José Andrés. The Spanish chef/restaurateur (Jaleo, Zaytinya, Oyamel) introduced the small-plates concept here and transformed the dining landscape.
Marie Arana. Editor of the Washington Post’s Book World. She and her husband, critic Jonathan Yardley, are local literary royalty.
Carla Cohen and Barbara Meade. Nationally known and locally beloved, the Politics and Prose founders prove that independent bookstores still matter.
Plácido Domingo. The star and head of the Washington National Opera lands talent that wouldn’t otherwise come to DC.
Michael Kahn. His Shakespeare Theatre is a premium night out, with about as many season subscribers—16,000—as the Nationals have season-ticket holders. He’s fresh off running the six-month Shakespeare festival, where 60 organizations toasted the Bard.
Michael Kaiser. The ultimate impresario. As Kennedy Center president, he squeezes money from Congress and patrons with a deft touch.
Peter Marks. Five years after the Washington Post stole him from the New York Times, the theater critic writes reviews that stir debate and help determine a show’s success.
Eliot Pfanstiehl. Strathmore Hall’s CEO dreamed of a concert space to anchor the arts in the suburbs—then built it.
Earl Powell. With blockbuster exhibits and shrewd corporate partnerships, he expands the National Gallery’s collections and influence. He also chairs the powerful Commission of Fine Arts.
Rafe Sagalyn. His literary agency has the area’s biggest roster of star clients—David Maraniss, David Ignatius, Rick Atkinson, among them.
Eric Schaeffer. A Sondheim devotee and cofounder of Signature Theatre, which just moved to a striking new space in Shirlington.
Joy Zinoman. Built a national reputation for Studio Theatre, which became an anchor for 14th Street’s revitalization.
Robert Allbritton. The TV baron—WJLA and NewsChannel 8—went multiplatform this year, launching the Politico newspaper and Web site.
David Bradley. The wonky publisher moved the Atlantic to Washington and is importing big-name talent.
Craig Dubow. The CEO of Gannett, whose USA Today, WUSA-TV, and Tysons towers are Washington fixtures.
Marc Fisher. The Post columnist skewers the inane and the corrupt.
Don Graham. Guardian of one of America’s great newspapers, he’s smartly investing in the Washington Post Company’s education division and Web site.
Kojo Nnamdi. His WAMU local-news talk show attracts—and influences—area opinion leaders.
Alex Orfinger. Publisher of the Washington Business Journal, he does heavy lifting as a civic leader.
Gordon Peterson and Jim Vance. TV-news ratings are down, but the two anchors are steady hands in a crisis.
Diane Rehm. An appearance on her WAMU show is a boon for anyone selling books or ideas.
Donnie Simpson. A legend in DC radio, Simpson is synonymous with WPGC, one of the area’s top music stations.