Sights and Songs of the Season

Dance, theatre, music art exhibits and more: arts are in bloom in Coastal Virginia this spring
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

From mandolin concertos to freedom songs, new work is popping up in Coastal Virginia along with the azaleas.

Virginia Arts Festival Perry Artistic Director Robert W. Cross says that the festival’s 26th season is marked by boundary breaking artistry.

Pictured above: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, appearing April 25-30 at Chrysler Hall

“We’ve co-commissioned new works in dance and music that will be important additions to the repertoire of performers for generations to come,” says Cross.

New works appearing in Hampton Roads this season include Mark Morris Dance Group’s The Look of Love, set to pop music by Burt Bacharach and Hal David and with costumes by the iconic Isaac Mizrahi, and composer Jessie Montgomery’s Five Freedom Songs—a work that honors African American heritage and was conceived in collaboration with famed operatic soprano Julia Bullock, who will perform the premiere with the Virginia Symphony. And Chris Thile, a mandolin virtuoso in genres from bluegrass to classical, will present a world premiere of his new mandolin concerto, co-commissioned by the Virginia Symphony Orchestra. Plus, favorites like Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre and pianist Olga Kern will return to wow audiences.

In addition to the Virginia Arts Festival’s offerings, the spring season is a rich tapestry of homegrown and travelling professional artistry, from classics to moderns.

Don’t Miss These Spring Arts Events

Angry, Raucous, and Shamelessly Gorgeous
Virginia Stage Company
Through March 19, 2023
Wells Theatre
In this play by acclaimed novelist and playwright Pearl Cleage, when actress Anna Campbell is invited to restage her radical performance piece based on August Wilson’s play, she must engage with the younger entertainer taking on her role.

Barbara Earl Thomas: The Illuminated Body
Through Aug. 20, 2023
Chrysler Museum of Art
These new works by celebrated artist, writer and thinker Barbara Earl Thomas meditate on the visual experience of the body within a physical and metaphorical world of light and shadow.

Perspectives: Modern and Contemporary Glass from the Waitzer Collection
Through Dec. 31, 2023
Barry Art Museum
Highlighting selections from the Waitzer family’s extraordinary gift of 165 glass art works to the museum, this exhibition includes works that span the history of modern glass, from Louis Comfort Tiffany to Dale Chihuly and Lino Tagliapietra.

Preston Singletary: Raven and the Box of Daylight
Preston Singletary: Raven and the Box of Daylight

Preston Singletary: Raven and the Box of Daylight
Through July 2, 2023
Chrysler Museum of Art
The immersive exhibition features the work of internationally acclaimed glass artist Preston Singletary and tells the Native American story of Raven and his transformation of the world—bringing light to people by means of the stars, moon and sun.

Mozart’s Requiem
Virginia Symphony Orchestra
March 9, 2023—Chrysler Hall
March 10, 2023—
Ferguson Center
March 12, 2023—Sandler Center
Musical icon JoAnn Falletta returns to direct the orchestra and VSO Chorus in Mozart’s transcendent Requiem, with its darkly rich orchestration and otherworldly radiance. The program also features a Richard Strauss tone poem.


Cut to the Quick and Flourish
Kara Walker and Latoya Hobbs
March 9-June 11, 2023
Virginia MOCA
Walker’s exhibition explores her provocative images in a range of mediums that critique the painful legacies of slavery, sexism and other power structures, and Hobbs’ multifaceted relief wood carvings of three-dimensional women hover between sculpture and painting.

The Bridges of Madison County
March 10-12, 2023
Peninsula Community Theatre
This musical theater adaptation of the novel captures the lyrical expanse of America’s heartland with a soaring score and a heartbreaking love story set during four life-altering days in Iowa.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime
Generic Theater
March 10-25, 2023
Little Hall at Chrysler Hall
Based on the novel by Mark Haddon, the Generic presents this play about a fifteen-year-old with an extraordinary brain who is determined to solve the mystery of a murdered dog.

The Legend of Georgia McBride
March 10-April 2, 2023
Little Theatre of
Virginia Beach
When Casey is fired from his gig as an Elvis impersonator in a small-town Florida bar, a B-level drag show replaces his act, and Casey finds he has a lot to learn about show business—and himself.

Ballet Virginia
March 11, 2023
Sandler Center for the Performing Arts
Ballet Virginia rounds out an exciting and full season with one of the classics, a comedic ballet treat full of laughter and magic about a dollmaker who tries to bring one of his creations to life.

Icons: A Tribute Show
Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts
March 11, 2023
Suffolk Center’s Birdsong Theatre
This tribute show will get the audience dancing with hits from some of the most iconic women in music, including Whitney Houston, Cher, Celine Dion, Janis Joplin and Mariah Carey, among others.

Margaret Cho: Live and LIVID!
March 11, 2023
Hampton Coliseum
Hampton Arts’ new series, Comedy @ the Coliseum, presents the trailblazing comedian, actress, musician and activist whom Rolling Stone magazine called “the sort of funny, sex-positive feminist and LGBTQ activist younger comics continue to look up to.”

Aquila Theatre, Pride & Prejudice
Aquila Theatre, Pride & Prejudice

Aquila Theatre
Virginia Arts Festival
March 16, 2023
Attucks Theatre
The VAF fan favorite returns with a lively staging of Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice in March and All Things Equal: The Life and Trials of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, by Tony Award winner Rupert Holmes, in May.

Persistence V
Various Artists
March 18-April 11, 2023
d’Art Center
D’Art Center presents an annual all women’s exhibition in honor of women’s history month at its community art center in the heart of Norfolk’s NEON district, as well as a solo artist exhibition in The Vault.

Virginia Arts Festival
March 19, 2023
Chrysler Hall
The Virginia Arts Festival presents these astonishing virtuoso Japanese drummers in their One Earth Tour, exploring the limitless possibilities of the traditional Japanese drum, the taiko, and forging new directions for music that defy categorization.

Broadway in Norfolk
March 28-April 9, 2023
Chrysler Hall
Broadway in Norfolk presents Lin-Manuel Miranda’s transformative, Tony winning sensation that tells the tale of founding father Alexander Hamilton through a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, R&B and Broadway.

Broadway Rocks
Virginia Symphony Orchestra
March 31, 2023
Ferguson Center
April 1, 2023—Sandler Center
The VSO presents this high energy show featuring vocalists from the Broadway stage performing selections from Broadway hits like Hairspray, The Lion King, Rent, The Wiz and Phantom of the Opera.

Riddick Dance Company
March 31, 2023
The American Theatre
Hampton-based company Riddick Dance returns to the American Theatre stage with this world premiere of choreography that celebrates traditional African American gospel music and explores themes of peace.

Masterworks IV and Pops
April 2 & April 30, 2023
Sandler Center for the Performing Arts
Virginia Beach’s own Symphonicity concludes its masterworks series with music about earth’s diverse flora and then later in the month presents its season finale with a tribute to bands Earth, Wind & Fire and Chicago with guest artists Brasswind.

Fringe Festival
April 7-8, 2023
Zeiders American Dream Theater
The Z Fringe Festival is two days of locally produced, performance-based works that showcase unique creativity in a weekend of adventurous theater and performance art featuring exciting, self-produced works on three stages.

Bernadette Peters
Bernadette Peters

An Evening with Bernadette Peters
April 8, 2023
Ferguson Center for the Arts
One of Broadway’s most dazzling divas—famous for roles from Sondheim to Bernstein—presents an evening of her unforgettable songs accompanied by the Virginia Symphony with music director Marvin Laird.

Henry V
Virginia Stage Company and Norfolk State University Theatre Company
April 12-30
Wells Theatre
Tom Quaintance directs Shakespeare’s history play about two kingdoms, a young king, and an epic battle set during the Hundred Years’ War. Henry V is a VSC co-production with Norfolk State University Theatre Company.

The Temptations and The Four Tops
April 13, 2023
Ferguson Center for the Arts
Enjoy an evening full of your favorite Motown memories from these two legendary supergroups, together again and playing their legendary hits—from “My Girl” to “Just My Imagination,” from “Sugar Pie Honey Bunch” to “It’s the Same Old Song.”

Swan Lake
Philadelphia Ballet
April 14-16, 2023
Chrysler Hall
The Virginia Arts Festival presents the critically acclaimed company, led by artistic director Angel Corella, in its stunning production of the beloved classic about love and longing with its elegant corps of swans.

Virginia International Tattoo
Virginia Arts Festival
April 20-23, 2023
Scope Arena
In its 26th season, the Tattoo returns to Norfolk with a spectacular evening of music and might featuring more than 800 performers from around the world, including representatives of each of the US armed forces.

Catch Me If You CanVirginia Musical Theatre
Catch Me If You Can
Virginia Musical Theatre

Catch Me If You Can
Virginia Musical Theatre
April 21-23, 2023
Sandler Center
This energetic musical is based on the hit movie about a con artist who fakes his way through a life of adventures and narrow escapes. VMT presents the show’s professional debut in Hampton Roads.

From the Sea to the Stars
Various Artists
April 22-June 17, 2023
Charles H. Taylor Visual Art Center
This juried, mixed-media exhibition is based on Hampton’s city motto and showcases how the region’s artists interpret the coastal town’s multi-generational legacy of history and culture, from aeronautics to the shoreline.

Spring Choral Fest
Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts
April 23, 2023
Suffolk Center’s Birdsong Theater
The Spring Choral Fest welcomes the Chowan University Singers for a program that will feature Vivaldi’s Gloria and Suffolk Public Schools’ Center for Performance and Production Arts choral ensembles.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Virginia Arts Festival
April 25, 2023—Ferguson Center
April 28-30, 2023—Chrysler Hall
The legendary company helmed by artistic director Robert Battle returns to the Virginia Arts Festival with an evening of powerful, lyrical repertoire as well as education and outreach programs.

Legally Blonde: The Musical
April 27, 2023
Ferguson Center for the Arts
The award-winning Broadway tribute to girl power is based on the beloved movie and follows Elle Woods on her hilarious and inspiring journey to Harvard in pursuit of her dreams.

Ballet Hispánico
Virginia Arts Festival
May 5, 2023
Sandler Center for the Performing Arts
The electrifying ballet company mines the music, myths and traditions of Spanish-speaking cultures in an evening of powerful, illuminating repertoire that will have the audience moving in their seats.

James and the Giant Peach
May 5-28, 2023
Little Theatre of Norfolk
Roald Dahl’s novel comes to life in this family friendly musical presented by the Little Theatre of Norfolk about a boy and his great adventure in a tremendous flying peach.

She Loves Me
May 5-28, 2023
Smithfield Little Theatre
This musical is set in a small Hungarian parfumerie in the 1930s. Anonymous pen pals Georg and Amalia hate each other at work, but they don’t realize that in letters they are each other’s secret love.

Chicago the Musical: In Concert
Virginia Arts Festival
May 6, 2023
Chrysler Hall
Rob Fisher, the VAF Artistic Advisor for Musical Theater and American Songbook, leads a sizzling concert version of the Broadway smash hit, featuring a roster of Broadway singers and the Virginia Symphony Orchestra.

Pianist Olga Kern
Virginia Arts Festival
May 7, 2023
Sandler Center for
the Performing Arts
Pianist Olga Kern brings her vivid stage presence, passionately confident musicianship and extraordinary technique to the Virginia Arts Festival. Kern is the VAF’s Connie and Marc Jacobson Director of Chamber Music.

The Book of Mormon
May 9-10, 2023
Ferguson Center for the Arts
The Tony Award winning best musical from the creators of South Park takes the audience on a raucous, hilarious musical journey with a satirical take on two missionaries’ trip to Uganda.

From the Silk Road to the Planets
Virginia Symphony Orchestra
May 12, 2023—Chrysler Hall
May 13, 2023—Ferguson Center
May 14, 2023—Sandler Center
The VSO welcomes three members of the legendary Silk Road Ensemble: cellist Karen Ouzonian, Sandeep Das, and composer Kayhan Kalhor. Conducted by Eric Jacobsen, the program will feature Fauré’s Pie Jesu, Holst’s The Planets, and a work by Kalhor.

Desiree Roots: Celebrating Nancy Wilson
May 13-14, 2023
American Theatre
Virginia native and vocal powerhouse Desiree Roots pays tribute to Nancy Wilson, one of the great female jazz and pop voices of the 20th century—in an intimate cabaret setting.

The Look of Love
Mark Morris Dance Group
May 13, 2023
Sandler Center for the Performing Arts
The Virginia Arts Festival presents this beguiling new piece—co-commissioned by the festival—set to the music of legendary pop icons Burt Bacharach and Hal David with costumes by internationally renowned designer Isaac Mizrahi.

Emerson String Quartet
Virginia Arts Festival
May 15, 2023
Robin Hixon Theater
The Virginia Arts Festival presents one of the greatest classical music ensembles of all time. The legendary Emerson string quartet appears as part of VAF’s chamber music series.

Chris Thile: World Premiere
Virginia Symphony Orchestra and Virginia Arts Festival
May 19, 2023—Ferguson Center
May 20, 2023—Chrysler Hall
May 21, 2023—Sandler Center
The Virginia Arts Festival and the VSO co-present a new work by Grammy Award-winning mandolinist and singer-songwriter Chris Thile. In collaboration with the VSO conducted by Eric Jacobsen, Thile’s new concerto is a “big ol‘ narrative song cycle.”

Rhapsody in Blue
Symphony Orchestra
May 25, 2023
Williamsburg Community Chapel
Williamsburg’s own professional symphony, under the baton of Michael Butterman, presents a program of Ginastera, Ravel, Copland and Gershwin, featuring guest pianist Jon Nakamatsu.

Jesus Christ Superstar
Broadway in Norfolk
May 30-June 4, 2023
Chrysler Hall
An exciting fiftieth anniversary staging of the iconic rock musical from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice chronicles the final weeks in the life of Jesus Christ as seen through the eyes of Judas.

Beth Blachman
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