The Rails and Stages Project

Hi, I'm Trey Graham. You may know me as a theater critic in Washington, D.C., or from my seven years as an arts editor at NPR. Or maybe from NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour, where I was one of the regular panelists until I left NPR at the end of March.

Theater is probably my greatest passion. And train travel, for me, has a strange romance about it. So I'm excited to tell you that I'm off on a round-the-country train trip soon, for a magazine assignment that's about finding great theaters and theatermakers that are profoundly rooted in their communities. The idea is to highlight theater whose character is shaped by place.

But I need your help to cover expenses. A 30-day Amtrak USA Rail Pass is roughly $700. Beyond that I'll need to pay for sleeper-car accommodations on some of the longer routes, plus hotels, meals, and transit/car rentals in the cities I visit.

So if you're passionate about theater or travel, or if you're just a fan of my work, please show your support by making a contribution, large or small. It'll make me crazy happy, and you'll be helping me accomplish one of my life goals -- seeing the United States by train.

Check out the "Join Me Live" reward level: If you donate $50 or more, I'll invite you to join a private Facebook group where I'll be chronicling my journey in something close to real time.  Photos, video, updates about the Amtrak experience, and quick introductions to the theatermakers I meet along the way. And of course it'll be a two-way conversation, if you've got questions or recommendations for me.

So dig deep. And please, spread the word. The more the merrier on this epic ride.




I've been a theater critic at the Washington City Paper since 1995, but I kicked off my career as an arts writer at the Washington Blade. I spent five years in the Life section at USA Today, including a stint as the music and theater editor. My most recent gig was at NPR, where I spent seven years as an arts editor. I helped launch the pop-culture blog Monkey See, led the overhaul of NPR Books a couple of years back, and was part of the Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast from its inception.

I was a fellow at both the 2002 O'Neill Critics Institute and the inaugural NEA Arts Journalism Institute in 2005, and in December 2004, I won the George Jean Nathan Award for distinguished drama criticism. (For the record, I did a fairly exuberant happy dance when I got that call.)

I wrote the theater section for two editions of the Time Out Guide to D.C. And I've written about books, travel, movies and the arts for a variety of publications, including The New York Times and The Washington Post.

I was born in New Orleans and brought up in South Carolina, but I've been a D.C. boy since 1990. Well, except for that stretch in 2001 and 2002, when I lived in Zimbabwe. Which was waaaaay more fun than life in a collapsing economy should be.
  • Joanne Blanchard 
    • $50 
    • 82 mos
  • Brian Flores 
    • $50 
    • 84 mos
  • Hannah Hessel Ratner 
    • $50 
    • 85 mos
  • Juan R Palomo 
    • $100 
    • 85 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 85 mos
See all


Trey Graham 
Washington D.C., DC
  • #1 fundraising platform

    More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more

  • GoFundMe Guarantee

    In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more

  • Expert advice, 24/7

    Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more