As Felicia Curry, who plays celebrated singer Marian Anderson in the production, waited in the wings, the number caught her off guard. Curry had performed in multiple digital plays during the pandemic, and returned onstage before live audiences for a Massachusetts production of “Nina Simone: Four Women” over the summer. But as a D.C. theater staple for the past two decades, the Brookland resident hadn’t fully processed just how long the coronavirus had kept her and local audiences apart.
“I got teary eyed just hearing that number,” Curry says. “And to know that we were on the other side of it — not of the pandemic, but the other side of 560-something days — it’s just really special.”
“My Lord, What a Night,” which runs through Oct. 24, is inspired by the real-life friendship between Anderson and Albert Einstein (played by Christopher Bloch), who in 1937 offered the contralto lodging at his Princeton, N.J., home when she was denied a hotel room because she was Black. As Curry brainstorms her perfect day in the D.C. area, the itinerary includes a stop by the site of Anderson’s most renowned performance: the Lincoln Memorial, where she sang for more than 75,000 people on Easter Sunday in 1939.
Anybody that knows me knows that fitness is a big part of what I do, so I’d start the day by getting up and working out at my favorite studio, RTR Pilates in the Palisades. When I get out, I would treat myself to Bethesda Bagels and get an everything bagel with egg whites and cheese. I’m a Jersey girl, and that place makes me think of the bagels that I get back home.
Then I’d head back to Brookland and go to the Monroe Street Farmers Market in my neighborhood. It’s right on the Arts Walk, so not only are people coming in and bringing fruits and vegetables there, but the artists on the walk get to come out and show off all of their things, too. Since I live in the artist housing in Brookland, I’d then get a cup of coffee back home with [director and actor] Rick Hammerly, who lives in the same building on the same floor.
Next, anybody who knows me also knows that I enjoy fashion very much, as seen by my many outfit changes at the Helen Hayes Awards over the years. One of my favorite places to go is Current Boutique, which is a consignment shop on 14th Street [NW]. I love giving clothes a second life, especially when the folks there have such wonderful clothing. Then I’d take my boyfriend, Douglas Shore, to lunch at Primrose, which is right down the street from me. They’ve got a cute little patio, so the weather on this perfect day would be relatively nice and we could just sit outside. I’m a pescatarian, and they always do great things with their fish and vegetarian dishes.
I love markets, apparently, because then I’d go to the Downtown Holiday Market and enjoy some live music there from the Stacy Brooks Band. Since we’d be right there, I would go over to the National Portrait Gallery with some doughnuts from Migues Magnificent Mini Donuts at the holiday market and just sit down in the beautiful atrium.
I don’t think I’m performing on my perfect day, so in the evening I would take Dougie to see something at the Anthem. This is going to sound crazy, but my dream concert would be Dave Chappelle opening for Nina Simone, who I’d really love to see live [after playing her this past summer]. Afterward, I’m a big fan of the Clyde’s Restaurant Group, so I’d probably go to the Hamilton for a little food — they do a late-night sushi happy hour that’s really good. Then we’d finish the day with a nighttime tour of the Lincoln Memorial and the rest of the monuments, when it’s quiet and it feels like they’re just yours for a little bit.