10 Questions for a Broadway Pro. Volume 5: Brian Lynch, Production Manager

With this volume of 10 Qs for a Broadway Pro, we’re going behind the curtain to find out what one of the top Production Managers in the biz has to say about his gig.

If you’ve ever sat at a show and been amazed at how a piece of scenery fit onstage (or backstage), or how a fireworks-like lighting effect didn’t burn up the ensemble, then you’ve witnessed the wonderful work of a Production Manager like Brian Lynch.

Brian Lynch has worked on big shows, small shows, and shows that are juuuuuuuust right, coordinating the technical needs and desires of the Designers and Director, with the needs and desires of the Producers . . . oh, and then he has to coordinate all of that within the confines of the Local 1 Stagehand agreement.

As you’ll see, Brian is a man of few words.  Why?  Well, he’s one of the busiest guys I know, and great Production Managers give you the answers you need quick and fast.  It may not be the answer you want, but the best ones just tell you the truth and tell it yesterday . . . so it doesn’t cost you money tomorrow.

Let’s see how Brian answers our 10 Questions.

1. What is your title?

Production Manager/Technical Supervisor

2. What show/shows are you currently working on?

West Side Story, In the Heights, recently closed Ragtime (unfortunately, great show), and all White Christmas companies

3. In one sentence, describe your job.

Ensure that each production is done with efficiency and within a well-structured technical budget.

4. What skills are necessary for a person in your position?

A working knowledge of all technical aspects of mounting a show in a theatrical environment, being able to work creatively with producers, directors, designers, shops, and stagehands of all types and temperaments, and having a thorough knowledge of all the resources that are available…oh, and lots of patience.

5. What kind of training did you go through to get to your position?

Five years of electronics on a nuclear submarine.  B.A. in English from Loyola University, 1970.  Thirty-five years working on Broadway with Manny Azenberg, Jim Freydberg, Kevin McCollum, Jeffrey Seller, Charlotte Wilcox, etc. etc.

6. What was your first job in theater?

Working on automation systems for the Civic Light Opera Company in Los Angeles…1971.

7. Why do you think theater is important?

It is an art form and all art is important…not to mention the fact that it is how I make my living

8. What is your profession’s greatest challenge today?

Staying relevant and affordable to today’s young people.

9. If you could change just one thing about the industry with the wave of a magic wand, what would it be?

The death of the 25-million-dollar musical!

10. What advice would you give to someone who wanted to do what you do?

Enjoy the challenge.

The Producer of the Year for 2009 is . . .

Well, it’s that time!

Your votes have been tallied by the accounting firm at SurveyMonkey.com and the majority has spoken!

You have selected, as your 2009 Producer of the Year . . .

Kevin McCollum!

Congratulations to Kevin, and thanks to the tons of you out there that voted.

Here’s to your name being on the list of nominees in 2010.

Who will be the 2009 Producer of the Year? You tell me! Vote now.

Last year I started an annual tradition of choosing a Producer of the Year.  The first winner was the late Gerry Schoenfeld.

This year, I’m changing up how the winner is chosen.

For the past two weeks, I’ve been talking to General Managers, Publicists, Agents and other Prefer-To-Remain-Anonymous-Insiders, to come up with a list of nominees (not surprising, but many of these nominees are also on this year’s “50 Most Powerful People on Broadway”).

And now you’re going to choose the winner.

The list of nominees, as chosen by my select group of experts, is below.  I asked each expert to write a blurb supporting their choice, which also follows.

Take a look, and when you’re ready, click on the link below them to cast your vote.

 1.  Sonia Friedman

Sonia Friedman, producer, norman conquests

“The classy Ms. Friedman has been on a tear lately, and she gets my nod for being courageous enough to produce The Norman Conquests trilogy.  In a world where people want their news in less than 140 characters and their videos in YouTube clips, she actually got people to sit through three plays   . . . in one day!”

 

2.  Rocco Landesman

http://www.theproducersperspective.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/my_weblog/6a00e54ef2e21b883301287660c7b3970c.jpg

“Rocco is the only nominee on my list who gets the nom for not producing anymore.  As the new Chairman of the NEA, Rocco is now in a position to do more for the profit and non-profit theater on a national and international level than anyone else . . . ever.”

 

 3.  Kevin McCollum

“In addition to Producing West Side, an oft member of the million-dollar-club, Kevin forged new ground by finding a way to make a limited run of a holiday musical work (White Christmas), and by going back to Off-Broadway with Avenue Q.”

 

 

 4.  Jeffrey Richards

JeffreyRichards, Hair, Tony Award, Producer

“Jeffrey had seven shows open in 2009.  And he’s still got a couple of weeks left!  The sheer volume of his work qualifies him a nomination, but the real story of the year was his bailout of Hair, which recouped and snatched a Tony.  If only the government’s bailout worked as well as Jeffrey’s.”

 5.  Jordan Roth

Jordan Roth, young, jujamcyn

“When Rocco Landesman jumped on a metroliner to DC, he left an open chair for Jordan Roth, who is sitting in it quite nicely.  At his young age, he’s got decades to go in this biz.  Expect great things.  But more importantly, expect new things.”
 

A big thank you to my pundits for their wise choices.

And now on to the voting!

To vote for Producer of the Year, click on this link.

Make sure you cast your vote by Sunday, December 27th at 8 PM.

The 2009 Producer of the Year will be announced on the blog on Monday, December 28th.

Good luck to the nominees and let the voting begin!

VOTE NOW.

P.S.  You can only vote once . . . so for those producers on this list who just tried to put their assistant on voting over and over again, nice try.  😉

Avenue Q makes a move . . . into the history books.

http://www.theproducersperspective.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/my_weblog/6a00e54ef2e21b88330120a5c1e346970c.jpg It happened.  Finally.

The idea of a Broadway show transferring to Off-Broadway has been blogged about, been message boarded about, and now is finally going to happen.

Kevin McCollum announced from the stage at the closing performance of the Broadway production of Avenue Q last night that the show would reopen at New World Stages on October 9th.

And I couldn’t be more thrilled.

It’s unprecedented moves like this
that stretch our industry out of its rigid comfort zone, and open up
a ton of opportunities for a lot of people.

50 jobs were just created.  A theater was filled.  And a lot more audience members are going to laugh . . . a lot.

You can read more about it here.

And since I’ll be General Managing it, you may also be able to read more about it . . . here!

Exposing myself at The Expo.

This coming Sunday will mark the third (I think) Show Biz Expo, built to bring “everyone in Show Business together under one roof.”

In addition to opportunities to audition for Bernie Telsey’s office, and to listen to speakers about screenwriting and financing your own independent movie, they are also having a Panel of Theater Producers.

And guess who’s on it:

Kevin McCollum, Michael Rego and moi.

Come down and hear what we three amigos have to say about producing (and self-producing).  Admission to the expo is free.  Just register in advance.

For a full list of the panels they are offering click here.

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