“There’s no place like live theatre.”

I want the stages of all theaters to succeed—from the small community theater that may average 20 patrons a show, to larger regional theaters like The National, to the storied buildings and performers that light up Broadway. Live theatre reminds us who we are as humans and, equally important, who we are not.  Reflecting on a few of the musical theater performances I have attended with friends and family at The National, we are not princesses (Cinderella), but oh, the joy of seeing little girls dressed up in blue dresses and tiaras and holding the hands of their proud fathers as they take their seats! We are not four guys singing under a streetlamp in 1950s New Jersey (Jersey Boys), but how we can relate to and empathize with their compelling story of hard work, family tensions, messy relationships with co-workers, regrets, and eventual success. Really, it’s just too good to be true. We have never been thrown from a flying house or seized by flying monkeys (The Wizard of Oz), but how our spirits soar as we follow the characters on their yellow brick road journey through Munchkinland, into the forest and poppy fields, and finally, arriving in Emerald City. Maybe there’s no place like home, but there’s also no place like live theater.

As Maryland residents, seeing a performance at The National is a day outing for us. Typically, we go to a Saturday matinee with lunch beforehand. Sometimes, we bundle a show at The National with that at another D.C. venue for an extended outing. That was to be the case with seeing The Last Ship at The National in late March 2020. We had tickets for The Last Ship for Friday evening and for Guys and Dolls at Ford’s Theatre on Saturday. Unfortunately, the pandemic canceled those plans.

My family, friends, and I look forward to making more memories at The National Theater when the curtain goes up this year. It is a privilege to live in the D.C. area and be able to take advantage of the many outstanding stages we have available, among them, The National. It truly is as wonderful as it seems.  

Karla Castner

Sustaining Member, Friend of The National