When he was in Staples Players, audiences knew August Laska as an actor. His roles included “Guys and Dolls,” “Little. Shop of Horrors,” “West Side Story” and “A Chorus Line.”
But — like many members of the high school drama program — he learned about many other aspects of theater. He directed a studio production, “Museum.” He headed up the publicity team. He watched his friends take on projects like fundraising and outreach.
After graduating in 2013, August majored in film and media at Middlebury College. He learned how to communicate with mass audiences, and discovered the connection between movies and Broadway.
While many of his classmates joined the “Middlebury to Goldman Sachs pipeline,” he headed to Los Angeles. He worked for Snapchat and loved the West Coast, but realized technology was not for him.
A bit over a year ago, August joined Disney Theatrical Productions in New York. He enjoys his marketing work there immensely.
Thanks to his college internships in Broadway offices, an outside job recently came his way. Though he’s still in his mid-20s, August is now a co-producer.
He’s working on “Broadway Bounty Hunter.” The Off-Broadway musical — written by Tony-nominated writer (“Be More Chill”) Joe Iconis — is set to open in July.
So after his full-time, daytime gig, August spends his nights raising money to make sure that happens.
Every show needs money. There are directors, designers and creatives to hire; space to rent; sets to build — all before one ticket is sold.
There is no handbook or Wiki article on how to be a producer. August is learning by doing — and watching those who have already done it.
Fortunately, co-producing fits his skill set. And he appreciates growing up in a community that values the arts.
He’s contacting some of those Westporters right now, while raising capital for “Broadway Bounty Hunter.” (He’s also involved a Broadway show opening this summer — but he can’t share those details just yet.)
“Investing in theater is risky,” August admits. “Not every show is ‘Hamilton.’ But when it is, you make back your investment big time.
“It’s a long journey though. Its not a one-time lottery ticket.”
Show people are special people. Not everyone can act on stage.
August Laska did, at Staples. Now his action takes place behind the scenes.
But co-producers get awards beyond tickets to opening night.
“You know all those people you see on stage at the Tonys?” he asks. “They’re producers. They get a statuette too.”