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Posts Tagged Connie Shaver

Adrian Larkin: November Front of House Employee of the Month

Lead House Manager Adrian Larkin Photograph by T. T. Cheng

Lead House Manager Adrian Larkin
Photograph by T. T. Cheng

Adrian Larkin joined Park Square Theatre two seasons ago as an usher in the Education Department, quickly rising to become Lead House Manager. As such, he must manage up to two stages as well as supervise a half dozen or more staff members and volunteers during shows. He must stay level-headed while coordinating with Production and other theatre staff, often as hordes of school groups also needing his attention stream in. In short, he is the calm in the middle of the storm.

According to his supervisor, Audience Services Director Amanda Lammert, “His calm, cool, easy way with students, teachers and his co-workers has been a JOY to watch.”

Most recently, we witnessed Adrian successfully calm a frustrated, restless autistic student to be able to enjoyably focus on watching A Raisin in the Sun (and later even participate in the post-show discussion). He did so by respectfully initiating a handshake agreement with him. The word “respect,” in fact, best describes Adrian’s signature relational mode of being, as described in a past Park Square blog post called “Cool, Calm, Collected (and Kind): The Qualities of a Good House Manager” (April 25, 2016).

Lammert further commented, “It’s that ability to read people and adapt, partly from his history in the restaurant service industry (Adrian is also a bartender and server at Great Waters Brewing Company) and partly from his extraordinary gifts as a jazz musician–look for him on opening night of The Soul of Gershwin playin’ his sax at the party–that make him so perfectly suited to this job. He’s not just turning on lights, training new hires, tearing tickets and directing kids and teachers to their seats. He’s an educator, shaping the minds and hearts of a new generation of theatre-goers–HUMANS. Big stuff.”

Originally from Dallas, Adrian came to Minnesota to earn his degrees in Music Production and Recording Technology from the McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul. For almost ten years, he has been a freelance musician, composer and horn arranger. Two years ago, he was recruited by Park Square Marketing Director Connie Shaver to work annually at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival.

Adrian and his band member warm up before an early morning Twin Cities Jazz Fest segment with Todd Walker on FOX 9 last June. Photograph by W. Shaver

Adrian and his band member warm up before an early morning Twin Cities Jazz Fest segment with Todd Walker on FOX 9 last June.
Photograph by W. Shaver

“In addition to his commitment to Park Square, Adrian has a passion for jazz and is an accomplished sax player,” said Shaver. “During the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, Adrian is willing to get up early in the morning to assist with live television interviews and continue through the day working on festival logistics. Just like at Park Square, he’s willing to step in to help anytime needed.”

As a daytime usher for the Education Program, it has been a great pleasure for me to work alongside–notably not “under”–this warm-hearted Texan. A new usher claims him as “my first friend here,” and a few of us more senior ushers have “adopted” this young man and watch with pride as he composes his life.

At Park Square Theatre, Adrian Larkin has definitely earned our respect. Congratulations on this well-deserved recognition!

How They Came to Blog

by Vincent Hannam and Ting Ting Cheng

 Vincent Hannam               Ting Ting Cheng

 Both Vincent Hannam and Ting Ting Cheng became writers for the Park Square Theatre blog that was launched during the 2015-2016 season. Hannam possesses extensive theatre experience, having worked both on and behind the stage, therefore able to offer an inside-the-business perspective. In contrast, Cheng, without a theatre background, often writes from a general audience viewpoint.

Before the new season begins, we thought it would be fun for you to find out how they had started blogging for Park Square Theatre in the first place. So, without further ado, here are their stories in their own words.

 * * *

VINCENT HANNAM:

I was completely new to the Twin Cities last summer and subletting a studio apartment in Minneapolis, working a nondescript temp job to stay afloat until I could get something solid under my feet. Finally the summer doldrums passed and with the start of the new season at Park Square Theatre came the opportunity to come on board.

I distinctly remember sitting down with Connie Shaver, the Marketing & Audience Development Director, fully expecting to interview for a Front of House position, but was wonderfully surprised to hear her interest in my personal blog and social media presence. Eventually I got into the box office, but from the start I was always involved in the actual goings-on of the theatre-making process. My first assignment of the season was the show Elliot: A Soldier’s Fugue and to attend the opening night party with my handy dandy camera in tow.

The night was marked by good spirits as everyone knew how well the play had gone. I got to interact with the actors as both a fan and professional, taking pictures and making memories. I met Richard Cook, chatted with Rich Remedios about his Meisner training, took candid photos of Ricardo Vasquez and started my first year in the Twin Cities on the strongest foot I could ever think possible. Elliot was a great show, yes, but as I reflect it was a great experience all around; my first at Park Square and the first of my year.

TING TING CHENG:

Unlike Vincent, I didn’t start blogging until near the end of last season.  Since I was a daytime usher for the Education Program–a job that did not require me to do any writing–I was totally taken by surprise when Connie asked me to join the blog team.  Her offer seemed to come from left field.

But throughout my ushering stints for the past two seasons, Connie would often ask the staff for feedback on the Park Square plays that we’d seen and even on the season’s brochure.  I tended to answer those email requests in depth.  That’s how she’d seen my writing.  This is the first job that I’ve ever landed for being verbose and opinionated–something I’d get fired for anywhere else!

I was concerned at first, thinking I may be at a huge disadvantage for not knowing the inside-outs of show business.  But instead it’s been great fun to approach the blog from the angle of not knowing.  I simply ask myself and others who are not steeped in theatre know-how:  What would you like to read about?  Then I go find out the answers.  Much of what I’ve learned has raised my respect even higher for those who run the theatre and put on all these productions.

While Vincent’s first play to see at Park Square was Elliot, mine was The House on Mango Street from two seasons ago when I was hired as an usher.  It was a new play for Park Square Theatre and the first to be in the brand new Boss Thrust Stage.  Seeing the play multiple times with diverse school groups was special for me because I love the book and readily connected to the depiction of the immigrant experience.  It will be exciting to see Mango return this October but newly produced for the Proscenium Stage.

* * *

 As the 2016-2017 season approaches, watch out for more in-depth blogs about all the upcoming plays at Park Square Theatre and many behind-the-scene glimpses.  Learn more about our actors, staff, education program, special events and much, much more!

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