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Welcome to the final installment of The Road 101’s “Acting On The Road” series with guest, Patrick Oliver Jones. This interview was conducted in mid-May. The Road 101 is so grateful to Patrick for taking the time out of his busy schedule on the road over the past six months to check in with us to let us know what it’s like out there on tour. We’re super excited to see what’s next for Patrick down the road, and wish him all the best!

THE ROAD 101: How long have you been out on the EVITA tour, and what were some of the highlights for you?

Patrick Oliver Jones: Rehearsals started last August, and I’ve been with the show from the beginning. We’ve been to some wonderful cities like Chicago, which is probably my favorite city to visit in the US, as well as new cities for me like San Antonio, which has a beautiful river walks that wind their way through the heart of downtown. The real highlight, though, are the people I’ve worked with and come to know. The cast is not only fantastically talented onstage but a pleasure to be with offstage as well. Each person is perfectly suited to their role and the friendships formed during these last nine months are ones I look forward to continuing long after the tour has ended.

TR101: I hear that you will be leaving the EVITA tour a little early. What’s next for you?

POJ: Yes, my last day with the tour was May 9. After a much-needed vacation and then a few days back in NYC, I started work in upstate NY at the Merry Go Round Playhouse to do Mr. Banks in MARY POPPINS. We open Wednesday, June 4 and have a spectacular cast of veterans from the Broadway and National Tour companies as well as those new to the show like myself. Once Poppins closes, I will make my way down to St. Louis to play the Grinch in SEUSSICAL. As it turns out, our director and production stage manager from EVITA were part of the original Broadway production of SEUSSICAL and they gave me some of the rich history and creative process of this unique show. My last 3 years have been filled with ensemble work in two national tours. I am truly looking forward to taking on two iconic principal characters in these upcoming shows. It’s set to be a wonderfully fun summer!

TR101: Do you plan on going out on the road and performing in tours again in the future?

POJ: At this point my sights are set on work in NYC. Life on the road is fun and involves going to some great places, but I moved to the city years ago with the goal of working in the city. So now is the time to concentrate on that. With so many workshops and shows on and off Broadway, I’m excited for the chance to perform in new works, including readings and concerts. Should a tour come along in the future that has a great role and a wonderful creative team, I might be persuaded to hit the road again. But for now, I’m happy to set my roots firmly in NYC!

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The men of the National Tour of EVITA from the opening night party in San Diego. (Patrick is 4th from left.)

The men of the National Tour of EVITA from the opening night party in San Diego. (Patrick is 4th from left.)

With the 13/14 touring season now more than half-way through, The Road 101 decided it was time once again to catch up with our peregrinating performer pal, Patrick Oliver Jones for our Voices From The Road series. Patrick is currently crossing the country in the National Tour of EVITA.

THE ROAD 101: Hey Patrick, thanks so much for taking the time to chat with The Road 101 again! How long have you been out on tour now with EVITA? I imagine it can get tiring constantly performing and traveling. How do you find balance out on The Road?

Patrick Oliver Jones:
It’s been about 6 months since we started rehearsals back in NYC. At this point, the cast has become like a family, connecting and sharing our daily lives with each other. The balance really comes in finding time to both enjoy the closeness and camaraderie of my cast mates, as well as carving out time for myself to work on a blog, catch up on my favorite TV shows, or stick to my New Year’s resolution to workout more. Some cities I’m out and about, seeing all the city has to offer, but some days are wonderfully lazy in the hotel room. As for my friends and family, Facebook, Instagram, and other social sites certainly help me keep connected, especially as our tour gets closer to their cities.

TR101: What is a typical performance day like for an actor out on tour?


POJ:
Days truly differ during the week. We do have some days that are pretty similar every week like Mondays (traveling to the next city), Tuesdays (a day off until 5pm when we have a company meeting and sound check before opening that night), and Saturday/Sunday (when we have two shows each day). As an understudy for Peron, a typical rehearsal day during the week would be a run-through with the other understudies and swings in the afternoon with a couple of hours to rest and eat before show that night. Those days we have nothing scheduled but a show that night are chances to sleep in, do laundry, eat out with friends, see the city sights, and/or doing some shopping.

Our call time is always 30 minutes prior to show time. We have a fairly short show, about 55 minutes each act, so our day usually ends around 10-10:30pm, depending on show time. Since I’m a night owl, then I’m usually off to bed around 2-3am each night.

TR101:
 What city are you writing from now? What do you like about it?

POJ:
Milwaukee. This is one of the few cities on tour that I haven’t been to, and of course the locals here say that it’s a shame we aren’t here in the warmer months. Not much to do with temps in single digits and snow up to my knees. Haha. I did at least get to the Public Market, a warehouse type collection of shops and eating places in the downtown area.

Mostly I like being here because I have friends living just outside Milwaukee that I’ve known since I lived in Orlando and was working at Disney World. I’m actually staying with them this week, which helps out financially as well. On a SETA contract, the amount of our per diem is based upon where we stay, whether in producer-provided lodging or on our own. By “taking the buy-out” I receive more per diem to cover the cost of finding my own lodging, which in this case is nothing since I’m staying with my friends.

TR101: Where are you off to next? Are you looking forward to it, and have you ever been there before?


POJ:
After Milwaukee we get a week off, which I will use to go back to NYC for some rest and relaxation, as well as auditioning. While I’m happy to have this tour, I do look forward to whatever is next, particularly a principal contract. The past couple of years have given my resume good ensemble credits, but now I’m ready to tackle more leading roles. So I have about 2-3 auditions planned for each day I’m back in the Big Apple.

After the layoff the tour starts up again in Cincinnati for two weeks. I have been there before and look forward to sampling more chili, which the city is known for. But I’m particularly hopeful for warmer weather, at least above freezing. From Minneapolis to Milwaukee and NYC, the winter freezes have been following us. I love snow and feel like a kid every time I’m out in it, but shivering cold is never fun. Haha. So getting a chance to not have to bundle up in our upcoming cities will be a welcome relief!

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Patrick Oliver Jones is currently on the road with Evita (Peron u/s), having recently finished the Equity national tour of The Addams Family (Lurch, Mal u/s). Off-Broadway he starred in the world premieres of The Extraordinary Ordinary, Magdalene, and Swiss Family Robinson (NYMF). Regionally, Patrick has led a revolution in Les Misérables, made ladies swoon in Beauty and the Beast, antagonized Quixote in Man of La Mancha, and spent his days mooning in Grease. His dramatic works include The Tempest (Ferdinand), Look Homeward, Angel (Eugene), and To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday (David). On camera he has co-starred in BLUE BLOODS and LAW & ORDER: CI as well as numerous national commercials in the U.S. and Canada. www.PatrickOliverJones.com

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Actor, Patrick Oliver Jones. Currently on the road with the First National tour of EVITA

Actor, Patrick Oliver Jones. Currently on the road with the First National tour of EVITA

So, I am really excited about this post! I mostly talk about facts and figures and numbers and behind the scenes business stuff here, but the truth of the matter is, while these are all important aspects of the theatre touring industry, we can’t forget, hello — there are people on stage, too!

Which brings me to the latest in The Road 101’s “Voices From The Road” series. I am so lucky that actor, Patrick Oliver Jones, currently on tour with EVITA, stumbled on to The Road 101! Despite how busy he is, Patrick kindly agreed to talk about touring from an actor’s perspective in general, as well as his own personal experience.

This post is Part One of what will potentially be three posts. For these future posts, The Road 101 will check in with Patrick down the road to see how things are going, and what other interesting observations he has about the world of theatre touring …

THE ROAD 101: Patrick, thanks so much for taking the time to give The ROAD 101 readers insight into your experience being an actor on tour! Could you tell us little about your background? Where you’re from? How you got into the performing arts as a career? Anything else you’d like us to know about how you got into the business?

Patrick Oliver Jones:  I grew up in Birmingham, AL and had my first taste of performing in my church’s third grade choir. That grew into singing roles in Christmas, Easter, and other productions. But my first actual musical was FIDDLER ON THE ROOF in the ninth grade. I played Mendel, the Rabbi’s son. I had braces and thick plastic glasses and didn’t really look the part, but I was so excited to just have lines and little solos here and there. Throughout high school I performed in a musical every year, but I still wasn’t sure about theater as a career, until I got a singing scholarship at Samford University. It was the summer after my freshmen year that I got my first professional acting job as part of the ensemble in a summer stock theater company. During that summer I was cast as Pharaoh in JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT and I absolutely loved it! Getting to sing and move like Elvis in such a fun role was totally exhilarating to me, and I knew that I wanted to continue doing more of that kind of work. Since then, except for a brief two-month stint as a car salesman (you gotta do what you gotta do), I have been blessed to make my livelihood from performing.

TR101: For this tour of EVITA, how did you find out about the auditions? What did you need to prepare? What was the process like? How long before you heard that you got the part, and from whom? And once you heard you got the job, how long before you had to get yourself packed up and out on The Road?

POJ: In late March of this year, my agent lined up an audition for me with Telsey Casting, the biggest theatrical casting agency in New York. I was going in for the Peron understudy and to be a part of the ensemble. At this initial audition I was to prepare a song of my choice for the music director and one of the casting directors. A week later I got a callback and was given a packet of music to learn, about 20 pages total, that included ensemble parts as well as Peron solos. I had never sung the EVITA score before, and it has some tricky parts in it. Even though I had just a couple of days to learn it all, the music director was so friendly and understood how difficult the music was to learn in such a short period of time. She helped put me at ease as I sang through the sides for her and the associate director, and it certainly made for a much better audition experience. (I am constantly reminded in moments like that how much those behind the table want those of us who audition to succeed. Getting nervous is part of the game for actors, but we have to be mindful that they want us to do well because that makes their job more enjoyable and easier in casting the show.)

About two weeks later I was notified from my agent about a second callback…this time for the choreographer. It was to be a 90-minute session of going through different sections of the show. Usually dance callbacks have around 10 people or so (as they are looking for several ensemble parts at once), but as it turned out it was just me and one other guy at this dance call. It was comforting to know that I had a 50-50 chance of getting it, but it was also nerve-racking to be one-on-one with the choreographer, especially since I am not a dancer and it takes me a while to pick up choreography. But I must have done well enough, because three days later on April 8th my agent called and said I booked the tour!

However, rehearsals wouldn’t begin till August, so I had several months of continuing auditions and booking other work until then. To be honest, by the middle of July I still hadn’t signed a contract for EVITA. It wasn’t till I read my name in a press release announcing the cast on Playbill’s website that I knew for sure I was in. A couple of days after that, I went in to my agent’s office and finally signed my contract.

TR101: How much of the business aspect of The Road, including the complex behind the scenes ticket pricing, budgeting, contracting and settlement operations, are you and other performers aware of while you are out there rehearsing and performing?

POJ: Being a part of the Actors Equity Association, the union governing both actors and stage managers, we are aware of some of the finances going into a national tour like this. You see, Equity has created about 11 different tiers and categories of contracts for touring productions. The Production Contract, which includes Broadway, has five tiers and the Short Engagement Touring Agreement (SETA) has six categories. Based on our average weekly guarantees/flat fees and box office receipts as well as things like number of actors hired and trucks used, this touring production operates under the SETA contract. Though SETA salaries are far below that of the Production Contract, it is possible for us to make above our contractual weekly salary. If revenue ever exceeds expectations during a particular week on tour, this is called “overage” and the EVITA cast gets to share in those increased profits along with the producers and presenters.

Ticket prices vary widely from venue to venue. Tempe, Arizona has house seats going for $73 while in Los Angeles they top out at $125. The cast and crew are not usually given comp tickets or discounts to the shows. However, presenters will sometimes offer such deals on specific days if ticket sales are lagging or they want to fill the seats for a particular reason like opening night or press night. This gives us a chance to have family and friends come see us at reduced rates, which we are always grateful for.

TR101:  It must get a bit exhausting out there every once in a while, or performers get sick. How does the understudy situation work on your tour of EVITA?

POJ: Our show has a lot of group numbers and once the curtain opens most of us in the ensemble are quickly changing costumes going from scene to scene. As a result we don’t get many breaks in the show, which can be hardest on those in the dancer tracks. Because of this and the difficulty of the choreography, we have already had three people out on injury so far and we’re only in our fourth city. Thankfully, we have four swings (two male, two female) that cover all 18 of the ensemble tracks (nine male, nine female). To simplify what the swings have to learn through the rehearsal process, each swing focuses on 4-5 ensemble members to cover at first. However, eventually each swing must learn all nine ensemble tracks of their respective gender.

So far the process has been fairly seamless as they simply fill in for whoever is out of show. That can be due to illness, injury, or if someone is swung out of show, which is what happens when one of us in the cast is allowed to watch the show from the audience. This is particularly helpful to an understudy like myself to watch a performance to see what the principal I cover does on stage. In the unfortunate event that we had more than two male or female ensemble members out (knock on wood!), then our dance captain who is also one of the swings would devise a split-track, where portions of those ensemble tracks would be covered at different times throughout the show, depending on their importance to a scene.

TR101: What is your favorite aspect of being a performer on The Road and what is the most challenging aspect for you?

POJ: The best part of being on the road is the traveling. Being paid to go to cities like Chicago, Orlando, or Seattle is truly a delight, especially when I have friends or family there. While there is the downside of living out of a suitcase and dealing with long lines at the airports, there is the benefit of seeing wonderful cities across the country, especially those I’ve never been to before, and embracing my inner tourist that I keep hidden in New York City.

The most challenging aspect is the schedule. Most of our stops last one week, then it’s on to the next city. Performing six days in a row with two shows on Saturdays and Sundays and then traveling on the seventh day makes for a very long week. The weeks often run together and it can be difficult to realize what day it is. In cities where we stay two weeks or longer, then we are able to savor a full day without traveling or performing and just enjoy the sights and sounds of the city.

TR101: How are you enjoying being in Los Angeles right now? 

POJ: Interestingly back in 2005, I was deciding the next step in my career and debating whether to live in New York or LA. It was Broadway and the ever-abundant theater opportunities that eventually led me to choose New York, but I have always been attracted to the TV and film production here and enjoy visiting sunny Southern California with its beautiful weather, temperatures in the 70s, and less frenetic pace of life than NYC. Fortunately, we are here for three long weeks and our show and rehearsal schedules allow us to avoid most of LA’s famous rush hour traffic. As a result I’ve been able to go to TV show tapings of Let’s Make a Deal and Chelsea Lately, drive out to the beach and pier in Santa Monica, stroll down the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and go hiking in Teluca Hills.

TR101: Are audiences different from city to city? If so, in what ways?

POJ: In our first three cities (Providence, Chicago, St. Louis) audiences were pretty much the same…quiet. I mean it is basically a musical biography that begins and ends with a funeral. Furthermore, it is completely sung through so listening is imperative to not miss any dialogue or the storytelling. However, once we got here to LA the audience was a vocal part of the show for the first time. Scenes were getting chuckles and applause that we hadn’t had before. I’m not sure how to explain the change, but those here in Los Angeles seem to grasp the ironic and sarcastic moments that others have either not understood or at least were not vocal in their understanding.

TR101: Would you be interested in giving us updates on how things are going for you as you travel with EVITA to other cities?

POJ: Absolutely. Just let me know how often you’d like updates and what types of info would be most beneficial for your blog. I’m happy to keep you posted! 🙂

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Patrick Oliver Jones is currently on the road with Evita (Peron u/s), having recently finished the Equity national tour of The Addams Family (Lurch, Mal u/s). Off-Broadway he starred in the world premieres of The Extraordinary Ordinary, Magdalene, and Swiss Family Robinson (NYMF). Regionally, Patrick has led a revolution in Les Misérables, made ladies swoon in Beauty and the Beast, antagonized Quixote in Man of La Mancha, and spent his days mooning in Grease. His dramatic works include The Tempest (Ferdinand), Look Homeward, Angel (Eugene), and To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday (David). On camera he has co-starred in BLUE BLOODS and LAW & ORDER: CI as well as numerous national commercials in the U.S. and Canada. www.PatrickOliverJones.com

 

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Amy Polan Clarke

Amy Polan Clarke

There’s a lot going on behind the scenes before, during, and after an engagement takes place in each and every market. And in this case, when I say “behind the scenes” I don’t mean the backstage area before, during and after a performance. The behind the scenes action I’m referring to is related to all the complex operational details that need to be hammered out and continuously managed — deal points, contracts, technical riders, estimated engagement expenses, gross advertising budgets, ticket pricing, ticket discount strategies, and settlements, just to name a few —  and it is the theatrical booking agency that is right in the center, literally. Theatrical booking agencies solely represent the producer of a tour, but they are also the main liaison between the producer and the presenters licensing the show. So, booking agency engagement managers need to find just the right strategic balance of negotiation and diplomacy skills, and also be able to stay on top of a lot of information related to all the different shows they are booking from their roster, and all the vastly different presenters, markets and venues they are dealing with on a daily basis.

I’m lucky to know one of THE best theatrical engagement managers and Director of Operations in the business — Amy Polan Clarke. I got the chance to catch up with Amy recently over email and ask her some questions about the work she has done in the touring industry, her perspective with regard to the current state of The Road, and how producers and artists out there might connect with a booking agency and potentially get agents interested in their projects.

THE ROAD 101: Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions, Amy. Can you describe in broad strokes what a theatrical booking agency does, and what your function has been as a Director of Operations?

AMY POLAN CLARKE: A theatrical booking agency is hired by a Producer and/or General Manager to sell, within a specified territory, performances of the Producer’s production of a theatrical show. After the agent would negotiate the dates and financial terms with Presenters in various markets, it was my job to create an analysis of the offers and submit them to the Producer, looking at the financial terms, ticket prices, history in the market, estimated expenses, Producer’s income potential and the buyer’s break even. We would go back and forth between the producer and the buyer negotiating the deal points and once they were acceptable to all, I would negotiate and create contracts outlining and formalizing the deal. I also kept a running tally of the Producer’s total estimated income for the tour to ensure that they would meet their weekly nut and updated agents as to the status. Once the tour actually began, I acted as the liaison among the agents, Producers, marketing reps, and tour personnel to keep it running smoothly. I also verified settlements and maintained summaries of grosses, expenses, income, and commissions for all performances.  We did not have a database system, so I created spreadsheet after spreadsheet for all the data.  In fact, some producers insisted that other agencies use my formats (this happened to me in the concert industry also – to this day, people are using settlement forms I created years ago). I also did operational tasks for the company such as dealing with new hires, vacation days, maintaining the website and creating the company’s annual roster brochure.

TR101: I see you’ve also been an Associate General Manager. How does that role differ from an operations role?

APC: As an Associate GM, I did similar tasks with negotiations, contracts and settlements, however also auditioned and hired talent; hired road crew, coordinated marketing and publicity campaigns and materials, secured visas and insurance for cast and crew, and handled all financial aspects of the production – budgets, cash flows, royalty statements, and P & L reports to investors. I also approved all tour expenditures and oversaw the sales and inventory of merchandise on the tour. It was much more hands-on to the actual production than being at an agency.

TR101: Wow, you certainly know your stuff!  How did you first get into the theatrical booking industry?

APC: I was the Senior VP of Touring for a concert promotion/producer/management firm where I worked for 30 years (started at age 20). I booked tours and went on the road with shows as a Tour Manager/Tour Accountant (similar to Company Manager). But in 2002 the company was bought and closed down.  I then worked as the Associate GM for an off-Broadway producer (until the show went bust), and I discovered I liked the theatrical business better than the music business so I pursued it.  Simma Levine of On the Road Booking and I had some business friends in common and she needed help.

TR101: A lot of artists and producers consider attending booking conferences in order to meet booking agents, and network. Do you have any opinions about the various booking conferences out there, i.e., WAA, Midwest Arts Conference, PAE, APAP, etc. as far as their usefulness to bookers, and to producers, or artists, looking for bookers?

APC: I think it’s important for agents to get out and meet the people you talk to on the phone all the time. That being said, I’m not sure that all that many new bookings actually come out of it. But for artists, they present a great opportunity to show your stuff to agents and/or producers who might potentially represent you. Getting them to actually come to your showcase is a whole other thing. It’s all very hectic.

TR101: From your perspective, what are some of the biggest challenges facing a tour’s ability to turn a profit these days?

APC: Same thing as everyone else’s challenges in making a profit these days – you want to put out a quality project, but expenses are too high, sales are too low, and you have to keep the ticket prices low outside of the larger cities. And touring also has to deal with transportation costs, over which they have very little control. Sponsorships have also fallen by the wayside due to the economy. One thing I think the theatrical industry does better than the concert industry is offering so many varying ticket prices – subscriptions, groups, students, promotions, dynamic pricing, etc. The concert industry does very little of this. On the other hand, it makes it really difficult for the producer to know what his income might be. Theatre also doesn’t seem to have the scalping issues that concerts have, which is one of the reasons some concert ticket prices are so high (the theory being that the scalpers will get this price, so the band might as well get it).

TR101: Do you have any suggestions as to how a theatre producer, or theatre artist, might get their project noticed by a booking agency?

APC: Find a way to get them excited about the show. Of course everyone wants/needs to make money, but if someone is passionate about what they’ve seen, they just might invest their time in you and try to build you into a money maker.  You’ve got to have something that moves them, though.

 

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Amy Polan Clarke is a veteran of the live entertainment industry, having worked all sides of the spectrum in both the theatrical and concert worlds – for venues, promoters, producers, performers, and agencies. She has toured as Business/Tour Manager for musical performers from the Grateful Dead to Sarah Brightman and has worked on theatrical touring shows such as Hairspray, Movin’ Out, The Producers, and Spring Awakening.

Email Amy: amyclarke@comcast.net

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For those of you in New York City interested in hearing some theatre industry folks talk about the business side of The Road, I was invited to be on a panel tonight at The Players Theater called So Many Ways to Hit the Road: The Value of Touring for Building Your Brand”

Should be a lively and informative discussion, so hope you can check it out!

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David van Zyll de Jong

David van Zyll de Jong

There are many, many skilled people who make The Road happen. Sure, there are the performers, but the performers would be hard-pressed to get from one place to the next, have a paycheck in their hand each week, and generally know what the heck was going on if it weren’t for the Company Manager.

Company managing a show that stays in one place is one thing, but doing this job over many months, possibly years, while moving from one place to the next on The Road, is another.

I am very fortunate to know one of the nicest, hardest-working company managers out there, David van Zyll de Jong. David is out on tour and I recently asked him some questions about the life of a company manager, what a company manager actually does, and what this job is like on The Road.

ROBIN: Hey David, thanks so much for taking the time out of what I know is a very busy schedule to chat with me. So, how long have you been a company manager and what projects have you worked on?

DAVID: I’ve been company managing for about 5 years. I got into it by working as a marketing intern for Barry and Fran Weissler’s company, National Artists Management Company (NAMCO). I worked closely with Scott Moore on advertising and marketing strategies for CHICAGO (NY, London, tour) and WONDERFUL TOWN on Broadway. The company manager who opened WONDERFUL TOWN took notice of me and when she went back to the CHICAGO tour, took me along as her assistant. Working as a company manager is really about a solid and communicative work ethic and learning from all your experiences – ultimately cultivating a great reputation and solid management style.

ROBIN: I know you do a lot and it may be hard to really explain things in detail, but can you describe in broad strokes what a company manager does and how that translates to being a company manager on The Road?

DAVID: Company managing is fairly similar in NY and on the road, but with some distinct differences. For those that don’t know, commercial theater productions are each (for the most part) separate business entities. The company manager is responsible for the day to day operations of the business. The basics of the job are the same: company payroll & benefits, accounts payable & receivable, dealing with contracts (being sure they’re properly routed and executed), verifying box office statements, settling with the house/presenter, and generally being a watchdog for the business. Company managers are the main center of communication between artistic staff, actors, producers and technicians. It requires a great attention to detail and a good mind for troubleshooting.

Managers on the road deal more with housing and travel and generally deal a little less with the marketing and press that NY managers handle. It’s also very different to live among the company. In New York, you do your job and go home. On the road, these are the people with whom you live, go out and eat almost every meal. It’s really like an extended family and the company manager is a caretaker of sorts.

ROBIN: The travel aspect sounds like it could be tiring, but also very rewarding. Where are some of the most memorable places you’ve been?

DAVID: I’ve been fortunate to be paid to go to some really fantastic places. My favorite cities on tour have been Honolulu, San Francisco, Anchorage, San Diego, Boston, Minneapolis, Vancouver, and Greenville, SC (surprisingly). The greatest thing about going to all these places is getting to really understand what the rest of the country is like, how they think, how they live. It can vary greatly from one region to another.

ROBIN: Holy smokes, you’ve certainly been around! Where are you right now?

DAVID: I’m currently in Denver and am gearing up to head to San Francisco for a 7 week engagement. It’s so wonderful to have something like that to look forward to. As SPAMALOT has been touring now for three and a half years, most of the engagements are only one week. It’s great to sit down for so long and really get to know the city and the people.

ROBIN: Sounds like it’s been a really memorable experience. What’s down the road for you?

DAVID: SPAMALOT just announced that it will likely close on October 18. I’m looking forward to getting back to New York and re-establishing myself there. That’s the thing about working in commercial theater…there’s always change. Shows open, shows close – and you have to really put yourself out there to score the next gig. It was a big challenge to accept that when I started working in theater (I grew up with parents that really just had one job for many years). But I realize that it’s one of the rewards – there’s always something new!

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David van Zyll de Jong is a New York based company manager who has enjoyed the varied experience of working on Broadway, off-Broadway, on workshops, showcases and on the road. He has worked with stars such as Richard Chamberlain, Patti LaBelle, Wayne Brady, Gregory Harrison, John O’Hurley, Suzanne Somers, and countless other talented actors, designers and producers.

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