Spotlight on Inspiration - Elliott Forrest - Artistic Director, Radio Host, Stage Producer-Director
Editor's Note: I am so happy to call most of the people highlighted in these profiles friends and colleagues, but I am also learning new things about them as I prepare these for publication. I hope you are enjoying this series as much as I am! Please let me know your thoughts or feel free to recommend someone to be profiled by sending an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. -- Risa Hoag
Executive Artistic Director, Peabody Award-winning Radio Host, Stage Producer-Director
ArtsRock.org, New York Public Radio WQXR/WNYC, Forrest Productions, LLC
914 260 1031
How did you get to be in the job you have now?
I was born in a small town in West Texas of Brooklyn-born Jewish parents. My family was always a bit of fish out of water. I "blame" my parents for getting me interested in theater, they were always members of the local community theater. I was in my first play at 14 and produced and directed my first musical at 19. I've basically continued producing and directing ever since. This includes my current national tours I've produced with Itzhak Perlman and another with Michael Feinstein. When I started, I never dreamed I'd be producing at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center or the Hollywood Bowl. At 17, I applied for a summer job on a local Midland, TX radio station, then a classical radio station in Kansas City, MO. Those 2 jobs set the stage for my radio work for the rest of life. I've now been full-time on WQXR for 21 years. ArtsRock.org started as a community endeavor in the shadow of the fall of another performing arts center in Nyack. ArtsRock started presenting and producing shows in Rockland in 2010 and we have continued with over 100 shows, creating conversations, concerts, theater and family shows.
What career did you think you would have when you were in high school?
I knew I wanted to be in showbiz, I just wasn't sure what specifically I'd be doing. I'm still not sure!
What was the best advice you ever received?
Best Radio Advice: Find the "edge" in your voice. Best Theater Advice: Don't show up on time, show up early.
What piece of advice would you give to college seniors?
You will need to apply for other people's companies and projects, but always keep in mind: you can start your own. And reinvent yourself.
Do you have a particular charity you support? And why?
I hope people support www.ArtsRock.org in Rockland, but I'm also on the board of www.nyys.org , the New York Youth Symphony, an amazing org giving young people the opportunity to play classical music. And in Nyack, we all love the www.NyackCenter.org
Do you have a personal goal for 2023?
Feel more satisfied. Be healthy.
Do you feel you have a good work/life balance? If so, why or how did you achieve that?
Planning and take vacations.
When you feel stuck, how do you recharge yourself or get inspired?
I love traveling. I always feel being in a new place changes my perspective.
Do you have a hobby? If so, what is it and how did you get into it? (If not, what hobby would you like to take up?)
I'd love to be a drone pilot.
Do you have a habit you wish you could break?
Name one thing you are working towards in 2023?
See personal goals above.
What one thing would you try (or do) if you weren’t afraid?
If money wasn’t a concern, what would you be doing right now?
Produce bigger shows.
Name one or two of your favorite movies.
Dazed and Confused
Name one or two of your favorite books? And why.
Born Standing Up by Steve Martin. It charts Martin's stand-up comedy rise to a bigger career than he ever expected.
What do you want your legacy to be? Or how do you want to be remembered?
Good Dude. Funny Guy. Great Shows.
Is there anything else you would like to share about your work or interests?
I can juggle. I learned in college and you never lose it.