EWRA Dance Instructor To Be in Hexagon Show

--From the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) internal newsletter, February 2006

The Hexagon Show has been an annual Washington event for almost fifty years, but this year might be the first time that an NRC staff member will be part of the cast.

Michael B. Rubin of the Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research (and the teacher of EWRA's series of ballroom dancing classes) will be on stage in Wee Puns of Mass Distraction when it is presented from February 26 to March 20 at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Georgetown.

Hexagon, a nonprofit, all-volunteer membership organization, has been presenting original, political, satirical, musical, comedy revues to sold-out audiences since its first show in 1956. As a result of those shows, Hexagon has contributed more than three million dollars to more than thirty charities in the Washington area. The proceeds from this year's show will benefit Rebuilding Together with Christmas in April of Washington, DC.

Mike has been performing since he was about three years old, when he would sing and dance for his relatives. He started playing the piano at a very young age, then added the accordion, and then the clarinet. When he was twelve, he auditioned and was accepted at New York's High School of Music and Art and Performing Arts (the school featured in the movie Fame). He also took up the oboe.

However, despite all his musical experience, when it came time for college his parents recommended that he become a mechanical engineer and keep music as a hobby. So, he accepted a scholarship offer from the New York University School of Engineering and Science to study mechanical engineering; he joined the NYU orchestra, as well as the Bronx Community Orchestra. He also continued playing the accordion, learning a lot of Yiddish music. While he was in graduate school at Cornell, he played the piano in the dorm lobby to entertain passersby. He also learned Israeli folk dancing and ballroom dancing.

After Mike movd to the Washington area in 1985, he auditioned for the National Institutes of Health Recreation and Welfare Theater Group and subsequently appeared in several of its productions. Since then he has performed with several other groups, including the Potomac Community Theater, Glenmont Players, Georgetown Prep Theater, the Accordion Plus Band, and Di Shpilers (a Yiddish theater group).

Mike has been teaching ballroom dancing at NRC since 2001, and he also gives private dancing lessons and private piano lessons. In addition he is on the faculty of the Himmelfarb Mobile University, which is affiliated with the Jewish Social Service Agency, in Rockville. HMU is a group of approximately forty people, almost all retired, who teach and perform all over the Washington, DC area as volunteers.

Mike says he thought about auditioning for Hexagon for several years and finally took the plunge last fall. Now, he says, "I have two months of five rehearsals a week, plus seventeen performances in February and March to look forward to." Nonetheless, he will continue with all his other activities as well.

Hexagon ticket prices are: Preview night, February 26, $10 each; Wednesdays and Thursdays, $20 each; Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, $25 each. Shows are at 8 pm Wednesdays through Saturdays and at 2:30 pm on Sundays.

Hexagon's audiences typically are diverse crowds of all ages including Senators, Congressmen, Hill staffers, and other influential members of the community. In fact, during the annual Congress Night performance (this year to be Wednesday, March 10), lawmakers actually perform on stage with the cast, and the theater is usually packed with fellow Congressmen and supporters.

The Duke Ellington School is at 3500 R Street NW, Washington, between 35th and 36th Streets, Reservoir Road and R Street. For more information about the show or purchasing tickets, go to Hexagon.org.