This week, if any of those tour buses block your crosswalk, be kind. The passengers may not be monument-loving tourists, but some 90+ theatre people here to check out the DC area theatre scene. And not just theatre people. Theatre critics.
This week, The American Theater Critics Association holds its annual conference in Washington June 17 – 22 , thanks to ATCA member Brad Hathaway. Brad, of course, is one of Washington’s most well-regarded theatre reviewers (his term for what he does), who founded and manages Potomac Stages.
Introducing Linda Levy Grossman at what was the first of four panels held during the 6 day conference, Brad explained that it was she to whom he first took the idea of holding the conference in Washington. “This must be done.” was her reply, and immediately offered her contacts and support.
It was the Arlington Cultural Affairs Division which declared “This will be done.” and set about the heavy lifting of organizing, printing, and coordinating the events.
Still, it’s unlikely that anyone else in town could have prepared as generous a theatrical feast as Brad Hathaway. Before they leave, these writers from all over the country will have had the chance to meet with our leading Artistic Directors, visited back stages, had lively discussions on the state of Washington theatre and seen as many as 14 productions done by 13 theatre companies large and small.
You might bump into this crowd of critics at these shows this week: Shakespeare Theatre’s Antony and Cleopatra and The Imaginary Invalid, Woolly Mammoth’s Measure for Pleasure, Journeyman’s Neglect, Theatre of the First Amendment’s Mariela in the Desert, Olney’s Stuff Happens (in preview), Studio’s This Beautiful City, Synetic’s Carmen, Signature’s The Visit, Round House’s Nixon’s Nixon, Arena’s The Mystery of Irma Vep, Adventure Theatre’s Goodnight Moon, Theater Alliance’s St. Mark’s Gospel, and GALA’s Agustín Lara – Boleros & Blues.
Brad Hathaway, who surely sees more theatre productions in a year than anyone else in town, can now add ‘Producer’ to his long list of accomplishments. And those writers will return home with more than a great bag of swag. They’ll have found out that Washington is a dynamic theatre town.