By Christian Thompson
It’s hard to believe that it’s been over a decade since the Franklin Park Arts Center officially opened the doors.
How things have changed since then! Back in those days, the world at-large was still in the throes of the Great Recession, MySpace still boasted more members than the scrappy upstart Facebook, and a little-known Senator from Illinois had yet to break down racial barriers to become the country’s first African American president.
One thing that’s definitely come a long way, however, is the Franklin Park Arts Center. For 10 years it’s supporters and managers have helped promote arts and culture for Loudoun residents, provided an outlet for area musicians and artists to express themselves, and brought national talent to one of the county’s most stately small theatres.
With the current schedule running through the end of July, there are plenty of musical, comedy, and family events to choose from. Here are a few of Loudoun Now’s picks for the season’s best events.
On Friday, comedy troupe, Last Ham Standing, returns to the stage with its zany act. The group, which includes entertainers from a wide range of ages and backgrounds, in known for its audience interaction, taking suggestions from the crowd to build a one-of-a-kind improvisational experience. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets, which are $14 for adults and $10 for kids, can be purchased at lastham.com.
Nearly as universally loved as comedy is the music of Simon and Garfunkel, whose classic album “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” turns 50 next year. On Saturday, June 30, Nashville-based musical duo, Swearingen and Kelli, will be returning to the Arts Center to harmonize their way through some of Simon and Garfunkel’s classic, inimitable songbook. Last time Swearingen and Kelli performed at Franklin Park, tickets sold out, so be sure to purchase yours quick if you’re a fan of folk music, or 1960s pop. Tickets are $15 a person and are available at franklinparkartscenter.org.
Although Adam Sandler’s movie standards may have withered in recent years, much of his work throughout the ’90s retains a cult-like following, thanks to classics like “Billy Madison” and “Happy Gilmore.” One of his best films from that era, 1998’s “The Wedding Singer,” was turned into a Broadway musical comedy in 2006 and is still enjoying productions from the UK to Mexico and even Philippines. For three straight nights, July 19-21, the locally-based ICE Collaborative Arts group will perform its take on the musical in the intimate setting of Franklin Park’s Arts Center Stage. This tale of heartbreak, redemption, spandex, and giant hair-dos is definitely one you don’t want to miss. Tickets for the show are $13 online and $15 at the door
While these performances promise to be a few of the highlights from the season’s events, they’re hardly the only shows worth getting out for. From puppet shows to art exhibits and even a musical production of Schoolhouse Rock, the Franklin Park Arts Center has got you covered. I just wish I could say the same thing about MySpace.
More information for showtimes and tickets can be found at franklinparkartscenter.org.