big cities, big parties

last night, i had the privilege of attending the esteemed helen hayes awards in downtown dc, held in the beautiful warner theatre. it is the premiere awards ceremony to recognize excellence in professional theatre in the washington community. it was completely eye-opening how many fabulous theatres – large to small – are in dc, and how enormously important theatre is to this city.

hh-1931.jpg (helen hayes, 1931) 

it was a venerable who’s who of the capital’s arts community. i was among some of the best actors, entertainers and theatre professionals in the world. 

arena was nominated for the most awards of any theatre, but, sadly, we only walked away with two wins.

kathy-lee gifford was in attendance, as well as notable stars like helen hayes herself (she gave a sweet speech), e. faye butler (she was an announcer), marvin hamlisch (he played pianist/conductor/singer for the night’s entertainment), sir derek jacobi (in all his british-accented glory) and more.

there were women in fur coats, men in tuxes, girls in some of the fanciest dresses i’ve ever seen, plenty of quirky theatre-people, child stars dressed in their sunday best (with all their youthful enthusiasm), senior-citizen donors smiling broadly as they hobbled to their seats (clapping at each mention of the importance of artistic expression). and a huge after-party – with an open bar – in the nearby marriot’s glamorous ballrooms was definitely a perk.

the night’s entertainment and the acceptance speeches were full of inside jokes and name-dropping that i wasn’t about to try and unravel. i felt surrounded by a bunch of theatre groupies, all huddled in their clubhouse (albeit, not so modestly dressed) exchanging the year’s gossip.i didn’t fit in with this crowd, per say, but it was fun to play dress up and pretend.

i love big cities because whatever you’re passionate about, there’s bound to be a large group of people just as passionate about it too. who knew there were thousands upon thousands of people in washington so shamelessly enthusiastic about the thing high school students get made fun of for loving: theatre?

i love it.

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