Archive for March, 2010

Washington City Paper Unveil’s Best of D.C. 2010

It’s time again for the Washington City Paper‘s annual Best of D.C. The 2010 edition is dedicated to “the newcomer,” as Erik Wemple writes:

“In the best spirit of civic journalism, we are dedicating this issue to the newcomers. We want the rest of the city to stand up and look at what you folks are doing for this town, and at the same time, we want to impart advice on what’s worth checking out around here.”

The list is expansive as ever, with a wide variety of categories from Best Brunch to Best Strip Club.

I read over the complete list and here are my thoughts:

  • Best Brunch: Tabard Inn, Twist Dupont at the Carlyle Suites Hotel, Open City – now I’m not a brunching person but two out of the three “best brunches” at a hotel just sounds little bit snobby to me. What’s wrong with Matchbox or Kramer’s?
  • Best Coffee Shop: I was hoping for something other than Tryst when I saw the results- Tryst is fine but it’s also a hybrid lounge/bar that happens to be open late at night- I would never go there at night to do coffee house-like things- like write this blog post. I’m happy the staff pick was Chinatown Coffee Co. – place I’ve blogged in.
  • Best Dive Bar (Staff Pick): Cafe Wazobia – now I don’t go to shaw all the time but this list of reasons Amanda Hess has provided sold me:
  1. Mysterious drink pricing
  2. Negotiable cover
  3. Music videos displayed on the bar’s TV screens do not correspond to the music actually being played
  4. Aggressive neon signage
  5. 50-50 chance that the only other person at the bar will vacate her stool when you arrive, as she is your bartender
  6. Meat on a stick
  7. Bar design consists of a bunch of alcohol bottles stacked on a table
  8. Poorly lit
  9. Though plenty of glassware hangs behind the bar, drinks are served in red Solo cups
  10. Extremely low name recognition among D.C. residents
  11. Disco ball in back
  12. When asked for a house special, a bartender served me a cup of cranberry juice and Hennessey.

I don’t know if I want to go here or stay away for fear of death.

  • Best Way To Pronounce “Pho”: The WCP staff may say, “any damn way you want,” but I say I’m more than ok with ditching the correct Vietnamese pronunciation and using my last name instead. I do own all the Pho shops in DC after all- my name is Pho!
  • Best Electronics Shop: The top choice was Best Buy- but really where else are you going to go?
  • Best Wizards Player: Really? Gilbert Arenas?

My final note: everybody appears to be in love with ChurchKey. I guess I should check it out.

Flying Kites And Cherry Blossoms In DC

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Kevin H.

This past weekend I met up with my new pal Rebecca at the The 44th Annual Smithsonian Kite Festival. We originally planned on protesting the kites but instead attempted to fly some instead. I think the kites had the last laugh as we realized that we weren’t very good at flying kites.

I didn’t connect the dots this past weekend that the kite festival was part of the opening weekend for the Cherry Blossom Festival. For tourists it means a great upcoming weekend where the blossoms will be in peak bloom. For the rest of us it means mayhem as we try and deal with all you tourists around the city. For those that want to find out what’s going on when should check out the festival’s calendar. The Washington Post has a pretty good guide up as well- and stay on the lookout for local businesses holding their own specials around the even, for instance local restaurant Zola and the Spy Museum have teamed-up to offer Cherry Picks, a combination dinner and Spy Night experience.

How are you going to celebrate the Cherry Blossom Festival this weekend? Hide? Play?

National Geographic Launches New Channel: Nat Geo Wild

Washington D.C. based National Geographic launches a new TV network today focused on animals. The network, Nat Geo Wild, has been in existence since 2006 in other regions of The World and will be making it’s United State debut, replacing Fox Reality Channel in about 50 million homes.

With other networks already dedicated to programming featuring wildlife and animals. Nat Geo Wild benefits from the vast resources of National Geographic. The society already have a TV network in the U.S. in the National Geographic Channel. However the channel only featured wildlife in a small percentage of their programming as stated by National Geographic Channel general manager Steve Schiffman in a Christian Science Monitor article:

“National Geographic has been the leader in wildlife programming. But while wildlife is at the core of our brand, NGC actually has had [only] a small percentage of natural-history programming among the diverse topics that we have covered…. So we are dedicating a new network to our favorite genre with Nat Geo WILD. We already have hundreds of hours of programming in development.”

My friends over at Nat Geo were kind enough to send me some materials prior to the launch; along with some screener DVDs I also got a pretty neat hat. I spent the weekend watching some of the new programs slated to be launched with the network in the next couple of weeks, here are the ones I liked:

Rebel Monkeys

Premieres Wednesday, March 31, at 8 PM ET/PT

Airs Weekly – Wednesdays at 8 PM ET/PT

In the Jaipur, India monkeys are both a nuisance and a sacred animal. Allowed to run freely about the city they scour streets and homes for food. This series covers the story of one gang of monkeys in a sort of Meerkat Manor meets Slumdog Millionaire.

It was interesting to see monkeys roam freely amongst a human city, clever enough to break into homes and ransack kitchens. The city employs a local “monkey catcher” so the series is bound to have some “man vs. monkey” stand-offs. The show appeared a bit scripted to me but still a fascinating situation in a country that is growing by the second.

Expedition Wild with Casey Anderson

Premieres Monday, April 5, at 9 PM ET/PT

Airs Weekly – Mondays at 9 PM ET/PT

Naturalist Casey Anderson’s best friend is Brutus, a 900-pound grizzly bear. Raised in captivity, Brutus lacks the skills most of his counterparts in the wild possess. Together the two trek to Alaska’s Kodiak Island, where Casey gets knee-deep in grizzly life in order to teach Brutus the ways of his wild relatives. The series continues with future treks through Yellowstone and shows viewers why Casey is called, “The Animal Magnet.”

The first episode I viewed is a little like reminded me a little bit like Wildboyz, with Anderson taking a DIY-approach on how to train your bear. Unlike your typical animal expert- Casey has an coolness about him which makes his adventures a bit more hip.

I still want to know however you get to have a bear as your best friend.

Mystery Gorillas with Mireya Mayor

Premieres Monday, April 5, at 10 p.m. ET/PT

Mireya Mayor immerses herself in the secret lives of wild gorillas, learning about new behaviors and group dynamics, such as the role of female choice and limited tool use. A formal Dolphins cheerleader, Mayor’s story from cheering on the sidelines to exploring the Congo is just as captivating as the special. The special really caught my interest by showing me how human-like these wild gorillas are. Mayor really takes the viewer up-close and personal to see some really amazing sights.

Locally the channel will be available to RCN customers in DC and to Verizon FiOS customers in Virginia. You can click here to see where Nat Geo Wild will be available in your area.

How DC Volunteers: Via Massive Single Day Event

When did massive, single-day volunteer orgies become cool? Maybe it’s a Gen-Y thing. As a college student we had annual community service projects and more recently it was hip to partake in community service around Obama’s Inauguration.

Regardless of how it became cool, I have to admit that it’s always good to support your local community and I’ve been hearing some buzz around my friends about a couple of events coming up this spring.

My friend Rebecca is currently trying to enlist me onto her team for Servathon 2010. This year on April 23-24 over 7,000 volunteers will participate in various service projects around DC. Servathon is organized locally by Greater DC Cares and you can learn more about joining here.

The other big event is put on Hands On DC, an organization that Metblogs’ very own Frank often works with. They put on Work-A-Thon which takes place on May 15th, 2010. What makes this event different is the focus on improving local DC public schools. Check out the video below to see the end product of their recent work.

Whichever event you want to get involved with, it’s clear that spring for DC means volunteering- so get involved!


Ford’s Little Shop Of Horrors Brings On The Campy And Succeeds

Christopher Kale Jones as Seymour and Jenna Coker-Jones as Audrey in the Ford’s Theatre production of “Little Shop of Horrors,” directed by Coy Middlebrook. Photo by T. Charles Erickson.

I can’t say this show has great dancing. I can’t say this show has tear-jerking acting or a story that will win awards. Ford’s Theatre’s production of Little Shot of Horrors is cheesy, campy, and all around crazy.

But that’s exactly why it works.

In the same vein as Rocky Horror Picture Show and Reefer Madness, Little Shop of Horrors is an American cult classic and the type of show you wouldn’t expect from a theatre that recently put up works like A Christmas Carol or The Rivalry. Where most musicals thrive on elaborate music, dance, and costumes; Little Shop entertains through over the top characters and an entertaining sci-fi story that could of been ripped from any five and dime comic book. The husband-wife team of Christopher Kale Jones and Jenna Coker-Jones (whom I mentioned in my previous blog of the show) play the show’s two leads: Seymour (Kale Jones), your stereotypical plant geek, and Audrey (Coker-Jones), a ditzy jersey girl. The two are employees at Mr. Mushnik’s (Christopher Bloch) flower shop on skid row. When Seymour finds an extra-terrestrial plant that feasts on human blood, life goes into a tailspin for him and everybody involved.

True to it’s pulp fiction roots, the show is fueled through energetic performances that are bigger than life yet not so over the top as to annoy. Coker-Jones is a fire cracker on stage and proves to be a great pairing with her real-life partner. Christopher Kale Jones plays up the geek in Seymour to a T. Besides a second-act accent reminiscent of Jimmy Stewart, he eliminates any doubts there may have been with a husband-wife casting. Evan Casey plays Orin, Audrey’s abusive and sadistic dentist-boyfriend, and is a one-man supporting cast playing every other minor character in the show. His multi-faceted performances are as impressive as the split-second costume changes he pulls off in the second act.

The music is heavy on the kitsch with a trio of women (Felicia Curry, Eleasha Gamble, Kara-Tameika

Christopher Kale Jones as Seymour and Evan Casey as Orin in the Ford’s Theatre production of “Little Shop of Horrors,” directed by Coy Middlebrook. Photo by T. Charles Erickson.

Watkins) playing a Superemes-like ensemble- moving the show along with musical interludes. The songs have a doo-wop/motown feel that you’d swear you’ve heard on the radio or at Silver Diner. However with lyrics like, “You have a talent for causin’ things pain/Son, be a dentist/People will pay you to be inhumane,” you are instead laughing along to the toung-in-cheek style of the show. There’s nothing wrong with the band, directed by Christopher Youstra and conducted by George Fulginiti-Shakar. They are perched above the action on a deck shaped like a space-ship, a creative way to work with the small space of the theatre. Also perched above you can spy the voice of the plant Audrey II, Elliot Dash. He remains true to form voicing the puppeteered plant as it grows from a small seedling to a gigantic, man-eating, monster. Dash voices the plant with a dead-on accuracy to Levi Stubbs, the actor who portrayed Audrey II in the 1986 film starring Rick Moranis and Ellen Greene.

Performed atop a rotating stage, the blocking and choreography took advantage of the moving floor, with clever rotations of set and set-pieces as well as some walking moves on the track that a clumsy fool like me could never do- however they made it look easy. I felt that some of the lighting cues were a bit messy, but I chalk that up to opening week jitters; overall the show is a well put together performance that fully embraces the non-sensical of the story to provide an entertaining show that anybody should enjoy.

Christopher Kale Jones as Seymour with (background L to R) Felicia Curry, Kara-Tameika Watkins and Eleasha Gamble in the Ford’s Theatre production of “Little Shop of Horrors,” directed by Coy Middlebrook. Photo by T. Charles Erickson.

Little Shop of Horrors
March 12 – May 22, 2010
Ford’s Theatre
511 10th Street NW
Washington, DC 20004

For patrons under 35, you can grab $10 tickets on Mondays- just order your tickets online and use code “under35”

Real World DC: Episode 13 Breakdown

One more week.

One more week til I can stay out on Wednesdays and not try and get back in for MTV.

One more week til America can go back to focusing on the second season of Jersey Shore.

One more week til the few readers I have left here can stop putting up with my weekly Real World rants.

One more week.

Drama In DC

Mike & Tanner Fall In Love But Face Tough Opposition

It's lurve!

Besides Callie, Mike has been one of the only other cast member who’s been portrayed pretty well on the show. His main storyline this season has been his sexuality and sorting out his feelings for his ex-boyfriend back at home. Earlier this season Mike realizes that Tanner is really the boy for him after trying out several locals. You could expect the show to pour on the lovey dovey when Tanner arrives and it does. Mike is so smitten over Tanner that even relationship-phobic Emily wishes she had something like that.

The two do all the touristy things in DC like walk around The Mall and share a shower. They also stop by the HRC shop by their house and buy some promise rings. Mike comments that he hopes for marriage one day if it becomes legal. Well Mike it’s time to celebrate because Gay Marriage is now legal in DC! When Tanner and Mike walk back to the house after a night out a clearly drunk observer asks if the two are gay- to which a clearly drunk Mike proudly proclaims he is and looks as if he wants to start a fight. Whoa there Mike you aren’t exactly Ronnie; plus it’s hard for me to believe a gay couple would get heckled in Dupont Circle. I believe it was more of a drunk guy wanting to say something in front of the gigantic camera following the two. DC couldn’t be a more accepting place for homosexuals.

You can’t say the same about Colorado, after Tanner leaves to go back home he tells his parents he’s in love with Mike and they not only disapprove, but cut him off and kick him out of the house.

It really disappoints me to see that kind of a reaction from a family, to see such insensitivity and intolerance towards your own children. I really hope Tanner’s family watched last night’s episode and realized how could they stop loving their own flesh and blood for being gay? I hope they walk outside and realized they just made themselves look evil on television. Like Ty, I too can relate to the issue of discrimination and I couldn’t imagine raising my kids like that.

Ty & Andrew Go Wedding Crashing

We're in Philly! Bring on the cheese-steaks!

Josh, who we haven’t seen much of unless he’s singing badly or cheating on his girlfriend, is traveling back to Philly to be in his cousin’s wedding. He’s excited to, “show everybody what I’ve been up to the past two months.”

Does that mean you’ll be the wedding singer? Does this mean your girlfriend won’t be there because you’ll be making out with the maid of honor?

No apparently what Josh means is that he’s going to bring all the cameras with him so he can attract more attention at the wedding than the actual Bride and Groom- and Andrew and Ty get to tag along as well.

Josh, Ty, and Andrew + Alcohol + Dance Floor + Women = Real World Philly!!!

Wait a minute MTV has been there, done that.

When Ty drinks he turns angry and turns into a cougar hunter

With an epic night ahead of them, the boys do what anybody should do before their wedding: eating messy cheese-steaks in their nice suits. It was probably the most stereotypical Philly thing they could of done that day. I’m sure cheese-steaks don’t dominate every Philadelphian’s life but thanks MTV for making us think that they constantly crave them.

At the wedding we learn that Josh’s cousin is proud of him for developing an entourage and we see that Ty truly has no limits when he macks on Josh’s mom.

Oh no maybe we shouldn’t let Ty drink anymore- wait a minute: been there, done that.

Wicked Liquid Makes Their DC Debut

Wicked Liquid is preparing for their big show at the Rock & Roll Hotel, and Josh couldn’t be more excited. He says everything is getting better: the guitar, his voice (we can only hope), but most importantly of all: his flow.

You need to have flow for this whole thing to work. That and also a VOICE!

It was funny to see his roommates actually debate on whether or not they would pay to see Josh perform. Andrew is a fan but you can read their opinion of Wicked Liquid on everybody else.

The concert wasn’t that bad- certainly not horrible but nothing great. The only notable thing probably is the first appearance of RWDC super-fan Elizabethany.

Time To Cram In Every Charity Event They Did This Summer

Look The Real World cast is making a difference!

So while Josh and Mike were dominating the story-lines what were everybody else up to? Charity work.

MTV works hard to make sure that the Real World cast makes it out to not only all the bars and clubs- but the occasional charity event as well.

We see the cast help out during the 9/11 National Day of Service and Ashley, Callie, and Emily lend a hand over at the Hard Rock Cafe’s Pinktober where they meet Melissa Etheridge.

Not much to say here, good for the cast to take a break from Rhino Bar to actually help out in the community.

Memorable Quotes

Mike reverts back to the #1 date place for Real World DC:

Emily: “What do you think you [and Tanner] are going to do?”

Mike: “Maybe go to Buca.”

Ty on Philadelphia’s diversity: “Andrew says there’s not enough blacks- too many Mexicans.”

Josh says the next best MTV line I’ve heard since Ronnie’s “pounding her out”: “Quit clocking my mother.”

One Up


He brings down a significant other and manages not to have drama while he’s here. Can’t say that about Erika and Josh.

One Down

Tanner’s Parents

I’m disappointed in you two.

Hey I Know That Place!

National Mall: So touristy.

Pat’s King of Steaks: I know it’s not in DC but hey people recognized it…

Hard Rock Cafe: I’ve been there before, not that bad.

Celebrations Weddings: I know it’s also in PA but I had to give it a shout-out because it’s by far the best name for an event hall.

Rock & Roll Hotel: Did you know that Ty is banned from the place? Because he doesn’t pay his bar tabs- trust me I know.

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church: My best guess where Mike went to pray since he was there earlier in the season.

Final Word

Last night the “S#!t The Should Of Shown” episode also aired and while a lot of it were just re-aired MTV Dailies and interviews, I agree that a lot of the stuff they should of shown- but was it me or was it still pretty tame?

I don’t know maybe I’m getting old.

Frusterated About The Metro? WMATA Offers Chance For Rider Input On Budget

Photo Megan Rossman/The Washington Post

Today my roommate came home and told me she had a bad day. When I asked why she complained about something at work and went on to lament about the terrible Metro service on the way home from work.

You aren’t a Washingtonian if you don’t have an ambivalent attitude towards Metro. On one hand you love that it’s relatively clean, and that it’s open late for those nights you want to go out. On the other hand trains are often delayed and the elevators and escalators often appear to be out of order.

Now you can do something about it.

I found out on Greater Greater Washington that WMATA is conducting a survey of concerning items that should be included in the FY2011 budget. WMATA hopes to get rider input on several possible fare increases and service cuts. The results will be reported at a future Metro board meeting.

It only takes ten minutes to complete (like the census) so why don’t you take a minute to tell WMATA where they should spend your money?

Real World DC: Episode 12 Breakdown

Erika is unhappy in DC

It finally happened.

In this week’s episode Erika finally had enough of living in DC: she couldn’t stand the posh house, the fame that comes with a camera crew, or the rampant drinking and lack of actual responsibilities that comes with being on The Real World.

If she only learned from her counterpart on Jersey Shore, Angelina.

Does anybody remember Angelina from Jersey Shore? Probably not because she left after the first weekend at the house. Little did she know that by walking away from the show she’d be walking away from fame and fortune as the remaining cast members became pop culture superstars. Luckily Erika benefits from toughing it out 2/3 into the summer before calling it quits. She also benefits from the fact the Real World will never regain the Jersey Shore-like buzz it once had.

However there is a similarity between the two reality show departures: both casts were seen enjoying a dinner like family, happy that the outcast is finally gone from their lives. I expected some sort of “we’re a family” line to come out during that last dinner scene but nobody on The Real World has the charm and charisma as The Situation.

Drama In DC

Andrew Is Finally A Washingtonian: He Visits The White House

Real life means not treating your job like a college term paper

So we know that when Andrew isn’t hitting on girls (which is probably on hiatus thanks to his new girlfriend,) he’s drawing cartoons.

So it looks like that he made some calls MTV hooked him up, and he drops by The Washington Post to pay a visit to resident Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Tom Toles. It’s your typical, “OMG this guy is doing exactly what I want to do” kind of encounter. When Andrew suggests that one day he would love to draw for The Post, Toles admits that it’s a long-shot- which is code for, “start in a smaller market first” or “maybe you should work hard at something besides bringing chicks to the hot tub.”

So is Andrew going to get an impressive internship over at the Post? No- but he got the next best thing: The Washington Times! The only thing I know about The Times is that their billboard ticker outside the offices always has interesting headlines. In an interview with their multimedia editor, Andrew is asked about his abilities to handle deadlines  to which he affirms that he can handle them.

Why aren’t we surprised that we can imagine him blowing by deadlines? And he does- but that’s for later.

Been there, done that

As part as his assignment to create a political cartoon for the paper he gets to shadow Curl on a visit to the White House, a trip Mike is very jealous of- and he should be. Any true Washingtonian living here has visited the White House, maybe it was through a tour, a friend on The Hill, your job, or through good ol’ DC Networking. Martin Austermuhle over at DCist dropped the fact he’s been in the briefing room- and I’ll go ahead and be a complete asshole- and mention that I’ve been there, done that as well.

Andrew is cracking wise from the podium we hear a PA announcement for last call… til Marine One arrives. I didn’t know the White House actually does PA announcements for The Press, kinda cool for those that live in that wing. So like many of us living here Andrew got to see President Obama… from 100 ft away. Good thing he had the courtesy to not wear the Panda hat. Andrew also sits in during a Gibbs Press briefing and clearly has no idea what’s going on- good thing he didn’t try and ask a question. I would of loved to see that make the news, “clueless Real Worlder asks Gibbs a dumb question about where the party is in DC.”

With the paper expecting a draft from him the next day, you would think that Andrew would be responsible and produce- but instead he blows it off for a day and makes up lies to The Times as he stares at a blank sheet of paper. Pretty much how any college student treats a mid-term. I don’t know what to say except, “ANDREW YOU AREN’T GOING TO GET A JOB AT  A PAPER BLOWING OFF DEADLINES!”

It’s ok though because he’s on MTV, and the paper runs his stuff regardless of tardiness.

So the moral of the story? You can succeed in life if you work hard- or if you are connected to a major cable network.

Erika Wants To Leave The House, Doesn’t Get Sympathy Of Her Roommates

I wanna go home!

Everything started off well in this episode, we learn that Erika’s boyfriend is going to visit- which is good because she admits that she’s really horny. She also wants to fix up Callie with Ian’s friend Evan. Great intentions however anytime there’s a lot of pressure to put two people together, we know it’s never going to work. Even though Callie makes a great first impression by welcoming Ian and his friends in nothing but a towel, Erika quickly gets annoyed that Callie and Evan aren’t hitting it off. Again, love isn’t something you force- and this situation seems as forced as Obama’s attempts to pass a health care bill.

Erika starts to whine about feeling miserable in DC and wants to go back home. Eventually she decides to flip a coin to make her decision. After flipping a coin it comes up heads- to which she said means she should go home.

Problem is she never says which side would mean what- smells like a rigged wager to me.

Erika declares her intentions to the roommates and they react by telling her what a great experience it would be if she stayed and how much they would miss her. Instead she whines that they aren’t supporting her decision and throws a fit. Erika then says she’s changed her mind- that she’ll stay because they want her too, but her roommates tell her that she should do what’s good for her- not them.

The perfect place to discuss serious housemate issues

It just looks like nobody is going to be happy with whatever happens.

Personally I think Erika is just trying to illicit sympathy, first she tries to get her roommates to support her when she wants to leave and it doesn’t happen. Then she tries to get her roommates to love her by saying she’ll stay but that doesn’t happen. Look Erika, your roommates make a good point- DO WHAT YOU WANT TO DO.

Bottom line: Erika is a big bag of drama and she should leave. Good thing that she ultimately does.

Memorable Quotes

Doesn’t Andrew mean the Washington Post?: “This is a big-time paper. It’s the Washington Times. It’s everywhere.”

One Up


I don’t think I’m ever going to feel good about him during an episode about him- so might as well throw him here when I can’t approve of Erika and Andrew.

One Down


I was going to pick Andrew but could we seriously expect a kid like him to stay on a deadline? Not really. Good riddance Erika, let’s hope you don’t become the Angelina of The Real World DC.

Hey I Know That Place!

The Washington Post: The top paper in DC and one of the top in the U.S.

The Washington Times: Less popular then The Washington City Paper or The Express- perhaps more popular than new Redskins QB Rex Grossman.

The White House: Where our President lives.

Public Bar: Watch out, the lines for the bathroom here are long- but then again so is any place you go to on a weekend…

Lauriol Plaza: One day I will get my Margaritas on here.

Final Word

I don’t know how I felt about the shameless editing together of the playing in the rain, celebrating Erika’s departure up against Erika’s tears in Ian’s embrace. I seriously doubt those two things happened at the same time- and just appears to make the roommates look really insensitive when I bet the two event happened nowhere near each other.

Reston Community Players, Silver Spring Stage Take Home Top Honors At 2010 WATCH Awards

Photo courtesy of Joel Markowitz

I’ve never been to an awards ceremony before. Certainly not one like this.

Even though I spent the entire last month obsessing over the Academy Awards, I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived at The Birchmere for the 2010 Washington Area Theatre Community Honors (WATCH) awards. A year into my introductory DC theatre tour of duty I heard a lot about the annual event that recognizes the best in community theatre for the past year. I saw many familiar faces and friends in the packed room of 450, many of them nominated for one of the 38 awards to be presented that night. A couple of the shows I worked in the past year were nominated but for me it was generally a night to take in a longtime DC theatre tradition. The WATCH Awards celebrated it’s 10th year and has grown to include over 30 member companies across DC, Maryland, and Virginia.

The event was hosted by local actor Fred Nelson and kept things moving pretty quick, many warned me that it would be a long night. Reston Community Players‘ production of Curtains cleaned up last night, the show that I originally reported had the most nominations walked away with 12 WATCH awards including Outstanding Musical. Silver Spring Stage walked away with 8 total WATCH awards including Outstanding Play for their production of The Goat or, Who is Sylvia?

Congratulations to all the winners, the complete list of award recipients can be found below.

Outstanding Lighting Design – Musical: Ken and Patti Crowley, Curtains, Reston Community Players

Outstanding Lighting Design – Play: Chris Curtis, Columbinus, Silver Spring Stage

Outstanding Sound Design – Musical: Rich Bird, Curtains, Reston Community Players

Outstanding Sound Design – Play: Kevin Garrett, Columbinus, Silver Spring Stage

Outstanding Costume Design – Musical: Grant Kevin Lane, Follies, The Arlington Players

Outstanding Costume Design – Play: Melody Sciarratta, A Man for All Seasons, Port Tobacco Players

Outstanding Set Design – Musical: Skip Larson, Rick Schneider, and Andrew JM Regiec, Curtains, Reston Community Players

Outstanding Set Design – Play: John Reckeweg, Angel Street, Port Tobacco Players

Outstanding Set Construction – Musical: Sarah Birkhead, Curtains, Reston Community Players

Outstanding Set Construction – Play: Andew Greenleaf and Eric Henry, The Mousetrap, Silver Spring Stage

Outstanding Set Painting – Musical: Cathy Reider, Curtains, Reston Community Players

Outstanding Set Painting – Play: MYKE, Gross Indecency, Little Theatre of Alexandria

Outstanding Set Decoration and Set Dressing – Musical (Tie): Jenna Ballard, One Red Flower, Kensington Arts Theatre; Evan Hoffman and Malca Giblin, The Great American Trailer Park Musical, Kensington Arts Theatre

Outstanding Set Decoration and Set Dressing – Play: C. Evan Kirk, The Art of Murder, Little Theatre of Alexandria

Outstanding Properties – Musical: Jenna Ballard & Brian Dettling, One Red Flower, Kensington Arts Theatre

Outstanding Properties – Play: Sonya Okin, The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? Silver Spring Stage

Outstanding Makeup Design – Musical: Avery Burns, Follies, The Arlington Players

Outstanding Makeup Design – Play: Paul Morton, Gross Indecency, Little Theatre of Alexandria

Outstanding Hair Design – Musical: Bette Williams, Follies, The Arlington Players

Outstanding Hair Design – Play: E. Lynda Bruce-Lewis, Amadeus, Greenbelt Arts Center

Outstanding Special Effects: Andrew Greeenleaf, The Mousetrap, Silver Spring Stage

Outstanding cameo – Musical (Tie): Roy Barbacow as “Waiter/Caroler” She Loves Me, Colonial Players;  Josh Doyle as “Charles Lindbergh” Flight of the Lawnchair Man, CCT with 2nd Flight Theatre Company

Outstanding Cameo – Play (Tie): Joe Helein as “The Hustler” Six Degrees of Separation, CCT with 2nd Flight Theatre Company; Gayle Nichols-Grimes as “Ann Marwood Bartle” Jeffrey, Dominion Stage

Outstanding Featured Actress – Musical: Katie McManus as “Georgia Hendricks” Curtains, Reston Community Players

Outstanding Featured Actor – Musical: Mike Hoskinson as “Dave Bukatinsky” The Full Monty, Reston Community Players

Outstanding Featured Actress – Play: Mollie Wise as “Betty Meeks” The Foreigner, Little Theatre of Alexandria

Outstanding Featured Actor – Play: Randy Tusing as “Thomas Cromwell” A Man for All Seasons, Port Tobacco Players

Outstanding Lead Actress – Musical: Susanna Todd as “Gracie” Flight of the Lawnchair Man, CCT with 2nd Flight Theatre Company

Outstanding Lead Actor – Musical: Blakeman Brophy as “Lt. Frank Cioffi” Curtains, Reston Community Players

Outstanding Lead Actress – Play: Laura Russell as “Stevie” The Goat or, Who is Sylvia?, Silver Spring Stage

Outstanding Lead Actor – Play: James Raby as “Antonio Salieri” Amadeus, St. Mark’s Players

Outstanding Stage Combat Choreography: Brian Farrell & Karen Schlumpf , Curtains, Reston Community Players

Outstanding Choreography: Andrea Heininge , Curtains, Reston Community Players

Outstanding Music Direction: Mark Deal, Curtains, Reston Community Players

Outstanding Direction of a Musical: Andrew JM Regiec , Curtains, Reston Community Players

Outstanding Direction of a Play: Bridget Muehlberger & Andrea Spitz , columbinus, Silver Spring Stage

Outstanding Musical: Curtains, Reston Community Players

Outstanding Play: The Goat or, Who is Sylvia?, Silver Spring Stage

Little Shop Of Horrors Opens Tonight At Ford’s Theatre

Jenna Coker-Jones and Christopher Kale Jones star in Ford Theatre's Little Shop of Horrors

Earlier this week this blogger/video producer/stage manager got a real treat- a behind the scenes look at Ford’s Theatre.

Perhaps most famous as the site where President Lincoln was shot, Ford’s Theatre continues to operate as a performance venue and looks better than ever after re-opening from renovations two years ago. I was excited to walk on the theatre’s plush red carpeting and see this iconic space for myself.

I walked past the house lobby into the theatre where I walked by a sign that read no firearms (oh if they only had that back in the day…) as well as a sign that said no food or drink. I tucked my water bottle into my blazer and hoped the Ranger on duty didn’t notice (I paid $.89 for that bottle and it was still full! Dont’ worry guys I wasn’t going to open it and ruin a National landmark.)

The theatre was smaller than I thought it would be- but then again performance spaces of the 19th century probably weren’t very large. As I sat down in the balcony I looked to my right and saw the Presidential booth, draped in flags with a portrait of Lincoln George Washington hanging outside the front of the box. To my left I saw another box and to my immediate left I saw the lighting designers programming cues. The light board rested above wooden planks place across the front row- a juxtaposition of old history and modern age technology.

It was a technical rehearsal not unlike the ones I’ve been through as a stage manager. The actors of the show stood around in place as the stage manager, director, and music director moved through the script and worked out specific technical cues. The only difference between this production and the productions I’ve managed is that everybody was calm, efficient, and professional at this rehearsal. Let’s just say I’ve been through worse technical rehearsals.

Little Shop of Horrors Set Design Sketch (Scenic design by Court Watson)

I got a great view of the set, very similar to the original design sketches shown here. Audrey II, the giant plant that the show is most well known for, was on stage and looked terrific as I saw it “eat” lead actress Jenna Coker-Jones over and over again. The overall look of the show appears to stay true to the show’s reputation as an Americana cult classic. Coker-Jones plays the role of Audrey and Christopher Kale Jones (Jenna’s husband) plays Seymour. The husband/wife duo is supported by a cast of other local DC actors, many of which you can see on Jenna & Christopher’s behind-the-scenes videos. For more behind the scenes look check out Katie Brobst’s blog where she chronicles her experience learning about the show from an outsider’s view.

From the sneak peak of the show last night I am definitely interested in seeing the show- and with the theatre’s under-35 special I am definitely going to make it out! Patrons under 35 can get tickets for only $10 on Mondays starting March 22nd.  Just use the code UNDER35 at checkout.


Little Shop of Horrors
March 12 – May 22, 2010
Ford’s Theatre
511 10th Street NW
Washington, DC 20004

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