Blog Archives

Hiss Golden Messenger makes their first appearance in Harrisonburg

court square theaterThe Court Square Theater Music Series, organized by Arts Council of the Valley, continues on Wednesday, February 1st with a concert by Hiss Golden Messenger.

Hiss Golden Messenger is the project of songwriter M.C. Taylor. Taylor’s music draws from the deep well of traditional and vernacular Southern song that Taylor has explored and documented as a practicing folklorist.

Hiss Golden Messenger’s newest album, “Heart Like a Levee, released in October 2016, deals with Taylor’s guilt of being away while he tries to provide for his family: it’s a remarkable record that feels like a breakthrough,” says The Independent, which listed it the 18th Best Album of 2016.The Independent showers further praise, “Here is a well-paced, uncluttered collection of arrangements that manage to make the hardest of times sound upbeat, featuring HGM’s trademark grooves on the likes of ‘Like a Mirror Loves a Hammer’ and fusing modern tones with ancients ones—it is utterly exquisite.”

Hiss Golden Messenger performs at Harrisonburg’s Court Square Theater on Wednesday, February 1st. Multi-instrumentalist Scott Hirsch will open the show. Doors open at 7:00pm and the concert begins at 8:00pm. Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 at the door. Please visit or call 540.433.9189 for more information and to purchase tickets.

Court Square Theater is located at 41-F Court Square in downtown Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Actors’ Renaissance Season opens at American Shakespeare Center

The American Shakespeare Center Actors’ Renaissance Season creates powerful and entertaining theatre by experimenting with how Shakespeare might have rehearsed.

To modern audiences, Shakespeare’s staging and rehearsal conditions might sound like antiquated practices, but they’re really focused on collaborative, experimental, and fast-paced theatre-making. The actors must work together to embrace the often chaotic few days they have to mount productions — and the results are fresh, creative, and straight out of the minds of our actors.

“The ASC Ren Season is our annual experiment into what we think Elizabethan and Jacobean rehearsal conditions might have been like, and this year we’re adding a few new twists,” says ASC Artistic Director and Co-Founder Jim Warren. “In addition to re-creating Shakespeare’s staging conditions (leaving the lights on the audience and including them in the world of the play) our Ren Season also includes re-creating some of Shakespeare’s rehearsal conditions of limited group rehearsals and actors often working with just their own lines and cues rather than full scripts. This year we’re also adding a brand new play and a rarely-performed play with an actor/manager/director at the helm. We hope these new wrinkles to our Ren Season will help us continue to reconnect with past practices as we rediscover more ways to go back to the future with new works and recover the joys and accessibility of Shakespeare’s language and staging conditions.”

The Actors’ Renaissance Season begins performances on January 13 with The Merchant of Venice, featuring a full troupe of American Shakespeare Center veterans. Against the backdrop of social intolerance suddenly buffeted by inevitable change, Shakespeare weaves interconnected tales of friendship, love, and family while bringing to life one of his strongest and most resourceful heroines. Mingling dreamy romance with senseless and timeless cultural conflicts, The Merchant of Venice reveals that mercy and love can come from unexpected places.

Coriolanus joins The Merchant of Venice in rotating repertory on January 19. Loaded with startling contemporary commentary on politics, politicians, and “the people” politicians represent, Coriolanus gives us a stark look at the triumphs and failures of a tragic hero. With his insightful analysis on the political journey of Rome’s most famous military man, Shakespeare highlights the pitfalls of pride and and the danger of arrogance in one of his final and most complex tragedies.

The School for Scandal throws uproarious comedy into the mix on February 2. Rumors abound in this searing comedy of manners, where no one can avoid the stinging bite of gossip — even though the truth is sometimes juicier. A rich guardian tests his wards to choose the worthier heir, but there’s more to them than meets the eye. Throw in a few scandal-mongers, a wandering wife, and a sneaky hireling name Snake, and A School for Scandal will have you rolling in your seat.

February 23 brings the world premiere performance of the new play Shakespeare’s Sister by Emma Whipday. Judith Shakespeare has one ambition: to be a playwright. When her debt-ridden father forces her into an engagement, she runs away with the help of dashing actor Ned Alleyn, hoping to join her brother in London. But when Judith arrives in the plague-stricken capital, she finds her brother gone, Ned engaged to another, and her play refused. Judith confronts a society where women’s freedoms are curtailed; and a government tackling religious extremism in a climate of fear. Judith must choose between succumbing to social pressures, and following her dream, no matter what the cost in this moving and funny play..

Finally the ASC rediscovers a play which has never seen a professional production in America, The Fair Maid of the Exchange. Anthony, Ferdinand, and Frank must battle it out to win her love, and they’re not above underhanded tricks and disguises to get her attention. This wickedly witty city comedy pits brother against brother, and shows even in sibling rivalries, somebody has to come out on top. ASC veteran actor René Thornton, Jr. steps into the director/manager chair like Peter Quince in Midsummer to lead the troupe in reviving this show for (we think) the first time in over 400 years.  Performances of Fair Maid begin March 22.

The Actors’ Renaissance Season features American Shakespeare Center veterans Lauren Ballard, Grant Davis, Allison Glenzer, John Harrell, Ginna Hoben, Josh Innerst, Chris Johnston, David Anthony Lewis, Benjamin Reed, Tim Sailer, René Thornton Jr., and Jessika Williams.

An opening night party will be held on January 14 at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel after the opening of The Merchant of Venice during which the 2017/18 Season will be announced. Premium level tickets start at $42 and can be purchased online at or by calling the box office at 1.877.MUCH.ADO. Residents of Staunton, Waynesboro or Augusta County can take advantage of $18 local rush tickets on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Student, Senior, Military, and AAA discounts are available.

Stable Craft Brewing to debut Winter Craft Beer Dinner Theatre Series

Stable Craft Brewing Winter Craft Beer Dinner Theatre SeriesDuring the months of January, February, March and April, Stable Craft Brewing in Augusta County will be hosting a unique twist to traditional craft beer dinners.

The Stable Craft Winter Craft Beer Dinner Theatre Series will turn the craft beer dinner into an engaging evening designed to enliven your spirits, as well as your tastebuds. Enjoy an evening out with family and friends and take part in the interactive dinner experience.

Dinners will feature a themed three-course dinner paired with Stable Craft Beers. Menus and pairings to be announced.

Join Stable Craft Brewing as we pair up with Bob Lunger and his zany acting troupe a “A Fool’s Folly” for this one-of-a-kind interactive experience.

Please note that these performances are geared to an adult audience with subject matter that may be unsuitable for young ears.

Dinner Tickets: $55 per person
Purchase tickets online through Paypal and present receipt at the door or purchase tickets directly at Stable Craft Brewing. Advance purchase recommended.


  • January 28th 5-8pm: Birthday Party Fit for a King!
  • February 18th 5-8pm: Inaugural Presidential Roast
  • March 18th 5-8pm: St. Patty’s Pot o’ Gold
  • April 1st 5-9pm: Cosmic Craftcon

Make It a Weekend Getaway: Hampton Inn and Suites of Fishersville is located 7 miles from Stable Craft Brewing and features an indoor swimming pool, spacious guest rooms and complimentary breakfast. Make it a winter weekend get-away.
Address: 15 Foursquare Ln, Fishersville, VA 22939
Phone: (540) 213-9500
Book Your Stay!

Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum to host Valentine Tea

A Very Valentine Celebration and Tea is set for Saturday, Feb. 4 from 2-4 p.m. at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library in Staunton.

There will be games, crafts and a museum scavenger hunt. The event will conclude with a traditional three course tea with savories, sweets, and scones.  This event is suggested for children ages 6-11, the cost is $20.00/child, reservations are required.  Group rates are available for parties of 10 or more.

Register online at  For more information, contact Susan Laser @ (540) 885-0897 X110 or

John Jorgenson Quintet brings gypsy jazz to Court Square Theater

john jorgenson quintetThe Court Square Theater Music Series continues on Sunday, January 15th with a concert by gypsy jazz ensemble, the John Jorgenson Quintet.

John Jorgenson Quintet creates a unique musical experience that equally enthralls the most discerning and the casual music fan. The ensemble was originally formed in 2004 for the release of “Franco-American Swing”.

The group’s style has been called “Gypsy Jazz” after the dynamic string-driven swing created by Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli in 1930s Paris, but Jorgenson’s compositions draw in elements from Latin, Romanian, Classical, Rock and Greek music, so “21st Century World Music” is perhaps a more apt description.

The John Jorgenson Quintet is the only American act to ever headline the prestigious Django Reinhardt Memorial Festival in France, and has been featured at other “Djangofests” in the US, UK, Germany and Canada. For the films Gattaca and Head in the Clouds, Jorgenson was tapped to recreate Django’s music, and in the latter he even appeared onscreen as Django with stars Charlize Theron and Penelope Cruz.

John Jorgenson Quintet performs at Harrisonburg’s Court Square Theater on Sunday, January 15th. Doors open at 7:00pm and the concert begins at 8:00pm. Tickets are $19 in advance and $23 at the door. Please visit or call 540.433.9189 for more information and to purchase tickets.

Court Square Theater is located at 41-F Court Square in downtown Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Civil rights activist Diane Nash keynotes Washington and Lee MLK celebration

Diane Nash, peace activist and pioneer of the civil rights movement, will be the featured keynote speaker during Washington and Lee University’s annual multi-day observance of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, “Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”

Nash will present the keynote address on Sunday, Jan. 15, at 7 p.m. in the Keller Theatre, Lenfest Hall on the W&L campus.

A Chicago native who had never experienced segregation in public accommodations before moving to the South, Diane Nash went on to become one of the pioneers of the Civil Rights Movement. Nash’s involvement in the nonviolent movement began in 1959, while she was a student at Fisk University. In 1960 she became the chairperson of the student sit-in movement in Nashville, Tennessee — the first Southern city to desegregate its lunch counters — as well as one of the founding students of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee. In 1961, she coordinated the Freedom Ride from Birmingham, Alabama, to Jackson, Mississippi, a story which was documented in the recent PBS American Experience film “Freedom Riders.”

Her many arrests for her civil rights activities culminated in Nash being imprisoned for 30 days in 1961, while she was pregnant with her first child. Undeterred, she joined a national committee — to which she was appointed by President John F. Kennedy — that promoted passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Nash later became active in the peace movement that worked to end the Vietnam War, and became an instructor in the philosophy and strategy of non-violence as developed by Mohandas Gandhi.

Nash is the recipient of numerous awards, including the War Resisters’ League Peace Award; the Distinguished American Award presented by the John F. Kennedy Library; the LBJ Award for Leadership in Civil Rights from the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum; and an honorary doctorate of human letters from Fisk University, her alma mater. Most recently, Nash delivered the 2009 Slavery Remembrance Day Memorial Lecture in Liverpool, England.

Her work has been cited in numerous books, documentaries, magazines, and newspaper articles, and she has appeared on such TV shows and films as “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” Spike Lee’s “Four Little Girls,” and PBS’s “Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years 1954-1965.”

The keynote and all other events in the multi-day program are free and open to the public. Some events require tickets or RSVP. The complete schedule of events and ticket/RSVP information can be found at