For D.C. couple, musicals take center stage


Maggie Boland and John Hance, married couple, lovers of musicals, both with business administration jobs for theaters producing musicals, in their Washington home on August 12. (Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)

Musicals have always been the bottom line for John Hance and Maggie Boland. He’s the Kennedy Center’s general manager for theater productions, including the retooled “Side Show” that’s bound for Broadway. She’s the managing director of Signature Theatre, known for its musicals and where Stephen Sondheim’s “Sunday in the Park With George” is now playing. They crunch numbers but also love the numbers.

They met as Boston College undergrads and had parts in the campus production of “Evita” — “My only college performance,” Hance says. (Boland acted a lot.) Later, they bumped into each other on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Realized they were neighbors. Started dating.

In 1996, Boland — on a trip with her employer at the time, New York’s Roundabout Theatre Company — sent Hance a postcard from London: “I miss you. I love you. Will you marry me?” It’s framed in the living room of the D.C. rowhouse northeast of Logan Circle where they’ve lived for 11 years.

They had the same first musical experience as kids: “Annie.” They bonded at Broadway’s half-price ticket booth, and they eagerly scooped up invitations to fill seats for shows while Boland was at Roundabout. They were zealous repeat customers for the short-lived 1997 Broadway production of “Side Show.”

The exposed-brick wall along their staircase features a blown-up postcard of Washington used in a production of “Born Yesterday” at Arena Stage — where Boland worked until waltzing across the river to Signature in 2008 — and two banners from the Kennedy Center’s revival of the musical “Carnival.” A piano is wedged into the dining room, just in case anyone wants to break into song.

“It’s fairly serious,” Boland says of the couple’s long-running affair with musicals.

Nelson Pressley has been writing about theater and other arts – but mostly theater – for the Post since 1999.
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