The Broadway League/ATPAM Diversity Initiative with Hamilton
In December 2018, Shea’s participated in The Broadway League/Association of Press Agents and Managers (ATPAM) Diversity Initiative. This initiative gives college theatre students from diverse backgrounds who are interested in pursuing a non-performance or management career in theatre the opportunity to intern with the Company Manager of a Broadway tour. Shea’s received a multitude of applications from college students throughout Western New York.
Gabriella McKinley, a sophomore theatre major and legal studies minor at Buffalo State College was selected by Shea’s to intern with Hamilton Company Manager, James Viggiano, during the run of the show in Buffalo. Gabriella took some time to answer a few questions about her experience working with Hamilton’s Angelica tour and Shea’s.
1) What made you decide to pursue The Broadway League Diversity Initiative offered by Shea’s during the run of Hamilton?
I had an ever-growing interest in theater production and management. In the future I would like to own my own theater company and it’s imperative that I develop the planning and organizational skills used in company management. Company managers organize a multitude of tasks and are a line of communication between producers and unions. I was aware that gaining knowledge on how large-scale productions operate, I could apply it to my own aspirations that may not be on the same scale. It was also an awesome opportunity to be a small part of one of my favorite shows, and one of the most influential shows, of all time. It was an awesome opportunity to create some valuable networks which I was able to establish.
2) What are some of the responsibilities of a company manager for a touring production like Hamilton?
Company Managers are responsible for organizing travel from city to city including putting together “city sheets” that detail hotels, eateries, exercise facilities, and entertainment near the theater they will be working in. Company Managers make sure that union contractual agreements are being adhered to on a daily basis. This includes vacation/sick time, break times, travel requirements, payment, among many other things. Company Managers also balance and report ticket sales and show attendance to the producers. They also work very hard to keep the cast and crew comfortable whether it’s providing snacks, organizing holiday parties, or simply being available for a quick chat. They also manage held and pulled tickets for the company and a lot more.
3) You also had the opportunity to work with Shea’s front of house and box office staff. Did you learn anything new about front of house or box office responsibilities at Shea’s?
Working with Shea’s front of house was an unexpected and incredible learning experience. I got to learn about the ticketing systems including how they are pulled, the TicketMaster system, box office sales, and service. I learned how important communication and problem-solving skills are especially after working at will call. Just as in performance, every day is different and different problems can arise at any moment.
4) How do you see your career evolving once you graduate from college? Did this internship change how you see that evolution or in what areas you may want to focus?
After working with the Company Managers, I learned a lot about contracts and I became really interested in the terms and conditions made in those agreements. I was given a more specific understanding of what entertainment law is and I have a now growing interest in pursuing it. This internship has also reassured me that for me to feel satisfied and excited about working I must be involved in and serving theater arts.
Gabby described her internship experience as a once in a lifetime opportunity. Of all of the valuable information that she took away from it, she stated that this really helped her to understand how many people and roles are involved in a major production such as Hamilton. Having had this experience, she feels even more passionate about a career “behind the table” or in the “room where it happens” where she will have the authority and responsibility to make the big decisions.
In her future, Gabby’s dream is to establish her own theatre company that will work with formerly incarcerated invidivuals working to re-enter society. By working with these vulnerable populations, she hopes to help combat recidivism by helping these individuals to understand theatre and the arts.
Lastly, Gabby gave us three pieces of advice for aspiring theatre students:
- Listen! – You can always learn from others and apply what they do to your own life.
- Tell people what your goals are – By doing this, Gabby’s professors were able to help her achieve this opportunity because they knew how much this experience would help her to reach her goals.
- Have a desire to learn – You have to have a drive to keep learning and growing.
Thank you to Gabby for sharing her experience with us.
If you are interested in learning more about upcoming internship opportunities at Shea’s, contact Jennifer Fitzery at firstname.lastname@example.org.