Category Archives: Travel

DC in DC: notes from day one

I rose early on Saturday for the easy and efficient Southwest Airlines flight to Washington, D.C., and was at my hotel by 1 p.m.

The Madison is a boutique hotel in the Hilton collection; I burned points to book a four-night stay.

First order of business? Sam the Tailor is in town from Hong Kong, and I’ve not had a new shirt order in 18 months, so I trekked to the historic Willard Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue, and met Sam. An hour later, I’m ready to be outfitted with seven new shirts and a new blazer.

Now 2.30 p.m., and I’m hungry. I stop in at the Round Robin bar for a French 75 and a quick order of crab cake sliders. Somehow crab tastes better here on the East Coast.

After a nap, I took a taxi to the Kennedy Center for the 6 p.m. performance by Second City, the improv group from Chicago who are doing a sit-down this summer in D.C. America: It’s Complicated had some misses, but overall was filled with funny bits and some laugh-out-loud moments. And let me just say that I’ll never look at Mitch McConnell and see him the same way again.

[Sidebar: why is Mitch McConnell still relevant?]

I had met up with Aaron Garner, former voice student, who is in D.C. this summer on an internship with the Library of Congress, and we made our way to Downtown for some barbecue at Hill Country.

And suddenly it was 10.30 p.m. and time to go separate ways

Sunday = church at St. John’s Lafayette Square, then perhaps a museum. And Mr. Lincoln.

The weather on Saturday (and Sunday): hot and steamy and typical Washington, D.C. in July! I was drenched after my mid-afternoon walk. But I got in 12K+ steps on Saturday!!

#PostcardMonday: from New Mexico

My parents loved New Mexico, and we were frequent visitors in the 1970s.  (Mom had served as a home missionary in New Mexico during college.)

From 1976, and a vacation that included a week at the Baptist conference center at Glorieta, plus trips to Gallup, the Grand Canyon, and other points:


Lincoln, Nebraska.

International Thespian Festival.

556 auditions in 14 flights of students over four days.

That’s what I have been doing this last week.

Several years ago, my boss Peter Sargent asked me to join the theatre faculty in Lincoln so that we could better assess the musical-theatre prospective students.  I think that I’ve made this trip now six out of the last nine years.  And it’s always a treat.

My colleague Bruce Longworth and I sit at the table for the long flights of auditions, wherein students have 90 seconds to present one or two songs or monologues.  After a few flights of students, we issue a call-back list of those we’d like to see again.

These students then work with us individually in a hotel conference room, mostly on Friday and Saturday.

The follow-up for me is to send these students a personal note, and include links to various blog entries that may be helpful, including my listing of all the songs performed at auditions this week, audition tips, and a blog entry about contemporary musical theatre composers.

with Ben Love.

Five years ago this week, I met my beloved student Ben Love here at Thespians.  I hope that five years from now I’ll be able to say the same thing about one of these students we met this week!

P.S. — this is what Ben looked like when I met him:

And this is what I looked like when I met Ben:

I was thinner five years ago.