Amy Jacobs, partner at Bespoke Theatricals
I was able to speak with Amy Jacobs, a partner at Bespoke Theatricals. An honors graduate of Duke University, Amy Jacobs began work with Nina Lannan at The Really Useful Company in 1994. Her prior experience includes apprenticeships with The Santa Fe Opera and Cameron Mackintosh Limited in London. Selected Bespoke credits include general managing multiple companies of Mamma Mia!, the Broadway and touring companies of The Color Purple , Thoroughly Modern Millie, and this season's revival of Evita. She is actively consulting with Time 4 Fun on the Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires productions of Mamma Mia!. Past company manager credits include A Christmas Carol, The Capeman, You're a Good Man Charlie Brown, and Tango Argentino. An active member of The Broadway League, she has co-chaired League conferences, is a trustee on the ATPAM Pension and Health Fund Boards, and has served on several union negotiating committees.
What advice would you give to graduating students? You're going to hear this answer from me on a couple of these questions, but get an internship. Go to the place you want to work or where you think you want to work and explore any and all internship opportunities. Internships are the way to confirm that what you think you want to do is really what you want to do and, more importantly, they are a way to work with and meet the people who will be your bosses and colleagues. Internships give these people a chance to see how you work. So my strongest advice is to seek out and take internships.
If you could go back in time and speak to your college self what would you say? I would probably tell myself to worry less about what might happen and just give it a go. I really vacillated, like, "should I move to New York and find an internship?" or "should I be safe and work in a regional theater near my house?" I was really worried about the "what ifs," and I would just say to myself "give it a go." If it doesn't work, you can always come back to plan B, but go for it.
What was your biggest mistake in your career? That's the question I kind of want to pass on. I've been very fortunate and some of my choices have been by luck and some have been by hard work, but I have to say I have no regrets at this point. The path along the way may have gone in different directions than what I thought, but if you are really happy where you are now, then I say you can't really regret any of the steps that got you there. Sort of going back to the internship thing, I thought I wanted to be a stage manager, but the internship I was able to get was in a general management office, and I thought to myself: "Well, I really want to stage manage, but why don't I give that a try." I found from that that I was better suited to the general management side of things than I was to stage management, so it wasn't a mistake, just a fortunate accident.
What are three habits that contributed to your success? I am super organized. I live for my lists. I make lists of my lists. I'm such a geek that sometimes I'll even write something on the list that I just finished so I can cross it off so that I have a list of everything I did. So, being organized. It's worth taking 5-10 minutes before jumping into something to just look at the whole picture, and that's what I feel like making lists and being organized does. The next is being detail-oriented in the way that you follow through on stuff. You're not going to get an answer right away for every phone call you make or every email you send or every chart you have to fill out, and it's really easy, if you're focusing on the big stuff, to let those details fall through. So I would say I've worked really hard to be very detail-oriented with follow-through. And then I'm a good multi-tasker. In our world, we're talking on the phone, emailing and working on a sheet at the same time, so, certainly in the management world, being able to multi-task and juggle a lot of balls at once is very important.
How did you get your first job? Well the internship at Alan Wasser's office I got through a contact at school. While I was at that office, it was an internship that was limited to 4 months, I really talked to and connected with people there. Theater is a business where you get your jobs by knowing someone who recommends something who hears of something and so on. Only occasionally do you get your jobs by sending in a resume. Somebody at Alan Wasser's office knew of somebody looking for an entry-level person in another office, and so I got an interview based off of a recommendation and then I got the job. Ultimately, the internship got me the job.
What are you working on now? I'm doing the spring revival of Evita starring Ricky Martin. This is the first time Evita is coming back to Broadway since the original production 30 years ago! So I am the General Manager of that show, and then I'm also the GM of the National Tour of Mamma Mia!, which I've been working on for the last 11 years. Those are my two big ones, and then I have some other projects in development that we're hoping come to pass, but those two are the marquee name ones.