The Front Row Blog

Get Pumped! Get Ready! For the Costume Caper 5K

The Costume Caper 5K and Fun Run is a month away! In order to get you ready for this morning of fun, we have some tips for race prep and race day from two of Board Members and the Chairs of the Event, Karol Boudreaux and Ken Woodrow!

Tips for Getting Ready:

1) If you’re new to running, add distance gradually – build up to that mileage over the next few weeks.

2) Stretch before and after your runs to help avoid injuries.

Tips for Running the Race

1) Try out running in your costume before the race – you don’t want a “wardrobe malfunction” during the race!

2) At the race, start slow and gradually build your pace.

3) New runners, line up at the back of the group to avoid going out too fast with the rabbits.

4) New runners, a run/walk combination can work well; for example, consider walking the turn-around.

5) Be positive – you can do great things when you set your mind to it!

The Costume Caper 5K and Fun Run is October 28th at Bluemont Park! Break out your Halloween costume and your running shoes for a morning of fun and fitness with the Encore family!



5 Reasons to Run in the 5K!

Hello Encore friends! The Costume Caper 5K is only six weeks away! Our annual 5K run/walk and 1k kids run takes place on October 28 at Bluemont Park in Arlington, VA on the scenic W&OD trail. Face painting and children’s games will be available throughout the morning. Need motivation to run? We’ve got you covered–times 5!

#1 – Who doesn’t love getting dressed up? Put your costume-making skills and creativity to work and show it off at the race! Let your superhero alter-ego shine, or dress up as your favorite literary character or favorite crayon.

#2 – You’ll feel better about eating the Halloween Candy! The race is a perfect way to get in the Halloween spirit while burning off some calories before that sugar-filled day.

#3 – You’ll feel more virtuous than all those lazy folks still in bed! Registration begins at 8am, so while others are still in bed, you’re starting the day in a productive and healthy way.

#4 – You’ll support an amazing organization! That’s right! Your registration supports “Theatre by Kids, for Kids” allowing Encore Stage & Studio to serve our youth and help them build life skills through the performing arts!

#5 – Lastly, there are PRIZES! Prizes will be awarded for the best costume and more.

There you have it–your 5 motivations to run the Costume Caper 5k! Now don’t wait another minute! Register your famly now for the early bird price, and we look forward to seeing you there!

Are you a business owner looking to sponsor the event? Email today!

Blog contributors: Ken Woodrow, Karol Boudreaux, Aileen Pangan

Puppet Playhouse Presents Jungle of Bungaloo | Sept. 21 – October 6, 2017

Characters come to life through the art of puppetry and rhyme!
Explore caves, lakes, and waterfalls on an adventure of a lifetime.
Discover the sounds and movements of the animals in the Bungaloo
–including a snake, a spider, and a bat too!
Meet our actors and play on the set,
this exciting performance will be your favorite yet!

We recommend this production for ages 1 and older.

Squad Goals – Costume Caper 5K Edition

Hey! Hey you! You with the friends! It’s time to pull the squad together and get your run on. The Costume Caper 5K is coming down the pike. Here are 5 reasons to send out the group text and get together for a 5K.

1) Two words: group costume!
The Squad that Slays Together, Stays Together. The Avengers, Clue characters, the minions, or even the parts of a BLT. Use it as a chance to bring together all the creativity buzzing around your friends. And be sure to get the perfect group picture.

2) Who Else but the Squad can Push You?
Who’s going to set the pace? If you are looking to get your best time or try to get more active, friends are great for keeping the motivation going. The Costume Caper is a run or walk on a flat trail so everyone has a chance to get moving!

3) Turn Your Running Time into Quality Time!

We all get busy. Making time to see even just one person in the squad gets complicated. The Costume Caper is the perfect chance to break a sweat and catch up (literally)!

4) Don’t Forget the Matching Shirts!
All participants in the 5K get a commemorative shirt. What a great way to remember a great morning spent with your buds, compadres, your squad.

5) Did We Mention the Group Discount?
Yup! Groups of ten or more get a discounted registration fee of $15 per person for the 5K race. For details or to use the discount, email Rosemarie O’Connor at It’s always a good day when the squad gets to save money!

Meet Development Associate: Rosemarie O’Connor

Happy #FrontRowFriday! Today we’re excited to introduce you to a familiar face but brand new to the administrative staff. Meet our newest Development Associate, Rosemarie O’Connor as she shares some fun facts about herself and what she’s looking forward to this season at Encore! Previously, Rosemarie worked as Institutional Development Apprentice at Imagination Stage and a past Intern with Encore. She is a Marymount University alumna where she received her Bachelors in Communication and directed, produced, and performed with the Marymount Actors’ Guild.

Welcome back to Encore! Can you share what you’ve worked on with Encore in the past and what your new position entails now?
Rosemarie: Thanks! I’m so happy to be back at Encore! I was in Once Upon a Mattress when it was the summer show and was the Arts Management Intern the summer of 2015. Now, I’m the Development Associate! My new job includes all things fundraising, special events, and community connections.

What are you looking forward to this season?
Rosemarie: I am looking forward to Lion King Jr. The music is so beautiful and I’m excited to see the animal puppets and costumes. Plus, the 50th Anniversary Bash! The 50th Anniversary Bash is Encore’s first ever gala! It’s going to be a night where we reminisce on where we’ve been and look forward to everything that’s in Encore’s future.

What do you enjoy most about Encore Stage & Studio?
Rosemarie: The people! Not just the staff, but everyone I’ve met from the cast of Mattress, the board, and all the participants.

What do you love about theatre?
Rosemarie: Yikes! That’s a tough one. I love the impact that every part of production can make. I know that I’ve learned from being onstage, backstage, on the production team, and even in the audience. That among countless other things including killer music and the occasional jaw dropping dance number.

Now for some fun facts! What are your favorite hobbies?
Rosemarie: Singing is definitely up there. I also like cooking, baking, and dancing.

If you could be any literary/theatre character what would it be?
Rosemarie: I’m a Harry Potter fan so I’ve got to go with Minerva McGonagall. She is a total boss who is also amazingly kind.

What do you like to do in Arlington?
Rosemarie: I was born and grew up here. So I love to be out and about and just wait to see who I’m going to run into. Plus, there are too many tasty places to eat and gorgeous parks and trails to ever get bored.

Rosemarie is no stranger to the Front Row blog, check out here past blog posts and features:

Encore’s 2016 Seniors
Meet 2016 Graduate, Rosemarie O’Connor
Meet Arts Management Intern Rosemarie O’Connor – July 17, 2015
5 Things That Happened at Rehearsal Last Night That Will Get You More Pumped for Shrek – Rosemarie O’Connor
4 Quotes From Reviews That Mean You Should’ve Already Gotten Your Shrek Ticket!

Please stop by the office at say hello to Rosemarie!

5 Ways to Shine in the Audition Room

We’re so excited for our #sweeterthanever season! As we count down to the first audition of the golden 50th season, count down with us on 5 ways to shine in the audition room, brought to you by our production manager, Rebecca Pfeil!

#5: Project! We want to be sure we can hear you on stage!

#4: ​It’s all about Teamwork! Work with your audition group as a team. As a member of the cast, it is important to be a great teamplayer.

#3: Listen to all instructions and make sure you are paying attention.

#2: Make interesting acting choices! Show us different character choices throughout your audition to show your range of skills, imagination and willingness to work as a teamplayer.

Last by not least….

#1: Have fun! If you are having fun while you are auditioning, it’ll show!

Our first auditions of the season are combined with Madeline’s Christmas and Sherlock Holmes on September 12 & 13, 5-7pm at Encore’s Main Campus.

Want additional preparation for auditions? Learn about our pre-audition workshops! Many students and parents have requested advice about auditioning for roles in our productions. Our optional pre-audition workshops help students learn what to expect at an audition and how to present themselves. Pre-audition workshops are 3-5 pm. The fee is $55. Click here to enroll today.


Photos by Larry McClemons and Aileen Pangan

Until We Meet Again (Arts Apprentice Shannon Signing Off)

Hello, everyone and welcome back to the blog! Arts Apprentice Shannon here. Today’s Front Row Friday is also a farewell…at least for the moment! It’s the final day of my Arts Apprenticeship at Encore. It’s been an awesome season, so I’m going to share just a few highlights with you before I go.

One of the most fun projects I got to do was co-directing Twinderella as part of our residency at Ashlawn Elementary School. Our group of fourth and fifth graders were so talented and continued to impress me. The story of the show is super hilarious, so I had a fantastic time creating blocking and choreography for these (somewhat) familiar fairytale characters. It was a wonderful learning experience for me as a director and a teacher, and I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity.

I’m super proud of the work I did on Encore first big #GivingTuesday campaign. Encore is such a worthy community organization and it felt incredible to see my hard work lead to great results: we raised over 120% of our original goal! That’s awesome!! I can’t wait to see how much this organization continues to grow in its 50th Anniversary season.

Once a marketing person, always a marketing person, so I’m going to take a moment to promote our blog, Pinterest, and Tumblr pages, because I’m super proud of them! Whether you’re into interviews, crafts, or awesome theatre GIFs, Encore’s got something for you.

Another super rewarding aspect of this position is the fact that I get to experience multiple departments. I’ve worked on fundraising, supervised our Front of House crews, taught at camps, and more! It was so amazing to work with our students in the Healthy Play Initiative. Many of them only speak Spanish, so it was truly an exchange of knowledge, which I loved – even if my roommates gave me odd looks for excitedly naming produce in Spanish in our kitchen. Every single class was a new adventure and always a ton of fun.

I’m going to pause for a moment to appreciate my amazing co-workers here at Encore. It’s been a truly wonderful experience working and learning with all of these talented artists and administrators. From learning PhotoShop to new theatre games, theatrical lighting or how to write a grant, I have gained so much by working alongside each of you. And to anyone who is considering this Apprenticeship or a similar position: DO IT! You will genuinely learn and achieve so much more than you could every hope to squeeze onto a resume.

Speaking of people I love to work with… I’ve had such a blast creating the world of The Music Man with my incredible castmates, playing the mayor’s wife, Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn. As I’ve been saying to anybody who will listen: I love our town of River City. From each family unit, to the teenagers, to the town as a whole, the onstage relationships everyone has worked to create feel so genuine, hilarious, and unique. It’s been such a positive and warm experience, finally crossing the Encore stage.

This will be my face if you don’t get your tickets before it’s too late!

The Music Man has just four remaining performances, so you should come join in on our fun! I would love to celebrate this amazing theatre “by kids, for kids” with all of you! Get your tickets online, by phone at (703) 548-1154, or at the Box Office before the show.

To all of the students, Front of House crew members, parents, patrons, and colleagues I’ve worked with this season, thank you. It has truly been a joy. I cannot wait to see what this next season will bring Encore and all of you. Until we meet again, my friends! 🙂

Photos by: Larry McClemons, Shannon McCarthy, Aileen Pangan

Blog contributor: Shannon McCarthy, 2016-17 Arts Apprentice

The Kids Began to March (with Director Elizabeth Pringle)

This evening marks the start to the second weekend of The Music Man, playing at Kenmore Middle School Theatre. We are thrilled to sit down with Elizabeth Pringle to get some insight into this delightfully fun and spirited production!

Encore: Welcome to Encore’s Front Row blog! Could you introduce yourself and tell us how you’ve been involved with Encore, past and present?

EP: When I was little I wanted to be an astronaut, and archaeologist, a superhero, and bus driver. But then I realized that I couldn’t actually become all those things when I grew up however I could act all those roles and more in the theatre! I realized then, and believe now, that imagination is the greatest human tool. Kids are bursting with imagination and to work with kids is always a treat.

I got involved with Encore about two years ago when I worked with Susan on The Three Musketeers and got to know the community of Encore and appreciate the dedication and production standards of the team. The next season I directed A Fairy Tale Christmas Carol and Twelfth Night. I just directed The Tempest this spring and came right back in for The Music Man.

Encore: Having previously directed for Encore, could you speak to directing a cast ranging from age ten up through college students and beyond? How is this process similar or different?

EP: I’ve so enjoyed working on the productions with kids but in my career I’ve worked with all ages and so this has been great fun. Each age group needs a different focus for their work and that requires different toolkits when working with them on character and staging. It is a little like speaking different languages when connecting to the different age groups.

Encore: What do you enjoy most about working with a focus of “Theatre by kids, for kids?”

EP: I love watching the kids grow in skills and confidence as they learn the many aspects of theatre from performance to production to production. Encore offers such a strong community of learning and engagement and a real artistic home for young people.

Encore: What’s been your favorite part of the rehearsal process?

EP: For me, it has been both watching the world of the play emerge as well as witnessing the growth of community among this inter-generational group of actors.

Encore: Have there been any challenges that stand out to you?

EP: Ha! All other challenges were usurped by the leaking roof this past weekend. But the production and performance teams were incredible and they took the challenge in stride and gave their all to putting on a great show.

Encore: Describe Encore’s production of The Music Man in five words or short phrases.


  • A classic and brilliant piece of American musical theatre.
  • Heart-warming.
  • Wonderful performances.
  • Lots of food for heart and mind.
  • Lots of musical earworms!

    Encore: Is there anything else you’d like audiences to know?

    EP: Don’t miss it!

    Well, you heard our fine director, folks! Keep out of “Trouble” and get your tickets before they march away! Thank you to Elizabeth for sharing with us. Join us at Kenmore this weekend to take in all of the fantastic work our director, cast, and crew have put into this production!

    Remaining Performances:
    Thursday, July 27, 2017 at 7:30 pm
    Friday, July 28, 2017 at 7:30 pm
    Saturday, July 29, 2017 at 2 pm and 7:30 pm
    Sunday, July 30, 2017 at 2 pm

    Photos by: Larry McClemons

    Blog contributor: Shannon McCarthy, 2016-17 Arts Apprentice

  • Hitting All the Right Notes: Music Director Sarah Markovits

    Welcome back to the Front Row Blog. Not only is it Front Row Friday, it’s also opening night for our production of The Music Man! This could not be a more perfect opportunity to sit down with the woman behind our musical’s beautiful sound, music director Sarah Markovits.

    Encore: Thank for joining us for an interview on Encore’s blog! Could you introduce yourself and tell us how you’ve been involved with Encore?

    SM: I am a soprano, a voice teacher, and a proud choir nerd who didn’t do nearly enough musical theater when I was growing up (although I did get to play Grizabella in Cats as an adult!). In my teaching, I want my students to be Empowered, Energized, and Inspired by their experiences. I had seen several Encore shows, and I was consistently impressed by the quality, and by the fact that everyone seemed to be having such a good time – I wanted to be part of that magic! I’m so excited to be serving as Music Director for this summer’s production of The Music Man!

    Encore: The cast of The Music Man features actors from age ten up to college students and beyond. How does this affect how you run rehearsals?

    SM: I think when you expect everyone to perform at a high level, age or experience become secondary factors. Adults need permission to be silly just as much as kids need to learn to be “serious”! When you work really hard and can see that it is paying off, I think you are much more likely to continue to work really hard – my job is to make sure the singing is healthy and that folks are having fun.

    Encore: What’s been your favorite part of the rehearsal process?

    SM: I’ve really enjoyed watching the camaraderie develop among the cast. Everyone wants to see the show succeed, and it really is a team effort!

    Encore: Do you have a favorite musical moment in the show?

    SM: I love “Rock Island” – and the first time the Quartet sings “Ice Cream” all together – and “Pick-a- Little/Goodnight Ladies” – and “Wells Fargo Wagon” – and…this is an impossible question to answer!

    Encore: Describe Encore’s production of The Music Man in five words or short phrases.

    SM: Buy your tickets right NOW!
    Encore: Is there anything else you’d like audiences to know or keep in mind?

    SM: These amazing singing actors have dedicated their whole summer to bring this slice of American Musical Theater History to life. It takes a lot of hard work, a lot of time, and a lot of courage to do what they do, and I am so proud to be part of this production!

    You heard the music director: get your tickets today! The Music Man opens TONIGHT at Kenmore Middle School Theatre. Tickets are available online, at the door, or by phoning the Box Office at (703) 548-1154. Join the band and keep out of “Trouble” – we can’t wait to see you there!

    Photos by: Shannon McCarthy and Aileen Pangan

    Blog contributor: Shannon McCarthy, 2016-17 Arts Apprentice

    Fun and Games with Education Intern Brigid Wallace

    Summer is in full swing here at Encore, which means we’ve been having tons of fun at our various summer camps! Today we’re pumped to share this interview with our second Education Intern, Brigid!

    Encore: Please introduce yourself. Where do you go to school and what do you study?
    BW: My name is Brigid Wallace, and I am a rising sophomore at The Catholic University of America majoring in Musical Theatre.

    Encore: How are you involved with Encore?

    BW: I am the It’s Elementary Education Intern.

    Encore: Have you ever worked with Encore as a participant? What other theatre experiences do you have, if any?

    BW: I have never worked with Encore as a participant, but I have been involved in similar camps as a student and later as a teacher. For the most part, my theatre experience has focused on performing; however, as I mentioned, I have experience as a teacher/director and practice in costuming and stage management. In addition to training in performance, I hope to gain more technical theatre skills because it is amazing what a difference it can make in fully bringing a story to life.

    Encore: What are some of the things you’re working on for Encore this summer?

    BW: So far, I have been responsible for assisting teachers, teaching and playing games with the kids, and helping with organization for current and future sessions.

    Encore: Is there something you’re most excited for about this internship?

    BW: I am probably most excited about getting to work with the kids and teach them some of the things about theatre that I learned when I was their age that inspired so much love for the performing arts. I love playing theatre games with the kids and working with them on their performances because I see how they are exercising skills and learning techniques while having fun and being at camp.

    Encore: Could you describe what theatre means to you and/or why you think theatre is important?

    BW: Theatre to me is like a language I grew up hearing, and one that I want to speak fluently. It is an amazing craft and very important because it combines several different art forms that work together to express their message. It speaks to many kinds of people because it provides entertainment as well as being a source of commentary on humanity. As with any form of art, one must be careful with how the audience will interpret it, so it requires different kinds of creativity in collaboration to execute a production well. It brings perspectives together in an open-minded, peaceful way that I do not think happens often enough. Basically, I think theatre is a very influential part of society that I hold dear, and I hope, through any work I have done and will do in it, that I inspire people to open their minds to their fellow human beings and learn more about our common goals and fears so we can come together as a larger community.

    Thank you so much for sharing with us Brigid! Want to get in on the fun and join some of Brigid’s awesome theatre games? Join us for the remaining sessions of Encore’s summer camps! To learn more and check camp availability, check out our Summer Camps page or call us at (703) 548-1154.

    Photos by: Shannon McCarthy, and Larry McClemons, Headshot provided by Brigid Wallace

    Blog contributor: Shannon McCarthy, 2016-17 Arts Apprentice