA Wallops, and the work conducted from Virginia’s Space Coast. Students also learn about career and educational opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math.

Of the 141 students who participated in the online component during the school year, 40 were chosen for the academy based on course performance.

“This experience greatly prepares me for future group work, creative thinking and problem solving,” Jhu said.

For more, visit

Scholarship winners

Patrick Sanguineti, a graduate of Flint Hill School, won a $1,000 National Latin Exam Scholarship. He was one of 21 recipients out of the 715 who applied for the honor. Students are judged on their overall academic standing and on an original essay.

A student of Howard Chang, Sanguineti is attending Harvard University.

Joshua Luberda of Vienna received a $2,000 scholarship from Shire, a global specialty biopharmaceutical company, as a recipient of its 2013 US ADHD Scholarship Program.

The program is for individuals diagnosed with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder who are pursuing higher education at a college, vocational school or technical school. Fifty award recipients were selected from 2,030 applicants. The scholarship also includes a prepaid year of ADHD coaching services.