My Three Hats: Producer, Director, Publicist

CaptureOver the last few weeks, I have had several conversations on my contribution to the world of theatre. My favorite description of my experience is one I use in many a bio:

She’s served the theatre in many aspects of which she’s very proud – actress, director, producer, stage manager, costume designer, prop designer, theatre reviewer, publicist, radio presenter, and writer/monologist.

I remember thinking that it seems very broad. The cliche “a Jill of all trades, a master of none” sometimes crosses my mind but then I think to myself that I have been on an amazing journey. I learned so much about what I love and what I excel in and what I am not comfortable with and not as passionate about anymore.

I love is creating and promoting theatre. I love producing as I get to figure out how I am going to make a show happen. When I direct, I am lost in the words of the playwright and get to collaborate with actors and designers on bringing a show to life. If I am producing and directing, I am innately promoting. That’s my personality and as a result, all three resonate strongly within me.

When I decided to become a director in undergrad, I knew I wanted to go to grad school. I knew it was the only way I would be able to immerse my mind, body, spirit in the craft. My MFA in Directing at the Actors Studio Drama School was the foundation I needed before embarking on the next leg of my journey.

After graduation, my husband, Ian, some friends and I started Black Henna Productions. For 12 years and counting, I learned how to be a producer and a publicist. All of it through trial and error and taking a class here and there. When you are running a company, directing the show, and promoting it, you get really good at a few things:

  1. Creating a schedule;
  2. Building a team; and
  3. Developing a product.

After the death of my best friend and co-collaborator, Cas, I took a step back to see my vision. I thought I had to have one role in this world. However, my one vision for my world of theatre is a to be able to promote and support artists in their truth and craft so that they can pay it forward to the next artist. All too often we forget about why we create by focusing on competition rather than specialization. My mentors, Michael Roderick and Ken Davenport, said that to me years ago and I never forgot it. It’s a personal mantra. And with that, when I am working with any artist as a producer, director, and/or publicist, I ask: Why are you doing this show? The answer then propels me to ask: What sets you apart from the several other shows being produced?

These are the questions I ask myself and my team when are developing any project. Then without fail, I sit down and draft the schedule. Then I set out to build the team. Then we begin developing the product. What ties us together is the vision and trust. If we don’t have either then we have a rough road ahead of us.

In a conversation with a fellow producer, we touched on some points about why I created Theatre Beyond Broadway, my PR company and community. I created it so there would be a connection and the fostering of relationships. I told her about my 3 hats and she said, ” We have three people doing your job.” I said, “I know. It’s a lot to juggle but I love it”.

Truth: I didn’t have a choice. I jumped in and just did it. As I continue to do this day.

Theatre Beyond Broadway: The Community – You’re Invited

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Friends, you are officially invited to join Theatre Beyond Broadway: The Community! Click HERE now to join me and others.

One of my many goals when I created Theatre Beyond Broadway in 2012 was to build a community of passionate artists that would empower each other. Being in the arts is not the easiest road on which to travel but the reward, as you know, is beyond words. Even though I have been an active member in the theatre community for close to 20 years, I still am learning. For example, I had my first circus production experience this past weekend. I kicked off 2015 as a production assistant at Circus Now‘s inaugural awards ceremony at the Big Apple Circus. Amazing!

These experiences allows me to broaden my circle. I have met wonderful poets, musicians, solo performers, dancers, artists…the list goes on. I think it’s time for you to meet each other and share your art.

Why TBB: The Community? This is an open forum for the following:

  1. Support and advice;
  2. Upcoming auditions and performances;
  3. Information on conferences and networking opportunities;
  4. The opportunity to meet and expand your artistic circle.

I mention the circus opportunity as it came via a director for whom I did PR for two and half years ago at the Fringe. You never know what will come your way and when. It’s about being plugged in and sharing the resources. And with that, join me on the journey!

TBB: The Pawnbroker, I Am Me, EstroGenius Festival,King of the Hobos

As a contributing writer to The Write Teacher(s), I have been writing about literally about theatre beyond Broadway. I started local and began moving outside of the five boroughs. The stories about performing in other locations has now piqued an interest in me. I am wildly curious about visiting these places. As a New Yorker, I’ll be the first to admit being elitist about theatre. After all, I grew up going to both shows on Broadway as well as shows in a church basement. I thought I experienced it all which isn’t true. There’s so much to experience. So, readers, I would love to know where you have performed outside New York City and what that experience was like for you. You can either comment below or send me an email at theatrebeyondbway@gmail.com.

And I’ll see you at the show!