An Interview With Director Laurie Nelson on ‘Some Enchanted Evening’ at George Mason University on Saturday, August 9, 2014 at 7:30 p.m

DCMetroTheaterArts (“DCMTA”) is interested in highlighting community performing arts events that focus on emerging musical theater talent and fresh voices. With well over 100 professional and community-based theaters and opera companies in the DC metropolitan area, there are always opportunities for new talents to perform.

DCMTA’s David Siegel recently spoke with Laurie Nelson, director of the upcoming Some Enchanted Evening, a vocal performance to be held in the 460-seat Harris Theatre at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts.

Laurie Nelson, Director, "Some Enchanted Evening. " Photo by Jenna Miller
Laurie Nelson, Director, “Some Enchanted Evening. ” Photo by Jenna Miller.

Some Enchanted Evening is a non-professional production to showcase  area vocal performers “in a gala-like concert format” according to Laurie Nelson. There will be 40 singers ages 14 – 27, “doing pieces related in some way to enchantment, magic or mystery, all from varied genres of music.” Live musical accompaniment with piano, guitar, and drums will be provided by Laurie Bunn and Lisa Gibbs-Smith.

The Some Enchanted Evening concert is a regular summer event produced by NM Productions for the several decades. Nelson called it, “a dose of summer magic! A perfect show for both adult and young audiences.”

David: Please tell me about NM Productions?

Laurie: NM Productions is an arts studio in northern Virginia offering private instruction in voice, acting and percussion. The company also includes a visual art studio, but the primary focus is music. What sets this studio apart is our integrated approach to the needs of our singers, actors and percussion students. The studio is well established, having evolved over 29 years, and we work hard to provide our performers with the information and means to achieve within the competitive world of Northern Virginia and the east coast.

What led NM Productions to have a yearly Summer Concert?

Because we serve a range of performers from career singers to hobbyists, we were interested in creating a situation that can offer service to both. This annual gala accomplishes that. Our young singers benefit from simply embracing the solo performance experience, while our emerging professional singers appreciate the pro video recording we make each year. In today’s YouTube culture, performers are required to establish a presence on line. Our concert, taped in a nice venue, with wonderful musicians, pro sound and lighting is our opportunity to help them do that and have fun at the same time.

Last year's Summer Concert. Photo by Jenna Miller.
Last year’s Summer Concert. Photo by Jenna Miller.

Please tell me a bit about the Some Enchanted Evening performers?

We have 40 singers on this year’s program. Twenty-one of our performers are high school students in Fairfax County, while nineteen of the singers are adults and college students. Fourteen singers on this year’s program are pursuing professional music careers in musical theatre, jazz, and opera.

Many of the singers on Saturday’s program have extensive experience with local theatre and opera companies. For example, one of the singers you will hear on Saturday (Daniel Devera) is a current finalist for Signature Theatre’s Signature Idol competition, while another young tenor (Jacob Lamb) was selected to the finals in last year’s competition.

How would you like the GMU Harris Theater audience to feel during and after the Some Enchanted Evening performance?

We’d like the audience to feel transported, joyful and above all, entertained! This year’s concert, Some Enchanted Evening is a selection of songs and arias about enchantment, magic and mystery.  Audiences will hear Broadway and Disney alongside opera, jazz, and pop. To name just a few, the program includes selections from Rodgers and Hammerstein, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Mel Brooks, Harold Arlen, Andrew Lippa, Fauré, Menotti, Gounod, Mozart, Schubert, Christina Perri, Regina Spektor, and Sara Bareilles.

[Note: Alum of previous annual Summer Concert have appeared in productions at DC venues such as Arena Stage, Ford’s Theatre, The Keegan Theatre, The Kennedy Center, Olney Theatre Center, Signature Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre Company, and 1st Stage as well as the Virginia Opera, Washington National Opera, and touring company musicals.]

Wesley Woodley in The Keegan Theatre's 'Rent,' for which she was a member of the Helen Hayes Award-winning Ensemble. Photo by James Coates.
Alumnus Wesley Woodley in The Keegan Theatre’s ‘Rent,’ for which she was a member of the Helen Hayes Award-winning Ensemble. Photo by James Coates.

Where and When: Summer Concert presented by NM Productions  at the Harris Theatre, George Mason University (GMU) – 4400 University Drive, in Fairfax, VA 22030.

Performance: Saturday, August 9, 2014, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12, and can be purchased by calling (888) 945-2468, or purchase them online. Night of performance tickets are available at the Harris Theatre Box Office.

This article is edited from interviews with Laurie Nelson.



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