Working on Tour… From NYC
Updated: Jan 14, 2021
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
My first experience working for a Broadway tour began in 2013, when I was a freshman at Duke University in Durham, NC. The National Tour of Disney’s The Lion King was performing at DPAC for five weeks in February and March, and I was hired as their local Production Assistant. In this role, I assisted with daily Company Management tasks including travel arrangements, setting up the local company management office, and answering questions about Durham and the surrounding area to touring members. Before this experience, I had never heard of a Company Manager! Working in the Company Management office and interacting with cast and crew members opened my eyes to all of the careers available backstage. Learn more about Company Management here.
Eight months after working with The Lion King, I received a phone call from the Company Manager, whom I had kept in touch with over the preceding months. She had a new remote Production Assistant position that would allow one person to act as a PA for every city on the tour, instead of on-boarding someone new in each city. I was offered the position in November 2016, and I began gathering information about every city on the tour and coordinating details like hotels, rental cars, parking arrangements and more as needed. I have worked remotely for almost four years, and I have enjoyed seeing the leadership styles of four different company managers during that time.
Working remotely has led to new and unexpected challenges! I encourage anyone who is interested in working remotely to be highly organized so that you never lose track of deadlines or assignments. You have to be willing to work with very little oversight and guidance, and you need to built trust with your supervisor so that they know that they can rely on you from hundreds of miles away.
BOND THEATRICAL GROUP
After graduating from Duke in 2019, I applied for theater administration and management positions in New York City, and I was hired by Bond Theatrical Group! Bond Theatrical is a booking, marketing, and advertising company for Broadway and national tours.
I have now been working as a Booking Assistant for a year and a half! In this position I collaborate with the Booking Agents to book shows in over 150 venues across North America. Bond Theatrical tours include Cats, Blue Man Group, Jesus Christ Superstar, and An Officer and a Gentleman, as well as current Broadway shows Company, Girl from the North Country, and Diana. I strategize routing dates and track subscriptions and market availability across hundreds of markets. I love working in the booking world because I have the ability to bring incredible Broadway shows to cities all over the country. I was raised in Charlotte, NC, which has an amazing Touring Broadway theater (The Blumenthal), so I know firsthand the impact that professional live theater can have on a community.
Many people assume that the path to Broadway is through regional or community theater. However, I have found that most young professionals I know graduated from college or an apprenticeship program and directly applied for jobs on Broadway! Don’t be afraid to apply to jobs on Broadway right from college.
ADVICE FOR FELLOW YOUNG PROFESSIONALS
I’ve received the same piece of advice many times over the last few years: See as many live performances as possible so that you can start to develop your own sense of taste and learn more about the industry. If you’re interested in becoming involved in theater, but you don’t know how to begin, start by seeing and reading as many shows as possible and finding opportunities to meet individuals whom you admire in the field. Many arts leaders are happy to meet with students and discuss their careers. This can also lead to other experiences!
Every opportunity, no matter how small, may lead to others. My five-week position with The Lion King led to a remote job that has lasted four years! An interview for a job that I didn’t get led to an interview with Bond Theatrical Group, where I was ultimately offered a job. Always put your best foot forward when meeting new people and taking on new opportunities – you never know where they will lead!
If you’d like to build your own knowledge of the industry, you can research contracts and union agreements and become more familiar with theater vocabulary and players in the industry. This knowledge will come in handy during job or internship interviews and when meeting with industry professionals.
Network, network, network! The theater industry is truly built on relationships. Get to know individuals in the industry who can introduce you to others. Try to find a mentor in the industry who can help you shape your career and provide you with guidance.