Grand Hotel ~ The Musical ~ Signature Theatre

Jordan Wright
April 11, 2019 

The ensemble of Grand Hotelat Signature Theatre. Photo by Margot Schulman

Dapper men in dinner jackets and ladies luxuriously swathed in furs and jewels has a certain mysterious fascination for us all.  In Playwright Ayad Akhtar’s Grand Hotel, guests of this deluxe Berlin hotel reveal that there is more to glamour than meets the eye.  In the hotel’s opulent Art Deco era lobby we meet aging prima ballerina Madame Elizaveta Grushinskaya arriving for her final grand tour with her faithful companion, Raffaela; Flaemmchen, a pretty down-at-the-heels ingénue; Baron Felix von Gaigern, a handsome grifter; Colonel-Doctor Otternschlag, a world-weary doctor; General Director Preysing, a corporate tycoon with an uncertain future; and Otto Kringelein, a big-hearted Jewish accountant with a terminal illness.  For these peripatetic travelers, it’s all about money – keeping it or finding it – and enjoying the luxe life.  What they all have in common is the need to be loved.

Solomon Parker III (Jimmy 2), NickiElledge (Flaemmchen), Ian Anthony Coleman (Jimmy 1) and the ensemble of Grand Hotelat Signature Theatre. Photo by Margot Schulman

Twenty-one musical numbers backdrop both their amours and their tragedies as they find themselves in ever-threatening financial circumstances.  Will Otto live to find happiness, will Elizabeta revive her career, will the Baron find deeper meaning, and will Flaemmchen find stardom?  How they evolve as people is the real story behind this glamorous idyll.

Natascia Diaz (Elizaveta Grushinskaya) in Grand Hotelat Signature Theatre. Photo by C. Stanley Photography.

Director Eric Schaeffer pulls out all the stops with a fabulous set graced with two winding staircases, top-notch dancers and character actors with Broadway-worthy voices that fulfill his vision of transporting us to the age of the Roaring 20’s in a city well known for sophistication and decadent excess.

Nicki Elledge (Flaemmchen) and Nkrumah Gatling (Baron Felix von Gaigern). Photo by C. Stanley Photography

Some of the most memorable musical scenes come during moments of truthfulness and tenderness as between Elizaveta and the Baron in the number “Love Can’t Happen” and her solo dance in “Bonjour Amour”.  And, not to be understated, is the sensational dancing of the two Jimmys in Act One’s “Maybe My Baby Loves Me” with Flaemmchen, and Act Two’s “The Grand Charleston” with the ensemble and “We’ll Take a Glass Together” performed alongside Kringelein, the Baron and the ensemble.

Bobby Smith (Otto Kringelein) and Nicholas McDonough (Erik) in Grand Hotelat Signature Theatre. Photo by C. Stanley Photography

The darker side of working at this posh hotel is not left out but circumscribed by the gritty reality of below stairs workers engulfed in steam heat rising from on-stage grates, and by the precarious job security of Erik, a young concierge forbidden from leaving his post as he awaits the birth of his son.

It’s a big story with multi-dimensional characters who surprise us at every turn.  See it for the music, the dancing and the glitz.

Starring Bobby Smith as Otto Kringelein; Natascia Diaz as Elizaveta Grushinskaya; Kevin McAllister as General Director Preysing; Nkrumah Gatling as Baron Felix von Gaigern; Lawrence Redmond as Colonel-Doctor Otternschlag; Crystal Mosser as Raffaela; Nicki Elledge as Flaemmchen; Ian Anthony Coleman as Jimmy 1 and Zinnowitz; Solomon Parker III as Jimmy 2; Ben Gunderson as Erik; Victor Kempski as Rohna and Witt; Marie Rizzo as Trude and Tootsie 1; Gregory Matheu as Sandor; and ensemble.

Book by Luther Davis; Music and Lyrics by Robert Wright & George Forrest; Based on Vicki Baum’s Grand Hotel; Additional Music & Lyrics by Maury Yeston; Scenic Design by Paul Tate DePoo III; Costume Design by Robert Perdziola; Lighting Design by Colin K. Bills; Sound Design by Ryan Hickey; Choreography by Kelly Crandall D’Amboise.  Conducted by Evan Rees.

P.Y.G. or The Mis-Edumacation of Dorian Belle ~ Studio Theatre A Studio X Production

Jordan Wright
April 9, 2019 

We all want to “stay woke”.   Right?  To be up on the issues of racial injustice and political correctness we need to keep current and stand up when it’s called for.  For Dorian Belle, a Canadian pop star with a huge, fan-based, reality TV show, it’s more than that.  He wants to stay woke while being black and get in on the black music scene.  Unfortunately for Dorian, he’s white.  Think Eminem and other white hip-hop celebs who have appropriated black culture in both music and style.  It goes much further back than that with blackface, Elvis, the Rolling Stones and musicians who adopted (or outright stole) black music genres as their own.  In truth, it’s complicated and that debate is the undercurrent of playwright Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm’s Pygmalion-inspired play.

Gary L. Perkins III, Simon Kiser, and Seth Hill in P.Y.G. or the Mis-Edumacation of Dorian Belle. Photo: C. Stanley Photography

Dorian believes that taking on more of a black identity, would add to his street cred.  To that end he invites rappers, Alexand Da Great and Blacky Blackerson of P. Y. G. (Petty Young Goons), to his posh pad in hopes he can sign them to his record label, learn their fly moves and adopt their southside of Chicago brand of gangsta rap.  There’s a reference to building your narrative while using someone else’s and Blacky is accused of fostering black stereotypes to please Dorian.  You have to stay woke, because the humor and the irony come at you with hurricane-like force.

Seth Hill, Simon Kiser, and Gary L. Perkins III in P.Y.G. or the Mis-Edumacation of Dorian Belle. Photo: C. Stanley Photography Photo: C. Stanley Photography

Alexand and Blacky are eager to get their hands on “white people’s money” but have their limits as to how much they are willing to take from this rube, especially Blacky who teases Dorian unmercifully when he pontificates on what he thinks it means to be black while taking notes on how they demand he defer to them.  It’s hysterical watching the three men analyze what’s blacker, what’s outright appropriation, and why Dorian may not use the “N” word, but they can.  Blacky says it so often that Alexand gives him a pocket beeper to substitute a beep for each time he wants to use it.  There’s a lot of beeping.

Seth Hill and Gary L. Perkins III in P.Y.G. or the Mis-Edumacation of Dorian Belle. Photo: C. Stanley Photography Photo: C. Stanley Photography

When the men finally buy into Dorian’s experiment, Blacky finds he likes all the things he never experienced in the hood and he becomes bros with Dorian, much to Alexand’s dismay.  After all their attempts to “mis-edumacate” Dorian, they start to drift into Dorian’s white world.  Question: Will Dorian ever truly relate to black culture and the racial injustices that come along with it, or does he just want to appropriate the style and the music to be cool?   “You need to sound like the joy and the suffering of slaves,” Blacky tells him in no uncertain terms.

Gary L. Perkins III and Seth Hill in P.Y.G. or the Mis-Edumacation of Dorian Belle. Photo: C. Stanley Photography Photo: C. Stanley Photography

Rap and dance are a big part of this production especially in the explosive scene where the “brothas” demonstrate the hip-hop and breakdancing styles by region from New York to California and Senegal to Zambia.  Their dance demos are epic.

Impressive direction from Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm who also wrote last year’s Helen Hayes Award-winning play, Hooded, or Being Black for Dummies.  Add to that, super fantastic performances by Seth Hill as Blacky Black, Gary L. Perkins as Alexand Da Great, and Simon Kiser as Dorian Belle.

Assistant director Mari Andrea Travis, fantastic projections by Kelly Colburn, costumes by Danielle Preston, lighting by Jesse Belsky, sets by Richard Oullette, and sound design by original music by composer Gabriel Clausen, make this world premiere play a must-see.

Outrageously funny, insightful and provocative.  Highly recommended.

Through April 28th at Studio Theatre – 1501 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005.  For tickets and information visit Studio or call 202 232.7267

Nibbles and Sips Around Town ~ March/April 2019

Jordan Wright
March/April 2019
Photo credit:  Jordan Wright


March activities, with a bit of overlap from late February, found us busier than the proverbial bee with restaurant openings, some changing chefs, and others embracing new menus.  There were surprises and a single disappointment (it happens to the best of restaurants) – some that could be helped and others that couldn’t.


As Spanish cuisine continues its appeal across the DMV, Boqueria is a stunning recent addition to the Penn Quarter scene.  (Their first location is in Georgetown).  Though you’ll find many of the usual tapas on the extensive menu – pan con tomate, patatas brava (excellent here) and croquettas cremosas – there are many more unfamiliar and unique tapas.  And that is how it should be.  If you were bar hopping in Spain, and who isn’t, you’d find that every bar has its signature tapas.  Escalivada is one such specialty and you will find it here.  It incorporates fire-roasted eggplant with red pepper and onions slathered with labne yoghurt and is topped with fresh herbs and olive oil.  Shrimp are an add-on.

Shrimp tapas

Speaking of shrimp, it’s my only complaint here.  They are quite small, which means they cook too fast and become tough.  Furthermore, they are served decapitated which omits the tastiest part.  All the flavor and fat are in the head.  I know you’ve heard my gripe about this American abomination of removing the tastiest part of the shrimp in past reviews.  When I mention this unfortunate decision to chefs or servers, the answer I get is that diners are uncomfortable seeing the head on.  Let’s change that.

Otherwise, Boqueria is fantastic.  A beautiful setting, sleek and chic, with light wood interior and a large bar laden with fruits, ready-to-slice Iberico ham and pickled vegetables.  There are high tops with stools alongside the bar, which is fun if you’re planning on interacting with the bar scene, but I suggest you take a table or better yet one of the roomy booths in the back where you can spread out and watch the action in the open kitchen.  The lighting is perfect.  You can see your food and enjoy the shared camaraderie of the rhythm of the place, designed for people watching.  Okay, it’s noisy, aka lively, but you can easily hear your dining partners.

The marble topped bar

Sangrias by the glass or pitcher are a main feature of the spirits program.  Don’t miss out, they are delicious.  Some sangrias are standard fare, while others change with the seasons.  And, rather than the usual wine-with-brandy base, different spirits form the base depending on your selection.  Rosada, made with rosé, tequila, cranberry, pomegranate, and hibiscus-soaked strawberries is the perfect spring sparkler, and Naranja Sanguina, a seasonal option, is flavored with blood orange, cava, tequila, and lime cordial.  Refrescantes start with Seedlip, the world’s first non-alcoholic distilled spirit and a story in itself, adds herbs and fresh fruit flavors.

The menu has a lot of moving parts – the aforementioned tapas; an entire section devoted to Spanish cheeses and premium Spanish hams; meats; seafood; vegetables that include salads; and a chef’s menu, described as a “journey through the classics”.  If you are really invested in the whole dining-in-Spain experience, you can order the Cochinillo Feast.  Ideal for a table of six, it features a whole suckling pig with sides.  Three days’ notice is required, so plan in advance.

Pear and fennel salad with fried walnuts ~ Wild mushroom flatbread

We enjoyed a number of these dishes, including tapas.  All are served in large portions, enough to share.  Ensalada de Hinojo y Peras, a refreshing salad of fennel, pears, and fried walnuts with a delicate citrus dressing, was more than enough to share and still have leftovers, as was Coca de Setas, a grilled flatbread with puréed porcini mushrooms, Idiazábal cheese, caramelized onions, wild mushrooms, and pine nuts and topped with a tangle of arugula.  For now, pork- or seafood-centric paella is served only at brunch, as is an organic roast chicken, half or whole, accompanied by eggs, roasted root vegetables, and salsa verde.

Churros and chocolate

They are crazy for churros here and you will be too.  Crisp on the outside with a soft cake-like interior, they come traditional style, served with a ramekin of hot gooey chocolate for dipping, or filled with a choice of Nutella or dulce de leche.  We watched in wonder as orders of unicorn-worthy Churros Ice Cream Sundaes were being carried around the room.  These over-the-top, colorful concoctions boast churros, vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, dulce de leche, whipped cream, walnuts and rainbow sprinkles.  Perfect for birthday celebrations.

Hazelnut and almond turrón cake with honey dulce de leche ice cream

Boqueria – 777 9th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001 in Penn Quarter.  Boqueria has another location in Georgetown at 1837 M Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036.

The Light Horse Restaurant Picks New Chef, Debuts Stylish Décor and a New Menu

This King Street tavern, best known for its rowdy upstairs sports bar that offers shuffleboard, skeeball and live music after 10pm, has done a complete 180 degrees in its downstairs bar and restaurant with a stunning transformation.  It’s owned by the same two brothers that launched Red’s Table in Reston – another popular eatery that hosts wine and beer pairing dinners.

The owner was careful not to ignore the popular bar scene.  He just improved on it with a unique 38-foot bar that uses an eye-catching fractal wood burning technique, also known as the ‘Lichtenberg figure’ – a process of burning lightning or tree-like figures into wood using high voltage electricity.  A bioluminescence material is then applied in the fissures causing them to appear to glow bluish bioluminescent plankton as seen in certain oceans at night.

The bioluminescent bar

The backbar is made up of individual mantels John Jarecki found in antique stores and fitted together.  Dining tables are made from old chestnut barn wood converted into tabletops.  Original brick walls lend a historic note and light from the storefront windows afford diners a view of the activity on King Street.  The rest of the décor is pretty too.  Will guys go for the fabric-covered banquettes, candlelight and beautiful new bar?  Or will they eschew such decorative niceties?  Will they even notice?  On the night I visited it seemed they would.  A table of coed league soccer players were enjoying beers and a tableful of dishes after a game, and I ran into a group of tastemaker friends at the bar who told me they meet there regularly.  Who knew?

The food is still American Casual, but more flavor forward with generous servings, and quite affordable.  Late last summer, Chafik Hocine was called in as consulting chef.  Hocine’s  menu is heavily influenced by his Northern African roots and informed by traditional French cuisine and exposure from his travels to Vietnam, China, South Africa and Morocco.  A native of Kabylie, Algeria, Hocine grew up in a small, self-contained mountain town, where he learned the value of incorporating fresh, locally-sourced ingredients into his dishes as well as creative improvisation.

Fried crab deviled eggs

Though you can still order full-sized entrées – a gorgeous seafood stew chockfull of half a lobster, shrimp, clams and mussels, or steak frites, a 10-ounce strip steak with house cut French fries – I chose a delicious braised lamb ragout on pappardelle that was sheer bliss.  And though the décor now speaks to fancier dishes, I think the more successful dishes will be generously-portioned starters like Crabcake on Brioche, Fried Crab Deviled Eggs, and a delectably smooth chicken liver paté with accompaniments.  Burgers made with dry-aged beef from Roseda Farms, and a Rolled Oat Mushroom burger for vegetarians (hold the gruyére for vegans), six kinds of salads and snacky things like pulled pork nachos, fried quail with spiced cauliflower purée, and mussels four ways.  All dishes are suprisingly well-priced.

Duck breast with fingerling potatoes and Swiss chard

Cocktails are listed as ‘Fun’ or ‘Fancy’ indicating an awareness of the mix of patrons the restaurant expects to please. “Black Betty’, in the Fun category,  is only available after midnight with a limit of two per customer.  I don’t claim to know what that is all about, but it could prove interesting.  The cocktail menu rotates ,and I noticed a recent Spring drink called Pixie Rainbow Fancy Bubbles with edible glitter, house-made flavored sugar cube, bubbly and Green Hat gin.  Send in the unicorns!  This sounds magical!


On a chilly evening, I opted for the Hot Buttered Scotch made with Glenlivet Founders Reserve (It can also be made with Captain Morgan Spiced Rum), just the thing to warm the cockles of your heart.

Cheesecake Mousse Brûlée

Most impressive about this centrally located spot on Old Town Alexandria’s King Street, are the large portions and charming, cozy ambiance, and there seems to be something on the menu to satisfy “fun” or “fancy” tastes.

The Light Horse – 715 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314.

Urbano 116 Helmed by Mexican Culinary Royalty

Lucha masks at Urbano 116

I am mad as a wet hen.  Shortly after its opening, a well-known local restaurant critic trashed this restaurant, complaining about the cuisine, that food came out too fast for his liking (usually the complaint is the other way round), and thus defiling a celebrated Mexican chef’s reputation.  It was totally unwarranted, and I couldn’t disagree more.  As a testament to its success, the place has been packed with waiting lines of up to an hour on weekends.  Thankfully, they take reservations.

First off, this is not your mother’s taco joint, though tacos are served.  It’s serious Mexican cuisine, with moles that take up to three days to prepare and the use of unique ingredients like the unusual chicatana ant sauce served with tiradita pork belly.  Organic huitlacoche (a delicacy often described as ‘Mexican truffle’) is used in cooking, and five varieties of corn are flown in direct from Mexico and ground on site.  The food is beautiful, fresh and authentic.

Executive Chef Alam Méndez of Urbano 116

Oaxacan Executive Chef Alam Méndez Florián, who left Mexico to helm this new restaurant, is in the kitchen every day.  The award-winning chef doesn’t merely jet in to consult on the menu, he relocated here.  In Mexico City he enjoys a stellar reputation at Pasillo de Humo, a restaurant always packed to the gills with fans of his cooking.  Also noteworthy:  Alam’s mother is one of Mexico’s best loved chefs, Celia Florián, is the leader of the Slow Food Oaxaca movement and an expert in traditional Oaxacan cooking.  Celia, who often cooks with her son, taught James Beard Award-winning chef, Pati Jinich, the art of Oaxacan cooking.  Alam and his mother are considered Mexican culinary royalty.

Beef short ribs

I can honestly say that the seviches were the best I have ever had, here or Mexico, and you won’t go wrong whether you order the Ceviche Amarillo with rockfish, ginger, lime, orange, yellow pepper and pico de gallo or the Shrimp Ceviche with avocado, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, pico de gallo, chile de arbol, cilantro, and carrot (the finely shredded carrot adds a sweet balance to the acidity).

Salsa, chips and plantain molotes

A unique starter, Plantain Molotes, is a typical Oaxacan dish consisting of round balls of mashed plantains.  Usually the beans are inside, but here they are stuffed with goat cheese and served with a complex mole coloradito that incorporates roasted tomatillos, cinnamon, guajillo and ancho chiles, and bittersweet chocolate.  You’ll find deeply rich moles here that are epic.  Try the Braised Short Rib with almond mole, the tender beef falling off the bone.  For vegans, a Cauliflower Taco adds cashew mole.  Sumptuous!

Rockfish seviche

There eight types of tacos and two types of tostadas to choose from.  All are made with heirloom corn.  Happy Hour finds these yummy small plates at half price with gratis wafer-thin chips and smoky salsa.  Drinks are discounted as well.

Mexican chocolate tamal

Desserts are not a mere afterthought in this stylishly hip space that honors the tradition of lucha libre, Mexican wrestling.  (Be sure to check out the luchador masks, housed in glass cases.)  Chocolate is as revered here as it was for the ancient Mayans.  Try the steamed Mexican Chocolate Tamal prepared inside corn husks and served with mixed fresh berries, or the delicious Banana Mezcal Tart with its tender crust and cashew crumble topping.  A new Spring dessert is Mendez’s lip-smacking Trés Léches Cake.

Banana tart with cashew crumble

Urbano 116 – 116 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314.


Who are we if not seekers of the hottest, hippest, edgiest scene?  We try.  The opening of DC’s Moxy Hotel brought out all the influencers and their devoted followers to this hip, new property.  When your lobby is half bar-half lounge with a dime store pony to ride, you have landed in the Moxy.

Billed as “Fun, Play & Scandal” the place was pumped when we were wowed by a fabulous entrance decorated with pink flamingos and a crowd that was rocking to the sounds of DJ Farrah Floscett.

One of the seafood spreads

Tables overflowed with huge displays of iced shrimp and oysters, sushi and sliders and a reach-in fridge filled with lobster rolls, sashimi, tuna tartare and morel-topped vegan cucumber rolls.  Hot pink rubber ducks (hot pink is the prevailing color here) stood guard over an eclectic American flag décor.

Massacre Megan inks a willing guest

Amid all the hubbub, celebrity tattoo artist Megan Massacre of Netflix’s Bondi Ink Tattoo Crew was inking a growing line of fans.  Paste-on tattoos were offered for those of us who eschew the permanent kind – or anything involving pain for that matter.  A glassed-off playroom in the upstairs loft space that overlooks the lobby, houses a giant Jenga, a foosball table and ping-pong.  Beside the upstairs bar is a romantically-lit niche for lounging that’s cordoned off by a beaded curtain.  It’s perfect for private convos… or whatever you don’t want to share.

Hitch a ride on “Trigger”

The hotel offers free wi-fi with plug-and-meet gathering spots, as well as a fitness center, a barista station with fresh baked pastries, craft cocktails and flatbreads in the evenings, and a pet-friendly policy.

Killer heels designed expressly for the Moxy

Moxy by Marriott – 1011 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001.


A night was planned to dine at Bresca.  Two couples who wanted to catch up and enjoy what has become one of the most popular restaurants in DC thanks to the culinary stylings of Executive Chef Ryan Ratino formerly of the briefly-open Ripple and a quaint country inn in White Post, Virginia.  Despite its single Michelin star and a plethora of praise-worthy reviews, all did not go as hoped for.

Reservations were made for 7pm and we arrived on time.  Cocktails were ordered.  Strangely, a martini ordered through the manager, arrived as a glass of white vermouth straight up – without a hint of gin.  After that was sorted out and replaced with an actual martini, we placed our dinner orders – or tried to.  At 7:15 they were out of the Rohan duck.  Little did we know that only four orders of duck are prepared each evening.  Okay, good to know.  Forgo the duck.

Scallop Mi-Cuit with leche de tigre pour over

The Scallop Mi-Cuit was heavenly.  Raw slices of scallop and cara cara orange supremes garnished with wild laurel and enhanced by a tableside pour over of leche de tigre.  Another dish that went quickly was Burrata & Winter Citrus, lively with cream-centered mozzarella, and prettily served with radicchio, herbs and flowers, and aloe marmalade.

Shaved Beef with fermented black bean and crispy tendon

We opted for an order of Seylou Bakery’s Einkorn bread with chartreuse (not discerned) and wild fennel butter – slightly licoricey.  This bakery makes some of my favorite breads, but the Einkorn is a very dense, fermented bread that, though delicious, seemed overwhelmingly intense for this refined cuisine.  Another starter, ordered by my Hungarian chef friend, was the Smoked Potato Pierogis.  These were not delicate potato-based, cheese-filled, prettily-fluted Polish dumplings, but were dense and dreary.

Tuna with sweetbreads, wild fennel and black garlic

Nonetheless, I had high hopes for my entrée – Tuna with sweetbreads, wild fennel and black garlic.  After all, my scallops were lovely.  Sadly, the tuna was prepared sous vide minus a char finish.  It tasted as if it had been boiled with no noticeable seasoning.  Yes, it held a rosy inside as sous vide promises, but it was utterly flavorless.  I was hungry.  I ate it.  The excited-for sweetbreads amounted to less than a teaspoon of tiny chopped up sweetbreads cooked to death.  Oh, dear.

Earl Grey Tea – a dessert of milk and honey sorbet, dark chocolate and Marcona almonds

Around 8:30 the music, already pretty loud, turned to hard rock and since we were already yelling across the table to be heard, we paid and left.  Would I recommend it?  Not as a complete dining experience.  Though I like Ratino’s creativity, it left us flat.

Bresca – 1906 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20009.

Mosaic Central Farm Market Moves to Tysons/Falls Church with a New Name

Eco-Tote Bag with Vegetables and Root Plant acquisitions.

After six years of running a successful farmers market in Merrifield, Virginia, Central Farm Markets is moving their Merrifield location to the George C. Marshall High School at 7731 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA.  This location is closer to I-495 and more accessible for McLean, Falls Church, Fairfax, Vienna and Arlington patrons. The farmers market will be renamed NOVA Central Farm Market to better reflect the new location.  The new market will operate every Sunday from 8:30am till 1pm.

“Our Northern Virginia location was named a Best for Families Winner for 2018, by Washington Family Magazine”, says Mitch Berliner, founder of Central Farm Markets. “ We believe our new location is easier for parking and more centrally located for all of our Northern Virginia patrons”.

April 14, 2019 is designated George C. Marshall High School ‘Griffen Day’ and 5% of sales will be donated to the High School Booster Club.

NOVA Central Farm Market will continue to present the outstanding programming as it does for all of its farmers markets in the Washington area featuring lively music programs, chef demos, kids’ activities, pie contests and more.  Central Farm Markets will continue the food gleaning partnership with Food For Others and continue to host for free local non-profits serving area patrons.

Here’s a list of the providers and services you can expect to find at the new market:

Fresh Garden Strawberries and Basal Herb Rack


Angelic Beef grass-fed, hormone free, additive free, all natural Piedmontese beef

Catoctin Creamery – small farm raised cheese produced by alpine dairy goats

Hog Haven Farm heritage breed pork and market prepared breakfast

King Mushrooms – locally grown mushrooms, soup and other mushroom products

Liberty Delight Farms – farm raised beef, eggs, pork, poultry, rabbit, pet food, pet treats

McCleaf’s Market – vegetables, fruit, berries, jams, eggs, honey, fruit juice, fresh herbs

Metro Microgreens – 15-20 varieties of microgreens locally & hydroponically grown

Pleitez Produce Farms vegetables, fruits, berries, flowers, plants

Stonyman Gourmet Farmer – farm & artisan produced cheeses

Toigo Orchards fruits, organic vegetables, fruit butters, cider

Twin Springs Fruit Farm – fruits, berries, vegetables, fruit products, cider

Westmoreland Berry Farm – strawberries, blackberries, black raspberries, red raspberries blueberries, peaches, apricots, plums, cherries, various vegetables

Young Harvests – locally and naturally grown salad mixes and vegetables

Purveyor of Small Batch Gourmet Raw Honey from an American Beekeeper


Boso Foods – candied nuts, salads, vegetarian soups

Cool Mama gluten-free specialty granolas

District Spice – salt-free, handcrafted spice blends handcrafted in DC

River Sea Chocolates – bean-to-bar chocolate using fine cacao from small-scale sustainable farms

Foggy Mountain Pasta – fresh handcrafted pastas made from organic, pesticide and germicide free, GMO free, heritage grain, and stone cold milled flours

Senzu Juicery – cold pressed juices and nut milks

ShePeppers-artisanal pepper sauces and pepper products

MeatCrafters – locally produced handcrafted sausages, salamis & other charcuterie

Number 1 Sons – pickles, pickled vegetables, kimchis, kombucha

The Virginia Tea Company – herbal teas grown and supplied by local Virginia farms

Vale of the Blue Ridge Maple – Virginia produced pure maple syrups

Zayna’s Delight – handcrafted hummus, pita breads

Zeke’s Coffee – locally roasted coffee, ground and beans



Baguette Republic artisan breads, pastries and cookies

Little Austria – handcrafted, artisan strudels

Out of the Bubble Bakery – regular and gluten free cookies, brownies, cupcakes, cakes

Potomac Sweets large variety of pastries, confections, coffee cakes

Rumalutions deliciously light rum cakes in a variety of flavors

Savagely Good – pies, quiches, cinnamon rolls, gluten free products as well



DMV Empanadas variety of handcrafted empanadas

Messiam The Ethiopian Eatery Ethiopian foods

Old Smokey BBQ – smoked brisket, pork shoulder and chicken, carolina slaw, beans and mac n cheese

Ozfeka Catering – wide variety of healthy baked goods and mediterranean dishes

Poke Dojo-Poke Bowls – fresh raw salmon, fresh raw tuna salads

Sexy Vegie vegan & gluten free soups, salads and burgers




Calico Jack’s – handcrafted unique candles

Compost Crew – composting for homes and businesses

Fossil Rock Farm – handcrafted soaps-alternate weekends

Rockin Lizard Soap Company – handcrafted soapsalternate weekends

Seek Lavender dried Lavender and lavender products

Robbs Edge Express expert sharpening services for knives, scissors, and tools

YH Pottery – handcrafted pottery and table-top ware



Chase Your Tail Bakery – handcrafted, baked dog cookies, popcorn and other treats



Lobster Maine-ia fresh fish, shellfish, lobsters, lobster salads and rolls



Music by Roan Gap – enjoy traditional bluegrass and some crik pickin’!

Chef Demo Join chef Jonathan Bardzik for a taste of spring

Kids Club – kids decorate your own beach ball!

Free Coffee – from Zeke’s Coffee

Free Shopping Bags from Central Farm Markets

The New York City Ballet ~ The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Jordan Wright
April 3, 2019 

Opening night for the New York City Ballet offered a delectable selection of music and dance backed by the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra. It was a thrill for the audience to see the  dancers bring to life original choreography from George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins and Gianna Reisen to the music of Lukas Foss, Paul Hindemuth, Sergei Prokofiev and George Bizet.

New York City Ballet in Gianna Reisen’s Composer’s Holiday. Photo Credit Paul Kolnik

The program, which will be repeated on April 3rd and April 7th, highlights many of the troupes’ most notable dancers – Mary Thomas MacKinnon, Emma Von Enck, Kennard Henson and Roman perform in “Composer’s Holiday”, a Reisen design that heralds modernism.  Abi Stafford, Teresa Reichlen, Joseph Gordon and Russell Janzen take the leads in “Kammermusik No. 2”, with Sterling Hyltin and Gonzalo Garcia taking leads in “Opus 19/The Dreamer.

New York City Ballet in George Balanchine’s KammermusikNo. 2. Photo Credit Paul Kolnik

The final piece “Symphony in C” by Bizet is on four movements and showcases the talents of Ashley Boulder, Tyler Angle in the 1st an Allegro Vivo; Sara Mearns and Jared Angle in the 2nd an Adagio; Baily Jones and Anthony Huxley in the 3rd movement an Allegro Vivace; and Erica Pereira and Andrew Scordato in the 4th movement an Allegro Vivace which took us back to classical ballet with original Balanchine choreography performed with over 50 dancers.  The costumes for this final piece were a contribution from SWAROVSKI and you could see the twinkling crystals adorning their tutus from the back row.

Sterling Hyltin and Gonzalo Garcia in Jerome Robbins’ Opus 19/The Dreamer. Photo Credit Paul Kolnik

Artistic Director of the NYCB, Jonathan Stafford reminded the audience that the NYCB has been performing at the Kennedy Center since 1974 and mentioned that Gianna Reisen wrote her first ballet last year when she was only 18 years old.

Sterling Hyltin and Gonzalo Garcia in Jerome Robbins’ Opus 19/The Dreamer. Photo Credit Paul Kolnik.

“Composer’s Holiday” uses precision and smooth movement to get its point across and there are a lot of heel-to-toe steps which seem like a country dance.  But it is the elegant fluidity and angularity of the motions that elevate it.  In “Kammermusik No. 2” we see many sections performed in delayed mirrored sequence as if the dancers are continuously unfolding.

Sara Mearns in George Balanchine’s Symphony in C. Photo Credit Paul Kolnik.

“Symphony in C” allows Tyler Angle to show off his magnificent form and gravity-defying leaps with Ashley Bouder.  His brother, Jared Angle, follows in an equally memorable performance with Sara Mearns, my favorite dancer of the night.

New York City Ballet in George Balanchine’s Symphony in C. Photo Credit Paul Kolnik.

The following, “New Works and New Productions” are scheduled to be performed on the evenings of April 4th, 5th, and 6th with a matinee added on the 6th.

“Easy” (Leonard Bernstein/Justin Peck)
“In the Night” (Frédérik Chopin/Jerome Robbins)
“The Runaway” (Nico Muhly, Kanye West, Jay-Z, James Blake/Kyle Abraham)

“Something to Dance About” Jerome Robbins, Broadway at the Ballet (Bernstein, Bock, Gould, Rodgers, Styne/Robbins, direction and musical staging by Carlyle)

Two Kennedy Center premieres, created for the centennial of Jerome Robbins, include Justin Peck’s “Easy” set to the music of Leonard Bernstein, and Tony Award-winning choreographer/director Warren Carlyle’s “Something to Dance About” featuring notable dance sequences from On the Town, West Side Story, and more.  Also by Robbins, “In the Night” features three couples of distinct personality set to four of Chopin’s elegant nocturnes.

Kyle Abraham’s “The Runaway”, another Kennedy Center premiere that fuses modern and classical technique with imaginative costumes by Giles Deacon, is set to an eclectic soundtrack that includes hip-hop giants Jay-Z, Kanye West, and others.

In the Opera House at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F St., NW, Washington, DC.  For tickets and information call 202 467-4600.

Native Son ~ Mosaic Theatre

Jordan Wright
March 31, 2019 

Written in the early 1940’s, Richard Wright’s novel became a play only a year after its literary success.  Native Son, is grim reminder of a nation at a crossroads during the time of the House Un-American Activities Committee’s investigations and the communist scare.  Its theme of a country in conflict shares equal space with the issues of race in America.  It reminds us how generations of poverty and the lack of education and decent employment can lead young men into crime.  It introduces us to the central character, Bigger, a young man with a flimsy conscience, who destroy both himself and those around him when both his love life and employment crumble overnight.

Clayton Pelham and Vaughn Ryan Midder ~ PHOTOGRAPHY BY STAN BAROUH

W. E. B. Du Bois defines it as “[A] peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One feels his twoness – an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.”

Fine words, but is Bigger really a good-guy-with-a-soul whose sociological condition takes him on a murderous path? That’s not really the whole of it.  Wright would have us accept that anyone with a life fraught with poverty and racism cannot overcome their condition.  We know that is not true and yet this play is based on a two-time murderer and man-without-a-soul.  It is intriguing to consider how Bigger’s condition could affect his choices, even though it’s not necessarily so that one’s lack of opportunity follows their poor choices.  Remember.

Clayton Pelham, Jr. and Madeline Joey Rose ~ PHOTOGRAPHY BY STAN BAROUH

Much has changed since this was penned nearly 80 years ago during the days of Malcolm X’s brand of Black Nationalism.  Though we’ve had an African American President, dozens of African Americans in Congress and several in the Senate, a culture of racism exists worldwide.  We still jail African Americans in far greater proportion to whites, and underserved neighborhoods still suffer disadvantages both in education and opportunity.  So, is this drama still relevant? It certainly is a grim reminder that some things do not change.

Nevertheless, I found it hard to sympathize with a character who, notwithstanding the obstacles in his life, violently murders two people he professes to care about and threatens to kill another, Buddy, who is his closest friend.  In any case, it affords us the opportunity to see how situations can overtake one’s judgement and to remind us that the treatment of people of color by prosecutors and police remains an ever-constant fear.


Playwright Nambi E. Kelley’s adaption along with Psalmayene 24’s direction plays out in a sort of Greek chorus of characters who remain on stage, sometimes changing roles and swirling around Bigger like limpet mines on a drowning man.  Whether young Mary and Mary’s mother, the well-heeled Mrs. Dalton who proudly donates to the NAACP, and Mary’s communist boyfriend, Jan, sympathize with the plight of the Black man, or not, the conflict still exists as to how to prove it without being patronizing.  P. S. They appear to try.  She hires Bigger as her chauffeur though he has a record as a thief, but the gap is too great to bridge.

Clayton Pelham, Jr., Vaughn Ryan Midder, and Tendo Nsubuguga ~ PHOTOGRAPHY BY STAN BAROUH

Kelley invents The Black Rat – an onstage character who follows Bigger around like a shadow, sometimes whispering better options to counter his violent temper, other times urging him to be more manly.  It’s unsettling to witness how easily a man can ignore his better self and choose a more destructive path.  As The Rat explains, referring to how blacks can respond differently, “We all got two minds.  How we see them seeing us, and how we see ourselves.”

Well-acted all around by Clayton Pelham, Jr. as Bigger; Vaughan Ryan Midder as Black Rat; Madeline Joey Rose as Mary; Melissa Flaim as Mrs. Dalton; Lolita Marie as Bigger’s mother, Hannah; Renee Elizabeth Wilson as Vera and Bessie; Tendo Nsubuga as Bigger’s young friend, Buddy; Drew Kopas as Jan; and Stephen F. Schmidt as Detective Britten.

With violence and adult themes. 

Sets by Ethan Sinnott, Lighting by William K. D’Eugenio, Costumes by Katie Touart, and Projections by Dylan Uremovich.

Native Son will run in repertory with Les Deux Noirs: Notes on Notes of a Native Son starring Jeremy Keith Hunter as James Baldwin and James J. Johnson as Richard Wright.  It opens April 7th and runs through April 27th.

Through April 28th at the Atlas Center for the Performing Arts 1333 H Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002.  For tickets info on post show discussions, special rates and discounts visit or call the box office at 202.399.7993 ext. 2.  Valet parking at 1360 H Street, NE.