PowerPlayer: The Hanover Theatre’s Troy Siebels
Monday, March 04, 2013
From your involvement with the Hanover Theatre, what are three things you've learned about Worcester and its residents that most people don't know?
First, there’s a wonderful diversity of cultural tastes here – when I first started working here so many people said that Worcester would never support theatre, dance or opera because it was “a truck pull kind of town.” If that’s true we haven’t seen it – the Broadway shows are the most popular thing we present; and events like the Moscow Ballet or Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre draw great audiences.
Secondly, for a medium-sized city, this is the smallest town in the world. It really feels like everyone knows everyone else; so doing business isn’t working with your customers, it’s working with your friends.
And most importantly, underneath the surface, Worcester’s residents and leaders have an enormous amount of pride in our city.
What are the biggest trends or local rising stars in the performing arts to keep an eye on in 2013? How do you see the city's theater district evolving in the coming years?
The music industry in particular is changing so quickly as more and more people buy their music by the song rather than by the album; and the average music lover follows dozens of artists instead of just a few. The jury’s still out on how this will affect the touring concert industry in the future, but I believe that there’s a real power in experiencing something live, together with 2,000 others; and I think there’s a good chance that mid-sized venues like ours could benefit in the medium-term. Broadway shows will continue to be strong in Worcester, and in fact I think we’ll see bigger and more popular shows on our stage more quickly as we grow.
The imminent developments in the theatre district are one of the things that make me most excited about being here. The economic downturn hit in fall 2008, only a few months after the theatre opened, and slowed down the “spinoff” we hoped to see. The momentum has recovered though – there’s so much happening in the district now that will make it a vibrant destination within the next several years.
The most important thing I do is to work with, encourage and support the theatre’s staff. We have an amazing team of people that are tireless, creative, and work together well – they’re our biggest asset and the reason we’re successful. Apart from that, a typical day for me varies a lot depending on the time of year – right now we’re in the booking season, so I spend maybe 1/3 of my time working by phone and email with agents to bring shows and artists to the theatre next year. That can be the fun part, but it also takes a lot of patience – if I’m looking to get someone specific on our stage, it can take years to make that happen. It’s about finding creative ways to make playing The Hanover Theatre on any given date a better deal for the performer than going somewhere else. And lastly, we have a great many connections to the community because we believe that ultimately the theatre will be successful only if the city and its downtown are successful; so rarely a day goes by that I don’t have a meeting, a conference call or some other involvement with one or more of the boards on which I serve; the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Worcester Cultural Coalition, the Mass Performing Arts Center Coalition, Destination Worcester, MassCreative, StageSource or others.
What are the challenges?
There are no challenges. It’s all easy. I can’t believe I get paid to do this.
Tell us something nobody knows about you.
I’ll cheat and talk about something that some people know but most don’t. I did the adaptation of Charles Dickens’ "A Christmas Carol" that we present at the theatre each December. The process began almost 15 years ago at a theatre in New Hampshire where we wanted to present the show but weren’t happy with the commercial adaptations available. I sat down with Dickens’ book for several weeks and turned it into a play with music. Then over 11 years of producing and directing the show at three different theatres, I’ve honed and bettered the script based on the actors’ intuitions and the audience’s responses. I’m very proud of what it’s become – I really feel that it captures the emotional ups and downs of the story, and I love watching and hearing audiences react to it each year.
Role Models: Abraham Lincoln, Oskar Eustis
Favorite Restaurant: For lunch Armsby Abbey; for dinner Mezcal; for drinks The Citizen
Best Place to People Watch: The theatre lobby – especially after the show!
Best Book You've Read in the Last Year: Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Advice for the Next Troy Siebels: Talk to everyone in the building, every day.
- PowerPlayer: Community Activist Chris Horton
- PowerPlayer: The Canal District’s John Giangregorio
- PowerPlayer: Bay State Savings Bank CEO Peter Alden
- PowerPlayer: Becker College President Dr. Robert Johnson
- PowerPlayer: United Way CEO Tim Garvin
- PowerPlayer: State Senator Michael Moore
- PowerPlayer: Lisa Wong, Mayor of Fitchburg
- PowerPlayer: Dr. Michael Fine
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