Career Night for the Arts 2016: Meet Theatre Producer Eric Butler from CSOM ’12

Meet Eric Butler! Eric is a theatre enthusiast and business aficionado, proving you can combine your interests in both management and the arts in building your very own career! Eric is one of our incredible BC arts alumni guests attending….

Career Night for the Arts 2016! Come join us on Thursday, November 16th between 7:00pm – 8:30pm in the Heightscareer-night-final-1 Room to meet tons of BC alumni working in the arts to network, ask questions, and get advice about developing your own creative career! Check out the Arts Council Career Night for the Arts website for more info, or look at the Facebook event page! This event is a collaborative endeavor between the Arts Council, the Career Center, and the Alumni Association.

 

 

Eric Butler is the founder of Final Bow Productions, a commercial production company that invests in live entertainment, specifically Broadway and touring theatrical productions. He has served as a professional fundraiser in the not-for-profit sector since 2006, and his passion for education and the arts has helped him raise several millions of dollars for private institutions in his home state of Massachusetts. With substantial professional experience in fundraising and investor/donor relations, and an educational background in business and theatre arts, Eric is able to utilize these skill sets as he explores opportunities to produce and invest in works for the commercial stage. In the corporate sector, he has served as a consultant for Brown Brothers Harriman and an MBA Associate/Project Manager at Liberty Mutual, both with headquarters in Boston, MA.ericbutler.jpg

Eric is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA where he received degrees in Psychology and Theater. Following his graduation from Holy Cross, Eric served as a production assistant on the Broadway musical High Fidelity. In 2012, he received his M.B.A. (specializations in Marketing Informatics and Brand & Product Management) from the Carroll School of Management at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, MA. Eric is also an alumnus of the Commercial Theater Institute in New York City, NY.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/finalbowproductions3

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ButlerEric

  1. You have worked extensively in the art world, specifically in the theater arts, and your career has progressed along. How would you describe this journey? 

My career in the arts, like everything else, is a work in progress. The learning never ends. I’m blessed to be able to balance my work in commercial theater investing/producing with a more than full-time career in educational management. I do have to say that I have been overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness shown to me by the Broadway community. I have been very fortunate to have received advice and mentoring from some of Broadway’s most successful producers. There is a tremendous level of support and opportunity out there for those who seek to network with and learn from the best.

  1. What made you decide to start your own company and what was the most fun part and the most frustrating part about starting your own company?

At Boston College, mostly through Professor Gallaugher’s Graduate Tech Trek, I developed a love of entrepreneurship. Starting Final Bow Productions was a way for me to begin to apply the skills developed in graduate school on a very practical level. It has been a blast for me to combine my love of theater with my interest in business. In my life, I always strive for balance. Investing and producing allows me to think analytically, yet be surrounded by great creativity.

In this industry, you need patience. It can take a very long time for a project to come your way that you think has strong commercial viability, but still possesses artistic integrity. The good ones are worth the wait.

  1. Your past/current work experiences involve being a fundraiser in the non-profit sector and also a consultant and an MBA Associate/Project Manager in the corporate sector. Could you describe and talk about your involvement in both non-profit sector and corporate sector and how it impacted your career? 

In many ways, my past and current experiences have served as a ‘perfect storm’ for producing. As an undergraduate psychology and theater double major at the College of the Holy Cross (the other Massachusetts Jesuit school!), I was exposed to many of the Western world’s best classic and contemporary dramatic works through theater history, dramatic literature, acting, and production courses. These classes gave me the ability to think critically about dramatic structure and recognize and appreciate strong, quality work.

My experiences in business school and in the corporate sector have given me the skill set to recognize investment potential in the arts. Broadway is a business and when evaluating investment opportunities you need to be comfortable dissecting contracts, capitalization and operating budgets, and recoupment schedules. There isn’t a project that crosses my desk where I don’t apply Porter’s Five Forces as part of my analysis!

And the last piece is the ability to raise funds. Obviously, theatre can’t be produced without the necessary resources. There are certainly many similarities between fundraising for a non-profit and raising capital for commercial theatre. Both philanthropists and investors want to see their funds treated with the utmost fiscal responsibility and to hopefully see an impactful return from their support.

  1. What during your time at BC do you feel was the most helpful advice or experience on your path to your career?

The best piece of advice I received in grad school might have come from Professor Bob Radin during the first week of class in his Managing People and Organizations course. He told a group of wide-eyed MBA candidates, “If you’re not good at something at this point in your life, you’ll probably never be good at it. Find something you’re good at and be the best you can be at that.” In a society that hands out ‘participation’ trophies left and right – this type of direct advice really brought focus and direction to the type of discernment that should be a part of your graduate school experience.

Given my unconventional background, the Boston College MBA program also put me out of my comfort zone. Having never taken a business course previously, I was forced into intense, academically rigorous accounting, finance, marketing, and management courses during our first semester. This fish-out-of-water/underdog experience (genres that almost always work) proved to me that natural competence combined with hard work can lead to unbridled satisfaction amid risk.

Also check out our interview with the Deputy Director of the Harvard Art Museums, Maureen Donovan!

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Student Artists Feature: Danny Quinones!!

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Meet Danny Quinones! As a featured BC student artist, we have invited him to share his art story! This talented theatre and writing enthusiast has a short play being performed in this year’s BC Arts Festival as part of..

Contemporary Theatre’s Playwriting Extravaganza on

Saturday, April 30th, at 3:30pm in the Stokes Art Tent! Don’t miss it! (It’s free and open to the public!)

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In what ways have you been involved in the arts at Boston College?

I have participated as an actor in a number of shows with the Boston College Theater Department, namely Big Love, Almost, Maine, and with this Art’s Fest, The Servant of Two Masters. Additionally, I am a member of the student theater board Contemporary Theatre. Last semester I took the class Dramatic Structure and the Theatrical Process with Scott T. Cummings, a class which culminated with a presentation of original short scenes; I wrote a scene, and acted in another for this event. And lastly, I am participating in CT’s Playwriting Extravaganza, in which I am excited to say another of my original scenes will be featured.

What has participating in the arts meant to you during your time at BC?

For me participating in the arts here at BC has been about finding a place to belong. In the BC theater department I have found good friends, whom I care for, and on whom I can count on. They accept me for who I am, and appreciate me for what I have to offer.

Who or what inspires you and why?

I am an inspired by my audience, and I don’t mean that it an “oh, look at me!” kind of way. By that I mean, I am inspired by having someone to make feel something through my art. Even if that something is only a few laughs, it inspires me to know that I had some kind of an impact. This is what inspires me to write, and this is what inspires me to act, and in this way there is very little difference between the two for me.

What is your most memorable arts experience and what did you learn from it?

It’s tough to say for certain, because there have been quite a few moments worthy of being called memorable, but if I had to choose only one… I’d say it was when I wrote one of my first plays with my cousin, and standing on stage I heard the audience hard laugh at our jokes for the first time, and could see they were entertained by what we had made. This moment for me was big, because it made me realize that writing was something that I could actually do. Writing wasn’t some unattainable goal for people who were smarter, or more talented than me. As long as I worked hard and practiced, I could make art too.

What are you most looking forward to at this year’s Arts Festival?

I am looking forward to the Playwriting Extravaganza! Not only because my play will be put on (yay!) but also because a lot of other exciting original works will be performed, and we’ll get to see the hard work of a whole bunch of people pay off.

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Meet Student Art Award Recipient Nick Robinson!

 

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Meet Nick Robinson, Class of 2016! As a dedicated Theatre student and an Arts Council Production Manager superstar, Nick has earned his stripes in the BC art scene many times over. Nick shares his Art {Hi}story here to give you an inside look at the fun and rewarding work he’s accomplished in the art world, and how you can join him in following your dreams and creating your ideal life. In Nick’s words, “Just Create!”

Nick has spent his Boston College years working for the arts community in many different ways, both at the Boston College Arts Council and the Robsham Theater Arts Center, as well as with the Theatre Department. He is also a passionate and active member of BC’s Contemporary Theatre. Wonder how the BC Arts Festival always runs so smoothly? Nick’s always working behind the scenes, helping bring the Boston arts community together each Spring for our big celebration (check out this year’s full schedule here!).

Keep reading below to get the whole story, and be sure to join us in honoring Nick and other Student Art Award Recipients at The 2016 Arts Festival Awards Ceremony!

What has participating in the arts meant to you during your time at BC? 

Nick: The arts have become my home here.  I can’t imagine what my time here would have been like without them, and I don’t care to.  Spending late nights in the Robsham Theater Arts Center (and long days too) has defined my BC experience, forged lifelong friendships, and allowed me to indulge in theatre.  Working on the Arts Council these past four years as well as designing dance and cultural shows has introduced me to so many other lovely and passionate members of the arts community here, without whom my time here would not have been nearly as fun.

How has your work in the arts informed your next steps after graduation?

The arts are a part of my life.  Working with them here has made me realize that, for me, a happy life is predicated upon being involved in the arts in some way.  After graduation, I’m going off to work with Venture for America.  Part of the reason that I’m doing that is the hope that it will allow me to keep working with theatre and to gain the skills needed to make a more meaningful impact on the arts outside of BC.

If you could give some advice to younger students about the arts at BC and beyond, what would it be? 

Go for it!  Whatever ‘it’ is, the arts at BC and beyond are about imagining and creating things to your heart’s content without paying any mind to obstacles in your way.  It is so much more fun and rewarding to go out and make things instead of imagining what could be.  Join a club, found a club, loudly proclaim your passions in a public space– whatever floats your boat! Just create!

What is your most memorable arts experience and what did you learn from it?

It’s hard to chose just one, I’ve had some really awesome experiences here.  Top 3: Directing Bug for Contemporary Theatre, Light Designing Red last year, and the chaotic fun of Arts Fest these past 4 years.  What I’ve learned from all of them is to never underestimate the creative might of a group of passionate people collaborating together.

The 2016 Art Awards Ceremony and Reception will be held on Friday April 29th, in the Stokes Art Tent at 3pm. The event is free and open to the public, with no registration necessary. The Awards Ceremony will be from 3-4pm, and a reception with hors d’oeuvres and drinks will follow shortly from 4-5pm. See you there!

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Student Art Award Feature: Mallory Cotter!

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Meet Mallory Cotter, a 2016 Arts Council Student Art Award recipient! The Arts Council is happy to recognize Mallory for her exemplary dedication and leadership in the realm of theatre management at Boston College. Pictured below is Mallory on the set of the Theatre Department’s January production of Almost Maine— Mallory was the lighting designer for the production. Mallory is member of the BC class of 2016, and an Environmental Geoscience & Theatre double major. As she looks back on her four years of involvement here in the arts, Mallory has some great advice for younger students: take hold of the opportunities Boston College provides and get involved!

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In what ways have you been involved in the arts at Boston College?

My second home (arguably my first home with my dorm being the real second) has been backstage at the Robsham Theatre Arts Center. If a job has something to do with the technical side of the performing arts, I’ve probably done it. I’ve organized rehearsals and run shows in my role as a stage manager for various plays, musicals, dance shows, and the Arts Festival. Stage managing became a vehicle for me to get involved with theatrical lighting and audio – where I’ve worked as a technician and designer.

What has participating in the arts meant to you during your time at BC?

The arts community at BC is so strong and full of such immense talent. I love being in a position to support my peers and help them create the best performance possible. Collaboration is such a large portion of a successful performance and I love being able to be a key part of that.

How has your work in the arts informed your next steps after graduation?

I’m still figuring out my next steps after graduation – but I will be working this summer at a camp as a lighting designer.

If you could give some advice to younger students about the arts at BC and beyond, what would it be?

Get involved! Arts groups on campus are all big supportive families. The friends I have made in the theatre have pushed me to try new things both in the arts and outside and have been a key part of who I have become over my four years at BC.

What is your most memorable arts experience and what did you learn from it?

Sophomore year I was the stage manager for the Theatre Department’s workshop production of Circle Mirror Transformation. The production was directed and designed entirely by students under professor mentorship. We were all nervous, most of us taking on these design roles for the first time, but together we were able to collaborate and create a piece of theatre that we were (and still are) all extremely proud of.

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Each year, the Boston College Arts Council recognizes an alumnus, a faculty member, and several students for their accomplishments and contributions to the arts in various disciplines. Alumni and faculty award recipients serve as role models, inspiring and guiding developing young artists in the BC community. The award recipients participate in programming at our annual campus-wide Arts Festival and interact in small-group settings with students in their fields. Student award recipients in sophomore, junior or senior years are recognized for their creativity and accomplishments, as well as for specific projects.

The 2016 Art Awards Ceremony and Reception will be held on Friday April 29th, in the Stokes Art Tent at 3pm. The event is free and open to the public, with no registration necessary. The Awards Ceremony will be from 3-4pm, and a reception with hors d’oeuvres and drinks will follow shortly from 4-5pm. See you there!

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Don’t forget to check out our previous Student Art Award Feature, of Michael Rolincik!

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We’re Not In Peanuts Anymore

 

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by Alexa Villareal

Dog Sees God may be based on the Peanuts characters, but besides their occasionally familiar color choices and tag lines, they are completely changed. Struggling with the general issues of high school, the Peanuts gang have broken some ties and grown up. The play is rife with angst and depression, layered from the rifts between characters. We follow the main story of Charlie Brown, known exclusively in the play as CB, as he maneuvers his way through hardship and self-reflection.

The set is meager, a few props coming in and out to convey different rooms in the high school or even a penitentiary guest room, but it does not need to be elaborate. The simplicity plays into the strength of the script and the characters, leaving no setting to confusion, but pulling no attention from the words being spoken. The frequent musical allusions to the story we know and love from Peanuts along with many impressive on-stage piano pieces by Andrew Gaffney as Beethoven help to break the tension that builds with the intensity of the soliloquies.

The actors do an incredible job of portraying the kinds of people we all likely encountered in high school. Andrew Meck flawlessly portrays the stoner, who sometimes may understand a little bit more than he lets on. Ned Allen is the player who bullies other kids in order to make him feel more. Elizabeth Koennecke is the surface level self-obsessed mean girl, but who truly suffers from severe self-esteem issues. Maisie Laud is the best friend who just wants to fit in and be loved. Danielle Wehner is the “crazy” but honestly caring and self-conscious ex-girlfriend. The combination of them all makes the performance raw and honest; a truly spectacular revival of the years we all loved to hate.

Mary McCartney provides the much-needed comic relief, reminding us all of what it felt like to try and find an identity. Her sections alone on stage bring the audience a dose of laughter alongside reflection. Andrew Gaffney in his portrayal of Beethoven really brings in the emotion. The truth in his performance of a confused teen, whose life is full of bullying, loneliness, and abuse makes it hard to not cry at a few scenes. Alongside Will Krom as CB, the two experience some of the rawest scenes of the whole play. From trying to navigate labels to talking through a friendship fallen out, these two boys bring the play to its most memorable moments.

Bummed about missing the full-length play at the Bonn Studio? Well you’re in luck! The BC Contemporary Theatre will be putting on Dog Sees God again and FOR FREE in an abridged version at this year’s BC Arts Festival!

On Friday, April 29th at 12:45PM in the Stokes Art Tent (on the Stokes lawn), the abridged Dog Sees God scenes will play from 12:45-1:30pm. No tickets required!

Also, don’t miss Contemporary Theatre‘s Playwriting Extravaganza from 3:30-5:00PM on Saturday, April 30th at the Stokes Art Tent, as well. This collection of student-written short plays will be sure to entertain.

Don’t forget to check out the full Arts Festival schedule so you don’t miss any of the exciting events this April!

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Reflections on Love in BC’s Performance of Almost, Maine

By Alexa Villareal

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This past weekend Boston College was transported to the unofficial town of Almost, Maine. A series of sweet and timeless scenes of love and loss, the play Almost, Maine was a perfect primer for the upcoming Valentine’s Day. Each scene focuses on two characters at a time, eighteen appearing throughout the whole play, all performed by only seven actors. While the scenes focus on some romantic theme, each contains a metaphor that is played out in a very literal way. Whether it be “Getting it Back,” where Gayle (Lexi Auth) brings bags and bags to her boyfriend Lendall’s (Dan Quinones) house demanding the return of “all the love he gave her,” or in “Where it Went” where after Marci (Aryn Mello Pryor) fights with her husband Phil (Ben Halter) a shoe, quite literally, drops.

Having seen two other productions of Almost, Maine, the BC actors brought personal elements to the characters that made this performance especially pleasurable. I have never quite laughed as hard watching the segment “Sad and Glad” as I did watching Villian the waitress break the much needed tension, nor in “Seeing the Thing” where Elizabeth Koennecke took Rhonda and made her standard, tough exterior, a humorous persistence that came through as nothing but honest.

The play breaks your heart and puts it back together repeatedly, most notably when Michael Pisaturo as the anonymous man watches Hope (Lexi Auth) and his face reads the soft knowing of his identity, as well as the love for a girl he has not seen in years.

However, my favorite scenes have always been the simple Prologue, Interlogue, and Epilogue sequence following Pete (Brett Murphy) as he tells his love that sitting beside him, she is actually as far away from him as possible. Cuteness then ensues.

Great job, BC Theatre Department!

Robsham Hosts Production of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf

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Thursday March 20 – Sunday March 23

Thurs – Sat 7:30 p.m.; Sun 2:00 p.m. Robsham Theater

Written by Ntozake Shange, the play first opened on Broadway in 1976 and has since been adapted to television, film, and book form. A combination of poetry, song, and a variety of dance styles, the show stars seven dazzling African American women dressed in different colors performing a series of poems. This group of fierce women hail from seven different cities and come together to express the struggles and obstacles they have faced and overcome, finding their rainbows through love, friendships, pain, suffering, and music.

The Black Box theater in Robsham is cozy, dim, and perfect for the interactive nature of the performance. Multiple small tables for audience members are located in the middle of the stage, with more seating situated in front and to the side. All seven actresses performed the characters effortlessly, each one a little different, but all together powerful in their interactions.

If you haven’t already picked up your ticket, you’re going to have to scalp someone else’s because all performances are sold out! Great job to the ladies of the Rainbow and all of the directors, performers, and crew that put this show together. It’s must see!