Jason E. Grossman, a 2002 Emerson College graduate, and co-producer M. Kilburg Reedy knew they had found something spectacular the night they left a showing of Peter and the Starcatcher at the New York Theatre Workshop.
“You have to produce a show you love, and you have to produce a show you want to see,” Grossman said. “It [Peter and the Starcatcher] was a show that was beautifully produced, beautifully written, and beautifully directed.”
Grossman’s adoration for the show was solidified by the masses when Peter and the Starcatcher - the show Grossman co - produced under his production company Radio Mouse Entertainment - won five Tony Awards out of its nine nominations.
“You start realizing you always knew it was a special show, and then you start realizing the industry feels the same way,” Grossman said.
According to the Tony Awards Official Website, Peter and the Starcatcher is a play based on the book Peter and the Starcatcher, published in 2004, to serve as a prequel to J. M. Barrie’s novel Peter and Wendy.
The show provides Peter Pan’s backstory with a company of 12 actors who assume the roles of all 50 characters.
Originally, Grossman came to Emerson to recieve a BFA in acting, but the majority of his professional career was in production. His passion in production ignited in his work with the Emerson Comedy Workshop.
“I started taking on more responsibilities, which became the framework of what my life would be outside of Emerson,” Grossman said. “All the Swiss Army knife of skills that I created at Emerson just provided me with the skills to survive outside of Emerson.”
Grossman believes involvement in extracurricular activities provides students with an invaluable knowledge.
Following graduation, Grossman stayed in Boston for a few years while serving as assistant director for three shows at New Repertory Theatre. However, when he took the show he directed and produced, Riding The Wave.com, to the New York International Fringe Theater Festival, he apprehended the opportunities that the city had for theater.
“New York was a strategic move in order to build connections at a younger age rather than later in life,” Grossman said.
When he first moved to New York City, Grossman spent two and a half years taking classes and performing improvisation for the Upright Citizen’s Brigade and The Magnet Theater.
During this time, Grossman said he produced a sketch comedy show of Emerson College graduates called Part-Time Lovers: Full Dental Plan that had a month long run at the People’s Improv Theater. Grossman said the show began using material that was written during his time at Emerson, but the troupe updated their material regularly to ensure that the show was always as fresh as it was on opening night.
While Grossman loved working in comedy, he soon found that the career was not providing the finances he needed to sustain a life in New York City.
After a few years at Eric Krebs Productions, Grossman worked at Scott Sanders Productions for three and a half years, during which time he worked on the filming process of Disney’s recent film The Odd Life of Timothy Green.
Grossman recalled the great experience he gained from having the opportunity to work on development for the film in New York City, including sitting in on meetings with writer and director Peter Hedges.
“Even though I’m living in the theater world, it gave me insight into how the whole film world works and the structure on the producing level, which is a really unique perspective,” said Grossman.
With both feet firmly planted in the film and stage world, Grossman is able to notice the differences between the two performance outlets.
“What you realize with studio films is there are a lot of people with opinions and a lot of people you have to please, and the creative process is really different, and the studio has a lot more structure,” he said.
Even though Grossman’s experience is largely in theater, he and Reedy have plans to grow their company into the film industry.
“We would really like to get into film,” Reedy said. “For now our main focus is theater, but I think if you want to grow your company, you have to look at different media.”
Currently, Grossman said Radio Mouse Entertainment is in early negotiations for a foreign film they hope to turn into a romantic comedy musical. Reedy is in the midst of developing two plays. Because the projects are still in beginning stages, further details could not be discussed.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated Grossman and Reedy created Peter and the Starcatcher. This is incorrect. The two co-produced the show.