Pam MacKinnon is a prolific New York theater artist, with years of directorial experience on Broadway and off, as well as across the country. With a certain proclivity for the works of Edward Albee, she has directed A Delicate Balance and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? on Broadway (winning a Tony Award for the latter), as well as world premiere productions of Peter and Jerry and Occupant (the latter of which is further discussed below). Other Broadway credits include Clybourne Park, The Heidi Chronicles, China Doll, Amélie, and The Parisian Woman.
MacKinnon gave a unique answer when Broadway’s Best Shows asked which, of all her many productions to date, she considers to have been the most challenging. Rather than discussing the dark themes of a particular piece, she is shining a light on the sometimes hectic nature of being a top working director in New York City, when an unfortunate turn of events had her multitasking beyond her wildest dreams… Here is Pam MacKinnon on her most challenging project(s) yet:
Putting up a great show is always full of joy and hard work. Always.
As a lucky, in-demand freelance artist, I sometimes found myself with as many as seven productions in a season. It’s a hustle that both feeds and interferes with the art. Schedules are beyond our control.
There was one week in the spring of 2008 with my production of Itamar Moses’ THE FOUR OF US up and running at Manhattan Theatre Club, as I was already starting tech of Edward Albee’s OCCUPANT at Signature Theatre. Two amazing projects; beautiful plays with glorious acting companies. After many years working out of town I was about to have two shows off-Broadway.
Blue skies. What could go wrong?
We got word with a couple of weeks to go in the MTC run that Sony Music had finally gotten around to answering our rights query about some transition music that had been central to our many transitions. Lightning out of a blue sky. Their answer was no. We were facing an immediate cease and desist. I was suddenly teching lights and sound for two shows! One from 8 am-11 am. The other from 12 noon to midnight. Designers were already onto their next gigs. Associates who had not been involved with THE FOUR OF US were my new collaborators, brought in to make it all seem seamless. We had one understudy covering both roles in the two-hander, he came in those three mornings to help with the crucial timing.
And I peddled my bike to and fro City Center and the old Signature space—could it have been any further west?!!—avoiding Times Square at all costs, feeling very fortunate to be living the dream, angry with Sony, and very very sleepy by my next Monday day off.