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.

Non Disposable Theatre: Shakespeare on Wine

“The wine-cup is the little silver well,
Where truth, if truth there be, doth dwell.”

Non Disposable Productions and HITFest 

in association with Theatre Beyond Broadway and HOOK

present

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Directed by Lupe Gehrenbeck

FEATURING:
Derek Straat, Ian McDonald, Lauren Salvo, Randy Howk, Gina Stec, Rock Kohli, Joe McCarthy, Tina Kobas, Brent White, Liana Jackson

Music by Guiseppe Zep

Production Stage Manager: Stephanie Andersen

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Shakespeare cultivated ideas brilliantly about many subjects. “Shakespeare on Wine” harvests his language about wine, love and truth – all bottled into an effervescent sixty minutes to delight your theatrical palate. Come and celebrate the wine and words while supporting the East Hampton Historical Society.

HITFest is thrilled to team up with these professional New York City actors to entertain you, support our community, and foster the development of high quality theatre on the East End.

Shakespeare on Wine will donate a percentage of the proceeds to the East Hampton Historical Society, which commits to maintaining the structural integrity of the Mulford Farm Osborn-Jackson House, Clinton Academy, East Hampton Town Museum, Town House and Hook Schoolhouse (structures built in the 17th and 18th centuries).

TIME:  Saturday, May 16th; Doors Open at 7pm, Show begins at 8pm

LOCATION: The Bridgehampton Community House at 2357 Montauk Highway, Bridgehampton, NY

TICKETS: $20.00

Click HERE for reservations.

TBB: Planet Connections Final Week, Our Bar, Newtown Literary Release

CaptureBelieve it or not, I do actually do activities that are non-theatrical. This past week, I decided to take a night off and hang out with some fellow artists at an open mic for Inspired Word.  I read three poems that are in the running for my performance at the Kaufman Studios Block Party.  I don’t perform as much as I used to by choice.  I really enjoy being behind the scenes producing, directing and promoting. However, it is important for me to feel  the butterflies and fear of speaking in front of people, so I can effectively communicate with fellow artists. It is one of the reasons I asked my friends to be my guest bloggers. I like to read and share their experiences with you.

As of this Friday, Valerie G. Keane will by my First Fridays guest blogger. Valerie is a passionate and opinionated artist whose work is published in Newtown Literary Magazine. She is also the curator of Poetry and Coffee, a monthly poetry salon where people discuss great poetry.

I want to thank Josh Rivedal, Nick Radu, Adam Kern, Kate Powers, Dawn Slegona McDonald, Ian McDonald, Isaac Klein,  Linda Gnat-Mullins and Cas Marino for being my guest bloggers.  I appreciate them taking the time to share about their wonderful work.

And on to June. Keep me posted on your shows as summer has Fringe, Midtown International Festival, NYMF and so much more.

See you at the show!