At the time, Douglas was an active-duty soldier and member of the U.S. Army Chorus stationed at Arlington’s Fort Myer. His next assignment: performing at the White House for Italian President Sergio Mattarella’s state visit.
“One day after rehearsal, I left a bit early, changed into my uniform and got in an Uber to the White House to go sing ‘Nessun Dorma’ for the president of Italy,” recalls Douglas, 28. “It was probably the most high-risk, high-reward moment I’ve had thus far in my life.”
Having concluded his four-year Army enlistment, Douglas is pursuing his own path in the performing arts. Later this month, he can be seen in Signature Theatre’s streaming production of the intimate musical “Midnight at the Never Get.” In March, Douglas released his genre-hopping debut album, “Inside Voice,” which he wrote and recorded from home during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Everything else went away, performing and all the other gigs, but I was still able to write and explore that world of my own volition, which was kind of a beautiful thing,” Douglas says. “I view the album as being, like, a solar system of sound, almost like each song really feels like its own world, sonically.”
On his perfect day in the D.C. area, Douglas — a Towson native who attended the University of Maryland — savors the chance to be a tourist in his own backyard and again take in some live music and theater.
My favorite coffee shop is in Arlington, called Northside Social — they have delicious coffee and great food. So I would love to swing by there to start the day, grab a sage sausage and poached egg sandwich and a black coffee to go, then head into D.C. and go to the Tidal Basin. I’d just have a little relaxing breakfast picnic with coffee and friends, looking at the cherry blossoms over the water and enjoying that quiet time. Also, in this dream world, there aren’t a million tourists.
I feel like I can never get tired of walking around the monuments. I love the view from the World War II Memorial, looking down at the Lincoln Memorial and then, on the other side, the Washington Monument and the Capitol. After hanging out on the National Mall, I’d go to the National Portrait Gallery. I love going to art museums — there’s something about it that forces me to slow down and actually be present with the art. So I’d spend the rest of the morning doing that.
For lunch, there’s a place nearby called Pi Pizzeria. After basic training, I was like, “You know what? I’m just going to spend the day in D.C. by myself.” I walked around a bunch and got super hungry, so I got some pizza and a beer there. It felt really meaningful, just doing that simple thing, especially after getting out of basic training and feeling like I was in this new chapter of my life. So that’s kind of all tied into this one restaurant for some reason.
I’d spend the afternoon hanging out at the Botanic Garden and have an early picnic dinner there with a sandwich from Which Wich. Then I’d go to Jazz in the Garden at the Sculpture Garden. It’s something I used to do with my friends from college, and I’ve missed that kind of a thing, just being able to gather and see live music and hang out.
I figure I should probably go see some theater, so I would see a show at Signature Theatre, because I miss it and I just love Sig. After that, I would have to go get some cocktails. There’s a place called the Partisan — I went there for my 27th birthday after a lovely day with some fellow theater folks in D.C., and I was so impressed with their cocktails and the vibe. So that would be the place to end the night, with a Manhattan or an Old Fashioned.