Unexpected Stage Company Launches 5th Season with ‘Especially Unexpected Improv Fest’ on Sat 5/3@7


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5th season to feature Kooman and Dimond’s touching musical Dani Girl and Marc Goldsmith’s award-winning comedy Danny Boy.

Unexpected Stage Company—the fast-growing, Washington, D.C.-area professional theater company—will launch their milestone 5th season with Especially Unexpected: Improv Fest at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 3, 2014. Three teams of actors will put their comedic skills to the test in a series of competitive, no-holds-barred improvisational games—with the audience as part of the action! Especially Unexpected: Improv Fest will take place at Randolph Road Theater, 4010 Randolph Road, Silver Spring, MD. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $10 for theater professionals; purchase at the door, by phone at 1-800-838-3006, or online.

Unexpected Stage Company will also feature two fully produced and yet-unpublished shows in its 2014 season, including the company’s first musical production to date!

From July 17 to August 10, the company will present the witty, touching contemporary musical Dani Girl by Michael Kooman (music) and Christopher Dimond (book and lyrics)—winners of the Jonathan Larson Grant and the first recipients of the Lorenz Hart Award. Dani Girl was developed in part at the Kennedy Center, among other prestigious institutions.

From October 16 to 26, Unexpected Stage Company will present the Washington, DC premiere of Danny Boy, playwright Marc Goldsmith’s clever, heartfelt comedy which earned an Audience Favorite Award (and enjoyed a sold-out run) at the New York International Fringe Festival. The show was described as “smart, funny and touching” by BroadwayWorld.com and noted by The New York Times as one of the “Shows That Are Making Noise Amid the Crowd.” (Please see page 2 for more information)

“I think every upcoming season should be the most interesting and ambitious, and that is certainly where we are today. We love the freshness and energy of these scripts,” said Christopher Goodrich, Unexpected Stage Company’s co-artistic director, who will direct both Dani Girl and Danny Boy. Goodrich previously directed the award-winning New York International Fringe Festival production of Danny Boy.

All 2014 season performances will take place at Randolph Road Theater, 4010 Randolph Road, Silver Spring, MD. Season subscriptions are now available. To purchase, please call 1-800-838-3006 or visit www.unexpectedstage.org.


Building on the popularity of their hit Monologue Fests in 2012 and 2013, Unexpected Stage Company presents the latest installment of the Especially Unexpected series that seeks to expand the definition of theater. At the one-night-only Improv Fest, three teams of actors will put their comedic skills to the test in a series of spontaneous, interactive games. Audience members will gain insight into the art of improvisation—and vote for their favorite improvisers! Explains Christopher Goodrich, Unexpected Stage Company’s co-artistic director, “Improv is expected to be funny and entertaining. The idea of Improv Fest is also to get to the truth of the moment, whether scripted or, in this case, unscripted.”

DANI GIRL: July 17 to August 10, 2014

danigirlcover150Don’t miss Unexpected Stage Company’s production of Dani Girl, a touching and witty contemporary musical recently staged in Toronto, Dallas, Boston, and Australia. When Dani, a precocious nine year old, loses her hair to leukemia, she embarks on a magical journey in order to get it back—along with her imaginary friend Raph and fellow patient Marty. Simultaneously hilarious and heartbreaking, Dani Girl is an inspirational tale of life in the face of death, hope in the face of despair, and the indomitable power of the human imagination. According to BroadwayWorld.com, “You will likely be hard-pressed to find a show that is more original, smart, charming, and creative.”

With music by Michael Kooman, and book and lyrics by Christopher Dimond, Dani Girl has been developed at the Kennedy Center, American Conservatory Theater, the Festival of New American Musicals, and the ASCAP/Disney Musical Theatre Workshop. Kooman and Dimond received the 2010 Jonathan Larson Grant and are the first recipients of the Lorenz Hart Award. In 2014, their musical Orphie and the Book of Heroes premiered at the Kennedy Center.

Starring as Dani is Caroline Wolfson, who has been seen by area theater audiences in productions by Keegan Theatre (Hair), Imagination Stage (Lyle the Crocodile), Scena Theatre (Salome), and Washington Savoyards (The Rocky Horror Show). Musical director Laura Brady has worked at Annapolis Summer Garden Theater, BRAVO, and Children’s Theater of Annapolis, and conducted the Napa Valley Youth Symphony. The show will feature a three-piece band, with piano, cello and drums all onstage with the actors.


DANNY BOY: October 16 to 26, 2014

In this NYC Fringe Audience Favorite Award Winner, Danny Bloch is a typical, career-oriented New Yorker looking for love. But his search is complicated by his stature: he stands about four feet tall. In this poignant comedy, playwright Marc Goldsmith takes us inside the vantage point of a little person who must navigate through romance, a career, family and friends, all while confronting his own insecurities about measuring up.

In addition to directing Unexpected Stage Company’s Washington, DC premiere, Christopher Goodrich directed Danny Boy’s world premiere at the New York International Fringe Festival. “Thought-out, funny and genuinely heartwarming,” said NYTheatre.com, calling Danny Boy a “rare find.” The New York Times noted it was one of the “Shows That Are Making Noise Amid the Crowd.”

Starring as Danny is Scott J. Strasbaugh, who has been seen on film in Zoolander, on stage in Signature Theatre’s Witches of Eastwick, and on tour in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular with The Rockettes.


Christopher Goodrich, Unexpected Stage Company’s Co-Artistic Director, has directed the company’s past productions including 2013’s acclaimed production of Alan Bennett’s The Lady in the Van (Helen Hayes recommended); 2012’s double-bill of Harold Pinter’s The Dumb Waiter paired with Susan Glaspell’s Trifles; 2011’s buzzed-about Candy and Dorothy (Helen Hayes recommended); and 2010’s A Phoenix Too Frequent, performed in Seneca Creek State Park. Prior to co-founding Unexpected Stage Company with wife Rachel Stroud-Goodrich, he directed the American premiere of Canadian playwright Norm Foster’s Wrong for Each Other (Manhattan Theatre Source); the world premiere of National Book Award-winner Gerald Stern’s Father Guzman (Poet’s Theatre); and the world premiere of Kenneth Koch’s Edward and Christine (Columbia University). He won an Audience Favorite Award for the New York International Fringe Festival offering Danny Boy, which he directed. He is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he received a coveted Stella Adler drama award. Christopher is also a published poet and recipient of the prestigious Emerging Writer Fellowship from The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, and holds an MFA in poetry.

Sally Anderson as Miss Shepherd in 'The Lady in the Van.' Photo by David Lewis
Sally Anderson as Miss Shepherd in ‘The Lady in the Van.’ Photo by David Lewis


Rachel Stroud-Goodrich and Christopher Goodrich.
Rachel Stroud-Goodrich and Christopher Goodrich.

Launching its fifth season in 2014, Unexpected Stage Company is a professional regional theater company founded by the husband-and-wife team of Christopher Goodrich and Rachel Stroud-Goodrich. The company dedicates itself to honoring the intricacies and intimacies of the complete human experience and, to that end, seeks to unite people, place and storytelling in order to explore interconnection. Visit www.unexpectedstage.org and www.facebook.com/unexpectedstage.

“After an unexpected start, a theater troupe finds its home” – The Washington Post

Unexpected Stage Company is funded by an operating grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive. Funding for the Maryland State Arts Council is also provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

Unexpected Stage gratefully acknowledges The Center for Organizational Excellence for its generous support.

Unexpected Stage Company Presents: ‘A Wake for Jacob Marley: An Unexpected Fundraiser’ on December 14th by Karen Gross.

Review of The Lady in the Van on DCMetroTheaterArts by Joel Markowitz.


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