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Amy and Joe Jackson

Amy and Joe Jackson

WHY WE"RE CALLED FRONT PORCH THEATRICALS

What's in a name?

We are often asked how Front Porch Theatricals started and I enthusiastically tell this story: It all began on the large front porch of our old Georgian home in Sewickley where my wife, Martha, and I were raising our two children. Back then, our porch buzzed with visitors – mostly the friends and neighbors of our two children who were budding actors and using our porch as a stage.  With its rectangular shape, wicker furniture and swing, it did the job! Our children and their friends would sit on the porch practicing dialects playing improv games and rehearsing lines.


I suppose theater came naturally to us. My wife Martha worked in marketing at the Pittsburgh Playhouse and I was President of Pittsburgh Musical Theater (PMT) and on its Board for nearly two decades. Then our two children became adults and took their porch-originated acting with them. Our daughter, Amy, married Joe Jackson, who performs professionally and who you may have seen in our Front Porch performance of Parade. (In fact, they got engaged while performing West Side Story in Italy.) Our son, Peter, has enjoyed a fulfilling Broadway career and is now on the national Hamilton tour. 

In 2008, after our children had moved out of our home, my neighbor came to me with a question. Could I produce her musical, Only Me? Having never produced a musical before, I called my friend Leon Zionts who was VP of the Board of Pittsburgh Musical Theater (PMT) – as I knew his talents could add value.  Leon and I collaborated on its production and, in that year our theater company was born!

Now that we started something, what do we name it?  For many years, that front porch had given my family a platform from which to practice and hone our theatrical skills, so it seemed only natural that we should respect these roots. “How about Front Porch Theatricals?” suggested my daughter, Amy.  It stuck. 

 

Leon’s wife, Nancy joined the partnership in 2014. And Amy went on to help us develop our internship program that has differentiated our organization among other theater companies, bolstering our success.

Welcome to Front Porch Theatricals – where we stay true to our origin story: helping emerging, talented professionals bolster their experiences and thrive.

Bruce E. G. Smith