L.A. Theatre Works, American Festival Pops Orchestra at Hylton Performing Arts Center

Posted: November 9, 2011 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 8, 2011 at 4:41 pm

Image courtesy of Baylin Artists Management

The Hylton Performing Arts Center will welcome L.A. Theatre Works, America’s premier radio theater company, presenting its production of “The Rivalry” on Friday, Nov. 11, at 8 p.m.

Written by Norman Corwin, this riveting work depicts the historic debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas in their battle for the Illinois Senate seat, using dialogue from the original debate transcripts.

In 1858, as the United States was heading toward an immense and costly civil war, Lincoln, a rising legislator and future president, and Douglas, an incumbent senator, embarked on a series of debates. The resulting discourse between these two legendary politicians tackled the most controversial issues of their day — racial, social and economic inequity; states’ rights; and the role of the federal government in the lives of its citizens — issues as relevant today as they were more than 150 years ago.

Under the leadership of its producing director, Susan Albert Loewenberg, L.A. Theatre Works has developed a reputation for staging superb radio dramas with first-rate casts and live sound effects, resulting in a connection to the audience rarely felt in a traditional theater setting.

Tickets are $24, $32 and $40.

Anthony Maiello. George Mason University image

The following week, Northern Virginia’s own American Festival Pops Orchestra (AFPO) will return to the Hylton on Saturday, Nov. 19, at 8 p.m. Under the baton of founder and artistic director Anthony Maiello, who is also associate director of development for Mason’s School of Music, this talented 60-member orchestra will perform a “Salute to Our Veterans.”

The program will include patriotic music honoring those who have served our nation in every generation. This evening of inspiring music celebrates the talent of such great American composers as George M. Cohan, John Williams, Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller, John Philip Sousa and many others.

The program will include such favorites as the NBC documentary film score “Victory at Sea,” American staples such as “You’re a Grand Old Flag” and “Yankee Doodle Dandy” and anthems for each branch of the armed forces.

The orchestra will be joined by acclaimed soprano Angela Knight, who has frequently performed with the Washington National Opera, and Scott Shelsta, former solo trombonist with the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own” and Brass Quintet.

Also joining the AFPO will be decorated military veteran Maj. Gen. James A. Marks as a guest narrator for the poignant “Ashokan Farewell” by Jay Ungar, the title theme from the PBS television miniseries, “The Civil War.”

Tickets are $30, $38 and $46; tickets for youth through grade 12 are half price when the child is accompanied by an adult.

The Hylton Performing Arts Center recognizes Novant Health as the season sponsor of the 2011-12 Hylton Presents season.

To purchase tickets for either of these performances, visit the box office, charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit hyltoncenter.org.

Write to gazette at gazette@gmu.edu