Stevie Rudak | August 17, 2023
Produce the Next Broadway Show
Michael Sheehan ’08 manages a stepping stone theater for some of Broadway’s top productions.
Though Michael Sheehan ’08 spent his youth and teenage years on the stage, he never anticipated that his passion for the performing arts could evolve into a lifelong career. Time proved him wrong.
At Powerhouse Theater, Sheehan currently serves as the Producing Director, utilizing his theatre degree and business administration minor.
“Powerhouse Theater is devoted to providing two components of theatre development,” Sheehan explained. “We host a professional theatre season, which supports the creation of new works, and a training program that guides the next generation of young artists to become professionals.”
Powerhouse Theater’s Training Program enrolls individuals from all over the country who are interested in studying acting, playwriting, or directing.
“It’s a really intense program, where the students are doing something almost every day from 9 am to 10 pm,” Sheehan said. “Students spend half their day in classes and the other half in rehearsals.”
Powerhouse Theater’s support for new pieces of work is in the college’s ability to house playwrights and directors on-campus. During their stay, they can utilize Powerhouse Theater as their personal rehearsal space.
“Hamilton, The Wolves, Head Over Heels, and Doubt all had generative work in Powerhouse Theater,” said Sheehan. “Since 1985, you name the playwright or composer, and they’ve probably visited us at one point.”
To prepare for their annual six-week summer program, Sheehan spends almost a full year in planning the class offerings, rehearsals, and events for the festival with his colleague Ed Cheetham. On top of preparation for the program, Sheehan takes on the tasks of budgeting, hiring staff, marketing the program, outreach, and writing pieces for the press.
“Securing the position as Geva’s General Management Intern introduced me to the world of administrative theatre and the professions that existed beyond performing or directing. I’ve honed a wide array of skills to thrive in such multi-faceted positions.”
“I’ve been dying for folks from SUNY Brockport to come participate in the training program,” Sheehan said. “For our intensive training program, there’s an online application process open from January to April.”
During the rest of the year, Sheehan resides in New York City to working as a Company Manager for Roundabout Theatre Company located on Broadway. Roundabout Theatre Company produces lesser-known plays and musicals and is New York City’s largest non-profit theatre.
“The scope of this job is a bit more focused,” Sheehan said. “It’s still a ‘catch-all’ position but my Company Management role involves me overseeing specific shows.”
In 2022, Sheehan managed the Broadway revival of 1776, a musical based on historical events leading up to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. In the near future, Sheehan plans to take on management of I Need That starring Danny DeVito.
Sheehan utilizes the skills he gained during his internship experience with the Geva Theatre Center to help him navigate the administrative side of theatre.
“Securing the position as Geva’s General Management Intern introduced me to the world of administrative theatre and the professions that existed beyond performing or directing.” Sheehan said. “I’ve honed a wide array of skills to thrive in such multi-faceted positions.”