And then a weird thing happened…

I grew up with two amazing parents. Like most kids, though, I didn’t realize how amazing they were until I was an adult. My mom was a senior VP at a big bank, and my dad was a musician.

As a teenager and young adult, I thought I had everything in common with my dad, and nothing with my mom. She worked for a corporation! She wore suits and high heels to work! She used weird business-speak! My father, on the other hand, had a band and worked nights and weekends, playing music. As a budding theatre artist, I identified with his career path completely.

I started acting in middle school, got a degree in theatre in college, then moved to New York to be a director. I interned at an award-winning off-Broadway theatre, was hired to direct plays in store-fronts and walk-ups all over the city, and even assistant directed a Broadway play. Nothing corporate about me!

In 2001, my husband Charlie and I left New York to start our own professional theatre, North Carolina Stage Company. We had big dreams and big ideas, and maybe an inkling of how to make it all happen. We dove in.

And then something weird happened. As a producer, I started to see that systems are important. As a leader, knowing how to manage people is important. As an executive, you’ve got to know where the money is coming from and going to. And finally it dawned on me that the art isn’t possible without some structure, some way to make the art happen, and to make it accessible. It isn’t enough to show up for rehearsal and make your play—someone has to negotiate with the license-holder of the play, someone has to issue contracts to the actors, someone has to make sure we have insurance. Someone, in short, has to run the business. And that someone seemed to be me. And here was the weird part—I loved it.

Belatedly, I remembered a conversation I’d had years earlier with a woman who professed to be a psychic. Now, I don’t know how much I believe in psychics or mediums or paranormal activity, but an image she described stuck with me.

“Angie, I see a picture. It’s two legs—one person’s legs. But one of them is dressed like a clown, baggy, with polka dots, and a big shoe, and the other is clothed in nice pants and a dress shoe. It’s like two parts of you come together. Like you have a leg in business and a leg in entertainment.”

That’s my parents. Right?
My dad, the entertainer.
My mom, the business woman.
Me. I’m both.

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