by Juliana Laskow
I’ve always been into theatre. It started with day camp in elementary school, when I got my first solo in a summer show. I immediately fell in love with being on stage. Having been a competitive gymnast as a kid, I knew I loved the spotlight, and musical theatre kept growing on me because of it. Fast forward to today: I’m entering my junior year of high school as an officer of Spanish River High School’s Thespian Troupe and DECA chapter, and I’m finishing my summer internship here at Theatrical Rights Worldwide, a full service musical theatre licensing company in New York City.
It’s not every day you meet a 16-year-old intern. Well, here I am. After joining my school’s entrepreneurship academy, I knew I wanted to study business in college, but I wasn’t quite ready to leave theatre behind either. I started researching careers that would let me be actively involved in both. I’ve known for as long as I can remember that I want to live in NYC after college; I was born here after all. There are so many opportunities in the arts, finance, and marketing, three areas which appeal to my career interests. That, coupled with the exciting aspects of everyday life in the city and, of course, Broadway, easily attract me to everything the city has to offer. Interning at TRW, where I’ve been able to combine my three interests and love of NY these past six weeks, has helped me shape my knowledge and understanding of how my interests function in the real world, and not just in a classroom setting.
When I went to French Woods after my freshman year, I was cast in a well known show with “business” in the title, so naturally, business stayed on my mind during my first three weeks at camp. At the beginning of the second three weeks, though, a theatre class caught my eye. It was called The Business of Broadway, and it was taught during the only period I had free. It honestly felt like fate, and I figured it’d be perfect for me to explore my career interests in a relaxing setting like summer camp. I was, unsurprisingly to me, the only kid to sign up.
The first day of the class I met Fred Stuart, the Chief Creative Officer at TRW, who was teaching the course. He was very warm and welcoming, and the concepts and material I learned in those three weeks were things I found myself easily enamored with. I didn’t want it to end, so I figured I’d go for a long shot and ask Fred if TRW offered internships. I was absolutely elated when he told me we could work something out for the next summer. I went home to Florida once camp ended and started doing all the research I could to prepare myself. After months of exchanging emails, looking for apartments, doing personal research, and working out logistics, I had a summer internship set up in a career path that I loved. I couldn’t wait for school to end.
I went back to French Woods this year for my fourth summer before going to NYC, and I spent a lot of that time anticipating what would happen when I got to TRW. I started as an intern the day after I left camp, and I loved meeting everyone in the office during my first day. It’s just gotten better from there, as I’ve been immersed in an industry I love every day for the past six weeks, learning about and doing work in marketing, materials, finance, and so much more, and I have thoroughly enjoyed every second of it. As I approach the end of my time here, I leave with a new sense of affinity for both theatre and business, great work experience that I’ll be able to transfer to my life as a student, and memories of my first real-life office experience that are sure to last me a lifetime.
My internship was never just about getting great résumé material or escaping the Florida humidity (good luck with that in Manhattan) for the summer. For me, it was about exploration. Living in New York again, commuting through Grand Central almost every morning, and watching this season’s Broadway lineup were all great parts of the experience. What was extraordinarily special, though, was being able to explore a career path in which I took immediate interest, and especially in such a warm, intimate office environment. It gave me a new sense of independence and fulfillment that my younger self could only dream of.
I consider myself relatively lucky to know the general gist of what I want to do once I’m out of college in six years or so. You don’t have to wait until college or later to decide what path to go down career-wise. There’s no pressure to make any sort of decision earlier than that either, but I’m so glad I jumped at the opportunity to get started with building my career as a 16-year-old. A word of advice for anyone who may read this: It’s never too early to do research or start advancing your career. If you know what you want to do in life, take the steps you need to get on that track! It just might make things easier later on. And if you’re a theater or company looking for someone like me in 6 years, keep me in mind!