‘A Quick 5′ Turns One Year Old

When I joined MTG back in August of 2011, I had an idea for a column. It was a very simple concept, to ask five questions of people in the arts. I did not want to do the standard thing with just actors but introduce people who work in all facets of the arts. They could be a producer, designer, musician, or the chairman for The National Endowment for The Arts. They just had to have chosen the arts as their profession or be an arts lover.

On September 29, 2011 my friend Cyndy Marion who is the Artistic Director of White Horse Theater Company in NYC debuted my column called ‘A Quick 5.’

One year and 187 columns later ‘A Quick 5′ is, I’m told, MTG’s most popular feature. I must say I am totally surprised by the reaction. It’s so nice to know that people enjoy what you do and hopefully you educate them while they are being entertained reading your stuff.

The column has featured such notable people as Jason Robert Brown, Marcia Mason, Marc Shaiman and Michael John LaChuisa. Lots of local performers have shown up in the column. The list reads like a who’s who of DC talent. People like Stephan F. Schmidt, Kimberly Schraf, Christopher Bloch, Joe Brack and Tonya Beckman are just a few of the many performers who taken time out of their always jam packed schedules to do my column.

Then we have the Artistic Directors that are responsible for picking the great theatre that you see. Eric Schaeffer, Howard Shalwitz, Blake Robison and Molly Smith among others were all gracious enough to be a part of ‘A Quick 5.’

All of those folks are people you probably knew before this column started. While it is great to highlight the famous I wanted the column to introduce you to folks you might not be familiar with.

On the performing front you met powerhouse dynamos like Tina Ghandchilar, Priscilla Cuellar, Noah Chiet, Shayna Blass and Adi Stein. These are just a few of the talents that you probably have seen, but never knew much about them.

Designers are a big part of theatre and ‘A Quick 5′ has highlighted such talented artists as Matthew Nielson, James Kronzer, Klyph Stanford and Murrel Horton.

As you well know I am a big proponent of live music and good orchestration.  A few of the names that have graced this column include Gabriel Mangiante, Jenny Cartney, John Miller, and Tony Award Winning orchestrator Larry Hochman.

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I even did a couple of full cast ‘Quick 5′ colunns with the cast of  P.Nokio, Jesus Le Momo, and most recently all of the kids in Big The Musical TYA.

There are two columns in particular that stand out for me from the past year. The first is from a person I never thought would do one. Rocco Landesman is the Chairman of The National Endowment for The Arts. At the time there were a lot of possible cuts to arts funding and Landesman was getting it from all ends. I decided if he was going to do the column the questions would not deal with that topic. People forget that he was a brilliant Broadway producer before coming to DC so I thought that would be the topic to stick with. His public affairs office later thanked me for being so respectful.

‘A Quick 5′ celebrates its first birthday!

The second column that sticks out is one that might make me sound biased and maybe I am but I don’t care. Without lovers of theatre why do we do what we do? This was never better illustrated than the column that was done by two sisters. Their names are Jennifer Perry and Natasha Ashley. Now if Jennifer Perry sounds familiar to you it’s because she is a former MTG writer and more importantly my wife. My sister in law Natasha Ashley and Jennifer went on many trips to NYC to see shows and this particular column shows the love they have for the theater and each other.

To everyone that has done ‘A Quick 5′ column for me you are one of the reasons it is so successful. Your talent, humor and generosity are very much appreciated.

To all of the press agents at all of the theatres around town that set up interviews for me, simply put this column does not work without your efforts and I cannot thank you enough.

I wish to thank all of my readers for supporting ‘A Quick 5′ over the past year. When people come up to me and say “I just read your ‘Quick 5′ and do so all the time” it’s always a nice thing.

Last but not least I wish to thank the woman that puts me in a better place and has done so for a little over five years now. To my wife Jennifer Perry, your support and love means the world to me.

As I start the second year of ‘A Quick 5′ I hope to introduce you to more people working in the business. Some you may recognize and others you will not but either way thanks for taking time to do ‘A Quick 5′ with me.

About Elliot Lanes

Elliot Lanes has been a professional stage manager/sound designer/board op for over 20 years. After relocating to Washington, DC from the New York City area and marrying the girl of his dreams Jennifer Perry, he has been privileged to work on productions at Theatre J, Synetic, Prince George's Community College and Studio Theater to name a few. He has contributed designs for many shows in the last three Capital Fringe Festivals, two of which garnered critical raves. He is also the creator of MD Theatre Guide's highly successful 'A Quick 5' column.