Guest post written by Shayna Kasbee
House Manager at the Madrid Theatre in Canoga Park
Has the economy got you down? Have you invested time and energy into pursuing an education, yet you feel it is going nowhere? With hiring freezes becoming the norm and career advancements seem non-existent, one may wonder where to look next. I hope in sharing Shelli Miller’s story, I can nurture hope and inspire you to see every new path as an opportunity. As an ambitious live theater producer, she is the epitome of success in this struggling job market.
Have you ever wondered what it takes to become a Live Theater Producer?
Recently I had the pleasure of working with a producer named Shelli Miller. She owns and operates a company called Golden Performing Arts, in West Hills, California. Shelli did not grow up obsessed with being a producer nor did she devote years of study to this field, she kind of stumbled into it.
Shelli saw a flier in 1990 for Golden Performing Arts and thought her six-year old daughter may enjoy performing, so she chose to look in to it further. Right away, she noticed her daughter’s confidence grew and the code of ethics instilled in the other children was amazing. Golden became a safe place for these kids to learn about history, music, dance, theatre and friendship. These kids learned to withstand bullying and endure stress. In 1994, Golden experienced financial trouble. During this time, Shelli and her husband, Tim, chose to take a more active role and ensured the show would go on!
As a Producer, overseeing the entire production company consumes a large part of the day. From raising capital to hiring creative staff, it is all apart of their responsibilities. Also, they secure the rights to do specific plays and musicals, market and budget the entire production then schedule the performances along with setting the ticket prices.
Today, producing in the creative arts is a high risk game. However, some would argue, it is well worth it. The arts are very important to our development as a culture and community. Producers have an eye for developing talent such as: actors, signers, directors, choreographers, set makers and so much more! They have the courage to invest in playwrights, design costumes and trust in their creative teams.
A Producer cannot rely on ticket sales to finance a production company. Successful production companies develop great marketing and publicity strategies and need understand their community. Shows need to spark interest and be inviting to the local community to generate ticket revenue. Many production companies create committees who develop partnerships with other businesses that will benefit from the shows. This way they can embark on joint ventures so that all the partners invest and reap the profits. Often production companies will have fundraisers and cultivate a successful sponsorship campaign. Another area where production companies can generate revenue is by offering workshops and classes to the community.
A brilliant thing Producer Shelli Miller did to cut costs and secure a venue, was selecting the Madrid as their resident theater company. This agreement allows cost saving on rental rates, however; the agreement states that she will produce six shows a year at the Madrid Theatre. Shelli has produced many successful shows at the Madrid Theatre and has sold out the house several times. Shelli also invests in great directors, choreographers and has aligned herself with top vocal and acting coaches to make sure that Golden produces quality shows. She has also implemented a great direct mail campaign to keep supporters notified of up coming shows.
Whether you prefer more serious theater or fun and heart warming performances Golden has something for everyone. Come out and support this local production company and see how Shelli Miller’s labor of love has had a positive impact on so many. Not only will you enjoy the shows but you will be contributing to a wonderful cause that adds vitality to our community and our youth.
Come see Seussical July 27th- 29th or August 2nd-5th at the Madrid Theatre. This is a heart warming Dr. Seuss tale great for people of all ages. Golden Performing Arts Kids showcase their talent and shine. This is a great event that will inspire the whole family.
Shelli — thank you for sticking it out and continuing to offer opportunities for those in the creative arts and inspiring acting right here in Los Angeles where Hollywood was born. As you can see, volunteering can lead to awesome possibilities and there are so many ways to get involved with a production company. From marketing, planning and organizing to the creative or educational side, there are roles for almost anyone. I urge all to volunteer at something you are passionate about; you never know where it will lead you. You may end up working in your dream career!
Madrid Theatre 21622 Sherman Way
Canoga Park, CA 91303
Order tickets online