Why I Show Up & Reach Out: A Broadway Sound Mixer's Story
By: Maxine Gutierrez, Local ACT
“Your reputation precedes you…”
You know what it means, sure. Its impact, though, I had never really grasped until more recently.
Broadway was a dream that I didn’t know I had in me, but it revealed itself eventually…and when it did, I ran towards it, full-speed. I lucked out, and I worked hard – nose to the ground, be a sponge, learn in the moment and learn what’s around you. I was fortunate enough to be offered to go on tour as an "A1," i.e. the head of the audio department and lead sound mixer, on a North American tour of a Broadway musical. I had never done that, let alone done a musical, in my life. So I said yes – little did I know how that choice would change my path and my confidence and my passion for many aspects of performing arts. It combined my passion for music and my aptness in technology, while honing time management skills, multitasking, planning, and executing, while also adapting to change – all the time!
I ended up being on-tour for 8 years as an A1 on various Broadway musical tours. I had performed in all 50 states, Washington DC, and 7 countries. Through the touring world, I was able to work with many sound designers, production staff, crew members, actors, dancers, circus artists.
It was through that development of work experience, increasing my network of colleagues, friends, and tour family, that I was called with an offer for my first Broadway contract in NYC – A1 of King Charles III. Three years later, I have been A1 on 3 award-winning Broadway productions and have mixed 4. That’s not to say it was easy. I worked hard. I learned a lot. I had a wealth of notes. I learned a lot about myself, the culture of the industry, and cultures in various locations on-tour, as well.
I am a woman. I am a Filipina-American. I am first generation in a family that does not have many careers in the arts. These qualities alone that define me are not found often in the backstage crew world. I am a minority on many fronts. Because of that, I find it important to both show up and reach out.
So now, after closing the Tony-winning revival Once On This Island, I look ahead…to keep going and to move forward...together.