BY DINA ELBOGHDADY
Two years ago, Adventure Theatre’s Michael Bobbitt decided
he was done being overweight and unhappy. He’s since lost more
than 90 pounds, and the change hasn’t just been physical.
SHOW T IME
MICHAEL BOBBITT DISTINCTLY remembers
May 9, 2016, as the day he chose to be happy. The
moment he opened his eyes, a desperate craving to
feel joy consumed him. That’s when he resolved to
shed all the bad stuff—the pounds he’d gained at
an alarming rate in his 30s, the pain that came at
the end of a 19-year relationship in his 40s, and the
lifelong patterns that had enabled it all to happen.
The fear of doing things the way he’d always done
them became scarier than the prospect of a major
life change. “Something had to give,” Bobbitt says.
A series of problems with his live-in partner at
the time had come to a head by then, plunging Bobbitt into a state of crisis. His usual self-soothing
techniques failed him. Burying himself in work
didn’t help; neither did watching television. Even
food, his most reliable escape, was no longer satisfying. At nearly 300 pounds, the former dancer
and model could barely recognize his 6-foot-2-inch
frame in the mirror.
He’d already been trying to eat better and exer-
cise, but that morning Bobbitt realized he needed
to make time to do more, even if that meant giving
up the job he’d held and cherished since 2007. As the
artistic director of Adventure Theatre MTC, which
has locations in Glen Echo and Rockville, Bobbitt
had transformed what was once a small volun-
teer-run organization into a nationally recognized
professional children’s theater. Under his leadership,
the company won its first Helen Hayes Award in
2011, and the theater has racked up 56 nominations
and eight more wins.
But Bobbitt, then 43, put it all on the line. Later
that May he reached out to the theater’s board of
directors to say he needed time to work on himself,
and he floated three options. “I told them I could
take a sabbatical, or come to work when I wanted
to for three months, or leave,” he says. The board
chose the middle ground, allowing him the flexible schedule he wanted. Bobbitt then went about
disentangling himself from other work obligations.
He withdrew from a show he was choreographing
at 1st Stage in Tysons Corner, Virginia. William
Yanesh, a close friend and music director who
was collaborating with him on that production,
says Bobbitt cited personal reasons and promptly