Arena Stage Artistic Director Molly Smith addresses guests at the memorial service for Dr. Jaylee Montague Mead at Arena Stage October 8, 2012. (Photo courtesy of Arena Stage)

Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater held a memorial on Oct. 8 for Dr. Jaylee Montague Mead, the NASA astronomer and arts philanthropist who died in September.

Jaylee and her late husband Gil were avid theater-goers and loved musicals the best. Together the Meads donated more than $50 million to theaters in Washington DC. Arena Stage’s Mead Center was named in their honor.

In celebration of Jaylee’s life in words and songs, perhaps the closing medley – Good Morning, Starshine and Let the Sunshine In – best summed up a woman who was passionate and positive both about her career as an astronomer and as a musical theater-goer.

By Sheila Wickouski, a freelance arts and culture journalist and longtime resident of Southwest who has contributed work on history, theater, music, and the arts to area publications for more than twenty years.

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