Terry Johns was drawn to the Washington Revels because the performance outfit combines so many things — song, dance, theater, graphic arts and more.
The Revels, a Washington institution for more than 30 years, are dedicated to “celebrating cultural traditions … that have bound communities together over the ages and across the globe.” Their productions could be staged or informal, large or small, a blend of pros and non-professionals as well as all ages involved. Its annual Christmas Revels show, featuring community sing-alongs, pub songs, parades and more, will run Dec. 10-18 at the Lisner Auditorium (730 21st St., N.W.).
This year’s show will celebrate the winter solstice traditions of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden over eight performances featuring a cast of more than 100. Tickets are $12-60. Details at washingtonrevels.com.
Johns, “TJ,” works by day as a chef/chocolatier at the Perfect Truffle in Frederick, Md., where he’s lived the last four years after many years living in D.C. He says what the Revels offer is different.
“As an artist myself, I’ve had the opportunity to work with many incredible artists,” says the 45-year-old Pensacola, Fla., native. “But this organization brings us all together in a much different way. There is a sense of family and belonging with these wonderful people.”
Johns is in his third season with the Revels. He’s engaged to Aaron Sahle, his partner of five years. He enjoys travel, photography and spending time with Sahle and their two dogs and two cats in his free time.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
Twenty-six years. I told my mother first. Though she was very supportive, the initial “telling” was very difficult.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
Describe your dream wedding.
We are planning that now! Something very casual and relaxed. Perhaps the Tea Room at Gambrill State Park or a farm/winery in the area.
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
Voter registration and political awareness.
What historical outcome would you change?
Election of D.J. Trump.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
I saw Liza Minnelli in concert when I was 17.
On what do you insist?
Good food, well prepared. And punctuality.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
A picture of our new Christmas tree, an artificial tree mail ordered from Sears. The singular moment when I knew I had slipped into middle age.
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
Fight for the rights of people who would be forced to change their orientation because of archaic, religious or political beliefs.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
We are all of one seminal origin and energy: human, plant and animal.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
Take no shortcuts, no excuses and no prisoners. The fight is not fair and it’s time to stop playing nice.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
Anything my partner needed or desired.
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
Flippant, ignorant, divisive queens.
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
What’s the most overrated social custom?
Tuxedos, unless you’re a waiter, then “bless your heart.”
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
The Julia Child Award
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
That I could have pursued a culinary career as well as a musical one.
Incredible musical arts. I moved to D.C. to join the National Opera Company, then Washington Master Chorale, the Woodley Ensemble and many other, smaller ensembles. I have found myself surrounded by wonderful musicians for almost two decades. Now, as the assistant music director of the Washington Revels for the last two seasons, I find a renewed excitement and energy in performance and singing.