Hosts: Philanthropists and business owners Catherine B. Reynolds and Wayne Reynolds
Agenda: Promote charity
There should be paparazzi outside Cafe Milano in Georgetown on this Sunday night. Instead, Washington’s A-listers slip into the famed see-and-be-seen restaurant almost unnoticed. A passerby on the street might never recognize the collective star power gathering inside.
Catherine B. Reynolds, 54, and Wayne Reynolds, 55, stand at the door of the Domingo Room, greeting guests. The Reynoldses’ parties attract some of the biggest names in the city, but the parties, the Reynoldses say, are not thrown for frivolity.
“There usually is a purpose to the evening,” Catherine Reynolds says. “Almost 100 percent of dinners hosted by my husband and myself, I would say at least from our perspective, are usually organized around a philanthropic purpose or a cause.”
This dinner is thrown to support the D.C. College Access Program, which provides college scholarships for D.C. schoolchildren. The party, Catherine says, is “all about the people and the conversations.” The connections are choreographed. “I don’t believe in open seating,” Wayne Reynolds says.
Inside the Domingo Room, guests are connecting, as they are supposed to: Chris Wallace, host of “Fox News Sunday”; Rickey Minor, bandleader for “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno”; dancer and choreographer Debbie Allen. The Washington Post’s Donald Graham; mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves; former U.S. secretary of state Colin Powell and wife Alma Powell, chair of America’s Promise Alliance; and Post columnist Colbert King are talking to Grammy winner Dionne Warwick.
Dionne Warwick! If you could only get to her side. But unless you push and elbow and rudely excuse yourself, you will never make it to that corner where it looks as though she and the Powells are having a very lovely conversation.
You glance over your shoulder: You see BET founder Robert Johnson; television anchor Barbara Harrison; former secretary of defense William Cohen and his wife, Janet Langhart; NPR host Michel Martin and her husband, litigator Billy Martin.
Wayne Reynolds introduces you to Billy Martin, who says an invitation from the Reynoldses is “meaningful because you really do get to meet people you enjoy talking with.” Last month, at another Reynolds party, Martin met basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. “It was a dream of a lifetime to sit down and talk with him about his life and career and basketball,” Martin says.
Reynolds is thrilled to hear that story. “The success of a dinner party is when you learn something new and you meet someone new,” he says.