George Mason University’s Professional Theater Company, Theater of the First Amendment, is pleased to announce Helen Hayes Award

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


For Immediate Release

Contact:  Jill Graziano Laiacona



TFA announces $50,000 Season Sponsorship from Boeing to support the 2011 spring season.

FAIRFAX, Va., Feb. 15, 2010 Heather McDonald and Rick Davis, co-artistic directors of Theater of the First Amendment (TFA), the professional theater-in-residence at George Mason University, announce their partnership with the Hylton Performing Arts Center (HPAC) on the Manassas Campus of George Mason University to present “24, 7, 365” in the Gregory Family Theater from March 3–5. After a successful world premiere at the Atlas Performing Arts Center in Washington, D.C. and participation in the second annual INTERSECTIONS: A New America Arts Festival, “24, 7, 365” will comes to Manassas for four performances. With the generous support of a $50,000 Season Sponsorship from Boeing, “24, 7, 365” is produced in association with Tribute Productions. The performances are at 8 p.m. on March 3, 4 and 5 and 2 p.m. on March 5.


 In “24, 7, 365,” playwright Nelson asks “What would the world look like if people were happy 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year?” Educated African Americans’ attitudes about race, class and social activism are put under a humorous microscope as two Washington couples endure a civilized weekend camping trip for a birthday celebration and much needed rest and recuperation. One night together, complete with a misunderstood hip-hop poet, a very old tree and a large bottle of vodka, complicates and ultimately illuminates their inner and outer lives.


Nelson is a past winner of the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play (1997). As the founding producing artistic director of the African Continuum Theatre Company and artistic director of the Everyday Theatre Company, Nelson has had a profound influence on theater in the Washington, D.C. area. In addition to numerous awards for writing, Nelson has been a past recipient of a National Endowment of the Arts/Theatre Communications Group Early Career Director Fellowship. Nelson has more than 35 years experience as a stage director, producer, writer, educator and actress in professional non-profit arts organizations.


Directed by Juanita Rockwell, “24, 7, 365” will bring together a diverse and creative design team with a solid cast including some local favorites. The cast includes Deidra LaWan Starnes, Michael Kramer, Craig Wallace, Fatima Quander and Baye Harrell. Daniel Ettinger created the set designs while LeVonne Lindsay designed the costumes. Lighting is designed by Dan Covey and Chas Marsh and his sound design completes the artistic staff. David Elias serves as stage manager.


Theater of the First Amendment works with the region’s best professional theater artists, and Mason students and graduates to present compelling new works and adaptations.


In addition to Boeing’s Season Sponsorship, this production is supported in part by generous contributions from the Arts Council of Fairfax County, the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.


Hylton Performing Arts Center’s Gregory Family Theater (March 3-5, 2011)

Online:        Phone: (888) 945-2468 (10 a.m.–9 p.m.)

In Person: Hylton Box Office            Hours: Wednesday–Saturday, 12–6 p.m.

      10960 George Mason Circle?

                  Manassas, VA 20110

Tickets: $30 for Friday and Saturday 8 p.m. performances,
$25 for Thursday evening and Sunday matinee performances.



Theater of the First Amendment

TFA’s mission is to discover, develop and launch new, thought-provoking plays, and serve as an artistic home to the next generation of playwrights.

TFA was founded in 1990 as the resident professional theater of George Mason University. To date, TFA has produced 40 plays (most of which have been world premieres) and 5 play festivals. The Helen Hayes Awards have nominated TFA’s work 37 times and have bestowed 12 awards on our work.

About the Hylton Performing Arts Center
Dedicated to bringing a world-class performing arts venue to the Prince William region, the Hylton Performing Arts Center was born out of a partnership among Prince William County, George Mason University, the City of Manassas, the Commonwealth of Virginia and individuals and businesses in the private sector. Soaring more than nine stories and boasting a stunning mix of copper, glass and masonry, the 85,000-square foot center is home to two unparalleled performance venues for local arts groups and performers from around the world, as well as university-related activities. Modeled after the intimate European opera houses of the 19th century, Merchant Hall is a 1,140-seat multipurpose proscenium theater, which is encircled by 27 private boxes that rise three levels. The Gregory Family Theater is a flexible, 4,400-square foot space that can be configured for many different types of performances and events. In addition, the Didlake Grand Foyer, with its sweeping staircase, provides an ideal setting for community, corporate and social events. The Hylton Performing Arts Center, the only building of its kind in the area, is sure to quickly become the cultural hub of Prince William County and the surrounding communities and is a shining example of collaboration and commitment to the arts.

About George Mason University

Named the #1 national university to watch in the 2009 rankings of U.S. News & World Report, George Mason University is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with global distinction in a range of academic fields. Located in Northern Virginia near Washington, D.C., Mason provides students access to diverse cultural experiences and the most sought-after internships and employers in the country.  Mason offers strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering and information technology, organizational psychology, health care and visual and performing arts. With Mason professors conducting groundbreaking research in areas such as climate change, public policy and the biosciences, George Mason University is a leading example of the modern, public university.