MATTHEW TROILLETT began dabbling in the arts at the tender age of 5, performing in community theatre productions in his native Ohio. He’s never looked back. A Thespian alum of Dublin Scioto High School, Troillett followed his tenure in Troupe 5440 by pursuing a B.F.A. in acting at Wright State University, where he also served as the first producing artistic director of the Jubilee Directing Lab Theatre, a completely student-run campus performance space.

In the 10 years since his college graduation, Troillett has continued to focus his energy offstage, putting together an impressive, eclectic résumé that’s given him the opportunity to work on some of Broadway’s biggest productions. As an account executive at DKC/O&M, one of New York’s major theatrical public relations agencies, Troillett handled publicity for shows including Bright Star, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, School of Rock, and The Humans, as well as revivals of Carousel, Cats, and Hello, Dolly!

Matthew Troillett

Matthew Troillett

Today, Troillett combines all his Thespian skills in dual roles as the project director of O&M Etc., a newly launched creative division of the agency where he has worked for four years, and as the associate artistic director at Theatre Aspen, a professional nonprofit in Colorado’s Rio Grande Park. For Troillett, the secret to success can be found in his aversion to the word “no.”

Your involvement in theatre began as an actor. Do you have favorite memories or productions from your time as a Thespian?
As for many young people, performing was my introduction to the wild world of theatre. I began in front of audiences, but I quickly learned that I enjoyed, maybe more, all the roles and responsibilities offstage that made a show run.

The Thespian program at Dublin Scioto High School, led by the incomparable Pat Santanello, is where the transition from onstage to off started for me, because she allowed and, more important, encouraged all of us to try things outside our specialty. So, in addition to acting, I stage managed, I worked in the scene shop, I helped in the office. I was at the theatre any time I could sneak away from class. I was so fortunate with the incredible amount of opportunity available to me in high school. We had the resources to do any and — nearly — everything we dreamed up. While I loved performing in The Boys Next Door, especially for the Ohio State Thespian Conference, I also learned so much from stage managing our production of Seussical and as president of our Thespian troupe. I took it all so seriously — probably too seriously — but it was such an important time in my theatrical education.

What drew you to communications, and what are your favorite aspects of the job? 
I have always said yes to opportunity. When a job presented itself at Rick Miramontez’s powerhouse Broadway PR firm, that’s just what I said, and I hopped in, perhaps unknowingly, to the Broadway PR business. What’s so great about PR, especially in such a small community like Broadway, is that you are involved in nearly every aspect of the show. Your client is the producer, so you have a lot of interaction with them, but you are also very close with the actors and creative team members, the advertising and marketing teams, general and company management offices, and the theatre staff. Plus, it’s always fun to know big news before it becomes public knowledge.

My favorite project to date has to be working on The Humans. It’s such a brave, smart, funny, heartbreaking, important show. And it was an absolute honor to be a part of. I will never forget walking with [Thespian alum] Jayne Houdyshell to the press room after she won her Tony Award as onlookers cheered and yelled out “Congratulations!” to us on the street. Talk about a magical night.

Of course, the revival of Hello, Dolly! starring Bette Midler, and subsequently Bernadette Peters, was like nothing else I’ve ever experienced. Working with true living legends, and personal idols, was like living in a dream most days.

Bernadette Peters, Gavin Creel, and Charlie Stemp in Hello, Dolly! Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

You’re currently serving as both the project director of O&M Etc. and the associate artistic director at Theatre Aspen. Can you describe the work you’re doing in both positions and how you balance the two roles?
Yes — double time! This goes back to saying yes or, perhaps, not being able to say no. And I think it’s a lesson in maintaining relationships. When Jed Bernstein, who I first worked for right out of college and for several years after, approached me about joining the team at Theatre Aspen, I couldn’t pass it up. But I knew that would mean an adjustment at O&M. Luckily, Rick is a wonderfully entrepreneurial leader and, instead of swearing me off, tasked me with starting a new division where I could have a more flexible schedule — not working on shows — but also be a part of the show team helping to serve our clients in several non-PR ways.

At O&M Etc., I handle an assortment of activities and special events, including producing plays, musicals, concerts, special performances, and programs and overseeing design, creative services, and consultation for clients across the theatrical spectrum. And at Theatre Aspen, I’m responsible for managing creative planning, artistic relations, casting services, special programs and events, and the Theatre Aspen Apprentice Program, as well as overseeing the company’s communications strategy.

Matthew Troillett on the red carpet for the 2016 Tony Awards.
Matthew Troillett on the red carpet for the 2016 Tony Awards. Photo courtesy of Matthew Troillett.

Your theatre career includes a broad range of experience. How have your Thespian skills helped you in non-performing theatre roles?
It’s about saying “Yes!” — sense a theme here? I have always wanted to produce or lead an organization from an artistic perspective, and I have thought of my career thus far as building the toolbox to make me a better and more successful producer — gaining a real understanding of what all the roles play in the overall production and how they work together to put on a show. And as a theatre person, especially an actor, we easily adapt to new situations, learn on our feet, and try to make the best of any situation — those are all skills I learned as a young Thespian.

What advice would you give Thespians who’d love to build a life in theatre like yours?
Try it ALL! Go for it — full steam ahead. Say yes to opportunity, even if it’s not exactly what you thought you wanted to do. You may think you want to be an actor or a costume designer or a director, but try working on the marketing for your current show or choreographing or doing the lighting design. You never know what you might find joy doing, and the possibilities are endless. If you want a life in theatre, the broader your skillset, the better.

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