Cause: Boosting funding for arts education, an issue taken up by the National Association of Music Merchants.
Celeb: Erich Bergen, best known for his role as the uber-organized executive assistant to Tea Leoni’s secretary of state character in the CBS drama “Madam Secretary.” The triple threat was supposed to be in New York this week for rehearsals for the Broadway show “Waitress,” in which he’ll debut in June, but he had already promised to be in Washington to visit Congress, so the Great White Way just had to … well, wait.
Scene: Bergen’s week in the nation’s capital has already been So Very Washington: He did a C-SPAN interview on Tuesday morning and then was off to the equivalent of lobbyist camp at the lobbying firm Nelson Mullins, where the pros trained him and other advocates on legislative process and strategies to use while meeting with lawmakers. (With maybe only 12 minutes of face time, “the ask” is the really important part, they were told.) Bergen, wearing a suit-sans-tie look that’s definitely better-tailored than your typical Hill denizen’s, was soaking up the talking points like a pro (so, does that make him a quadruple threat now?).
Sound bite: In meetings with members of Congress on Wednesday, Bergen plans to share his own story of how studying music saved him as a high school “outcast,” but he also wants to make a more universal appeal. Learning about music and other arts, he says, helps students perform better in all their subjects. “We’re not trying to teach kids to become musicians. We’re not trying to teach kids to become Beyoncé — although we should,” he joked. “We are teaching kids how to better apply and fundamentally understand everything they’re being taught in school.”