A Natural Agilist Proves the Value of Theater

By Brian Lucas

Josh Neth is the exceptionally talented artistic director of the Allentown Public Theatre.  Josh is marvelously outspoken and passionate about the Theater.  He is a remarkably eloquent and intelligent person and to converse with him is a true pleasure.  His mind has many dimensions from arts to philosophy to psychology to business.  To round it all off; he is quite an accomplished stage actor.  I recently had the opportunity of watching him play the lead in the Pennsylvania Playhouse’s production of Sondheim’s – Company.  I must plead guilty to being a fairly stringent critic of Community Theater.  However, watching Josh perform, I almost forgot I was sitting in a small auditorium. Instead, I could imagine I had front row seats on Broadway.  Josh is fortunate to be joined in life and theatrical endeavors by his quintessentially pixyish and appealing wife Cheryl.  She is an uncommonly expressive actress and a wonderfully animated singer of her own merit.  I will not say much more about Josh because he would be the first to say that this is not about him; it is about the Theater.  Josh states that the Theater is an essential part of our public conscience as well as entertainment.  After listening to him in the interview, I agree.  So I am asking all my readers to make a donation to the Allentown Public Theatre.  I also encourage those in a position to underwrite a performance or help the Allentown Public Theater find and finance a permanent home; to contact Josh Neth or Troy Brokenshire directly.  Your generosity will go towards something that makes a significant difference in so many lives and elevates us all.

Lucas: You did not have any formal training in agile. In fact, you were quite surprised and a little reluctant about the interview.

Neth: No I did not.  To be honest, when I read your other interviews and saw the predominance of business professionals, I became apprehensive about whether I was the right person.  I noted though, an interview with someone who arranges Mangia dinners as a hobby.  If agile means operating with minimal resources, than we in the Allentown Public Theatre are exceptionally agile.  Local Theater, by nature, is not a large profit or money making proposition; regardless of how much benefit and traffic it can drive to a downtown community. In the Theater world, being agile is a matter of survival.

Lucas: Whole hearted commitment to something is what drives agile. Why are you committed to the Theater? It certainly cannot be for the money!

Neth: That is an intriguing connection about commitment and agility.  I never seriously thought about it, but if you have a deep desire, you will eventually find a way to fulfill it.  Heaven knows I am not in Theater for the money!  There are two reasons I do what I do.  The first is that I have to do this.  It is a truly basic drive for me, and I am miserable if I do not.  I am immensely thankful that my fabulous wife is in the same profession and that we can share the experience and support each other.  She is a true treasure and the first love of my life.  Even Theater comes second.  I guess I have to thank my grandfather for my performing talent.  He was a magnificent musician who performed in speakeasies during the great depression. Very early on, when I was three perhaps, he thrust a guitar in my hands and taught me how to play. When my family began clapping, I was hooked. The second is that this is how I affect the world around me. This is the medium given to me to interact with my community and even in the larger scope of the world in which I live.  I honestly believe; however, it is not all about me.  Theater is beyond me and my own limited needs.  It is the venue from time immemorial, where relevant and often controversial subjects were brought to the public forum and generated discussion.  From the time of ancient Greek Theater in the 200 years following Thespis[1], Theater was the cornerstone of emerging social, moral and political change.  Without Theater, some sociologists speculate, we could have found ourselves in a totalitarian world.  Theater in some form probably preceded written language as we can see in prehistoric rock art in northern Scandinavia[2].

Lucas: That is quite a profound postulation that Theater preceded written language.  Is Theater only about making a statement or airing a subject that needs to be brought to the public conscious?

Neth: No! Of course not, there is validity in entertainment.  We do things in the Theater world that is pure entertainment.  That in itself is a vital societal function.  The personal experience of watching a play or a musical has a richness of involvement that television or other mediums cannot hope to achieve.  It is why people go to see sports teams in stadiums; even though they would get a better viewing experience from their living room.  In the Theater, you absorb your surrounding environment, the audience reaction, and the fact that you are seeing something unique.  No matter how many times you see a live performance, it will always be a little different.  Emotion also comes through in a live performance, far more than any electronic medium.  The audience experiences the energy, the highs, the lows and the triumph personally.  My overall point is; given the opportunity to have the public’s ear; it becomes a responsibility to blend with entertainment a communication of subjects that demand a greater public awareness.

Lucas: One of the most prominent aspects of successfully being agile is a specific clear vision[3].  The Allentown Public Theatre certainly has one.  When did you develop this vision?

Neth: I have a distinct recollection of being a freshman in college and my school decided to do the musical “Grease[4]”.  I remember saying to a professor; we should be learning something more significant.  Authors like Eugene O’Neill[5], exposed American vernacular for the first time.  He dramatically portrayed characters on the fringes of society, struggling to maintain hope.  That is relevant to many people today.  I wish we had done “Ah, Wilderness![6]” instead of “Grease”.  We would be doing lighter subjects as soon as we graduated by necessity, in order to pay the rent.  We should have been studying more serious performing arts subjects.  It was at that point, I had an epiphany!  I knew I did not want to be just an entertainer.  I needed to explore serious and weighty subjects in the public domain.  That was the birth of my vision!

Lucas: In agile, team effort is essential.  Why do others want to be on your team?

Neth: That is a very good question, because Theater is all about teamwork?  Even a one-man-show is not just one person. There are all the people that make the production possible and market the performance to attract an audience.  Without the audience, the best performance is only a voice crying in the wilderness.  To get back to your question, what I offer is a chance for people to be a part of something greater that themselves.  I provide a stage, if I may use that word, for them to do something that they genuinely love and feel is vital.  It is fundamentally self-actualization[7].  The Allentown Public Theatre is also different from Community Theater, in that we are a profession troop.  We pay actors enabling them to make a living doing what they love best.  Everyone else unselfishly volunteers their time in a thousand different ways to make Allentown Public Theatre productions happen and keep us alive.  I am immensely grateful to our volunteers.

Lucas: You mentioned self-actualization.  That is one of the reasons so many executives are leaving the Fortune 500 world and becoming entrepreneurs or freelancing[8].  It seems that some of the dynamics of Theater are not so different from the business world.

Neth: People are people!  We have gone through a generation where the emphasis was on accumulating wealth and consuming goods, getting the largest house, the most expensive car, etc.  It failed to make most people happy.  I watched my father work extremely hard at a job he did not love.  He achieved financial success, but he did it at the expense of a lifetime of effort about something he was not passionate.  Today more and more people inside and out of the business community are pursuing their dreams; doing something in which they can believe that they are good at.

Lucas: Why the emphasis on paid actors?

Neth: I was looking for craftsmen capable of taking a performance to a different level than a hobbyist.  You need that level of ability in performing serious works.  I also wanted to bring professional actors into the downtown community where they would help revitalize the city by their sheer presence.  Actors living downtown, consuming goods and services downtown and in general hanging out in the neighborhood are an attraction.  They not only generate commerce directly, but promote a more positive view of the city by both city and suburban residents.  This encourages people to come into the city and spend both time and money.

Lucas: Agile is also about growth.  Is there any element of growth in what the Allentown Public Theatre does?

Neth: Absolutely, we are an incubator of talent.  Good performers do not grow on trees!  They learn and develop by continued and steadied experience and coaching.  With a professional troop, we start with actors and actresses that have already committed themselves to the Theater.  We in turn, provide the venue for them to grow.  The Allentown Public Theatre predominately uses younger performers for this exact reason.  They have growth potential.  It is also a matter of economics right now.  We can only afford to pay younger performers.

Lucas: Getting back to the subject of business similarities for a moment, do you see other commonalities in what is going on in business today and what you are trying to do in the Theater?

Neth: Yes I do.  You have said there is a new business revolution going on in America.  We are returning to our entrepreneurial roots.  I agree!  One aspect I would like to mention is a return to an emphasis of quality.  When colonial entrepreneurs started a business like furniture manufacturing they did not say to themselves, how can we make the most furniture as cheaply as possible and maximize profits?  They had pride in what they were doing. They wanted to make the best furniture possible.  Today workers are leaving companies because they are making a product or providing a service in which they do not believe.  Whether through a lack of focus or vision or simply having too much administrative management; the need for fulfillment is not being met for these people.  So they start out on their own to make the best possible product and give the customer personal attention.  That is resonating with the public.  That is what the Allentown Public Theatre is all about.  I find it exceptionally inspiring that there are CEOs giving up high paying jobs because they want to make something better.  It gives me hope that business as usual is no longer as powerful an influence.

Lucas: Is the Allentown Public Theatre looking for a home?

Neth:  Yes we have reached the point where we unquestionably need a permanent home.  We require a building that is first of all safe and up to the standard codes.  There are a lot of buildings in downtown Allentown that we would love to occupy, but we cannot afford to bring them up to code.  How exciting it would be, if the city or the Allentown Economic Development Co. or a consortium of businesses could help us get one of these buildings and renovate it for our needs.  We need something that can hold at least 100 people.  It must have an open area for seating and a high ceiling.  From a development perspective, it is beneficial for us to be on the open Hamilton Street corridor around 7th.  We have an eye on a space, but we need to have some architect drawings made up and we would need this done on a pro bono basis.  A permanent home is essential for our audience base and helping us grow it.  Heretofore they had to follow us all over town, wherever we could get a venue.

Lucas: Where does the Allentown Public Theatre need to be in 5 years?

Neth: It is vital the Allentown Public Theater become a self-sustaining concern.  Obviously the Artistic Director position should not be a volunteer one.  The Allentown Public Theatre needs a full company of actors, committed to multiple seasons, living downtown and becoming a part of the community.  We are already donating our time, going out into the community, doing outreach programs and working with schools to promote various programs for students.

Lucas: You mention arts community often.  It is a powerful part of your vision to build not just Theater, but a general sociological stratum of people in all aspects of the arts being a part of the downtown scene.  Has the Allentown Public Theatre received much help from the Allentown government or the Allentown Economic Development Co?

Neth: The Allentown Economic Development Co. has generously given us a discount for our office and storage space at the Bridgeworks complex, but we need more help.  I am committed to Allentown, but it has been a difficult challenge to maintain that loyalty to the city that gives us our name.  The Allentown Public’s Theatre’s first mission is to do Theater.  I have to be honest, if a patron of the arts or an arts council or government like Bethlehem or Easton, interested in encouraging arts to revitalize a downtown section, offered us a building, I would seriously consider moving.  How could I possibly say no?  Allentown has a symphony, a good art museum and the noted Baum School of Arts.  At this point, they are an institution.  What is missing from Allentown, and the Lehigh Valley for that matter, is a strong, professional, public Theater driven by local talent.

Lucas: That must be frustrating.  You have accomplished much with hard work and volunteerism, but you have no full time administration or location.  Funding and management activities are all done on less than a shoestring.  Without more support from the government, councils or private patrons, how does the Allentown Public Theatre survive?

Neth: Yes it is frustrating.  I wish everyone could hear our voice, understand what we offer not only Allentown, but the entire Greater Lehigh Valley Area[9] and help us out anyway they can.  Ultimately helping us would further the goals of governments and councils as well as filling a real public need.  We will survive, however, by working harder to reach out to those who believe in the importance of Theater as one of the focal points of a downtown community and a powerful vehicle for social commentary.  If it means leaving Allentown, sadly we will have to do so.  We will adapt somehow – because we must in order to survive.

Lucas: Adapting to survive that is the basic definition of agile[10].

Neth: Right!


About Brian Lucas

In his life, Brian Lucas has been a coach, farm worker, forester, health care advocate, life guard, general contractor, mechanic, mixologist, musician/singer (in a rock group), salesman and teacher. Brian has worked as a project manager, technical marketer, methodologist, manager, software architect, systems designer, data modeler, business analyst, systems programmer, software developer and creative writer. These efforts include over a hundred hi-tech initiatives in almost every business and industrial sector as well as government and military projects. Among them, he designed and developed a quality assurance system for the first transatlantic fiber optic communications network, a manufacturing system for a large computer manufacture’s seven manufacturing centers, a data mining system for steel production, an instrumentation system for cable systems, defined requirements for government’s information systems and designed and developed human performance management systems. Brian has educated and mentored many over the years, designing programs to discover and develop talent. He has also lectured extensively to a variety of audiences. Brian is currently devoting as much time as possible to the innovation of business agility and human capital management along with the next generation of agile software development. As an amateur theoretical physicist he is working on joining general relativity and quantum mechanics through a multidimensional time corollary on string theory and negating the uncertainty principle with Louis de Broglie’s wave/particle hypothesis. He is also an avid blue-water sailor and wilderness backpacker. He enjoys billiards, boxing, chess, cooking, famous battle reenactments and war gaming, fencing, flying, gardening, horseback riding, martial arts (particularly Ninjutsu), philosophy and psychology, playing musical instruments (7 so far), poker, rapid-fire target shooting, reading (he tries to read a new book every night), painting with oils, scuba diving, skiing and recently writing novels.
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359 Responses to A Natural Agilist Proves the Value of Theater

  1. Ed McGarrity says:

    Lots of smarts here on both sides of the table here if you ask me. Seems like Josh you should hire Brian to promote the Allentown Public Theatre. I noted that Brian doesn’t have his usually disclaimer at the bottom of this article. That just makes me ask the question Josh does Brian work for you guys. He seems like a real pricey high flyer and if you guys are challenged budgetwise how can you afford him. Damn good interview though! Wished I’d have known a Brian back when I was in business. And so as to throw the cat among the pigeons – who’s smarter Josh – you or Brian? That should stir things up a bit. Big Ed

    • Brian Lucas says:

      Really Big Ed everyone knows that I am smart enough not to answer that so both the cat and the pigeons are safe. When I interviewed Josh I was not affiliated with the Allentown Public Theatre in any way. Since then I have become a member and tried to help them out with a little fund raising and a few suggestions. I feel it would be completely inappropriate and insincere for me to even think of charging APT for anything I do.

  2. Wilma says:

    Oh God! Does Brian sing? What kind of voice does he have? I have to hear this! Is he on YouTube? Josh you can’t just tease us like this we are dying to know more about the mysterious Brian.

  3. Gale Jackson says:

    Come on Josh you gotta give us girls the lowdown on Brian!!! That boy’s just too secretive!!! lmbo

  4. Oscar Penworthy says:

    Even though I am from London I am going to click the link and make a donation to the Allentown Public Theatre. Mr. Neth’s vision is a worthy one and deserves international support. I commend others to do the same.

  5. V. Bogrov says:

    Josh you have great heart for theater. Brian is good man, smart man. If you listen – he will help you. I read blog all time. I learn much.

  6. Elise Gottlieb says:

    I would be interested in a YouTube video as well.

  7. Emogurl says:

    My gfriend is an actress and sent me this and even made me read it. I am soooo glad she did! This was so inspiring!!! Thank you -thank you – thank you Brian and Josh for posting. I might even find-the-spine to join my local theater group. I can’t believe this was posted in a business blog. Brian you rock! Wish you lived in Chicago.

    • Brian Lucas says:

      I did work in the windy city for a bit and definitely appreciated it vibrant arts scene. I don’t know if I rock or not, but I appreciate the compliment. Something I am writing is reaching you and that’s important to me. By all means Emogurl throw caution to the winds and join your local theater group or at least take classes at a local college. Pursue your dream, be fulfilled regardless of the outcome and have no regrets! Let me know how it works out for you!

  8. Karen Huntly says:

    God Brian! You are so incredibly cool! I wasn’t going to comment at first. Then I read some of your other articles and you are an amazing writer and story teller. You are so easy to read and entertaining and so smart I can’t believe the more blogs don’t carry your posts. Aren’t you allowing them to? I could read you every day. I wish you posted more. This was just another example how how multifaceted you are. If you ever are speaking in Seattle please let me now I would definitely like to attend!

    • Brian Lucas says:

      Thanks Karen! I used to fly frequently to Redmond back in the early 2000s. I found this great seafood place in Oregon called Doogers, you should check it out. I am glad you like my writing. I don;t get enough of an opportunity to write as much as I like. Any blog is free to carry my posts as long as they are accredited and not lewd in nature. If I am in Seattle I will let you know.

  9. greeneyedgirl says:

    This interview taught me quite a bit about the reason theater is important. I was always interested in theater, but never followed through on my desires. I am sorry now that I didn’t. Seeing Josh struggle and someone of Brian’s caliber from the business community reach out to help create a greater awareness for the Allentown Public Theatre makes me a little ashamed I did not do more. There were many interesting suggestions made her for follow on efforts. I hope Brian and Josh treat them seriously and make at least some of them happen. I would love to see a youtube and I must admit I am curious about Brian as well. He seems so intelligent and sensitive and yet his bio reads like something out of Hemingway’s life I for one want to know more about him. Any chance on you spilling a few more beans about the elusive Brian, Josh?

  10. Carl Averly says:

    WHAT A POWERHOUSE OF AN INTERVIEW! This should definitely be a YouTube video! I can’t believe you guys aren’t doing more with this! It’s like Walter Lippmann interviewing James Woods. I’m from Pittsburgh so I can’t really join or help you guys out, but why don’t you offer handouts of the interview at APT productions? If awareness is a problem for you that would help you reach locals!

    • Brian Lucas says:

      Carl – I am honored to be compared to Walter Lippmann the great intellectual writer and reporter and Pulitzer Prize winner for his column, “Today and Tomorrow”. However, Josh didn’t know who James Woods was! Oops! Handing out copies of an interview I conducted at performances or including it in playbills might be a good idea, but one modesty doesn’t allow me to suggest. Thanks for the idea!

  11. OnStageSweetheart says:

    I would pay to hear the tapes of this interview. Ha, Ha! Really though you should put this on YouTube to reach a larger audience and I also would pass out copies of this at performances. If you wanted to make it shorter and sweeter just use the parts where Josh is talking vision and the significance of the theater. I am going to read more of Brian’s blog. I never saw so many comments before.

  12. JimmyH says:

    Fantastic interview Brian and Josh!!!!!

  13. Jerry Lee Thompson says:

    If the actual interview ran anything remotely like it is written you guys need to do a talk show. You’d blow away 99% of what is out there now. Its cr*p by comparison. This was by far and away the best interview I ever read. Something tells me that for as smart as Josh might be Brian is the wizard behind the curtain here. Fess up boys am I right? I won’t tell a soul!

  14. Garrett says:

    Heck I’m from Allentown and I didn’t know you guys existed. I checked out your website just to see what you are all about. Website could use a little improvement guys. It didn’t grab my attention and some of the photos were a turnoff. Sorry just being honest. I’ve gone to the Civic before and the State in Easton. You guys really need to get your name out more this was a great start, but you need to do more – a whole lot more. I’ll attend a couple of performances and if I like what I see, I become a member.

  15. Ron Duval says:

    Prehistoric Scandinavian rock art as the beginning of theater! Comparing excellence in theater craftsmanship to the pride of manufactures in colonial America! Seeing the business agility in theater operations! What astounding depths this interview has! If I may, I would like to offer you both some advice. If awareness is one of the Allentown Public Theatre’s problems, you absolutely should make this into a YouTube video –at least! Josh and Brian, you are so evidently unusually well read, superior communicators and incredibly intelligent – you need to make more of this argument on the validity of theater. Why not use some of the ideas in this article for a short one act play on the origins and value of theater. Start with the emergence of ritualism depicted in the Northern Scandinavian rock art (I followed the link and it was fascinating) through to the advent of Greek theater under Thespis to Shakespeare and the works of Ibsen and O’Neil, etc. that Josh apparently favors. You can interleave how theater was used to air questions of serious import in the public forum and how it helped change society as you contend in the interview. You can finish up with what the Allentown Public Theater is doing today to make that happen. Keep it short 20 minutes or so. Brian as a blogger might have the writing skills to create a script for something like that. If not or he doesn’t have the time there must be a local playwright that you can find. Make a YouTube video of the play! You can also perform it at various local events and schools in your area as educational awareness. You might even be able to get continuing education credits for it. By all means don’t let this opportunity pass by without taking advantage of it. Seize the moment!

  16. Marcie Bentner says:

    My friend who is in community theater sent me this and I liked it enough to skim the blog and read a few other of your posts Brian. The title “The Night of the Deadly Micromanager” caught my eye as well as all the comments it received so I read it. The footnotes were hysterical and the comments very teasing. So they peaked my interest and I also read your bio on the about page. It reads like a combination of a superman and a renaissance man. Why don’t you have a Facebook page Brian? People as interesting as you need to share more. Can I email you to start a dialog? I am from Iowa.

  17. Geanie-WTLBH says:

    BEST INTERVIEW YET BRIAN!!!! CAN’T WAITE TO SEE THE NEXT ONE!!! I AM SHOUTING WITH EXCITEMENT!!!

  18. Michelle Sleeper says:

    Brian you take people out to dinner to interview them – treat them with respect… and you pick up the check as Sally says! What do I have to do to get interviewed by you!!! TELL ME PLEASE!

    • Brian Lucas says:

      Michelle I had a very interesting uncle from the south who told me when I was a lad to always treat women as ladies until they prove otherwise and then continue to treat them in a like manner to show yourself a gentleman. I never forgot it – or him.

  19. Cole Whesley says:

    Theater is under attack as never before because of the financial climate. Republicans are calling for an end to all government support for the arts. Now is the time for those who have the eloquence and stature to protect and promote the arts to stand up and defend them. Its your duty Josh and Brian to do more to defend and promote all art not just the Allentown Public Theatre, because you have the ability to do more!

  20. Barry McGuire says:

    I would vote for a YouTube video as well. -Barry (no not the song writer)

  21. Betty Talbot says:

    Great interview Josh! I am a high school reporter and in our dramatic arts program. I would like to hear more about the interview from your perspective. What were you thinking? Where was it? How long did it take? Were you nervous? How did Brian get you to agree to an interview if you were nervous about it? Would you do it again? How did you meet Brian? What was your impression of him? Do you know him well? Was he stuffy, business like, friendly? Is he as smart as he seems? I read his bio (like a good reporter) and it seems almost unreal. Any details you could provide who be helpful to me. Oh and I note you said Brian have a good singing voice is he in theater too.

  22. Penny says:

    Josh you promised to tell us more about Brian. It’s no good asking him because he won’t tell us anything, he’s such a spoiled sport. If you tell is something interesting I’ll donate $25 to APT. He sounds so dreamy…

  23. Art Kilgore says:

    I am a retired theater director from Brighton and I wish to heaven I had this kind of publicity when I was running things. I tried going to the site to make a donation and it froze on me. That is not good!

  24. Udahl says:

    YouTube video go for it!

  25. Sally Rider says:

    Girls I can tell you first hand from meeting Brian that he is a true gentleman! He is very, very intelligent and many diverse interests. If anything his bio is understated. He is a great conversationalist. He is debonair, sophisticated and quite a charmer with an incredible old world manner. Dinner with him was without doubt the most pleasant dining experience I ever had. He treated me with such respect I will have fond memories of it always. He is unbelievably generous and helped me out with free advice on my consulting business. And he wears a suit well too! 

  26. mistressofthenight says:

    I have to meet this Brian and put my spell on him……………..

    • Brian Lucas says:

      Dear MOTN – Speaking as a baptized Roman Catholic, a descendant of the druids and the ancient brotherhood of Thor, I warn you I am spell proof so have at it.

  27. Victor Franco says:

    It makes sense to me to try to leverage an interview that is this well done more than you have. YouTube is one medium and I would exploit it if I were you, but there are other ways. Did you get the local papers to carry it?

  28. Millie says:

    I am from Easton and never heard of the Allentown public theatre. You need better advertising. This was a good start. I’ll check out the website.

  29. FillyGurl says:

    I’m from Philly and that’s a little far to go to see a local theater production so I am sorry I don’t think I can join. Despite that, this was an impressive interview and I congratulate both Josh and Brian. Maybe Brian more than Josh because Josh is already apparently taken. lol

  30. Boyd Langley says:

    I am impressed and would vote for the YouTube version also. And Brian keep your female admirers under control this is a business blog! But if you ever bottle what you’ve got I’ll take a case! lol

  31. Louis Frankenfield says:

    Years ago I was a part of a failed theater group. We were trying the same sort of thing, but we started with a community theater and tried to make it a professional ensemble. After working our tails off and suffering many a heartbreak, we couldn’t make it work financially. We made too many mistakes, didn’t listen to outside advice and turned off the business people who tried to help us by being arrogant. It was far too late, when we finally realized we were our own worse enemy. Unfortunately, when we went bust with our professional effort, we killed our community theater base as well. To this day, we still don’t have a local community theater. I left my dreams of the theater world and began selling insurance. Despite the fact that I did well, I can tell you that I regret it every day. Now I have a family with two kids, one who is starting in college. It’s way to late for me to go back and pursue my dream. I would have given my right arm to have this kind of promotion when we were trying to make a go of it. I also wish some business person had given me a swift kick in the ass to jar my head lose and convinced me everything wasn’t going to be my way. If I had compromised we might have made it. I might have less money today, but I am sure I would be happier. So this is my advice Josh. I don’t know what your relationship is with Brian or if he is offering to help. From my reading of his blog, he seems to be a savvy businessman and certainly is well informed. In my experience now running my own insurance business, consultants at his level are pricey, but good ones are worth their weight in gold. Do whatever you have to do to get him involved and listen to his advice. If has has been a consultant for awhile he has probably seen situations like yours a thousand times over. I hope you can make it!

  32. Tanya says:

    I am speechless! I wish I could give an interview as great as this Josh you are a god!

  33. Keith says:

    Oh man do I have the roadhouse blues in my home town! Its all national big acts and headliners and so little goes to local theater. We scrape by sometimes month to month. Josh has a great vision, I wish others did!

  34. Chuck Helman says:

    Josh, there’s a thousand and one ways to promote your theater Josh and raise money. If your having problems with this find someone who knows how to do it. I agree with Louis latch on to some smart, savvy business people and ride their train. Of course it all takes work, but hey man it’s worth it. Don’t expect them to come knocking on your door. You have to cultivate them. Make them guests at events, chat them up. Show interest in what they are doing! Business people are just as susceptible to flattery as we primadonnas in the theater are. They all have egos. From my reading of this blog Brian doesn’t seem to have one which is surprising. Since he has made an appeal to his reading audience to support your theater group, he should be first in line to volunteer his service. Oh and this is important business people are busy and time is an important commodity to them. Even the jerks who spend all their time on the golf course (I hope none of my sponsors read this) so you need to be very responsive to them otherwise they will shut you out and off. I learned that lesson the hard way.

  35. Eli Paulson says:

    Very powerful interview Josh. I know others have said the same here, but it is worth saying again. The underlying message is that you are not receiving the financial support that you need and are prepared to leave your adopted town if necessary. My question is since this interview series is all about being agile and adapting. What modifications are you willing to make to your original plans in order to survive. I am curious how deeply you are willing to modify your vision before you decide its not worth it.

  36. Nathan Drury says:

    I think you should start sending this interview around to major newspapers and performing arts organizations to see if they would carry it. What have you got to loose. Also you need to rally your own troops Josh. I read all these comments, every last one and not one of them was from an APT patron who said they love APT performances. What’s up with that didn’t you tell any of your members about they interview? I would have expected that a good portion of the supportive comments here would have come from APT members or your loyal fans. Instead they are all coming from strangers and what must be personal friends of the author. Not one person said they knew you personally Josh. You need to crank up your PR engine.

  37. Kate Hunsicker says:

    There’s more comments here than on my Facebook page. I’m jealous! I am also in the valley and hadn’t heard of the Allentown Public Theater before. At first I thought you were talking about the [deleted by administrator] theater and that they changed their name. Now I see you are two separate organizations. Well I have heard of you now so I checkout some performances.

  38. Fawn says:

    I buy into the auctioning off info on Brian for a donation to APT. I’ve got $15 waiting. Sally’s comment is way too juicy to pass on. I guess Brian’s not married. If he is his wife’s more understand than I’d be. lmbo

  39. Sheamus O'Flynn says:

    I hope you remember me Brian. I met you and the lovely Elaine on St. Paddy’s day. That’s a lovely lass you have there. We all talked about your fine powerful voice singing the old songs like Brennan on the Moor. I tried to become a member by going to the site but I couldn’t get it to work.

    • Brian Lucas says:

      Sheamus Oh course I remember! A true Irishman’s memory and voice only improve under the influence of a bottle of fine Scotch Whiskey. I will let Troy know.

  40. Julie Nemeth says:

    I have to admit I am curious about Brian as well and I throw $10 APT’s way for more tidbits.

  41. Wojo says:

    Hey girls let’s stay on topic here in case you have forgotten its agile/theater.

  42. Heinrick Kuntzler says:

    This was an impressive interview. I do agree with the previous comment that if Mr. Lucas is asking others to support thus theater group he should do so himself. I would like to hear from Mr. Neth what Brian has done to support them.

  43. Genica says:

    I know Brian personally and he is definitely sexy… and a really great guy.;)

  44. Isolde says:

    I am in our local community theater in Texas and I can tell you first hand that it is hard work for no pay, but if you love it you have to do it. Fortunately my husband is with me and we have the best times of our lives on stage together.

  45. Honor Waverly says:

    Since some people are offering advice here, I will likewise do so. As a philanthropic supporter of the arts for many years I have found that the keys to successful sponsor backing of performing arts organizations requires a level of maturity that most start-up efforts don’t posses. No matter how great of a performer you think you are, if you don’t do these well, no one in business will respect you. Often groups in their early stages will see some initial enthusiasm by outsiders which rapidly dies off. This is a classic symptom of not doing the basics well. Specifically, I would state the following 3 critical success factors be addressed:

    1) Attitude – Your efforts might be the most important thing in the world to you, but you need to show a serious interest in the people that you are soliciting donations from and asking to help advise you. These business people lead very busy lives and no matter how busy you think you are they are likely to be 10 times busier.
    2) Communication – Theater people often have surprisingly poor communication habits, particularly from a business perspective. Learn to respond quickly and be proactive in your communications. Don’t ever make the mistake of being sloppy with your communications with business people even if you think they are personal friends.
    3) Integrity – Learn to keep all your commitments, act immediately and follow through. Your words and your promises are viewed as contracts by business people so live up to your commitments.

    If you do all three well, you will earn a reputation for being worthy of support. If you don’t have these skills in house then find someone to teach you them and work at it like it is the most important role in your life, because it is!

  46. HappySprite says:

    Wow Josh! What an interview and a boat load of comments! You are really reaching people and isn’t that what theater is all about! I think YouTubes are great ideas, too. Go for it!

  47. Ceilia Sontag says:

    This was a very good interview, well executed. It has sparked much comment here, most very positive. I wasn’t going to mention this, but since the subject was already broached by Nathan I will say that I was surprised to find that no support for this interview came from Allentown Public Theater members or followers. The message that this sends is that APT is not wowing their fans and no one wants to back or climb on board a sinking ship. It seems that Brian’s friends started out the comments, but then his readership which seems surprisingly diverse took over. There is nothing but silence from the Allentown Public Theater community. I would assume that you have a newsletter or email listing did you bother to promote the interview in them? People will often help when they see that you are committed and are inspiring a core group of followers. If you can’t get your friends to support you, why would others? If you don’t have any friends there’s usually a reason.

    • Brian Lucas says:

      Celia that is not a fair or valid conclusion. I can definitely tell you that APT does have loyal and enthusiastic followers, but thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

  48. Lynette Sanchez says:

    Ceilia, sometimes friends don’t comment because they don’t want to appear self serving. That is a mistake friends should always support friends. So I can understand why members of the APT maybe did not comment. That doesn’t explain why no one who has ever attended an APT performance saw fit to comment on how worthwhile the APT productions are. That I agree is glaring. Maybe APT is so new that they don’t have a following yet I did not go to the website yet to check them out.

  49. Eric Cope says:

    Lynette they have been operating since 2010 at least. It says so on their website which could use a bit of work. That’s long enough for them to have established a following. They are probably getting attendees to their performances from arts community people who don’t blog especially a business blog which Keeping Agile obviously is. Still I agree it was a mistake for them not to solicit endorsements from fans here. It probably didn’t occur to them. I agree with what Honor said 100%. Theater people need to get their act together and especially of they want to be a professional paid group of ensemble actors they need to understand that it basically is a business. Too many actors and actresses that I have met are arrogant and look down on businessmen, yet they want our money. It is often too late when they realize their mistake. I found it interesting that Brian posted this interview among postings based on an interview from a Dale Carnegie chapter president. That was either serendipitous or a subtle move on his part. In my reading of Brian’s blog one thing that has struck me is that for as intelligent as he demonstrably is he is not the least bit arrogant. He is always reaching out to others to help and shows a great deal of sensitivity to his friends and even in his replies to strangers. I took the Dale Carnegie training many years ago and it has made a difference in my life. I strongly suspect Brian has taken it as well. This might be something that would benefit the APT people. They need to realize it is not all about them, its about their audience.

  50. Jack says:

    Nathan, Honor, Lynette and the others bring up valid points. I don’t think that we should get too negative here though so I would like to balance things out a little. This article’s intention was to promote the Allentown Public Theater. My God, the way Brian wrote the intro it could have been a press release! Brian does do enough in the interview with some clever deft handling to keep the interview sufficiently about agility to pass the acid test for a business blog. It is the lightest, in technical content, of his agile interviews however. Where I am going with this is that something about the APT moved Brian to do the interview and put them on a world stage. This means he sees value in what they are doing and must think they are not a “lost cause”. I for one have a great deal of respect for Brian’s opinion. I read his blog regularly and have always been impressed with his ability to explain complex subjects and cut through all the nonsense. Brian must know more about the APT than the rest of us and if he is willing to give them this venue then I will give them the benefit of the doubt. My personal feeling is that any mistakes that APT has made or is making in their operations or self promotion is made through ignorance and not bad attitude. Otherwise I can’t imagine why a person of Brian’s accomplishments would get involved with them. So lets try to keep the tone here positive. My last words are for everyone on the APT and I do hope they all read this. It is important for you to realize that you have a great opportunity here to learn how to be successful from a person who is successful and has clearly helped many others be successful. Brian’s blog reads like a master playbook on modern organization agility and adaptive thinking for success. It is the best blog on these subjects that I have ever read. Swallow any pride that you have and learn from a master while he is available.

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