In D.C. Dream Day, we ask our favorite people in the area to tell us how they would spend a perfect day in the District. See previous dream days from Mayor Muriel Bowser, comedian Paris Sashay, Washington Capitals player Tom Wilson and more.


Nancy Anderson plays Mrs. Wilkinson in Signature Theatre's production of "Billy Elliot." (Margot Schulman)

Nancy Anderson doesn’t spend much time fixating on her role in Signature’s Theatre’s production of the musical “Billy Elliot,” running through Jan. 6. As Mrs. Wilkinson, 11-year-old Billy’s coarse but compassionate ballet teacher, the actress finds herself more absorbed by her youthful castmates. “When you’ve got a whole backstage full of kids, you stop thinking about yourself,” says Anderson, 46. “I find I’m much more interested in engaging with these kids.” The child actors could have a worse mentor than Anderson, whose résumé includes a 2002 Olivier Award nomination for “Kiss Me, Kate” in London and a stint last year as Glenn Close’s understudy for “Sunset Boulevard” on Broadway. Though currently based in Brooklyn, Anderson is a veteran of the D.C. theater scene who finds herself in the process of relocating to the Shenandoah Valley. Her dream day here is a distinctly D.C. experience, featuring historic excursions and a politically themed coffee date.

I would start in Eastern Market at Peregrine Espresso, and I would have a coffee with [U.S. Rep.] Adam Schiff. He’s my secret boyfriend, but don’t tell my husband [American Shakespeare Center artistic director Ethan McSweeny]. So we would talk politics in the morning. I’m talking not morning, morning — I’m talking like 10 o’clock. It’s going to take a little while to get myself together because if I’m going to get coffee with Adam Schiff, then I have to look good — casual, but good.

Then I would probably let Adam Schiff go, because he’s busy and has a lot of work to do and I don’t want to take up a lot of his time, and I feel like that’s giving of me. So I would go over to Labyrinth and buy a puzzle. Puzzles are a really big part of my green room backstage in theaters in D.C.

When you enter Eastern Market, straight ahead there’s the first deli counter. They make the best chicken salad in the history of the United States — and I’ve tried chicken salad in a lot of towns and cities around the country. I would get a big ol’ tub of that and just eat it with some rice crackers.

Then I’d go to a Capital Bikeshare and ride my bike from Eastern Market all the way down the Mall and to the Jefferson Memorial, which has always been my favorite memorial since I was a little kid.

I would take the Metro or Uber to go up and visit my in-laws [in Northwest] and take their dog, Nicolette, for a walk. They like to take her to Battery Kemble Park, which I love. I’d like to have my husband there — that would be nice, and would probably make him feel better after my date with Adam Schiff. I wouldn’t want him to get too jealous.

My husband and I would then go to Sushi Taro on 17th, which is fantastic. When I was first working down here, I was doing a show called “By Jeeves” at the Kennedy Center and I was really into Irish music, and on Monday nights Nanny O’Briens has a really good ceili session. So then I’d go there.

Next, I would do a late-night tour of the Lincoln Memorial. And then — I’ve never done this before, but this is my dream — you can rent the Lockkeeper’s House down on the [C&O] Canal to stay overnight. So I would end the day by doing my puzzle at the Lockkeeper’s House.