Press Room

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


September 24, 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.

scheduled for Saturday, October 4, 2003 at
George Mason University

Center for the Arts Concert Hall is also setting for
Information sessions to provide vital information to
caregivers and family members

Fairfax, Virginia, September 17, 2003—An alliance between George Mason University’s College of Nursing and Health Science (CNHS), College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA)and America’s largest nonprofit health plan, Kaiser Permanente, culminates in several events this October, also supported by the Alzheimer’s Association, National Capital Area Chapter. The centerpiece event, designed with Alzheimer’s education and support in mind, is a free, staged reading, presented by Theater of the First Amendment, of Kenneth Lonergan’s The Waverly Gallery, on Saturday, October 4 at 12:30 p.m. in the Center for the Arts Concert Hall, following the 10 a.m. Alzheimer’s Association’s seventh annual "Memory Walk" on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University. An Alzheimer’s Symposium, featuring keynote speaker Stephen McConnell, Sr. Vice President, Advocacy and Public Policy, for the Alzheimer’s Association National Public Policy Division, on October 18th, explores the many aspects of Alzheimer’s education and care.

Director of Development for CNHS, Mary-Earle Farrell, discovered a fortuitous George Mason alumni connection in her contact with Deborah Royalty, Kaiser Permanente’s Regional Nurse Executive and Northern Virginia Administrator. Royalty, who received her master’s at George Mason, lobbied for Kaiser Permanente to sponsor CNHS initiatives toward Alzheimer’s education and caregiver support, saying, "Kaiser Permanente is pleased to be able to support this worthy symposium that serves to heighten awareness in the community about Alzheimer's and provide the families and caregivers with the information and resources they need to deal with the physical and emotional challenges of dealing with Alzheimer's."

In February 2003, after multi-year collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Association, Kaiser Permanente announced the first program in the managed care industry designed to specifically address the needs of Alzheimer’s sufferers.

Devising ways for Kaiser to lend support fell to CNHS Associate Dean for Academic Programs and Research, Jeanne M. Sorrell who thought a theatrical presentation might work as one of the vehicles to promote the Alzheimer’s agenda, a topic close to her heart as a prominent researcher in the ethics of Alzheimer’s care. Center for the Arts and Theater of the First Amendment artistic director, Rick Davis suggested the Lonergan play and offered the support of Mason’s professional theater company for the project.

The Waverly Gallery is the poignant and often hilarious look at the final years of Gladys – social activist and longtime owner of a small Greenwich Village art gallery – as she and her family gamely deal with the ravages of Alzheimer’s. The play explores her fight to retain her independence and the subsequent effect of her decline on her family. The Waverly Gallery captures the humor and strength of a family in crisis, and, said The New York Times, "Lonergan has once again shown himself to have one of the keenest ears of any working playwright." TFA brings together the talents of Louise Reynolds as Gladys and Helen Carey as Ellen. Rounding out the cast are Helen Hayes Award-winner Dwayne Nitz and Kevin Murray. The company also enlists the aid of Kirby Malone (Art & Visual Technology professor at CVPA and professional digital media designer) to create the simple, yet powerful video employed as backdrops to the reading.

The annual Memory Walk is the Alzheimer's Association's national signature event to help those battling Alzheimer's disease. The Alzheimer’s Association, the world leader in Alzheimer research and support, advances research, improves services and care, creates awareness of the disease and mobilizes support. Since 1989 Memory Walk has raised more than $120 million and is the largest national fundraising event for Alzheimer's disease. Participants walk as individuals or as part of a team, asking friends, family, business associates to sponsor them by making a donation to the Alzheimer's Association. For information on the Memory Walk in Fairfax visit
or call 1-800-728-WALK

Event Schedule
Saturday, October 4


Official start of the three-mile Memory Walk

Start of the one-mile Memory Walk

Walk participants return to site, refreshments available

Staged Reading of Kenneth Lonergan’s
The Waverly Gallery.
George Mason Center for the Arts Concert Hall

Follow up panel discussion on stage, featuring artistic director Rick Davis, Jeanne Sorrell, and Alzheimer’s advocate Trish Vradenburg, (Ms. Vradenburg is a novelist and screenwriter, whose most recent play, Surviving Grace – also a portrayal of a family’s experience with Alzheimer’s – was produced at The Kennedy Center, and off-Broadway. She and her husband, George Vradenburg, III, active in raising funds for Alzheimer’s awareness, were honored in 2001 for their work by the Alzheimer's Association of Los Angeles with the Elsa Rose Fabares Award).



Keynote session
Keynote speaker: Stephen McConnell, Phd, Senior Vice President,
Advocacy and Public Policy, Alzheimer’s Association,
National Public Policy Division
Center for the Arts Concert Hall

Breakout sessions:

"Coping Strategies for Family & Caregivers" –
Louise Crawford Mead, MA, Doctoral Candidate in Gerontology, University of Kentucky, Project Coordinator, Center for Aging Studies, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Grand Tier III – "The Ethics of Alzheimer’s Care" – Jeanne M. Sorrell, Associate Dean, Academic Programs and Research, George Mason University, College of Nursing and Health Science

Breakout sessions:
"Reducing Your Risk of Memory Loss" –
Lin E. Noyes, RN, PhD, Clinical Director and Founder,
Alzheimer’s Family Day Center, Falls Church, Virginia
Grand Tier III
"Options in Housing for the Memory Impaired"
-Andrew Carle, Assistant Professor/Coordinator, Assisted Living,
George Mason University, College of Nursing and Health Science

The reading of The Waverly Gallery on October 4 is a free event. No tickets are required. For information on the reading call the Center for the Arts ticket office at 703-993-8888. Or visit
Admission to the Alzheimer’s Symposium on October 18 is free, however, reservations are required. Call 703-993-1916 for information and reservations.
Parking is available at the deck adjacent to the Center for the Arts Concert Hall.

George Mason University’s 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.