10 Questions for a Broadway Pro. Volume 5: Brian Lynch, Production Manager
With this volume of 10 Qs for a Broadway Pro, we’re going behind the curtain to find out what one of the top Production Managers in the biz has to say about his gig.
If you’ve ever sat at a show and been amazed at how a piece of scenery fit onstage (or backstage), or how a fireworks-like lighting effect didn’t burn up the ensemble, then you’ve witnessed the wonderful work of a Production Manager like Brian Lynch.
Brian Lynch has worked on big shows, small shows, and shows that are juuuuuuuust right, coordinating the technical needs and desires of the Designers and Director, with the needs and desires of the Producers . . . oh, and then he has to coordinate all of that within the confines of the Local 1 Stagehand agreement.
As you’ll see, Brian is a man of few words. Why? Well, he’s one of the busiest guys I know, and great Production Managers give you the answers you need quick and fast. It may not be the answer you want, but the best ones just tell you the truth and tell it yesterday . . . so it doesn’t cost you money tomorrow.
Let’s see how Brian answers our 10 Questions.
1. What is your title?
Production Manager/Technical Supervisor
2. What show/shows are you currently working on?
West Side Story, In the Heights, recently closed Ragtime (unfortunately, great show), and all White Christmas companies
3. In one sentence, describe your job.
Ensure that each production is done with efficiency and within a well-structured technical budget.
4. What skills are necessary for a person in your position?
A working knowledge of all technical aspects of mounting a show in a theatrical environment, being able to work creatively with producers, directors, designers, shops, and stagehands of all types and temperaments, and having a thorough knowledge of all the resources that are available…oh, and lots of patience.
5. What kind of training did you go through to get to your position?
Five years of electronics on a nuclear submarine. B.A. in English from Loyola University, 1970. Thirty-five years working on Broadway with Manny Azenberg, Jim Freydberg, Kevin McCollum, Jeffrey Seller, Charlotte Wilcox, etc. etc.
6. What was your first job in theater?
Working on automation systems for the Civic Light Opera Company in Los Angeles…1971.
7. Why do you think theater is important?
It is an art form and all art is important…not to mention the fact that it is how I make my living
8. What is your profession’s greatest challenge today?
Staying relevant and affordable to today’s young people.
9. If you could change just one thing about the industry with the wave of a magic wand, what would it be?
The death of the 25-million-dollar musical!
10. What advice would you give to someone who wanted to do what you do?
Enjoy the challenge.
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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.