1st Stage

1524 SPRING HILL ROAD | TYSONS, VA 22102 | (703) 854-1856

Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train

September 7- October 8, 2017

Written by Stephen Adly Guirgis, Directed by Alex Levy and Juan Francisco Villa

In Pulitzer Prize-winner Stephen Adly Guirgis’ darkly comic meditation on redemption and faith, Angel Cruz a 30-year-old bicycle messenger awaits his trial for the death of a religious cult leader. Inside Rikers Island, a charismatic serial killer named Lucius Jenkins befriends a terrified Angel. Lucius has found God and been born again. As his attorney, a disillusioned but talented public defender, and Lucius work separately to “save” Angel, his life and the course of his trial will be changed forever. This Olivier Award Nominated play is “fire-breathing…[a] probing, intense portrait of lives behind bars.”- The New York Times

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Captioned Performances

September 15 at 8pm, September 16 at 8pm, September 21 at 7:30pm, September 24 at 2pm, October 7 at 8pm.

This captioning system uses individual devices with stands. Pick up equipment at the box office when you check-in!

Community Conversations

Connecting the community through artwork, stories, and conversation. Join us for discussions surrounding the themes of our plays and the impact of these stories on the community beyond our walls.

Note: All Community Conversations are offered free of charge. To attend a performance of Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train you must purchase a ticket or a subscription.


The pre-show discussion series illuminates facets of each 1st Stage production that shape your adventure with the play from the beginning. Learn from community leaders and 1st Stage artists and head into each show with a new framework for your experience.

FROM PIONEER TO PREMIERE: A Conversation with 1st Stage founding artists
September 14, 2017, 6:30pm
Step back in time with 1st Stage as we explore the journey of the past 10 years. This 1st installment in a 5 part conversation series will feature members of the founding artist team in a discussion about finding the 1st Stage space and pioneering a first-rate theater in the heart of arts-starved Tysons.

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MEET THE CASTING DIRECTOR: A discussion with Jane Kalbfeld.
September 28, 2017, 6:30pm
Where do we found our outstanding casts? What does the process of casting a play look like? And how was casting specifically approached for Jesus Hopped the “A” Train? Arrive early, grab a drink, and find out!

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ADVANCEMENT OF THE ART FORM: A discussion about advancing representation in the American Theatre
Thursday, October 5, 2017, 6:30pm
We’ll discuss the efforts by the Latinx Theatre Commons and other advocacy groups to transform the narrative of the American theatre, to amplify visibility, and to champion equity through advocacy and art making.

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The classic and beloved Community Conversations series connects the community through artwork, stories, and conversation. Join us for discussions surrounding the themes of our plays and the impact of these stories on the community beyond our walls.

CRIMINAL DEFENDANT’S RIGHTS: A discussion with Michelle Engert, Scholar in Residence at American University’s Department of Justice, Law & Criminology
September 16, 2017
Following the 2pm performance
Before joining the AU faculty, Engert worked in the national criminal justice policy arena as a senior counsel in the Office for Access to Justice at the USDOJ and as an attorney advisor at the Defender Services Office in the Administrative Office of the United States Courts. She will share her expertise about the Sixth Amendment, which allows for counsel for those who cannot afford retained private lawyers. Join us to learn more about criminal rights within the justice system.

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INTERFAITH RELIGIOUS PANEL: On the Collision of Religion and Humanity
September 17, 2017
Following the 2pm performance
Faith is a frequent topic among the characters in Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train. Join us for an interfaith panel discussion about healing, redemption, and the power of closely-held beliefs.

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INCARCERATION AND COMMUNITY REINTEGRATION: A discussion with OAR (Opportunities, Alternatives, and Resources) of Fairfax.
September 23, 2017
Following the 2pm performance
Learn about O.A.R.’s mission to rebuild lives and break the “cycle of crime with opportunities, alternatives, and resources for offenders and their families to create a safer community.” Could the justice system represented in our play have followed a different path? Let’s discuss!

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LEGAL REPRESENTATION FOR ALL: A discussion with Becky Wolozin, Legal Aid Justice Center Equal Justice Works Fellow
September 24, 2017
Following the 2pm performance (ASL interpretation provided)
Chat with Becky Wolozian who launched Legal Aid’s JustChildren program in Northern Virginia to provide legal services to immigrant students, English Language Learners, and their families.

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MEET THE CAST: A discussion with the talented cast of Jesus Hopped on the ‘A’ Train.
September 30, 2017
Following the 2pm performance
Bringing the audience into what seems to be a world of prison, and yet, introducing them to themes beyond the prison landscape is a challenge. Chat with us and learn about how the cast approached their roles and engaged with the characters to breathe our story to life.

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NEW! EXONERATED: A discussion with death row exoneree Kirk Bloodsworth and attorney Robert T. Hall
October 7, 2017
Following the 2pm performance
Join us for a riveting conversation with former death row inmate, Kirk Bloodsworth (exonerated following DNA testing) and attorney Robert Hall (handled three post-conviction death penalty cases). We will discuss the criminal justice system and the legal procedure and process for inmates on death row.

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FRANK BRITTON (Lucius Jenkins) is thrilled to return to 1st Stage after appearing in When the Rain Stops Falling and Floyd Collins. He has appeared with many area theatres over the past nearly sixteen years, most recently in Wig Out! (Studio Theatre); King Lear (WSC Avant Bard-Acting Company Member); Back To Methuselah: As Far As Thought Can Reach (Washington Stage Guild); The Freshest Snow Whyte (Imagination Stage); and Black Nativity (Theater Alliance). Other area credits include Two Trains Running and One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (Round House Theatre); Passion Play: a cycle; The Last Days Of Judas Iscariot (Forum Theatre); Kafka’s Metamorphosis (Synetic Theater), The Balcony and Mother Courage and Her Children (SCENA Theatre); and Orpheus Descending (Arena Stage). Upcoming: The Farnsworth Invention (1st Stage). Many, many thanks to Alex, Juan, Jane, the cast and crew, and the 1st Stage family.

TERESA CASTRACANE* (Mary Jane Hanrahan) returns to 1st Stage after appearing as Kate Jerome in Broadway Bound and as Elizabeth Law (older) in When the Rain Stops Falling; she also provides production photography to the company. Other credits include: Black Pearl Sings (Metro Stage); Inheritance Canyon, Hamlet, and First Quarto (Taffety Punk Theatre); Winter’s Tale (Baltimore Shakespeare Festival); Dog in the Manger (Chesapeake Shakespeare Company); The Sex Habits of American Women (Signature Theatre); The Taming of the Shrew and Othello (Philadelphia Shakespeare Festival); A Christmas Carol (Ford’s Theatre); Burning Chrome (Sacred Fools); The Rover (Circle X Theatre); Dracula and Scotland Road (Empty Space Theater); Hamlet, Bloody Poetry, and others (Bathhouse Theatre); and House of Cards (Netflix). Education: BA, Fordham University, MFA, Academy for Classical Acting.

LUIS ALBERTO GONZALEZ* (Angel Cruz) is proud to be making his 1st Stage debut in Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train. Other credits include–NEW YORK: Los Títeres de Cachiporra (Teatro SEA), Othello Project (Limón Dance Company/Salgado Production), SERIALS@The Flea (The Flea Theater). WASHINGTON:  Bad Dog (Olney Theatre); Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (Folger Theatre); As You Like It (Shakespeare Theatre Company); Henry IV, Parts One and Two (Shakespeare Theatre Company). EDUCATION: Royal Academy of Dramatic Art/Shakespeare and Texas A&M University.

JOSE GUZMAN (Valdez) has performed on stage in Washington DC and regionally. He is currently a Teaching Artist and Resident Actor with Chesapeake Shakespeare Company where he has performed in 13 productions. Other theatres include GALA Theatre, Lean & Hungry Theater, and Silver Spring Stage. Jose received his MA in Theatre from Binghamton University in Vestal, NY.

ROBERT HEINLY (D’Amico) is excited and honored to be appearing at 1st Stage for the first time.  Many thanks to Alex, Jane and the amazing cast and crew. Credits include: Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird (Providence Players); A Dream Within a Dream: Madness (an immersive presentation on the life and works of Edgar Allan Poe, Through the Fourth Wall); Sheriff Heck Tate in To Kill A Mockingbird (Little Theatre of Alexandria/LTA); Nasty Women of the Ecstatic Rainbow Mystical Retreat (Guillotine Theatre, 2017 Capital Fringe Festival); A Christmas Carol, Freddie in Picasso at the Lapin Agile (LTA); Bildad in J.B., George in Ah, Wilderness! (American Century Theater).

*Member of Actors’ Equity Association

Special Events

Saturday, October 21, 2017 8:00pm
1st Stage is thrilled to host an evening of music from one of the greatest songwriters in American history, Irving Berlin. Vocalist Lesley Hamilton and pianist Eric Levin explore neglected gems—unsung and under-sung, swinging and soulful—from America’s master composer and lyricist.

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Friday, October 27 and Saturday, October 28, 2017 at 7:30pm
We are excited to announce a new partnership in the 2017-18 Season with Bowen McCauley Dance! BMD will be performing for 2 NIGHTS ONLY on October 27 and 28, 2017. 1st Stage Premier Subscribers receive exclusive access to this inspiring performance by the Washington metro area’s premier contemporary dance company! Tickets for subscribers are assigned on a “first come, first served” basis and are included in the cost of the Premier subscription.

About the performance:
Bowen McCauley Dance premieres a new work set to diverse piano pieces played live by students from MusicLink. Also on the program, the highly physical romp, “Le Cafe’ Carambole” and other repertoire favorites.

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Season 2017-2018