Star City Six – Andy Park
Founded in 1968, the Nebraska Repertory Theatre (nebraskarep.org) is the state’s only professional regional theater. Andy Park is Nebraska Repertory Theatre’s Artistic Director.
Tell us a little about your business.
We’re professionals in residence at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and our goal is to produce live theater of the highest caliber. We showcase the work of emerging and established playwrights and hire professional actors, directors and designers for our productions.
How did you get started in the business?
In 2014, The Rep’s previous artistic director stepped down after serving in the role for years. There was a national search for her replacement and somehow I managed to talk my way into this incredible opportunity! Prior to that I’d served as artistic director for a show boat in Ohio, marine mammal shows at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, and a Chinese circus. It’s equally exciting to work at a more traditional theater.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally?
The biggest challenge and greatest joy of working in the theater is the artistic collaboration. From the perspective of an audience member enjoying a show, it’s easy to overlook how many people are involved. Our first show this season had a cast of 25—but when you account for the backstage crew, designers, box office staff, ushers, marketing and publicity personnel—nearly a 150 people worked extensively on the production.
What has been your most important achievement professionally?
Founding and running Chicago’s Quest Theatre Ensemble for 15 years taught me more about making theater than any school ever could.
What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life?
After grad school, I found myself working at a job I couldn’t stand and writing grants for projects I didn’t believe in. Finding a stable job in theater can be so difficult. Out of the blue, I received a call from Cirque Shanghai, which launched my career. Over the next several years, I spent much of my time in China creating acrobat shows that toured the world.
What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?
If it’s nice out, I love to go camping.
What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know?
I’m a stilt dancer!
What are you the most proud of?
I’m quite proud of a large-scale puppet show that I created called Blue Nativity. It ran in Chicago for 16 years and toured Europe.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
“Move before you’re ready.” Whenever I’m weighing a new opportunity I keep this in mind so I don’t talk myself out of it.
If you had a theme song, what would it be?
Sam Cooke’s Let the Good Times Roll as performed by the Grateful Dead.
What is your greatest talent that you don’t utilize in your daily work life?
I’ve been doing ventriloquism since childhood, but it tends to freak out coworkers in most office settings.
Which talent would you most like to have?
Math. How do people do that?
What local non-profit organization(s) are you passionate about or involved with, and are there any special reasons why?
I’m involved at St. Mary’s, Catholic Charities and also Friends of The Rep, a committed group of supporters who make live theater possible.
What is your favorite local restaurant?
Maggie’s is incredible!
If our readers would like to contact you, how should they do so?
Phone: (402) 472-2072; Website: nebraskarep.org.