March 30, 2016 at 12:10 pm EDT | by Joey DiGuglielmo
QUEERY: Robert Wood
Robert Wood, gay news, Washington Blade

Robert Wood (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

You know those “what if” scenarios everyone likes to ponder over drinks? UrbanArias takes the concept to a new level with its new production “After Life,” which imagines Gertrude Stein and Pablo Picasso sniping at each other in the hereafter and making excuses for what they did and didn’t do during World War II.

It’s being featured in a double bill with “Josephine,” which depicts dancer/actress Josephine Baker looking back at her long career on the nightclub stages of Paris.

The works are by Tom Cipullo and help UrbanArias continue its mission of producing short, contemporary operas. Founded by Robert Wood in 2010, the company is committed to exposing D.C.-area audiences to “engaging, accessible and entertaining operas.” Wood will conduct the works, which will be presented April 2-3 and 8-9 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center (1333 H St., N.E.). Tickets are $33. Details and times at

Wood is a Shaker Heights, Ohio, native who came to Washington eight years ago after stints in San Francisco, Vienna and Chicago. He lives with his partner in Arlington and enjoys writing and gardening in his free time.


How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell? 

Since I was 20; my mother.


Who’s your LGBT hero? 

E.M. Forster


What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present? 

The Lincoln Memorial


Describe your dream wedding.

I’d skip straight to the dream reception.


What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about? 

Helping people discover opera.


What historical outcome would you change? 

The 2000 presidential election.


What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime? 

I’m pop-culture illiterate. My friends will confirm this.


On what do you insist? 

Putting apostrophes in the right place.


What was your last Facebook post or Tweet? 

It had to do with opera and sheep.


If your life were a book, what would the title be? 

Every Time I Think I’ve Arrived, It Turns Out the Train Is Still Moving”


If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do? 

Feel sorry for those who wanted to use it.


What do you believe in beyond the physical world? 

Celestial music that is absolutely mind-blowing.


What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders? 

Stay vigilant. There are plenty of people who would like to take away the rights we’ve gained over the last few decades.


What would you walk across hot coals for? 

The cures to all of mankind’s diseases, especially the one that killed my mother.


What LGBT stereotype annoys you most? 

I fit so many of them, it’s hard to be annoyed by it.


What’s your favorite LGBT movie? 

My Own Private Idaho”


What’s the most overrated social custom? 

Workplace decorum


What trophy or prize do you most covet? 

Not a prize, but conducting Wagner’s Ring Cycle.


What do you wish you’d known at 18? 

There are even more good options than you imagine.


Why Washington? 

It needs more artists.

Joey DiGuglielmo is the Features Editor for the Washington Blade.

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