BWW Blog: Ryan Bauer-Walsh of LMNOP - Interview with Goodspeed's CM, Kristan McLaughlin
Hey Broadway World Readers!
I would like to take some time to introduce you to someone very special- someone many of you, if you are in the theatre profession, may already know....
Kristan McLaughlin has been Goodspeed's company manager for 20 years. She lives on the campus in a house next to the rehearsal hall over a waterfall. She has met hundreds and hundreds of actors in the business, and is known throughout the performing community as an integral part of the Goodspeed experience. I first met Kristan in 2006 when I was doing Nell Benjamin's PIRATES! We became friends, and it is so good to be back up here hanging out with her!
RBW: So Kristan, how did you come to work at Goodspeed?
KM: I actually have been company manager since 2005, but started as an apprentice in '98, and was then an assistant, and then became Company Manager. I answered an ad in Art Search-- which is like backstage for technicians. At school we learned that was the place where to look for gigs and three years out of school I came to Goodspeed.
Ryan Bauer-Walsh: When did you move into the waterfall house?
Kristan McLaughlin: In 2005, when I became Company Manager. It has always been the Company Manager's house. The woman who was Company Manager before me, was the longest running Company Manager at Goodspeed, but I have actually been at Goodspeed longer now than that, but just not Company Manager for the entire time.
RBW: Where did you go to school?
KM: I went to, at the time a small liberal arts college, called Longwood College in Farmville, which is now Longwood University. At the time I thought it was the smallest town I was ever going to live in! Ha!
RBW: You have met so many actors over time-- have you ever been stars struck?
KM: Ya know, it's interesting, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't... a little star struck by.... Julie Andrews or Paul Williams. But most of the people who are here, because it is work, it is just a job, and I'm doing a job. It takes a minute for me to process that "Oh my gosh - I am having a conversation with Julie Andrews!" or "Oh my goodness I am friends with Paul Williams." But I don't think I can do what I do and be star struck.
KRISTAN, MICHAEL MCGURICK, MARK during 'No, No, Nanette 1999')
RBW: With the advent of social media, it has become much easier to stay in touch with the friends we make on regional gigs and tours, do you stay in touch with a lot of the performers here?
KM: I stay in touch with a fair amount of people that I have met, all the way back to 1998. There are people from back then that I am still close with and talk to. There are people from that same time that I couldn't say where they are now. It is a big business. I am Facebook friends with a lot of people that I do stay in touch with. Some people are up every couple of years, or 5-7 years, but if there is a connection there is a connection. Sometimes certain companies, like the cast of 2006's Pippin lend themselves to be more of a "keeping in touch" kind of group. It'd difficult to stay in touch, unless you are seeing people every week.
RBW: Just last week Broadway's Molly Tynes of Pippin was up here for a dance intensive- she did Pippin here in 2006, what is the longest stretch you have gone between seeing people?
KM: For instance, LMNOP's Donna Lynne Champlin has done a lot of contracts here, but the last time I saw her was when she was in John Doe and you were in Pirates! Sometimes people come up for the Festival here, like Sally Wilfert (also from LMNOP ) so sometimes you get to connect with people again, even if only for a short while.