Meet the Staff

Emily Van Scoy, General Manager

“I like to focus on the how, on making it possible to have great art on stage.”

Back in the 1950’s, it was common to graduate, get hired and stay in the same job for half, or all, of your career. But most Americans today change jobs seven to ten times over the course of their careers. These days, an employee with company loyalty is a rare commodity. Enter Emily Van Scoy. After graduating from Luther College in Iowa in 1996, Emily started working at Hartford Stage as Assistant to the Costume Shop Manager. She went on to become Executive Assistant to the Artistic and Managing Directors and took her current position as General Manager in 2007. Emily calls herself “very fortunate” to have had a number of opportunities to continue growing and expanding within the same company. Of her start in the costume shop, she says “having a good background in production gives me a broad perspective of all that we do. I understand what it takes, physically, to put a production together.”  That understanding informs all of her work, from the nitty gritty to the exquisite.

Emily says the greatest challenge of being General Manager is “to keep all the irons in the fire moving, to be able to handle an emergency, like the ceiling is leaking or an actor just dropped out of a show, while keeping the big picture in perspective.” Whereas some people would tear their hair out with a job defined by surprises, Emily finds the challenge satisfying: “I enjoy problem-solving and making something happen. I like to focus on the how, on making things possible to have great art on stage.”

Emily’s appreciation for the work her problem-solving supports has been an enduring carrot during her time as an administrator at Hartford Stage. “I love what we produce on stage,” she explains. “I spent the weekend, by choice, in tech for A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder. It’s a way for me to be connected, and it reminds me why I face challenging phone calls.”

Though she doesn’t have a favorite show of the past 15 years, Emily remembers two stage moments that stand out for bringing together the myriad efforts that go into realizing a professional production. The first moment  is from Michael Wilson’s 1998 production of A Streetcar Named Desire when Blanche gets lost in a reverie: “Her arms were out at her sides, her face upturned to the light. I felt like I was watching all the elements come together in that two-line moment. It gave me chills.”   The second came during the first year of A Christmas Carol. “I was sitting with the director and stage manager at the top of Act II, teching, when the Ghost of Christmas Present arrives. We were running the moment over and over again.  Finally, it all clicked.  Each element, the sliders, the glitter curtain, glitter from above and the moving platform came together with just the right timing.  Seeing the joy on their faces as we ran the sequence one more time, perfectly, was priceless.”

In 2005, Emily channeled her administrative skills into supporting her own creative work, starting the online business Boutique Girl. Boutique Girl offers a line of “unique handmade gifts” including bibs, aprons, baby blankets and tote bags. Both Emily’s mother and grandmother sewed, so the business is a way of carrying on a family tradition. She sells most of her products on Etsy.com, an online market of handmade and vintage goods, but occasionally has tables at craft events and sells products on consignment at stores like Dava in Hamden. Emily says she uses “fabrics that are interesting to me; my style is a little more adult than what you see in the big box stores.”  Her prints range from the traditional duckies and frogs to black and white skulls and sophisticated paisleys.

Emily’s two roles, General Manager at Hartford Stage and crafter/entrepreneur, allow her to exercise two different sides of herself, the problem-solver and the creator. Artists who find their way to Hartford Stage can rest assured they’re being backed up by a General Manager who truly appreciates what they do.