Last week, we ruminated on the best of 2019.

Now, as we ring in the new year, it’s time to look ahead.

Our full winter events list is coming next week; in the meantime, here are several local events we at The Burg are looking forward to in 2020.

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Lights up on Washington Heights

The Broadway musical “In the Heights,” which will be staged by E.C. Glass Theatre in April, is one of my all-time favorite shows. I became obsessed with the music after seeing the cast perform during the 2008 Tony Awards, and I eventually convinced my best friend to go on a pilgrimage with me to see it on Broadway.

That was when creator/star Lin-Manuel Miranda — pre-“Hamilton” — was still taking the stage each night as Usnavi, the owner of a small bodega in New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood.

The music is electric, like nothing I’d ever seen on Broadway before, and I still get chills when I remember seeing it live. The thought of Glass Theatre bringing it to life here — a few months before the musical’s film adaptation hits theaters in June — is nothing short of thrilling.

Miranda even has a Lynchburg connection; E.C. Glass graduate Perry Payne Millner, who moved back to Lynchurg in 2014, was an early investor in “In the Heights.” Anyone else hoping she invites him down for the show?

– Casey Gillis

Warhol whirlwind

Following the success of its Dalí Dinner Experience, Riverviews Artspace returns with its second artist-inspired event, The Andy Warhol Experience, in April.

The Andy Warhol-themed event will have a different feel than last year’s five-course, sit-down dinner. The first part of the evening will take place in a space designed to look like Warhol’s New York City studio, the Factory, and will end with dancing at his favorite hangout, Studio 54.

And, from what we’ve been told, Warhol and some of his famous friends might make an appearance during the festivities.

– Emma Schkloven

Turn around, bright eyes

Wolfbane Productions’ “Stranger Sings: An Unauthorized Musical Parody” was certainly a 2019 highlight for many of us here at The News & Advance.

The “Stranger Things” spoof — set entirely to music from the ’80s and written specifically for Wolfbane by screenwriter Cinco Paul, known for the “Despicable Me” movies — had its world premiere in Appomattox in November. That was a short, four-show run that sold out in the blink of an eye.

If you missed it, now’s your chance; next winter, the show’s returning for a much longer run, and we can’t sing its praises enough — though we’ll leave the actual singing to the talented cast, which belted out everything from Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” to Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like the Wolf.” Don’t believe me? Click the link below to read departing Burg writer Emma Schkloven’s farewell column to read more about why we love this show so very much.

– Casey Gillis

Votes for women

In commemoration of the centennial anniversary of the 19th amendment’s ratification, the Lynchburg Museum System has put together a new exhibition on women’s suffrage in the Hill City.

The exhibition, which will open during First Friday in March, highlights the work of local suffragists — including but not limited to Elizabeth Dabney Langhorne Lewis, who served as vice president of the Equal Suffrage League of Virginia — as well as the challenges they faced along the way.

It also will pay special attention to Lynchburg’s African American suffragists and honor the first women to vote in Lynchburg.

– Emma Schkloven

Can you hear me now?

You know Comic-Con. Well get ready for Sonic-Con, a family- friendly audio theater convention Liberty University is hosting from March 20 to 22.

With events that range from a listening lounge, where fans can listen to and connect with fellow audio lovers, to a variety of master classes, the three-day convention seems perfect for fans of all things audio, no matter the age.

Sonic-Con also will feature appearances by a few industry guests, including voice actor James Arnold Taylor — best known for voicing Obi-Wan Kenobi in the animated series “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” — and Katie Leigh, who portrays Connie Kendall in Focus on the Family’s award-winning radio drama “Adventures in Odyssey.”

– Emma Schkloven

Talkin’ pretty

A slew of famous faces have graced the historic Academy of Music Theatre stage since it opened last December, from Mavis Staples, Wynton Marsalis and Brian McKnight to “This American Life’s” Ira Glass to “Napoleon Dynamite” stars Jon Heder and Efren Ramirez.

Adding author and comedian David Sedaris, who will appear there April 16, to that list is certainly a coup. He’ll speak for an hour, according to press materials, followed by a Q&A session and post-show book signing in the theater lobby.

With Sedaris’ expansive library — including “Me Talk Pretty One Day,” “Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim,” “When You Are Engulfed in Flames” and “Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls” — you’ll have plenty to choose from.

– Casey Gillis

Smells like zine spirit

Riverviews Artspace is constantly evolving in the events it presents. Perhaps that’s why we’ve included it on this list twice. In addition to the aforementioned Dalí dinner and its Warhol-inspired follow-up, the downtown arts hub has brought to Lynchburg events including Big Ink, which featured a giant mobile printing press set up in Riverviews’ Craddock-Terry Gallery, and, just last month, a Monster Drawing Rally, a live art event that found artists creating work in front of attendees.

Now its hosting the first Hill City Comic & Zine Fair, which will feature small publishers, comic creators, zine makers and printmakers, in March. In the event listing, organizers detail their desire to “showcase the comic and zine scene in our own community, give patrons the opportunity to meet and hear from creators, and purchase original artworks.” Bravo!

– Casey Gillis

All Greek to me

Sweet Briar College is delving into the classics March 18 with a special panel featuring Madeline Miller and Emily Wilson.

Miller’s two New York Times bestselling books, 2011’s “The Song of Achilles” and 2018’s “Circe,” put her on the literary map. The latter is being adapted into a miniseries for HBO Max, WarnerMedia’s new streaming service.

Wilson, one of last year’s MacArthur Fellows, became the first woman to translate Homer’s “Odyssey” into English.

Her translation was named one of Times’ “100 Notable Books of 2018” and was called “a new cultural landmark” by The Guardian.

During the panel, which is free and open to the public, Miller and Wilson will discuss their work in the classics and translating myths for the modern age.

– Emma Schkloven

Casey Gillis is the features editor at The News & Advance and editor of weekly entertainment publication The Burg. Reach her at (434) 385-5525.

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