As a dancer since childhood, Molly Ackerman had her eye on a career as a performer. She attended University of the Arts in Philadelphia, majoring in dance with a minor in musical theater. While she knew that a performance career doesn’t last forever, Ackerman’s was cut short when she sustained an injury just a few years post-graduation.
“I had to figure out what my life would look like without performing,” Ackerman said. “A friend of mine was an usher for Jujamcyn Theaters and suggested that I apply to be a substitute usher.” For her first gig, Ackerman subbed at the August Wilson Theatre during the run of the musical “Groundhog Day.” “I quickly fell in love with [the work], realizing that there was another side to theater that I thought I might be good at,” she said.
Ackerman quickly matriculated to become a full-time usher and, by the following spring, applied to work in Jujamcyn’s theater operations department. Ackerman began as an apprentice theater manager at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre and followed the standard path to associate theater manager, then theater manager (widely known as house manager across Broadway). Today, she is the theater manager at the Hirschfeld Theater, home to “Moulin Rouge!”
Here, Ackerman demystifies the role of a house/theater manager, explains common asks of audiences and more.