After a successful end to my season at Goodspeed Musicals last year mixing “Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz,” I was offered and accepted the full-time position of Production Audio Engineer at their main stage, The Goodspeed (colloquially known as “The Goodspeed Opera House”). I’ll be staying on for the off-season this winter doing various upkeep, maintenance, and shop prep, then mixing their 3-musical season from April to December. Things kick off April 21st with “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and end December 10th with a revisited production of “Rags,” on which Stephen Schwartz himself will be collaborating. So, that’s where to find me these days! And do come visit if you need a weekend away or find yourself passing through the New England area 🙂
After a terrific run of “Anything Goes” at the Goodspeed Opera House, I am now in preparation to mix the new musical, “A Sign of The Times”, featuring songs made famous by Petula Clark and others from the early 1960s. That show will run at Goodspeed’s Terris Theatre in Chester, CT from 7/29-9/4. Both productions sound designed by Jay Hilton.
This fall I was up in Boston at ART’s Club Oberon, where I worked as a mixer on “The Donkey Show” and other projects. For October and November, I mixed the new musical “Indian Joe” at Goodspeed Musicals. Some great lessons learned this fall as I regained the use of my right clavicle and got back into the swing of work things.
- As Woody Guthrie would say, “take it easy, but take it!”
- Recovering was tough because I am used to spending so much of my life in full throttle. I’m used to being in a new place every week, on my feet, adapting, using both arms…you get it. Of course, even after I was out of the arm sling, it still took a good few months of physical therapy before I could do everything I would need to at work (heavy lifting, crawling on a grid, climbing a ladder, etc). I am grateful to my many understanding supervisors, who helped immensely with making accommodations for me at work and getting me extra help with physically demanding tasks. But I’m also really proud of myself for being transparent about my abilities and disabilities, and asking for the help I needed without feeling bad about needing it. I made sure my bosses knew that I was there to work and be helpful, and that I would happily do anything I could do comfortably, but at the same time, we all knew that slowing down my recovery by having me do too much was not the answer.
- I have to admit, this is probably one of those things that is harder when you’re a woman, especially in an industry that is both male-dominated and requires a lot of you physically, even though, and we sometimes forget this, that’s not a gender-specific trait.
- Patience is a virtue. So is knowing when to drop it.
- I sat through a number of challenging rehearsals this fall, and as we all know, communication can get crazy and start to break down when enough stressed out cooks are in one kitchen. I worked on not being one of them, and just doing my job. As the stickers on my desk said, “Keep Calm and Mix The Damn Show!” and “It’s All Good :)” Two life lessons best learned in conjunction with one another. One fewer tense remarks and one more smiling face can turn a problem around and help a team get back on track. Again, it’s my ninja rules. Exist only when you need to, and when you do exist, do it as pleasantly as possible 🙂
- Life is good. Life with a teammate is extra good!
- I don’t shout Marty out often enough, but he has been a huge force of helping throughout this entire year. Forcing me to do my PT, visiting during tech even though he’s already sat through the show umpteen times, bagging me awesome lunches for work, coming up to Boston or down to New York to see me. As I like to joke, I have the “best housewife ever” when it’s his turn (we try to split the duties 50-50).
Anyway, that’s all for now. Winter is off to a great start: I’ve been working as an on-call technician at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, getting to load in and out some of the biggest concerts that come through the state and adding to my “local crew” tshirt and badge collection 🙂 In addition, I’ve continued working at the ART in Boston, both as a mixer for “The Donkey Show” and a technician for other events both here at Club Oberon and at the Loeb Drama Center, which is their mainstage. Now back to work!
Finally, here’s what my summer and fall have entailed. A lot of it was just like last fall, as I was once again working for two organizations I love, Goodspeed Musicals and American Repertory Theatre!
First up, I was given the opportunity to mix the new musical “The Theory of Relativity” by Neil Bartram and Brian Hill, a beautiful 80-minute long sung-through piece about the ways in which we are all interconnected. It had a cast of 13 and a band of 5, and everyone was a sheer delight to work with. It was also a pleasure to be working once again with Jay Hilton as sound designer; he continues to be one of my biggest mentors and role models in this industry.
After that show, I headed up to Boston for the summer to officially join the staff at ART’s Club Oberon. Unfortunately, this didn’t exactly go as planned, as six days into my employment, I flew over my handlebars while riding my bike to work and broke my right collarbone…not so helpful when two arms are needed for most mixing. But thanks to the great folks in Boston, I was able to come back to work in a limited capacity after just 4 weeks, and the company was able to arrange for me to do some paid training and shadowing. A big help with not being able to work and still needing to make my Boston rent!
After the tumultuous summer, the boyfriend and I took a much-needed week off, where we roadtripped out to see our friends in Cleveland and back. Cause relaxation is important too!
Ok, I guess I’m on a roll now, so here’s more!
After not doing much for the month of February, I was excited to jump into another show at my old alma mater, this time the high school’s production of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” It was another great experience, a chance to deal with a smaller and more mature cast, but also to train the mixer, a fantastic 12th-grader named Kai, to go with the flow, since the show is line-by-line mixed but contains internal improvisation, an inevitable byproduct of having audience participants in the show! She also had to serve as her own A2, so we spent a lot of time on mic-rigging, problem-solving, and communicating effectively with stage management when things needed to happen quickly.
For my part, it was a great last gig in NY before heading back to a new project up in CT…Yale!
I was offered a position as a Wireless Microphone Technician on Yale Repertory Theatre’s production of “The Caucasian Chalk Circle.” It was a big play with original music and high high production values, and all 24 actors were in mic. I had a great experience working with the superb staff there, everything was in order when I arrived for tech, and from there I was able to simply take the RF off their hands and keep everything under control. I also was put in charge of a wireless IEM receiver that had to be tracked to different onstage positions and plugged into 2 different speakers to serve as both an iPhone and a baby…fun 🙂
In the middle of all this, I had the amazing opportunity to attend USITT 2015 in Cincinnati, OH as the first ever Early Career women In Sound Scholarship awardee. As part of my award, I received a generous travel stipend (definitely helped with the fact that I had to miss some of tech and previews to go…), and I sat on a panel about early career sound folks and got to be on the other side of the role model steps for a while! It was so moving to talk to students whose exact shoes I had been in just one year ago, and offer what advice I might have to give about surviving those early years and “career hustling” as I call it. It was also great to see old friends, meet new ones, and keep up those network contacts!
Between my three-ish sublets, a lot of 100-mile-a-day driving, the right amount of drinking, and once again being in tech over passover, it was quite a busy start to spring!