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Saturday, July 6, 2019

Saturday Special -Working in Theater: An Interview with James Morgan, Producing Artistic Director at the York Theater Company and Scenic Designer

Welcome to another installment of our Working in Theater series. This series in which we interview people working in different theater related jobs runs periodically on Saturdays.  Today we will be speaking with James Morgan(JM). James is an Producing Artistic Director of the York Theater Company as well as a Scenic Designer for the York and other theater companies.


What is your job title?

JM: Producing Artistic Director at the York Theatre Company, “Where Musicals Come to Life.”   Also Scenic Designer there and at other theaters.

How would you describe what you do? 

JM: I oversee the artistic end of things at the York, from choosing shows, to directors, designers, choreographers, actors, musicians, etc.  Of course, all these decisions are made in conjunction with other members of the staff.  Shows are chosen with an overall view of the season in mind, and, always with our audiences interests.

How did you come to be doing the job that you do? 

JM: I got involved at York right out of college (University of Florida) in 1974, where I majored in scenic design.  Became set and graphic designer and over the years got more involved in running the company, so that when the founder, Janet Hayes Walker, passed away, she had asked me to take over for her and I did.  Never had any plans to run a theater, but I had a sense of what York could grow into and I built on what she created.  The “all musical” concept  was my creation; we had done many musicals before that began in 1996, but I thought that focusing on them gave us a niche in the marketplace.

Did you have to get any special training for your job? 

JM: BFA in Theatre from University of Florida (scenic Design).  Years of listening to, and reading, and watching musical theater and how it is put together.

What is the best part of your job?  

JM: Working with theater artists of all kinds, especially those who create musical theater.

What is the worst part of your job? 

JM: Raising the money to make what we do happen.

What are some of your favorite shows that you have worked on? 

JM: Enter Laughing, Desperate Measures, The Musical of Musicals, Pacific Overtures, Finian’s Rainbow, Ionescopade, Storyville, The Show Goes On, Jolson & Company, etc etc

We thank James for taking the time to answer our questions. For more about the York Theater Company, visit https://yorktheatre.org.

Tune in tomorrow for this week's Sunday Scoop.

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