Hello, fellow theatre lovers. Welcome to my inaugural post of The Inside Track!
My name is Blake Ross, and I am proud to be the new editor of Playbill Magazine. I am often asked, "How did a gal like you get into the entertainment industry? How did you end up the editor of Playbill?" Well, here's the "all-the-news-that's-fit-to-post" answer.
I studied broadcast journalism and theatre at George Washington University in Washington, DC. I guess you might say I was aiming for a career somewhere between those of Barbara Walters and Barbara Cook.
When I wasn't trying to lose my New York accent for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof auditions, I was trying to lose that same accent for our college news program. When I wasn't reading the Washington Post, I was reading sheet music. When I wasn't ushering a friend's show, I was ushering at CNN's "Crossfire." You get the picture.
I alternated between my love of the theatre and my passion for news broadcasting: Keeping the world both informed and entertained became my job. I returned to New York (my accent sadly still intact), and decided to put these degrees to the test in the public relations field. My background in journalism helped in my work with the media, and my background in theatre helped me create and convincingly deliver a marketing strategy. I was fortunate to land a job with PR vets Ken Sunshine and Shawn Sachs. It was there where I learned how to navigate the "inside track" of the media and entertainment industries.
And, as a publicist, I'd like to believe I became a member of the inside track in my own right. In fact, I was afforded the opportunity to explore many different sides of the entertainment business working with a variety of talents. Some of the professionals that I was fortunate to work with were Barbra Streisand, Betty Buckley, Brian Stokes Mitchell and Lin-Manuel Miranda.
I was part of a great team that took simple ideas and made them a reality. We helped build events like Streisand's 2006-2007 global tour. We helped construct fundraising events for organizations like The Actors Fund and Feeding America. In some cases, we even played a part in creating history — one example was Live Earth, the global concert that raised awareness for the environment. In many ways I believe my years as a publicist were much like my graduate degree program.
Now I am using that "degree" to bring The Inside Track to the many readers of Playbill.com.
For 125 years, Playbill Magazine has shared the stories of Broadway with the world. I hope to continue in that tradition by letting the readers of the magazine and Playbill.com learn what is going on in front of the stage (as well as behind it and all around it).
Most of all, I hope my Inside Track will bring you new insights into the world of theatre and celebrate what an extraordinary and special place Broadway is. There is no place on earth like it, and I'm thrilled to be here!
To read Ross' inaugural The Inside Track, click here.