Press Room

For Press Inquiries, contact Camille Cintrón Devlin, Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications at 703-993-8794 or


January 6, 2003
Contact: Press & Media Relations Coordinator (703-993-8794)

For general information about tickets, seating, parking, etc., for performances and events happening at the Center for the Arts, please contact the ticket office directly at 703-993-2787.

Great Performances at Mason
Appalachian Wonder Tales

A magical, musical journey that’s fun for the whole family!

Thursday, January 23, 7PM – Friday, January 24, 7PM – Saturday, January 25, 2 & 7PM
Now presented at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts Mainstage Concert Hall

World Premiere: Spring 2000,
Theater of the First Amendment, TheaterSpace
* Nominated for 5 Helen Hayes Awards including
Outstanding New Play
Outstanding Resident Musical
Outstanding Musical Direction – David Maddox
Outstanding Director, Resident Musical – Mary Hall Surface
Winner of Outstanding Lead Actor, Resident Musical – Dwayne Nitz

* Original Cast Album available on CD-
Winner of
Parent’s Guide to Children’s Media Audio Award
Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Award

Fairfax, Virginia, December 20, 2002Sing Down the Moon by Mary Hall Surface and David Maddox is a magical, musical retelling of traditional Appalachian "wonder tales." These tales, drawn from a decidedly American culture, with distinctly European pedigrees, are cultivated from seeds spread by settlers from Scotland, Ireland, France and Germany, as they made their way through the Cumberland Gap. The "Old Time" Appalachian dance music is provided by a live quartet: Ralph Gordon (former member of the band Trapezoid), on bass; Bruno Nasta on fiddle, David Maddox on guitar & banjo, and, former Starlight Vocal Band ("Afternoon Delight") member, and accompanist for Mary Chapin Carpenter, John Carroll on piano. As the music cascades forward, the Cinderellas, ugly giants, enchanted princesses, and, of course, "Jack," -- hapless hero and adventurer -- wend their way through a series of delightful stories the whole family will enjoy.

A presentation of the Great Performances at Mason series, at the Center for the Arts, and moving to the mainstage Concert Hall for this repeat engagement, Sing Down the Moon is performed on Thursday, January 23 at 7 p.m., Friday, January 24 at 7 p.m., and Saturday, January 25 at 2 & 7 p.m.

Family-centered PRE-PERFORMANCE ACTIVITIES, FREE to ticketholders, include: an opportunity for young audience members to participate in face painting, creating paper masks, a movement workshop and "Adapt-a-Story" fun, and, while the kids are busy, the adults are invited to attend the Pre-Performance Discussion with the shows’ creative and directorial team of Mary Hall Surface and David Maddox on the Grand Tier! Pre-performance activities are scheduled to begin one hour prior to each curtain.

The creative team assembled for this re-staging includes set designer Tony Cisek, who describes his sets as "evoking the feeling that the woods are alive – with an animate quality." Dan Covey returns to design the lighting, and Marie Schneggenburger oversees the many crafts, puppets and dolls used in the storytelling. Holly Highfill’s original costume designs employ not only homespun and calico, but also elements found in the local culture using vibrant colors and simple lines.

Sing Down the Moon contains six stories rooted in, and inspired by, the rich culture of the Southern Mountains. There are three "Jack" tales – Jack and the Wonder Bean, Jack’s First Joband Jack of Hearts and King Marok. Other stories include Catskins, The Enchanted Tree and a sung version of The Three Little Pigs.

Mary Hall Surface directed Grimm Tales (1999) and wrote and directed, with composer David Maddox, Sing Down the Moon: Appalachian Wonder Tales (2000), Perseus Bayou (2001), and Mississippi Pinocchio(2002). Perseus Bayou will be restaged at the Center for the Arts Concert Hall in April 2003. Her first collaboration with David Maddox was a dance-theatre adaptation of The Nightingale, commissioned by the Kennedy Center in 1997, which toured the U.S. The next Surface/Maddox collaboration, commissioned by Arizona's Childsplay, Stories My Mother Told Me: The Odyssey of Telemaca, was just selected to be presented as part of the Kennedy Center's 'New Visions/New Voices' new plays program. Ms. Surface's work as a director-playwright has been featured nationally and internationally, and an anthology of five of her plays, Most Valuable Player and Four Other All-Star Plays for Middle and High School Audiences was recently published by Smith and Kraus. She has been nominated for three Helen Hayes Awards for Outstanding Direction -- for the Round House Theatre's Tintypes 1993 and for TFA's Grimm Tales (2000) and Sing Down the Moon (2001).

Composer and musical director David Maddox has produced five previous works in collaboration with Mary Hall Surface: Perseus Bayou, Sing Down the Moon: Appalachian Wonder Tales, Mississippi Pinocchio, The Nightingale (a dance-theatre adaptation for the Kennedy Center of H.C. Anderson’s story), and Gandhara (a modern dance of Alexander the Great’s invasion of Asia, also at the Kennedy Center). Both Sing Down the Moon and Perseus Bayou now have original cast albums, produced by George Mason University. David has produced scores and sound designs for more than 60 productions throughout the US, and has received twelve Helen Hayes Award nominations (winning the award once) and produced six albums of original music.

Original cast members returning for this production include Dwayne Nitz, in his award-winning role as the ubiquitous "Jack," Sherri L. Edelen, Jennifer Gerdts, Kathryn Kelley, Paul Takacs and Steven Tipton. TFA welcomes new cast members, Eric Lee Johnson, Amy McWilliams, and Jenna Sokolowski to Sing Down the Moon.

Cast members and extras have been seen around town performing music from both Sing Down the Moon and another Surface/Maddox smash, Perseus Bayou. The musical revue, Dapper Foxes, Singing Pigs and Cajun Lullabies, featuring tunes from both the shows, is scheduled for January 3 on the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage.

Tickets for SING DOWN THE MOON are $25. FAMILY FRIENDLY: All children’s (12 and under) tickets are half price! Charge by phone at 703-218-6500 or visit The Center for the Arts complex is located on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University at the intersection of Braddock Road and Route 123. Paid parking is located in the deck adjacent to the mainstage Concert Hall and FREE parking is located in university lot K.

GREAT PERFORMANCES AT MASON is a program of George Mason University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts. The College of Visual and Performing Arts exists to create an academic environment in which the arts may be considered both as individual disciplines and as interdisciplinary forms that strengthen each other. Believing that an education in the arts is deepened by regular contact with the work of distinguished visiting artists, the College draws on a variety of professional presenting and producing units where artists from across the country and around the world regularly perform, give master classes, work with students during extended residencies, and interact with the community in a variety of other ways. These programs at the Center for the Arts Concert Hall, TheaterSpace, Galleries, Harris Theater, and other venues, provide a diverse selection of challenging and entertaining cultural experiences for the University community, as well as Northern Virginia and the greater Washington, D.C. area. The College houses four academic departments: Art and Visual Technology, Dance, Music and Theater.