Kate Egan '98
Double Major in Music & Marketing
Kate Egan is one of those precious few whom, it seems, has always known what she wanted to do with her life.
Perhaps rarer still, she's actually gone out and done it. And for that, she gives much of the credit to the knowledge and skills she picked up during her four years at Avila University in the late 1990s and the support of the Avila faculty.
Egan recently had her career aspirations fulfilled – well, at least mostly (more on that later) – when she landed an assistant manager position on the first national tour of Shrek The Musical. The production opened in Chicago in July and is in the midst of a 14-month, first-leg tour across the U.S.
"It's been wonderful to work for DreamWorks and Stuart Thompson Productions," Egan said Oct. 5 from a hotel room in Dallas, the latest stop for the production. "They're great people, and the experience has been fantastic."
Egan, 34, said she's always known she wanted to be a tour manager, whether it was "rock 'n' roll or theater," she said. She grew up around theater, sticking close to her mother, who has worked in the business for 25 years. She also was heavily involved in music as a pianist and singer.
It was with that in mind that she enrolled at Avila in the fall of 1994. Four years later, she'd earned a bachelor of arts in music and a bachelor of science in business administration with an emphasis in marketing, covering all the bases for the career she'd longed for.
"I knew I wanted to be a tour manager," she said. "Avila was always very supportive of me in allowing me to pursue the two degrees at the same time and ensuring I could still finish in four years. I felt I came away from Avila ready to pursue what I wanted to do."
Egan began working for a Kansas City-based concert promoter during her junior year and continued that work up until shortly after graduation, when she was hired as director of theater operations at the Folly Theater in Kansas City.
"I stayed there six years," she said. "It was a great learning position, and I was able to work with some of the top artists in the world."
While at the Folly, Egan also earned a master of arts degree in historic preservation from Goucher College in Baltimore.
In 2004, she went to work for the Kansas City-based Theater League, handling local production requirements for touring Broadway productions in California, Arizona, Ohio and Indiana. Two years later, she left to become company manager for the North America tour of Gypsy, followed by national tours of The Pajama Game and Avenue Q. In May, she was hired for her first major national tour, Shrek The Musical.
As assistant tour manager, Egan said she deals with a wide variety of responsibilities, including labor bills, box office settlements, insurance, transportation, accommodations, flights, union requirements and taking care of 63 people on the road.
"Everyone else deals with the stage aspects," she said. "The company manager and I deal with the life aspects."
Egan said she literally hasn't had a home for three years. A sublet apartment in New York City serves as a sort of base. A native of the St. Louis area, she said she's looking forward to getting back to some familiar surroundings when Shrek The Musical comes to Kansas City in January.
Eventually, she said, she wants to produce her own shows. Until then, she'll continue soaking in the experience, doing what she's always wanted to do.
"The most satisfying moment is when the curtain comes down and everything's gone well," she said. "When everything's gone as it's supposed to … it doesn't get much better than that."
"I mean, who else gets to do this? It's pretty great." AU