Cincy Chic: How did you become involved with the Know Theatre?
Megan Venzin: I have always been a performer and a big fan of the arts. In college I played French horn and acted in several shows at Western Kentucky University and the small professional Public Theatre of Kentucky, in Bowling Green. I majored in Advertising at WKU, and when it came time to make decisions about jobs and “the next step,” I realized that I could meld my degree with my passion. I met Know Theatre this past March at the South Eastern Theatre Conference in Chattanooga, Tenn. I was seeking out theatres that were looking to employ marketing and public relations associates. When Know Theatre offered me the job, I could tell that they were fun people, and I knew that they could teach me a lot about the business.
Cincy Chic: What do you love about working at Know Theatre?
Venzin: I love the people most and, of course, the laid back work environment. Now don’t get me wrong, we work a lot, but I feel like I’ve had the opportunity to truly get to know most of my co-workers. Theater is a collaborative art form, so we work together closely. And it is not uncommon for the administrative staff to stay late and help build and paint the sets. I have learned so much in so many different areas, and it has been especially interesting to sink my teeth into the promotional side of the theater. I also love my living environment right now. I live with six actors, an education coordinator, a designer and a stage manager! I’ve really had the chance to learn everyone’s craft, plus everyone loves to go out and have fun. It’s “life after college.”
Cincy Chic: Tell us more about yourself.
Venzin: I was born near Youngstown, Ohio, and moved to Frankfort, Ky., when I was in elementary school. I started getting involved in theater in high school and decided I wanted to pursue it in college. I concentrated on a BA in advertising account services, but that didn’t stop me from getting involved in the WKU Department of Theatre and Dance. I performed in many productions while I was in Bowling Green, and I was a three-year member of Kentucky’s longest running improv comedy troupe, “Happy Gas Improv.” My younger brother is now heading up the troupe, and we were the first ever brother/sister duo on the team at the same time. I performed with Happy Gas at the Dirty South Improv Festival in Chapel Hill, N.C., alongside larger acts like the Upright Citizen’s Brigade of New York City.
When the opportunity with Know Theatre came along, I was still debating whether I wanted to go into an agency environment or work in nonprofit theatre. I finally decided to turn down the opportunity at an internship with VML in Kansas City, [Mo.], because I was afraid that if I went straight into the corporate world, I might never have come back to a life in the theater business. I followed my heart, and here I am now.
Cincy Chic: Everyone’s talking about the Know Theatre and CityBeat‘s “NYE Speakeasy”! How did the concept come about, and what can everyone expect? What makes it THE go-to New Year’s Eve party in the city? What are you looking forward to the most?
Venzin: Know Theatre has hosted themed NYE events for the past two holidays. We went out to lunch in October to start brainstorming ideas for themes and invited one of our resident actresses along with us. We were talking about what kind of elements we wanted such as dancing, live music, fancy drinks, and finally Courtney, the actress, started talking about prohibition and the idea of turning our underground bar into a roaring speakeasy. Everything immediately fell into place: We will have a secret password entry to our party, our choreographer will teach ’20s dance lessons, we will have black jack dealers, a martini bar and more. This is the party to go to because it’s totally affordable, and you get the whole package for a small price. The admission price includes party food, dancing, Christian Moerlein beer tasting, gambling (with fun money, for prizes), live music, access to the Main Stage and underground bars, champagne toast, and more! The $12 price makes this party accessible to everyone. Plus, it gives people an excuse to get out and do something completely different and very theatrical for NYE. I’m mostly looking forward to wearing a flirty flapper dress, getting into character and partying like it’s 1923!
Cincy Chic: Do you have the acting/artistic bug?
Venzin: I enjoy acting, but it has been nice to take a break for a little while. I hope to get back into acting in the coming years — once I’ve learned how to juggle my responsibilities more. I’ve thought about starting a stand up act, and a co-worker and I have plans for writing a variety show. We just have to find the time to do it! Right now I am focusing on developing my skills as an arts administrator, and it is extremely time consuming, so I think that will keep me busy for a while!
Cincy Chic: Do you have/plan to have any resolutions for the New Year?
Venzin: I just joined a gym, so I’d like to stick to a stricter regimen there, of course. However, my main resolution will be to worry less. I stress myself out all of the time, so I’m planning on chilling out and relaxing in 2009!
Cincy Chic: Why should everyone make a resolution to frequent the Know Theatre more in ’09?
Venzin: Everyone should frequent Know Theatre in ’09 because we have an awesome ticketing initiative making all tickets this season only $12, thanks to a generous partnership with the Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./US Bank Foundation. That helps fit into a resolution that so many people will be practicing in 2009, and that’s cutting back spending. By coming to Know Theatre, audience members are not only supporting innovative theater and the performing arts, but they are also putting back into the local economy, which is crucial right now. Plus, live performance art provides an exuberating release that you can only experience inside a theater. We invite you to come down and experience an extraordinary night of theater with us!
Cincy Chic: Any exciting productions/news for the upcoming year?
Venzin: We are opening up a hilarious musical called “I Love You Because” on Jan. 17 that will play through February. It’s a great piece set in New York City about a geeky greeting card writer who has to learn how to fall in love again after he catches his girlfriend with another man. It’s really fresh and lively. It’s just a fun, modern-day love story. I’m calling it a “bromantic comedy” because it has lots of bawdy guy humor, but it’s undeniably adorable at the same time. It makes me think of “How I Met Your Mother” or “Friends” if those shows were full of upbeat, raunchy musical numbers, like songs about friends with benefits. Plus we’ve got the oh-so-awesome Cincinnati Fringe Festival coming up in May, so we’ll be really busy planning that in the coming months.
Cincy Chic: Do you have any exciting personal things to look forward to in ’09?
Venzin: Other than lots of friends getting married and a few baby cousins, the dawning of a new year is always exciting to me because it means music festival season is coming around again. I love camping out and traveling to different festivals across the Midwest. I’m hoping to have enough time to check out some different ones this year, but I’m definitely going to hit Bonnaroo and maybe All Good.
Cincy Chic: What’s your favorite thing about Cincinnati?
Venzin: My favorite thing about Cincinnati is probably the Fringe Festival, and that’s not me being biased either! I moved to Cincinnati during the Fringe Festival Kick-Off Party, so my first memories of Cincinnati are all related to the amazing 12-day festival of music, performance art, dance, film, visual art and everything in between. There is literally something for everyone, and the community that arises out of the Fringe Festival is just stunning. I saw friendships form, and I met so many new and interesting people because all the cross-country artists who travel for the Fringe are in downtown Cincinnati for two weeks. Know Theatre is the headquarters, so everyone hangs out late at the Underground Bar and we get to know each other. Once the festival gets started, it really takes on a life of its own, and I’m looking forward for May to come around so I can experience the Fringe in full circle.
Hair Styling: Liz Carter of Rustic Pear Hair Designs
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