The road leads back, and forward, for new Pittsburgh Playhouse Production Manager James Ogden II Thursday, October 15, 2020
James Ogden II, Production Manager, Point Park University's Pittsburgh Playhouse
“I look forward to focusing on the Playhouse structure and how we can make things work, especially during our virtual season. I’m thrilled about the growth of the program and new facility. Not much in the world compares to it.”
James Ogden II, a 2012 Point Park University graduate who majored in Stage Management, just returned to Point Park University’s Pittsburgh Playhouse as Production Manager after traveling the world and honing his craft.
James spent the last eight years working for notorious dance companies such the Charlotte Ballet, Martha Graham Dance Company, and Alonzo King LINES Ballet as a stage manager and quickly moved up the ranks to production director. He credits working hard at Point Park and networking to his success. “A lot of my references ended up knowing each other,” James said. “My network kept me continuing my work throughout the years.” Additionally, working in the dance industry offered him consistent work, a competitive edge, the opportunity to wear different hats, and the ability to travel. “When you find something you enjoy, the work doesn’t seem as hard,” he shared.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, James was furloughed for most of the summer. There was a lot of uncertainty and much to consider. That was until the opportunity to interview for the Production Manager at the Pittsburgh Playhouse became available. With his stellar reputation as a student and in the professional world, he decided to go for it.
“The timing made sense,” said James. “Pittsburgh is a city I can live in long-term. It has a very active arts community, the city embraces the arts, and companies are presenting the arts in new and different ways.
Additionally, James was excited to come back to Point Park as it gives him the chance to work with a lot of the people who trained him and served as his mentors, while working in a new facility with many diverse opportunities. “I can work on theatre, dance and rentals in this amazing new facility,” James commented. “I’m excited to see the difference between presenting and producing works.”
He recalled his time as a student and being treated as an equal by faculty and staff. “If you are the stage manager of a production, you’re treated as such. You are expected to perform fully. Faculty and staff are certainly there to assist but empower students to be leaders.”
James said he is looking forward to the challenge, and is excited about the growth of the Pittsburgh Playhouse as an arts center. “I look forward to focusing on the Playhouse structure and how we can make things work, especially during our virtual season,” James shared. “I’m thrilled about the growth of the program and new facility. Not much in the world compares to it.”