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Tysons Corner theater company welcomes new artistic director
1st Stage, Tysons Corner’s award-winning professional theater, has appointed Alex Levy as its new artistic/managing director. He will take to the stage, so to speak, Sept. 1.

“I am more than excited about the board’s selection of Alex Levy, who brings talent, energy and a wealth of experience to 1st Stage,” said founding Artistic Director Mark Krikstan, who led the theater company in its formative years.

Levy is artistic director of Ballybeg Theatre in New York City and managing director of The Watts Village Theater Company in Los Angeles. He also serves as resident director at The Road Theatre and artistic associate of The Savage Players, both in Los Angeles. Prior to moving to the West Coast, Levy spent seven years as artistic director of Pegasus Players in Chicago.

In New York, Levy most recently directed the world premiere of “The Taste of It” by John Adams for Ballybeg. He will direct the West Coast premiere of Steven Simoncic’s “Broken Fences” at The Road Theatre next winter.

Levy is not new to the D.C. theater scene. He was stage manager at Studio Theatre during the summer of 1996, stage-managing the production of Caryl Churchill’s “Mad Forest.”

Levy has a Masters of Fine Arts in directing from The University of California-Los Angeles.

Scholarship winner strives to follow in dad’s footsteps

James Green, a rising sophomore and criminology major at George Mason University, received a scholarship from the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation at its annual Scholarship Announcement Ceremony earlier this month.

Green was chosen to speak at the July 15 ceremony, which was sponsored by Boeing and took place at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.

He spoke about his father, Todd McMahon of Quantico, a gunnery sergeant who has served in the Marine Corps for 18 years. While Green admits his father’s deployments were often tough for him and his family, Green is inspired by his father and plans to become a U.S. Marine infantry officer after college.

“I wish to emulate the man he is when I have a family someday,” Green said. “I would not want to be raised any other way than as a Marine Corps child with a motivating family and friend base.”

Green is a ROTC cadet and a member of Alpha Lambda Delta Freshman Honor Society, and plays on the GMU club water hockey team. He also volunteers as a mentor with FACETS, a Fairfax organization that helps families and individuals who suffer the effects of poverty.

Green received the First Lieutenant Cleveland Ray “Butch” Harvey USMC Memorial Scholarship for the 2014-2015 academic year. The foundation awarded $6.5 million to a record-breaking 2,194 Marine children this year.

Brother to host Inova blood drive

When Mitch Kiefer, a junior at Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax, was 6, his brother Brent, then 3, was diagnosed with leukemia. Mitch says he still remembers how much better Brent felt after receiving a blood transfusion during treatment.

“We were lucky that blood was usually available to him when he needed it,” said Mitch. “People who need blood can’t worry about whether or not it is available.”

But that’s not always the case. According to Mitch, while 37 percent of the population is eligible to give blood, only 3 percent actually do. Locally, Inova needs 250 units of blood daily for its patients.

For those reasons, Mitch will host his second blood drive Aug. 1, in conjunction with Inova Blood Donor Services, at St. Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church on 6720 Union Mill Road in Clifton, from 3:30 to 7 p.m.

He collected 44 units at his first drive in April and says he hopes to collect more this time, but he needs willing donors to meet his goal. A single pint of blood can save up to three lives, he said.

Next week’s drive is by appointment only; visit or email Mitch Donors must be in good health and at least 17 years old – or 16 with parental consent – and weigh at least 110 pounds.

As an added incentive, anyone who donates blood Aug. 1 will be automatically entered in Inova’s Summer Blood Challenge. Donors will eligible for a drawing for prizes donated by the Washington Nationals, including a 2015 Season Ticket Package, a VIP Watch Party at Nationals Park and a Luxury Suite Night.

The Kiefers’ story has a happy ending: Brent was cured of his leukemia. He will be a seventh-grader at St. Timothy Catholic School in Chantilly in September.

Fort Belvoir mom shaves head for heartfelt cause

Mikelle Raffel of Fort Belvoir will say goodbye to her long dark hair on July 27. She is participating in the fifth annual “46 Mommas: Shave for the Brave” event, sponsored by The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, taking place in Boston.

St. Baldrick’s, a volunteer-driven and donor-centered charity, is on a mission to raise awareness and funds for lifesaving childhood cancer research.

The 46 Mommas team was created in 2010 to let people know that on average, 46 families each weekday learn their child has cancer. The 46 Mommas’ goal was to raise $1 million for pediatric cancer research. The group has actually raised more than $1.4 million to date.

Raffel’s personal connection to cancer inspired her to join the 46 Mommas. Her son Ryan battled acute myeloid leukemia twice in an 11-month period. He never complained and was upbeat and playful throughout treatment, she said, but he succumbed to his cancer in August 2012, two days before his sixth birthday.

To make a donation, visit

Our Daily Bread collects backpacks, school supplies

Fairfax nonprofit Our Daily Bread says it hopes to give supplies to 2,000 needy children who will be attending schools in the pyramids of Fairfax and JEB Stuart high schools this fall.

As part of its Collect for Kids Back to School Program, ODB is seeking donations of funds, backpacks and calculators. Monetary gifts will help ODB purchase high-quality school supplies at a deeply discounted rate through a partnership with the county’s Collect for Kids program.

This is the fourth year ODB has collaborated with Kids R First, Fairfax County Public Schools, the Fairfax County Office of Public-Private Partnerships and other local nonprofits to ready students for their return to school.

“It is incredible to think that 47,000 students in the Fairfax County Public Schools system are eligible to receive free or reduced-price meals,” said Lisa Whetzel, ODB’s executive director. “We hope the community will respond generously to ensure that children whose families are in crisis are able to return to school this fall with all the tools they need to succeed in the new school year.”

Monetary donations may be made at Checks can be mailed to Our Daily Bread, 4080 Chain Bridge Road, 2nd Floor, Fairfax, VA 22030.

Donations of new backpacks and gently used scientific calculators may be delivered to ODB’s offices weekdays through Aug. 12 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., or dropped off at participating Sweet Frog stores during July.

Backpacks and calculators may be ordered and shipped directly to ODB through “wish lists” on and For more, contact Dawn Sykes at 703-273-8829 or, or visit