Interview with April Busch Posted 4/10/2017
April Busch - Production Manager
What is your role here at Lyric, and how long have you held the position?
I have been the Production Manager here at Lyric for 4 years. I negotiate contracts for the designers of our productions and help plan their schedules. I also handle communication within the company if there are any special events occurring in the building, like board meetings or photo shoots. Anytime someone needs to have the crew (stage crew, wigs, makeup, wardrobe, props, carpenters, sound, and electricians) involved in something that isn’t on stage, I help facilitate that as well.
What led you to work at Lyric?
I worked for the San Francisco Opera for 14 years, and I was interested in getting back to my Midwestern roots. I’m originally from southern Indiana. When I was 5 years old, I came to Chicago during a family Christmas trip and I told myself I would live in Chicago one day. I love opera so much that in grad school (at the Yale School of Drama) I wrote my thesis on how to plan and produce an opera season. And now I’m here!
What’s a typical day like for you?
Every day is totally unique. I come in with a planned to-do list and my day often takes me in completely different directions. I’m usually fielding requests, answering calls, or trying to find the answers to questions. I’m an information hub. My day can also include scheduling, budgeting, writing contracts, and coordinating where the crews need to go.
What’s the most challenging aspect of your job?
Making sure communication between different groups and departments is accurate and up to date. From the technical department to the stage crew, to the designers, I ensure we all start and end on the same page. It’s challenging but we make it work! Communicating with designers that are based in different time zones (like Australia) is tough too.
What keeps you committed to the work you do?
I love it because my job is hectic, it’s never the same. I believe in the product, in opera, as an escape, and as a therapy. It allows you to forget about your mortgage or world problems for a few hours and just listen to beautiful music.
What’s something about your job that people might not know?
I handle all the scheduling of the safety trainings for the stage crew. It’s my job to make sure they have appropriate safety licenses for any given production, such as CPR and fire extinguisher training. I also deal with the fire marshal more than most might expect. I have to obtain permits any time we use live flame on stage (at least 4 productions from the 2016/17 season will use fire), even if it’s just for a candle.
Favorite Lyric moment?
The opening night of Rusalka during our 2013/14 season. It was such a beautiful, special show. I had never seen it before and it was magical. The music was gorgeous and it made me proud to work here.
Beyond opera, what are your other passions?
I love to travel. It’s great seeing yourself through other people’s eyes and seeing how people in different places live. It really reaffirms your identity. Egypt was fascinating. Ankara, Turkey is on my travel bucket list.