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Austin City Directors Series Spotlight On Andy Berkovsky of City Theatre

OutdoorsignniteAEW:  Can you give us a brief history of City theatre?

Andy B:The City Theatre performance venue and The City Theatre Company were created and founded in October, 2006. I was teaching at the time and a former student and I were always discussing the possibility of creating a theatre company somewhere in Texas. We finally came to the conclusion that producing and performing live theatre in Austin would be a rewarding and exciting pursuit. Interestingly, we had no connections here to the local theatre community. But, we did see that there was a need to be met – provide mainstream, diverse, challenging theatre that was engaging and accessible to all audiences and artists. Austin is teaming with a wide variety of entertainment events, support, talent, and most of all, the dedication and passion for the arts to be an integral part of the community. After meeting with individuals, local organizations, and artistic groups, a common thread began to spin; an increased interest and need for quality theatre. With everything in mind, we teamed with hard-working, talented and passionate devotees to create The City Theatre Company, now celebrating its ninth season. The company holds true to its mission statement: City Theatre is the city’s theatre with our focus on one important goal: the continued excellence in stage performances and the desire to that bring quality, commitment and service to the Central Texas theatrical community. We are a nonprofit arts organization and sponsored in part by the Austin Creative Alliance and the Austin Cultural Arts Division. The company has been recognized by the Austin Critics Table Awards, the B. Iden Payne Awards, the Central Texas Excellence in Theatre Awards, Austin Live Theatre Awards, BroadwayWorld Awards, and has twice been voted “Best Theatre Company” by Austin American-Statesman’s Austin 360.

AEW: How did you get involved in City Theatre?

Andy B: Theatre is my passion and my mantra of sorts has always been the simple “Theatre: this is what I do.” I was a musical theatre graduate from Sam Houston State University with fourteen years of experience as drama instructor and, in the years prior to opening the theatre, I had worked on fifty productions as a director, performer, choreographer, and designer. I believed that I had the experience and know-how to do it, and I knew there were so many talented artists in Austin, who deserved every possible performance opportunity. So, it became my goal to get a company and venue in place and begin to create theatre here.

AEW: In your time as Director of City Theatre, what are some of the biggest changes you have seen to the way your organization approaches theatre?

Andy B: When seeing the amount of people and variety of artists that step through our front door each year, I love seeing how the growth and work seemingly evolve naturally as we work through the process of each show. With the growth of Austin, I think the biggest change has come in the variety and style of productions we have to offer each year. We offer such a diversity of theatre including popular comedies and musicals, American classics, Shakespeare and period dramas, improvisation and sketch comedy, new original works, and Austin premieres. Its tastes for all in Austin. Financial costs also play into the approach of what we do. Royalty rights, rental material, costumes and supplies, all these can be very costly and trying to be creative and successful within these limits is always a big challenge.

AEW: What areas do you feel your organization really does well in regards to
theatre, productions, and your market?  

Andy B: As I mentioned, I think our style and choice of plays fits so well in what Austin theatre offers to the public overall. We produce so many wonderful shows that are a perfect fit for our more intimate stage. And we are grateful to host audiences at our own performance venue that I manage and operate. It’s exciting that we can create our own unique theatre experience.

???????????????????????????????AEW: If you could improve anything about the Austin Theatre Community what
would it be?

Andy B: I think it would be our coming together as an industry and then taking what we do to city leaders, schools, and organizations so they can better understand the need for arts in this community.

AEW: What is your favorite part of producing theatre?

Andy B: I have two favorite aspects of producing theatre. First, as a commercial theatre which produces mainly royalty-based productions, deciding the new season each year is pretty exciting. With our planning committee, I love getting together to discuss what we think would be right for our artists and audience. Secondly, we are one of the few Austin theatre companies that has open auditions for every show and it is so interesting to see all of the talent that wants to be a part of our company.

AEW: What types of plays are your favorite to produce?

Andy B: I think my favorites are musicals and American classics. Show likes A Streetcar Named Desire, A Delicate Balance, Noises Off, The Odd Couple, and Death of a Salesman; gripping titles that really speak to our society and values which test and reaffirm what we hold dear.

AEW: What sort of shows do you have coming up this season?

Andy B: We are so excited to be in our ninth season with the Austin premiere productions of Farce of Nature and The Graduate. Also, I am thrilled to be producing Waiting for Godot, Love! Valour! Compassion!, Julius Caesar, The Importance of Being Earnest and the musical comedy hit A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

AEW: If people want to get involved with your organization either as a volunteer, director, actor, or Aleks Grease pic 2patron what should they do?

Andy B: The City Theatre Company is happy to talk with anyone who wants to get involved. Email us at info@citytheatreaustin.org or call 512-524-2870. And again, our auditions are open to anyone. Join our mailing list at http://www.citytheatreaustin.org

AEW: if you could play any part or direct any play no restrictions what would it be?

Andy B: Direct? Angels in America. Part? Hedwig and the Angry Inch. We plan on doing that one REAL soon!

 

Theatre name: The City Theatre home to The City Theatre Company

Type of theatre: Mainstream theatre including contemporary works, classic drama, Shakespeare, popular comedies and stage musicals.

Mission Statement: The City Theatre Company exists for Austin directors, designers and actors who have one main goal: the continued excellence in live theatre entertainment and the desire to bring that quality, service and commitment to the central Texas theatrical community.

Artistic Director: Andy Berkovsky

Location:  3823 Airport Blvd. Austin, Texas 78722

Seating:  80

Other info: Voted “Best Theatre Company” Austin360 – 2009 and 2010. One of the finest places in Austin for an enjoyable evening of live theatre. With an intimate proscenium stage and audience for eighty, the entertainment venue boasts a beautiful lounge with concessions bar, newly renovated front lobby, rehearsal room, costume dressing room, classroom space and is only minutes from anywhere you need to go in Austin.

Contact: 512-524-2870

info@citytheatreaustin.org

http://www.citytheatreaustin.org

 

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