In the fall of 2016, DC Metro Theater Arts was humming along. Helmed by its inspired and enterprising founder Joel Markowitz, DC Metro Theater Arts had grown from its 2012 inception into the largest online source of performing arts coverage in the Mid-Atlantic region. I had been working with Joel for a while at that point and he and I had a great thing going. He was grateful to have someone help him with the daily tasks of running a large online publication, and I was excited to be a part of it.
I called Joel on Christmas day, 2016. We hadn’t spoken for a week or so, as I was traveling, and I wanted to wish him well. “I just don’t feel right,” he told me that day. “I don’t know what it is, but something is off.”
By February 2017, Joel had received his diagnosis of ALS. Worse still, the disease was progressing rapidly and attacking his brain first, causing rapid development of ALS’s worst effects: loss of speech and mobility. It was clear that for the publication to continue, Joel would need help.
Now, the good thing about spending your life being kind to other people, about looking out for “the little guy,” as Joel always does, is that when it’s your turn to need help, people show up. People help.
During the summer of 2017, a dedicated team of individuals who believe in this publication congregated around Joel to keep his legacy alive. David Siegel didn’t hesitate when Joel asked him to be interim editor. John Stoltenberg put his immense brain and heart to work as communications consultant, and Patricia Mitchell inspired us all with her ability to break down the monumental into doable tasks.
We marveled at the breadth of the work Joel had been undertaking. We scratched our heads while figuring out how to divide the work between us. We sacrificed time that we normally would have spent writing, or attending theater, to keep Joel’s ship on course.
And we figured it out. It was a summer that none of us could have anticipated just a few months earlier. A summer of late-night emails, long hashed-out discussions, and, most delightfully, a summer of collaboration. From these long months of analysis and introspection, it emerged that I would be the new editor-in-chief and publisher of DC Metro Theater Arts, but I’m certainly not doing it alone. This publication would have come to a screeching halt months ago if not for the hard work of those mentioned above and others. We are a family and we are all in this for the right reason: Because we believe that shining a light on the performing arts is our way of making the world, and our communities, a better place.
I am thrilled to take on the mantle of my dear friend Joel. I hope to make him proud.
And I would love to hear from you, our readers. If you have ideas, would like to collaborate with us, or just want to say hi, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher