Love & Wisdom

Most Influential: Robb Hunt and Steve Tomkins

Executive Producer Robb Hunt and Artistic Director Steve Tomkins turns Village Theater into a nation

By Deanna Duff December 31, 1969

Sure, it takes a village to create a theater, but at Issaquah’s Village Theatre, executive producer Robb Hunt and artistic director Steve Tomkins understand that it requires a special passion to turn a theater into a nationally renowned incubator of powerhouse productions. Under the guidance of Hunt and Tomkins (who’ve been with Village Theatre since 1979 and 1988, respectively), the theater’s Village Originals program has developed nearly 100 new musical productions since its inception in 1995 (when it was called the First Stage New Musicals Series). Most don’t make it to Broadway, but earlier this year, three musicals that had their debuts as Village Originals—Million Dollar Quartet, Signs of Life and Next to Normal—were running simultaneously in New York City. Next to Normal, written and workshopped at Village Theatre by Issaquah native Brian Yorkey, went on to win three 2009 Tony Awards and the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for drama. In addition to the full run of already beloved musicals (including The Full Monty this month), and attracting an annual audience of more than 180,000 to productions in Issaquah and Everett, the theater is committed to debuting two entirely new musicals each season. Tomkins says it best: “It’s important to find new works and to produce them because it keeps the theater alive, vibrant and a force.”

Published November 2010

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