National Theatre Hosts SAMs

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

By Desiree

What a “dramatic” afternoon for our Safety/Hospitality and Maintenance (SAMs) employees, who held their May SAM of the Month meeting at The National Theatre (1321 Pennsylvania Avenue). Greeting them as they arrived was Tom F. Lee, the theater’s executive director, who churned out musical tunes on a piano in the Helen Hayes Gallery. What a way to impress guests! After all, Lee was formerly a White House pianist for six presidents as a member of the U.S. Marine Band.

Along with Sarah K. Bartlo, the general manager, Lee acknowledged the SAMs for doing great work for D.C. and relayed several attention-grabbing stories about one of the oldest continuously operating theaters in the nation. Did you know that legendary actress Helen Hayes used to sit in the balcony as a little girl and tell her mother that she wanted to become an actress? Or, that on the day John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Lincoln, he purchased a ticket to Ford’s Theatre (511 10th Street) and The National Theatre, where the actor ordered bottles of brandy and drank heavily?

The National Theatre opened in 1835, became a non-profit entity in 1974 and underwent a major interior renovation more than 10 years later. It recently entered a new management agreement that will keep the historic venue open 200 nights per year—more than doubling the number of nights open in the past few years. Expect more Broadway shows, concerts, leading classical artists and other attractions at what fondly has been called the “Theatre of Presidents.”

Some of what’s in store for future audiences: If/Then, a new musical; The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess; Green Day’s American Idiot; and West Side Story. Also available: the Saturday Morning at the National program for children and Monday Night at the National cinema program. Both programs are free, but seating is limited and tickets are required.

During the meeting, two SAMs who exhibited dedication to excellence and hard work were recognized as the April SAMs of the Month. They are Safety/Hospitality Team Member Sandra Tapscott and Maintenance Team Member Rosa Rosales.

Sandra Tapscott, a Safety/Hospitality Team member for two years, recently walked away with her third SAM of the Month award. She earned them by practicing due diligence—such as absorbing helpful information about Downtown, from its restaurants to its cultural and entertainment attractions, like a sponge. “I teach myself everything because what was the same a month ago might be different now. This area changes so much.” A veteran communicator, Sandra is a former Newseum (555 Pennsylvania Avenue) visitor center supervisor, so she knows more than a thing or two about superb customer service. The D.C. native serves on the BID’s Homeless Outreach Service Team (HOST) and the new Quality Assurance Team, both consisting of specially trained SAMs. .

Rosa Rosales has been a Maintenance Team member since 2008 and is a two-time SAM of the Month winner. Originally from El Salvador, she came to the U.S. in 1993, leaving a shoe and clothing factory position behind. Says Rosa: “For me, whatever job you have is very important because you learn from every job. I like communicating with people on this job and making the streets clean.” The one-time volleyball and ping pong player enjoys leisure time with her husband, two children and two grandchildren.