Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ford's Theatre - Sabrina Fair

If you think that Ford's Theatre is just for 8th grade tourists and Lincoln buffs, think again. Ford's is an active theater year-round and offers much more than just A Christmas Carol (though seeing the Christmas classic at Ford's should be required for all Washington residents). Under the direction of Paul Tetreault, Ford's is branching out beyond all things Lincoln and bringing uniquely-American theater productions to DC.

After seeing our post on Little Shop of Horrors, the friendly PR team at Ford's invited us to take a sneak peek at a rehearsal for the upcoming play Sabrina Fair. You might be familiar with the story line from the 1954 Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart movie Sabrina or the 1995 re-make of the same name starring Harrison Ford and Julia Ormond.

The play is billed as a modern twist on the Cinderella story. Sabrina, the daughter of the Larrabee family's chauffeur, returns from five years in Paris. As a child, Sabrina was shy and largely ignored, but she returns with confidence and sophistication that attracts the attention of the Larrabee brothers.

Originally written in 1953 focusing on class relations (with all white actors), director Stephen Rayne decided that casting Sabrina as an African American woman would modernize the story by portraying interracial romance. Without changing a word of the script, Rayne transformed the play into a powerful commentary on race relations in America.

While we only caught a glimpse of the play, I was immediately struck by the beauty of the set and costuming. The massive set transports you to the courtyard of a stately mansion. Just as I found myself getting swept away, the sight of the Lincoln balcony snapped me back to the reality of what happened in this historic place. With the combo of historical significance and top-notch plays, Ford's Theatre has become my favorite venue in DC.

It was a special treat to get an inside look at Sabrina Fair and to learn random facts about the production and Ford's Theatre itself. Bet you didn't know that Sabrina's pet bird is played by two birds (one lead and one understudy) named Frank and Stein (get it?) and that they have their own dressing room. You never know what else you'll learn on an outing at Ford's.

Second Thoughts From B

My mom's favorite Beatle was George. Not because she liked the quiet type or that she had anything against the witty John, cute Paul, or goofy Ringo. Rather, she liked George because everyone else adored the others (this is probably the extent of any childhood rebelliousness). In a way, that's how I feel about Ford's Theatre.

I feel like Ford's is the underground band that you discover before they make it big and are played out on every tween's iPod. Just as good as the big boys but without the hype. There's an insider cool about being a fan, and having a personal connection to the little theater that could.

I won't rehash my thoughts on interracial relationships since I did so here, but I will tell you that I look forward to seeing Sabrina Fair. From the little bit that I saw last night, I'm intrigued. Then again, I am a sucker for anything that puts a modern twist on an old favorite (how many times have I used that line when describing food?).

If you've read this far, perhaps you're intrigued by Ford's or their production of Sabrina Fair. In that case, we've got a little surprise for you. We'll be giving away two free tickets to a Sunday performance (October 10 at 2:30pm or 7:30pm, or October 17 at 2:30pm). To enter the random drawing, leave a comment with your favorite DC hidden gem by Wednesday, October 6th. We'll announce the winner in the next day's post. Good luck and see you at the theater!


Matt E said...

Lincoln Diner or Upper Senate Park

jkmerengue said...

How hidden does it have to be? If you're going to Ford's definitely try Bistro d'Oc across the street. The pre-theater menu is almost reasonably priced, for DC.

Best Museum experience half of us don't know about: Hillwood House Museum in Rock Creek Park. Faberge Eggs and other decorative arts treasures of Marjorie Merriweather Post amid her Japanese garden. Have to make reservations, but it's worth it.

Alix said...

hmm ... I have to go with Kyoto Sushi! Yum!

Victoria said...

Trying again on my comment!

DC World War I Memorial, which is technically on the Mall but almost literally hidden

For food-Well-Dressed Burrito, which is literally in an alley and is way better than Chipotle or Baja Fresh!

Candace said...

Not sure that it is hidden, but the best dining in D.C. to date (and I'm new here) is Circa at Dupont Circle. Best food and drinks that I've had since being here...and I've done a lot of eating since I got here 5 months ago.

Candace said...

Actually thought about it...My Brother's Place is a nice little hidden bar down near the Capitol. I was there for the meetup sports group called Naked Kickball, but the upstairs of this place had an amazing atmosphere for those great College and NFL football days!

Ryan N said...

I don't know whether these would be considered "hidden gems" or "cult faves", but:

1. Loeb's deli on the corner of 15th and I. A little slice of NYC in DC, right down to the curmudgeonly counter staff.

2. The Black Rooster Pub at 19 at L streets. A local watering hole at its finest. No pretense, just cold beer and the requisite greasy pub offerings to sop it up.

mnms said...

We love Ford's Theater and have seen some great shows there.

DC hidden gem?

According to my husband, who grew up in DC, it is Montrose Park (especially for kids). There are some hidden trails in the back that will take you to Rock Creek Park and a man-made waterfall.

Anonymous said...

My favorite new DC hidden gem is "The Yards Park", the new Anacostia River waterfront park just a few blocks from Nationals Park.

The park covers the area previously known as The Navy Yard Annex. The contemporary design of the park incorporates several structures from the early 1900's.

Michael said...

The Luna Grill & Diner. Right on Connecticut Ave. south of the Circle.

I have been there for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and have never been disappointed. The great atmosphere. Better food.