Every once in a while, we’ll find a local Richmonder we’d all like to know a bit more about. Same questions each time, from the Prying Publisher, and the answers are just for you.
This month, we caught up with family entertainer Hope Harris. On Broadway, off-Broadway, in regional and stock productions, and even at Nashville’s famed Bluebird Café, this Virginia native and UVA grad has appeared on stages across the country. Now, after many years living and working in NYC, the talented mom of two says she is “home to raise tw o wonderful sons in Virginia.”
No matter where she lives, parents and kids love Hope’s music. Her debut album, Julie the Starfish and Other Lullabies, was a hit with parents and declared “a magic CD” because of its power to relax listeners of all ages. Inspired perhaps by her young sons, her next release, Cousins Jamboree, headed in a more energetic direction. Garnering significant national airplay, it was named a Parents’ Choice Silver Honor Award winner. Hope’s new CD, Picasso, That’s Who! is due out next spring.
Hope says she thrives on the energy that springs from entertaining kids and performing live. She has headlined at Richmond CenterStage and family venues like VMFA and CMoR. But at the end of the day, she admits her most challenging gig is “chasing her NBA players in the making,” sons Beckett, 8, and Preston, 6, around the kitchen without eating the cupcakes on the counter.
Mountains or beach?
Both! Which is why living in Richmond is great.
Dogs or cats?
Both again! We have a dog named Kane (my spoiled child) and had a cat named Lollipop.
Droid or iPhone?
iPhone. The Voicememo feature lets me record song ideas on the fly – even at the grocery store.
What book is on your nightstand right now?
The Resilient Child by George S. Everly Jr., PhD, with Sloane Brown.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what food would you want to grow on trees?
Chocolate – of any kind! And on my island, it would rain M&M’s.
Same island – what’s the one CD you would want with you?
West Side Story, the original Broadway recording, or Johnny Cash’s Greatest Hits.
Favorite Richmond restaurant for the family?
Too many to name and more to discover, but we are regulars at four: SuperStars Pizza for a slice of supreme (sneaks in all the veggies for the boys); Can Can for a killer croissant (a great place for the boys to practice table manners in public); Angela’s Ristorante & Pizzeria for yummy Italian; and The Tavern for a burger. You would not think so by my list, but we do eat at home most nights! I can cook, but my husband’s better at it.
When it’s just the two of you?
All of the others, and also on the short list: Lemaire, 6 Burner, Balliceaux, Millie’s, Zeus Gallery Cafe, and Amuse. Having lived so many years in NYC, we are foodies and were thrilled to discover so many great Richmond restaurants. I know there are many we have yet to enjoy. Any suggestions?
What is your favorite way to spend a rainy Sunday?
A game of Monopoly or Crazy 8s with the family, followed by a big bowl of popcorn and a movie.
What is your favorite vacation spot?
Anywhere on Skyline Drive. Some of my favorite childhood memories center around hiking trails and stopping the car to look at gorgeous vistas with my dad, mom, grandmother, and brother. Now I can share those same trails and vistas with my husband and boys.
What is your energy source?
The smiling faces and laughter of children. It’s like magic pixie dust – sustains me for days!
Favorite family day outing?
A family basketball game!
Finish this sentence: “My family loves it when I…”
Readers will be surprised to know…
That I always feel compelled to rescue earthworms stranded on the sidewalk after it rains.