Julia Robey Christian, left and Adele Robey, Anacostia Playhouse Credit: Darrow Montgomery

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The opening of the Anacostia Playhouse was this year’s biggest artistic development east of the river. But its headaches threatened to be just as big. In March, the operators found out construction couldn’t start because of a technicality over parking spaces. After D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson slapped down their plea for an exception, he and the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs found a work-around that helped the venue open its doors that summer. Months later, the playhouse was in another quandary: The IRS, hobbled by sequestration, still hadn’t granted it nonprofit status, so the venue was unable to apply for grant money. But playhouse CEO Adele Robey and daughter Julia Robey Christian still managed to turn out a debut season with no debilitating setbacks, and public support for the theater has remained strong throughout—a testament to the high value and equally high hopes for the neighborhood’s only playhouse.