Stories From Backstage: Backstage Perspectives

What makes The UC Theatre such a wonderful place to enjoy music and events are the passionate and hardworking staff that make each and every event possible. Today we took a trip to the rarely seen backstage area to talk with our Backstage and Production Managers – Jessica Russell and Andrew Koontz – about their experiences and why they’ve been in the industry for so long.

Of the many reasons shared, they both have one thing in common: they continue to do this line of work because they are able to lend a helping hand to artists who may have been away from home, or who may have come from a terrible show the night before. Jessica and Andrew strive to make the artists time at our theatre better than the last venue the artist was at. They do “whatever we can to make them comfortable, to make them feel like they’re just walking off the street into their friends home instead of coming into a theatre that they’ve never been to, or be uncomfortable about who’s going to be there. We’re that buffer that makes them feel comfortable, and it’s awesome to be in that position,” says Jessica.

Much like Jessica, Andrew strives to make the tour experience at the theatre as easy and enjoyable as possible. Having been a Tour Manager in the past, Andrew knows what it is like to be on the other side. Andrew has had his fair share of good and bad moments on the road, and uses those experiences to make sure the tour has an easy time at our theatre. “You take all the bad shows, all the bad days that you load-in late because the trailer axle breaks and stuff like that – you don’t know what their show last night in Sacramento or Reno or LA was like. They could have had a really bad night, but once they get here, the point is to make all that go away because last night was last night and today is today’s show.”

“Some [experiences] should never be repeated. That’s why we’re still here, because we don’t repeat those stories,” Andrew says as he breaks into laughter.