Catching Up

What a busy little bee I’ve been since last I wrote. Lots ‘o news:

Shlemiel the First at Theatre J closed at the end of January, and I did a little of this and a little of that to fill the time. I wrote some trivia for a company that needs that kind of thing on occasion (and since the trivia is geared to kids, there’s a lot of “kewl” and “dude”-ing that always makes me roll my eyes a bit, even as I pocket the generous paycheck). I traveled down to Tennessee to celebrate my mother’s 87th birthday with her. John and I visited his family in New York state. I constructed another unlauded Peep Diorama (see previous entry below). John and I made our yearly visit to Dunya the horse and picked up a load of composted manure for the garden.

I picked up another Helen Hayes nomination, this one for last summer’s The Musical of Musicals: The Musical! at MetroStage, and went to an ever- so-swell nominees’ reception at the Four Seasons hotel. And I added a new skill to my resume: artist’s model. NO, NO NUDE POSING. That’s the first question everyone asks. Good ol’ Craig’s List gave me the lead, and I did a couple of sessions for an artists’ co-op before I had to give it up to go to work on my current production (more on that in a sec). I found the artists extremely pleasant and the work pretty easy. I discovered I can sit very still for a long period of time (all those theatre exercises in my past helped – thanks, Joe Calarco). And I must add that it’s gratifying to have someone murmur, “ooo, that’s beautiful – look at her bone structure” when you strike a pose. I am hoping to pose for them again once my current production has opened, and that production is:

David in Shadow and Light, a new musical by Yehuda Hyman and Daniel Hoffman receiving its world premiere at Theatre J. We are in the third week of a generous six-week rehearsal period, which is a good thing since there is a lot of tough material to learn. As the opening draws closer, I’ll have all the details in a Crass Commercial Announcement; meanwhile, I’m enjoying being back at the J. Ari Roth and company have always treated me fabulously, and there’s something really homey about the DC Jewish Community Center, where Theatre J lives. Little bitty kids are always around since there is a daycare center in the building; good smells come from the first floor cafe throughout the day; folks come in after business hours with their workout gear to utilize the very nice gym facilities; there’s an art gallery and a library and classrooms, all of which are always in use – in short, there is a sense of thriving community. Most of the time we theatricals work in a fairly rarefied, sterile atmosphere, cut off from the world swirling around us and often, the people for whom we will perform. Not at the J – the theatre there is as much a part of the everyday world as the kids in the daycare, the mah-jongg players in the lobby, the scholars in the library and the sweating runners on the treadmills.

I also love the neighborhood around the DCJCC. I frequently take the Metro to Dupont Circle and walk up Q Street to rehearsal, and I find the whole area really interesting. As soon as you come up from the subway, you’re greeted by a Walt Whitman quote (from “The Wound Dresser”) engraved into the stone surround at the entrance:

There’s the Cairo apartment building, with its ferocious cornices:

And this bird bath in someone’s little pocket-handkerchief of a yard. Note the building across the street relected in the upper windows, the squiggly grillwork on the ground floor windows, and in the fountain itself, a sparrow posing nicely. During the run of Shlemiel the fountain was frequently iced over; I wish I’d taken a photo of it then:

And of course, there’s the DCJCC itself, here looking particularly welcoming on a bright spring morning:

And to add to all this happiness, spring is sproinging all around. I’ve been enjoying it thus far; I hope you are, too.


  1. 16thstreetj

    Donna — I loved what you wrote about the DCJCC. As someone who has worked there for many years, I am glad that you appreciate the special energy of the place. Break a leg. Josh

  2. Joan L.

    I get a kick out of the fact that you have an ongoing relationship with the horse that provides your poo. It’s cute…the horse AND the relationship.

  3. Ari Roth

    This really is a beautiful entry – your observations about the busy sense of commotion and community that make rehearsal scheduling sometimes problematic is also one of the major assets of this place. It does quite frequently pulsate with life. And it’s wonderful that you appreciate that, MsMig.You’re part of a wonderful ensemble, really some of the most skilled theatrical artists we’ve ever brought together. And those harmonies! People are really (finally) mastering this ambitious score. Very excited to see it all come together. Thanks again, Donna, for being a part of it all. – Ari

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