This is Part 2 of “I Wanna Be a Producer”. Hear from a couple more of Peninsula Youth Theatre’s volunteer producers on why they produce, what it takes to produce and a few of their favorite memories while producing a PYT show.
I wanna be a producer
With a hit show on Broadway . . .
I wanna be a producer
Sport a top hat and a cane . . .
Meet the Producers – Lyn Healy
Originally from New Jersey, owner of Spotlight Moments Photography, I’m a happily married lady (just celebrated 32 years) and a mother of four amazing children who loves spending time with friends and family and of course, photographing wonderful performances for PYT!
Meet the Producers – Brad Ward
A college admissions and college counselor for nearly 20 years, who has visited nearly 300 colleges around the US, mostly on a regular cycle! In my free time, I run a lot, and I spend as much time as I can hiking in Yosemite and leading outdoors education trips!
How many shows have you produced with PYT and was the first show you produced?
Lyn: I have produced 5 shows for PYT – I think! But the first show I produced was Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in 2000 with Brian Burns. I was in training and didn’t do any heavy producing stuff like dealing with committee assignments but at least I got my feet wet. Three of my kids were in that show so it was great for me to be so involved in what they were doing. The director, Kristen Walter, was fantastic and creative-together with a super talented cast, the show was REALLY, really memorable. Joseph remains dear to my heart and I will be producing it again in the spring of 2018!
Brad: Though I assisted backstage with The Lion King Experience Jr last summer, a former PYT producer and parent, Tracey Bobrowicz, floated the idea of producing, so I put my name out there. A Christmas Story: The Musical was the first show I’ve produced for PYT and I’ve learned that there are so many parallels with the college application process. I was totally unfamiliar with everything about producing such as the timeline, pace, and much of the terminology, which is what parents tell me all of the time when they’re going through the college process with their first child, however, producing has helped make me an even more empathetic college counselor. I’m already looking forward to co-producing my next PYT show, and hope to do many more!
What do you like best about the experience of producing?
Lyn: I particularly love interacting with the kids but I also enjoy meeting and working with the parents. I have met a lot of wonderful folks through PYT and I am thankful for the PYT friends I have made over the years. Everyone knows that the kids make lasting friendships through PYT but often the parents do too! PYT is fun for everybody!
Brad: I’m in college counseling because I absolutely love working with students and parents, and I immediately found a second home with PYT. PYT’s lobby before, after, and during breaks in rehearsals exemplifies why I love it so much here: I thrive on the students’ energy and enthusiasm, and also love working with the parents who support their kids doing what they love and are so talented at, and who volunteer dozens of hours to help PYT, which is one of the major aspects producers assist with. PYT has an incredible community of students and parents, and though nearly all of our students attend different high schools and middle schools, when they’re in our lobby and studios they act like family with each other and seem so incredibly, genuinely happy. It really gives me hope for the future! I also love how theatre develops life skills for these kids: confidence, poise, articulation, teamwork, time management, persistence, creativity, improvisation, the ability to work with adults, selflessness, and so much more.
Any favorite memories from shows you’d like to share?
Lyn: One memory from producing that stands out in my mind is how one night while working in the green room during a performance I looked out at the table of actors of various ages waiting to be cued and realized how much they loved what they were doing and enjoyed being with each other. I was moved and felt satisfied that I was helping to make that experience happen for them.
What does it take to be a producer for PYT? Why should someone take the plunge and do it?
Lyn: For any “would be” producers out there, don’t hesitate to volunteer– it is totally worth it. Seeing first hand as a producer all the work that goes into a show, makes watching the final product during the performances so magical and extremely satisfying.
Brad: Producing requires a lot of people skills – the ability to work with both children and adults – as well as a lot of energy, resourcefulness, and attention to detail. I’ve had excellent role models in my recent A Christmas Story co-producers Mike Cobb and Tracey Cook, who have shown me through everything and who have always been there when I’ve had questions, and the same is true for PYT’s staff who seem to know everything, who answer my silly rookie questions, and who work so well together. Even if you’re a parent with extensive acting or tech experience, trying to produce a show will give you an idea of what the other aspects are, from day 1 of auditions, to setting up committees, assisting with the calendar, and realizing how many dozens (hundreds?) of little details make every show possible. Next time you sit in the audience, you will have a whole new appreciation for the show…and realize what a major undertaking a Taylor Swift or U2 concert must be!
Anything else you’d like to add about your experience with PYT or producing?
Brad: One final thing I’d like to add is this: Silicon Valley can be one of the most stressful places to be a student. But while PYT kids work hard in school and on our shows, every single one of them also seems to totally glow with balance, happiness, and health in a way that seems impossible. Something about singing, dancing, acting, and being with each other whether they’re 8, 18, or anywhere in between results in such positivity that I wish all kids could experience.
Thank you Lyn and Brad for sharing your experiences about producing. If you are interested in producing a show with Peninsula Youth Theatre, please contact Loryn Hatten, PYT’s Producing Artistic Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read Part 1 of “I Wanna Be a Producer” which includes a spotlight on PYT volunteer producers: Brian Belding, Mike Cobb and Pam Prodromou.
Blog by Barbie Koch
Photos by Barbie Koch and Lyn Healy
Lyrics “I Wanna Be a Producer” from The Producers by Mel Brooks