Thursday, June 23, 2011

Press Release: Creative Cauldron & Mike Thornton Agency present Comedy/Cabaret Workshops with Member of The Capitol Steps

DATELINE: June 27, 2012
Laura Hull, Creative Cauldron
571-239-5288 or
Mike Thornton, The Mike Thornton Agency
703-597-4441 or


Creative Cauldron, the Northern Virginia arts education consotrium and The Mike Thornton Agency will present two summer cabaret and comedy workshops for teens ages 16-19, taught by members of the nationally known musical political satire group “The Capitol Steps”. 

The Monday through Friday cabaret programs will be held July 11-15 and July 18-22. Classes in acting, musical comedy, and improvisation will be held on the first four days, culminating in a Friday evening performance with the teens performing alongside the professionals from The Capitol Steps. All programs will be held from 6:30PM-10PM at Creative Cauldron’s ArtSpace, 410 South Maple Avenue, in Falls Church, VA.

Mike Thornton has been a member of The Capitol Steps for over ten years Joining him are fellow “Steps” Mike Carruthers, Kevin Corbett, Morgan Duncan, David Kane, and Emily Bell Spitz, as well as Mclean’s, long-time teacher and drama department head, Denise Perino.

Program fee is $375 per week. For complete information and registration materials: or 571-239-5288 or email: info@creative

Creative Cauldron is a not-for-profit arts organization providing opportunities for learning  and participation in the performing and visual arts for children and adults.  We have been operating in Northern Virginia since 2002.  In June of 2009, Creative Cauldron opened the doors of its new home in the ArtSpace Falls Church, a 3,000 square foot flexible arts facility located in the City of Falls Church. Creative Cauldron offers programs all year round at the site, including performances that have multi-generational appeal. For information on Creative Cauldron

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Capitol Steps Performers Added to Metro DC Summer Program

Metro DC Folks: Mike Thornton, of The Capitol Steps has rounded up some “Steps” (Mike Carruthers, Dave Kane, Emily Spitz, Morgan Duncan) to teach cabaret workshops at Creative Cauldron, Falls Church, VA. Two sessions for performers ages 16-19 on 7/11-15 and 7/18-22. Program includes acting, musical comedy, and improv skills. Sessions end with a cabaret with students and pros.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Young Adult Summer Musical Theatre/Improv Classes in Metro DC

Mike Thornton, my frequent producing partner and a long-time member of “The Capitol Steps” has rounded up some “Steps” to teach two cabaret and comedy workshops at Creative Cauldron.

Mike will lead two sessions for young performers ages 16-19 on July 11-15 and July 18-22. The week includes honing acting, comedy, musical theatre and improv skills. The session ends with a cabaret performances by the young performers and the professionals. Classes and performances take place at ArtsSpace Falls Church, 410 South Maple Avenue, Falls Church, VA.

For further information:

Saying Farewell to Bob Paquette.

One couldn’t have asked for a better day. Saturday was sunny, warm but not too hot, and the summer tourists had not yet overrun Historic Deerfield or the roads leading to it past Yankee Candle.

Approximately 400 family, current and former colleagues and friends came to honor Bob in the historic First Church of Deerfield. Like Bob and Mike, the service was simple and unadorned. The Rev. Ann Hallstein, friends of Bob and Mike, led the service. Several friends and colleagues spoke. Rep. Stan Rosenberg, a longtime family friend, offered the first words of recollection, followed by WFCR staffers Martin Miller and Helen Barrington. Then, they passed the mic. Mike’s mom told those assembled how the family welcomed Bob into their home--and how Bob had a great way of making people laugh. On-air colleague John Montanari told of their special bond. Former WFCR news director Pippin Ross lent her sultry voice to the recollections. And, Tim Neumann, one of Bob’s closest friends and fellow Baptist Boy, offered a recollection that Bob would have chuckled at.

The outpouring of sympathy, condolences and grief...from that posted on WFCR’s website, to that posted on Facebook...from tributes by area media from George Lenker (The Republican) and Scott Coen (ABC40 and’s all been comforting. Some of the comfort comes from friends. Much comes from people who only knew Bob as a trusted voice on “Morning Edition”.

It was a tough farewell. Bob Paquette has been a major part of my professional and person life for over 20 years. But, I’m so glad our lives crossed and that we shared so much.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Remembering Bob Paquette

One of my best friends died unexpectedly last weekend.

I was honored to know Bob Paquette, “Morning Edition” anchor and news producer at WFCR, Public Radio for 20+ years.

Backstory: I joined WFCR in 1987; Bob entered the studio in 1991, but our paths had first crossed earlier. Bob had been the news director, reporter, and anchor for WTTT in Amherst. Even though I was at WFCR in a very part-time role selling underwriting, I was working as a reporter for two separate AM stations, WSPR and WNNZ. I was concurrently arts/travel editor at the Jewish Weekly News. We always ran into each other covering stories, at media events, and other places where press hung out.

We also had something else in common. We were both amongst a handful of out media types. It brought a group of us together, especially as the LGBT rights movement grew in Western Massachusetts, and as the growing number of AIDS service organizations needed media support to survive.

As the years went by, I moved from reporter away from WFCR to WFCR’s Underwriting/Public Relations/Special Events manager and then to independent public relations dude; Bob moved from reporter to WFCR News Director to “Morning Edition” anchor. We rarely saw each other at the station because of different schedules. But, Bob, his then partner/now husband Mike Packard; me, one of my best friends and frequent collaborators Michael Kusek, and Chris Daly from WFCR (friend and colleague of Bob and me) started meeting for monthly “Boys Lunch”. We’d find a restaurant, sit, eat, and laugh for an hour, before going our respective ways.

Boys Lunch attended Bob’s and Mike’s wedding. Boys Lunch attended special events produced by me or Michael Kusek. When Bob was diagnosed with lymphoma, no one dared miss a Boys Lunch, and when Bob was in Brigham & Womens Hospital in Boston for a stem-cell transplant, Boys Lunch travelled to Bob.

During Bob’s illness, our friendship took a new course. As Bob suffered chemo and its effects quietly, and as my lifelong bout with diabetes crossed paths with a difficult-to-heal injury, we becme each other’s special support network. We shared dark moments, bright moments, fears, triumphs. I opened up to Bob in ways I never thought possible. I think he shared things with me that no one else ever knew.

Last Wednesday, May 25, we assembled for Boys Lunch at Northampton's Brewery. In an early blast of summer humidity, we sat on the outside deck and had sandwiches with cold beer. We laughed. The previous few Boys Lunch gatherings had involved discussions about caring for elderly parents. This time, just laughs. After, as Mike ran to a closing, and Chris ran back to work, Bob and I lingered. We had a chance to catch up one-on-one and laugh even more. I returned to work euphoric, because all of us were in great places and happy. In retrospect, that lunch was a gift. A chance to hang out with Bob when both of us were at our best.

His sudden death took me by surprise. I’ve taken great comfort in seeing friends, colleagues and strangers who were WFCR listeners post comments and accolades on Facebook, and after every article commemorating Bob appears. People who know me and know that I’ve worked with WFCR, offer their condolences, whether in the Starbucks line or at Big Y.

Two public accolades moved me to tears, one from a mutual friend, George Lenker, who writes for The Republican; another from Scott Coen at ABC40, a colleague with whom I don’t get to coffee with enough. I’ve posted their stories below.

WFCR also produced some remembrances.

I’ll honor Bob always by making more of an effort to be in constant contact with those I care about. I’ll honor Bob by making sure I work with the same level of integrity he displayed on-air and off. I’ll honor Bob by laughing. Bob’s sense of humor was sly and buoyant. And that quality makes me smile through tears.

Scott Coen’s piece for WGGB/ABC40:
George Lenker’s piece for The Republican and MassLive: