When Broadway Inbound brought its NYC Center Stage event to NTA Travel Exchange for the second year, the audience was delighted. The program, which began at IPW in 2012, features high-energy performances from Broadway actors, dancers and singers—with a twist.
"(Broadway Inbound Vice President) Bob Hofmann wanted to bring back New York as a destination, with Broadway as the calling card," notes Peter Waugh, Domestic Sales Manager, Broadway Inbound. Along with its partners, Broadway Inbound helped bring the city—and Broadway—to life through individual stories, told by the people who live and love New York. The connection is strong.
For Waugh, the connection is meaningful. The front-and-center stage presence is enticing, offering people a jumping-off point. The connection resonates and creates interest. People want to bring clients to Broadway ... and the New York beyond Times Square.
"Maybe they stay longer," Waugh said. "Maybe they do something different. Maybe they see a performance beyond the 'name' shows."
The connection is also personal.
Waugh grew up a "theater kid" in Litchfield, Connecticut, his parents and grandparents taking him to see shows. His grandfather was an actor. His grandmother sang. Waugh followed his passion for performances, attending Providence College to study theater and enjoying the opportunity to take on a lot of roles that might not have come his way at a larger school.
He started auditioning for other roles. And he was drawn to New York. "I tried actor life for a while, but needed an adult-style day job." Waugh landed at a software company and began learning about sales. Still, he continued to audition ... as the economy tanked, he notes, and as real acting jobs dried up.
"I let that dream die, but I wanted to relate something to theater."
After five interviews he did just that, thanks to a sales position with Broadway Inbound. "Broadway Inbound respected my sales skills, saw my passion for theater, and taught me tour and travel. I never knew that world was there!"
Waugh loves seeing the shows. He loves sharing what he's most passionate about with others—or trying to "convert" others to share that passion. He loves helping others make their way to Broadway, to see a bit of what he sees.
In fall 2016, one of Waugh's high school English teachers contacted him. The class had studied the book The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and the teacher wanted to bring the students to New York to see the show. When they arrived, Waugh met the group at the theater and walked them in. "I helped them experience it, live." It was an emotional moment.
"I always loved the shows, the theater—I was always a theater kid. Here, I'm getting to see the impact on kids' lives.
"To be a part of the Shubert Organization and how things are put together, to seeing something new—I'm thrilled to be a part of that work, and of Broadway as a whole."
Written by Amy L Charles, Groups Today editorial director and admirer of the arts.