You may be familiar with Coastal Virginia’s miles of waterfront delights and centuries of history...but did you know that this recreation-rich destination also offers world-class performances of every kind of music, dance, theater and more? Thanks to the Virginia Arts Festival, spring time is showtime in Coastal Virginia, with dozens of performances to suit every taste and budget.
Created in 1997, the Virginia Arts Festival brings world-class performing artists each spring to venues in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Williamsburg and beyond. Take a look at this short list of standout shows:
Broadway fans will find concerts worthy of standing ovations, when Tony Award winner Kristin Chenoweth (the original Glinda the Good Witch in Wicked) sings her favorite show tunes with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, April 12 at Norfolk’s glittering Chrysler Hall; plan an unforgettable spring trip and discover Norfolk’s rich history and waterfront fun.
April 25-28, Norfolk’s Scope Arena is the center of the most spectacular patriotic celebration, unlike any other in the United States: the Virginia International Tattoo. A thousand performers from around the world, including every branch of the United States Armed Forces and bands and dancers from Australia, Canada, France, Jordan, Romania, Switzerland and the United Kingdom make this a pulse-pounding, heart-swelling spectacle of music and might. Make it a weekend and enjoy the Norfolk NATO Festival, with its monumental parade featuring 100 floats, an international flag-raising ceremony, and a charming international village where you can sample the tastes, sights and sounds of 29 NATO member nations. There’s a free outdoor bagpipe band competition, a Celtic contest of strength, and the “Tattoo Hullabaloo” offers yummy treats, a beer garden, and free entertainment. A weekend like no other, to be enjoyed by every member of the family, from six to 86!
Dance abounds in this spring of shows, including the legendary Dance Theatre of Harlem, celebrating its 50th anniversary and performing a world premiere, May 3-5 in Norfolk; and the eye-popping acrobatics of Pilobolus, May 12 in Virginia Beach. And for classical music lovers, there are more than a dozen concerts to choose from, including a solo performance by one of the most acclaimed pianists in the world, Van Cliburn Competition Gold Medal winner Olga Kern.
Longing for the beach? Plan a weekend in Virginia Beach and enjoy sun and sand — then it’s a night on the town with your choice of concerts, from the record-breaking Grammy Award-winning jazz of banjo man Béla Fleck and pianist Chick Corea May 11 to the irresistible charms of cabaret crooner Michael Feinstein May 19, who shares the songs of Gershwin, Cole Porter and many more with the stories behind the music. Or treat the family to the Reduced Shakespeare Company who race hilariously through all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays in 97 maniacal minutes; choose from evening and matinee performances May 7-12.
Visit vafest.org and plan your trip to the Virginia Arts Festival — your spring destination for the arts!