IN NOVEMBER, IT WAS my pleasure to present the
“People’s Choice Award” for the 15th annual Trawick
Prize for contemporary art. ;e competition, founded
and supported by Bethesda arts patron Carol Trawick,
attracts and highlights the many extraordinary artists in
Montgomery County and throughout the Washington,
Cash prizes totaling $14,000 are given to the winners
and runners-up of a juried competition—and $1,000
goes to the People’s Choice Award winner, who is
selected through voting at BethesdaMagazine.com.
;anks to Trawick and others, the local visual and
performing arts scene is flourishing. In addition to the
contemporary arts prize, Trawick sponsors the annual
Bethesda Painting Awards. Bethesda resident Cathy
Bernard sponsors the annual Bernard/Ebb Songwriting
Awards. And the Bethesda Urban Partnership, Federal
Realty Investment Trust and commercial property
owner Lenny Greenberg have commissioned large
public murals throughout downtown Bethesda.
Nothing, however, symbolizes the resurgence of the
Bethesda arts scene more than Round House ;eatre.
At the beginning of this decade, Round House was
struggling financially and artistically. (Full disclosure:
I was on the theater’s board of directors for a brief
period.) But everything changed when Ryan Rilette
became artistic director in 2012.
In this issue, we profile Rilette, who oversees all
Our story about Rilette—and how he remade Round
facets of the theater—and also directs and performs in
plays. He has propelled Round House to the top tier
of theaters in the D.C. area. Last March, Washington
Post theater critic Peter Marks wrote: “Under the
leadership for the past five years of artistic director
Ryan Rilette, Round House has gradually been moving
up in qualitative rank, to the point where its seasons
rival those of the five companies that form the elite
spokes of the regional theater community: Shakespeare
;eatre Company, Arena Stage, Studio ;eatre, Woolly
Mammoth ;eatre and Signature ;eatre.”
Rilette’s artistic vision was greatly influenced by
his experience living in New Orleans after Hurricane
Katrina. As head of the Southern Rep ;eatre in that
city, Rilette realized that theater could give voice to—
and spur conversation about—the fears and emotions of
residents. At Round House, he has presented plays that
address many of today’s important and troubling issues.
House—begins on page 172.
THIS IS, OF COURSE, our Best of Bethesda issue,
which includes 61 Editors’ Picks and 81 Readers’ Picks.
For our Editors’ Picks, our editors worked with our
writers to come up with interesting and fun categories—
and to pick the winners. For this year’s Readers’ Picks,
nearly 11,000 people voted in our online poll. ;anks to
everyone who participated.
Look for an announcement soon for the date and
location of our annual Best of Bethesda Party!
I hope you enjoy this issue of the magazine.
Please email me your comments on the issue at
24 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018 | BETHESDAMAGAZINE.COM
to our readers
Editor & Publisher
WHERE THE ARTS THRIVE