The show must go on: 2022 Lenfest Center season brings performers and audiences together again

This season at Lenfest Center for the Arts will bring performers and audiences together again


Lenfest will host ARTrageous, a multidisciplinary performance, April 28. Photo by Elena Lee, ’25.

Emma Malinak

Since opening in 1991, the Lenfest Center for the Arts has hosted a broad spectrum of theater, dance and instrumental ensemble performances that help Washington and Lee provide the fine arts component of an exceptional liberal arts education. 

When in-house performances abruptly closed for the pandemic in March 2020, the Lenfest Center had to find new ways to creatively meet their mission statement and “enrich the cultural life of the University and surrounding community.” 

While the 2020-2021 scheduled Lenfest season was live-streamed for patrons and afforded students the opportunity to continue offering performances, the lack of live performances limited the emotional connection between performers and their audiences.

But, “The show must go on!” encouraged Susan Wager, assistant director of the Lenfest Center.

Now, operating at 80% capacity with masks required for all audience members, the Lenfest Center can welcome the professional performances that were canceled due to the pandemic and provide students the opportunity to share their hard work with the community.

“It has been a long while since I’ve done a full play production in front of an audience due to the pandemic,” said theater major Iyanna Hartman, ’22. 

In her senior season, Hartman is mostly looking forward to “being able to finally perform in front of a live audience.”

Whether a music major or amateur pianist, dedicated theater patron or casual concert-goer, the 2022 Lenfest season has a diverse program with performances for every taste. 

The Concert Guild at the Lenfest Center kicked off the 2022 season when The Pinchas Zukerman Trio, a cello, violin and piano ensemble that specializes in repertoire by Mendelssohn, Beethoven, Dvorak and Shostakovich, visited Wilson Concert Hall on Jan. 23. 

Later, on Feb. 12, the Concert Guild will host Vadym Kholodenko, one of the most musically dynamic and technically gifted young pianists today, who will share his program of Tchaikovsky, Mozart and Liszt. 

Beyond the instrumental music of The Concert Guild, Lenfest will be hosting four unique acts throughout the second semester. 

The first visiting show is Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, also known as “the Trocks,” the world’s foremost all-male comic ballet professional company. Gracing the Keller Theater stage on Feb. 15, the company will perform parodies of great ballet classics with technical expertise, proving that men can, indeed, dance en pointe and wear tutus.

“I am especially excited about this upcoming Lenfest performance,” shared Wager, “It was voted as the number one performance to watch by the W&L student body in 2020.”

Other visiting acts will include SonoKlect on March 5, The Marlbrook Chamber Players, an all-women quartet on March 20, and ARTrageous, a performance that is a combination of all arts on one stage, on April 28. 

While the faculty at the Lenfest Center for the Arts prepares to host these acts, the students in Washington and Lee’s theater, dance and instrumental ensembles are rehearsing for their 2022 performances. 

The first student theater production of 2022, Thumbelina, will be performed Feb. 12. This show uses a traditional Japanese storytelling technique called kamishibai to share the story of a little girl finding her way in a big world.

Hartman is playing the lead role of Thumbelina, which is “a mixture of one of the most fun and most difficult” characters she has played in her acting career at Washington and Lee. 

“Thumbelina is a character with a very large personality,” Hartman said. “I feel as though I have grown a lot in portraying Thumbelina, as her big extroverted personality is very different from my own.”

The University Singers, Repertory Dance Company, Jazz Ensemble, Orchestra and Wind Ensemble will also be performing throughout the semester, sharing their talent and hard work with the student body. 

Additionally, seniors Keren Katz, Missy Thomas, Truman Chancy and Eli Bradley will be performing their senior recitals throughout March and April. These performances serve as the senior thesis for these music majors, granting them the opportunity to make their debut as individual performing artists.

Hartman shared her view on the significance of Lenfest’s vibrant 2022 season.

“I think that the arts allow for diversity to come to our campus, which is incredibly important,” Hartman said, “The arts allow for various stories to be told, whether in Theater, Choir, Dancing or visual arts.”

Tickets for any of the above performances can be purchased at