Fran Kirmser
’93
Fran Kirmser
Dance, Psychology
Current Job:
Founder and CEO at Fran Kirmser Productions
Current City:
New York City, New York
Post Graduation:
Broadway producer, Freelance dancer, Publicist/grant writer
Activities while at Skidmore:
Dance and Cabaret Club, Chorus and Concert Band, RA and Admissions tour guide

Quick Pitch

My best advice for performing artists is to get off of the Internet and step into life! Turn off your phone and go out the front door. Remember that you are part of a lineage of an oral and physical tradition that has frankly very little to do with technology. Your craft is passed on from body to body.

Know that technology is a wonderful tool, but it is the connections that you make from human contact and conversations that are going to be most instrumental in your career. And if you can take part in or start an engaging conversation as well as you write a well-crafted email, you are in a fantastic power position.

So, instead of researching a performing arts center in an area you’d like to work in from your computer, just go there and walk around! See “how it feels” to be in that space and talk to the people who work there. Tell them what you want to do and see if you can volunteer in the office or rehearsal room. Make yourself a valuable asset and you will find work in no time in, or close to, your desired field.

Biography

A Biography may be found on www.FranKirmser.com.

As a creative producer I strive to conceive and produce timely stories about our world. As a consultant I help young artists with their career decisions and when applicable, with fundraising and promotional work necessary to realize their work to stage.

A professor at Skidmore, Isabel Brown, said to me my freshman year, "As an artist, work on what you want to say with your art and how it will impact the world around you, then find the people who believe and support it and just don’t worry about anyone else!" That was the best advice I got at Skidmore and I’ve been doing that ever since!

An internship at the National Museum of Dance my senior year entailed cataloguing many boxes of unopened material which yielded dance literary treasures. These treasures sparked an idea that I produced in Times Square. It was called The Biography Project, and it told the life stories and showcased the early dance works of pioneer artists such as Ruth St. Denis and Isaodra Duncan among others. The major biographical scene in Ruth St. Denis play was based on a letter she wrote to her later-to-be-husband and business partner, Ted Shawn. This series birthed during a Skidmore internship helped me to develop my earliest creative work, donors, and investors that later supported my Broadway Productions and emerging artists with whom I was working.

After an injury, I began working off the stage with several arts companies large and small including Shen Wei Dance Arts, the New York Philharmonic, Lucinda Childs Dance Company and Musical Theater Works, among others. I did anything that needed doing on the non-performance side of the stage helping administratively and through that essentially learned how to produce.

Now as a creative producer, I work with artists in developing the art and on the production side I help artists with funding and promotion. I’m fortunate to have had two of my productions win Tony Awards; Hair 2009 for Best Musical Revival and Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolf 2013 for Best Play Revival. I strive to make an impact with material choice. In 2008 I conceived a sports series for Broadway beginning with the play Lombardi off the heels of the financial crash that explored stories of resilience against the odds. Lombardi brought the NFL to Broadway for the first time and produced by Kirmser Ponturo Group and the NFL, the play ushered in a reported 146,000 new ticket buyers to the Broadway theater for the first time. The play is now being made into a feature film with Legendary Pictures. Learning how to gather support around an idea is key to producing your art.

My big passion is teaching emerging artists and graduates what they need to do to get their careers started and their projects realized. This work has resulted in a recently published resource titled ALifeInDance.com, which is a practical guide which hopefully helps many dance artists in their life work. Currently I’m producing in New York City a newly conceived project called American Scoreboard, a series of time-sensitive and verbatim Senate hearing transcripts read by stage and screen actors free and open to the public and presented in a nonpartisan format in the name of education. AmericanScoreboard.com

LINKED IN:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/fran-kirmser-1ab94096/

http://www.skidmore.edu/ctw/fran_kirmser