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The most wonderful time of the year

The end of the year has become a busy time for Jobsite, even though we don’t typically do a December production. Jobsite Rocks, a typical flurry of end of the year gifts to the company, a re-invigoration/re-commitment of our board, preparing for our January show, settling up the year at hand and of course play selection for the coming season.

Right now your trusty Jobsiteers are reading, indexing and weighing out material to bring to the next full board meeting, where each board member will pitch one show to the rest of the board. Sometimes the presentations are clever and involve props (for instance, Paul Potenza set up a cell phone gag during the middle of his pitch last year for Dead Man’s Cell Phone), sometimes the pitches are direct and short when it seems the show is a shoe-in and the person would just be preaching to choir.

After this meeting, everyone goes away for a little while longer, reads some more, digests, then sends to me a “dream season” based on the plays on the table and those pitched by the rest of the board. I then take a few weeks to weigh all that out, tally up the votes and then make a formal recommendation back to the board for the upcoming season, which the board then gets to vote on yea or nay.

A bit convoluted? Perhaps, but that’s artistic democracy for you. I like our system, and think that it works well for us.

We often begin securing rights for plays as early sometimes as May. We hate to “squat” on titles that we have no intention of producing (basically shutting out other companies from getting the rights in the area because we’re already holding them), but at the same time we’d hate to lose a title because we weren’t fast enough getting in an application.

In this way, local professional theaters will end up competing a bit. Thankfully, the make-up of Tampa Bay theaters are pretty diverse. It’s rare, though not unheard of, for more than one us locally to really be aggressively pursuing the same title. We have two plays right now that we acquired the rights for some months ago, and while not shoe-ins for the 2010-11 season, they are certainly front-runners that I’d be surprised if not on the final roster when we announce it come March.

We look forward to figuring it all out again this year, creating a great season for you. And we look forward to sharing it with you.

2009 has been a year of ups and downs for Jobsite, though mostly ups. The economy pinched us a bit more than we expected, translating into much lighter sales for certain shows than we hoped for, but 2009 was also bookended by monumental box office smashes in Picasso at the Lapin Agile and Night of the Living Dead. We’re equally proud of every little bit of work that took place in between: The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Rabbit Hole, Pericles and And Baby Makes Seven. That’s a solid year of artistic successes.

We also saw folks step up when it was needed this year. Inishmore‘s expenses wouldn’t be made up due to more sluggish than anticipated sales and our patrons made up the difference. Gifts that came in during December, such as the gifts from Gobioff Foundation and Johnson & Johnson Foundation and the monies collected during Jobsite Rocks not only leveled out the effects of the economy but have put us in a place to be just a little less worried about 2010. Many of the donors we’ve retained moving into this new year have increased their gifts to Jobsite, and we love them for it.

And not to be diminished, we got a long-term agreement from the Straz Center this year, protecting our residency there for years to come.

But I am sure that everyone associated with Jobsite likely has their own favorite moments – maybe it’s a show, or a part of a show, or an actor or a technical aspect of a show, or chit-chatting before or after, or a party, or even a Facebook thread.

I want to know what your favorite Jobsite moment/memory is from 2009. Leave a comment. Please?

In the meantime, I’m thinking about mine. I’ll be sure to add it soon.

Thank you, Tampa Bay. Happy Holidays, and here’s to an even bigger and better 2010!

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3 thoughts on “The most wonderful time of the year

  1. I have to say it was closing night for Pericles. There was 10 times more emotion and drive from everyone on that stage. We knew if we were on our last show… we were going to go out with a bang! Damn that was such a good night. Such a great feeling within the core of that cast! I’ll remember it always!

  2. Well, leaving Pericles out for a moment because of my huge bias…I loved Chris Holcom’s stare-down of a first row audience member at the end of Picasso. Auguste at the foot of his ladder. A pure moment. Thanks Jobsite.

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