The Hylton Center, a 102,000-square-foot center in Manassas that’s home to two performance venues, recently announced its modified 2020-2021 season, which will include both digital programming in partnership with the Center for the Arts through Mason Arts at Home, as well as outdoor performances.
The fall 2020 lineup includes performances through Hylton at Home, a digital platform of curated arts experiences including live streamed and pre-recorded digital concerts, conversations with artists and story times with the Prince Williams Library System.
At its new outdoor venue Hylton on the Hill, attendees will take in concerts while seated physically-distanced on a natural rise located behind the theater on Mason’s Science and Technology campus. Maryland-based Charm City Junction performs on Oct. 4 at 4 p.m., Ranky Tanky will be there on Oct. 11 at 4 p.m. and The Queen’s Cartoonists take the stage on Oct. 18 at 6 p.m. Tickets cost $30 for adults and $15 for youth, and safety precautions and details about what to expect during these outdoor concerts, including taking the Mason COVID Health✓™ are on the website.
Joel Pierson, member of The Queen’s Cartoonists, grew up in Kensington, Maryland, had a variety of eclectic summer jobs around the area including serving as a Senate Page, working at an orthodox Jewish camp in Silver Spring and being a tour guide at The Capitol. After finishing college he obtained his Ph.D. in music composition at the University of Maryland, playing gigs at weddings and museums as part of a local event band. The band’s drummer hails from Bulgaria, and got both his first job (and his Visa) by lifeguarding at a Northern Virginia pool.
The inspiration for their band, Pierson says, comes from re-thinking jazz and cartoons, two classic American art forms. “The show is one part entertainment and one part historic preservation, we want people to expect the unexpected,” he says. “We’ve been working very hard to try and bring concerts BACK by offering outdoor, socially distanced performances, so thanks for coming, we have to adapt in this crazy time.”
If state health officials and George Mason University deem that it is safe to have indoor performances, the Hylton Center will resume in-person indoor performances in January 2021, following strict protocols to ensure the safety of all. The proposed spring line-up features the 50th anniversary tour of dance company Pilobolus, DC improv troupe The Capitol Steps, husband-and-wife banjo duo Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn and an 11th Anniversary Gala performance by Tony Award-winning Broadway luminary Leslie Odom, Jr., who played Aaron Burr in Broadway’s Hamilton.
“Nothing could stop us from continuing to provide our communities with unique and inspiring artistic experiences,” said director of programming Adrienne Bryant Godwin in a statement. “We look forward to celebrating our 10th anniversary with you, either at a high-energy outdoor concert at our newest ‘venue,’ during a digital performance and Q & A with a world-renowned artist via Hylton at Home, or next spring—when we can hopefully come together in person again in our beautiful theaters.”
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