Eric Schaeffer
Theater director

Eric Schaeffer

Co-founder and artistic director for Signature Theatre in Arlington, which won the 2009 Regional Theatre Tony Award for sustained artistic excellence.


Living backstage

Q: Was Desiree Rogers too interested in the spotlight to be successful as White House social secretary? Do some jobs require more discretion and less acclaim? Will Julianna Smoot be more suitable for the job -- or just less flashy in it?

None of us can really know the exact chain of events at the state dinner that led to Ms. Rogers leaving the White House. I do think that her job required working from the sidelines and not trying to be in the spotlight. I know that was not always the case.

It's really no different from directing a play or musical. As the director, I'm trying new ideas and making choices for people to enjoy an event, but I'm not standing center stage on any night. I'm behind the scenes.

The leading actors are on the stage and taking the applause and gaining the laughs. That's the role. It's no different for the social secretary position -- you're behind the scenes making it happen and not on the stage.

I think Ms. Rogers's passion and making the White House the People's House were great steps in bringing some real change to D.C. She perhaps forgot at times that it wasn't about her or her fashion.

The experience and understanding that Julianna Smoot brings to the position should balance that out. I just hope she can continue the outside thinking that Desiree contributed to the city. That was a welcome breath of fresh air, and we need a lot more of it!

By Eric Schaeffer  |  March 8, 2010; 12:00 AM ET  | Category:  Success from the sidelines Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Mrs. Rogers completed her job. The newspaper preferred to write about her in a less flattering way which gave her a negative slant for readers. If you look for the truth of the matter you will find that Mrs. Rogers fulfilled her duties.

Posted by: realitygirl2 | March 8, 2010 11:33 PM
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This is another tragic story of a Chicago hack trying to tell official Washington how to do its job. Her ego - like so many Obama -ites is larger than life. Sending her home is the best thing to do - so she can collect millions selling her "access."

Th epettiness of a HUGE Presidential First Lady staff - well over 26 people - only exacerbates a bad situation. How about having Rahm Emmanuel double up for this job - since he is so non-effective in his other job.

Posted by: jgdonahue | March 8, 2010 10:09 PM
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If Ms. Rogers had been doing her job, she would have been outside, with an umbrella, checking invitations. She would have been the hero, ruined hairdoo and all. Instead she was as interested in her appearance as that of the President, and the event.

Posted by: bobbo2 | March 8, 2010 6:57 PM
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