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Meet Ronnie Marmo of Theatre 68 in North Hollywood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ronnie Marmo.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
February 14th, 2001 – I pulled together a group of about eight friends to come over to my place on a Monday night to do some scene work, improv, and just basically actor stuff to hold each other accountable and not have the same costs as a class or the limitations of simply one voice. For the past eighteen years, Monday night has always been lovingly named our Monday Night Actor’s Gym.

And then eight years ago, I had a feeling there were people in New York experiencing the same loneliness and looking for their people. And so I brought Theatre 68 to New York City. It’s theatre! Smooth is not the adjective I’d use to explain the journey. Whenever you have many actors in the same room, there is certainly going to be a difference of opinions. That’s why early on, everyone thought it would be a good idea to appoint me the artistic director.

I always say we have a bit of a democratic dictatorship. Everyone has a big voice, and someone has to make the final decision. Having produced over 100 plays in LA and NY, we’ve certainly had many trials and tribulations. This question is a tough one to answer – we’d probably need a two week to sit down to discuss what the last eighteen years have been like in LA, and the last eight years have been like in NY.

But overall, the blessings outweigh any of the hardship we have found along the way. It’s been totally beyond worth it. This community has provided a home for so many throughout the years, and that alone is worth it.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It’s theatre! Smooth is not the adjective I’d use to explain the journey. Whenever you have many actors in the same room, there is certainly going to be a difference of opinions. That’s why early on, everyone thought it would be a good idea to appoint me the artistic director.

I always say we have a bit of a democratic dictatorship. Everyone has a big voice, and someone has to make the final decision. Having produced over 100 plays in LA and NY, we’ve certainly had many trials and tribulations. This question is a tough one to answer – we’d probably need a two week sit down to discuss what the last eighteen years have been like in LA, and the last eight years have been like in NY.

But overall, the blessings outweigh any of the hardship we have found along the way. It’s been totally beyond worth it. This community has provided a home for so many throughout the years, and that alone is worth it.

Please tell us about Theatre 68.
I love this question. As I mentioned earlier, we’ve done over 100 productions on both coasts. But what I think separates us from other theatre companies is although we always love doing productions and we will always do productions, the Monday Night Gym has always been my complete focus for the company.

What separates us is that many companies are all about the finished product and the bottom line, and for me, I always believed in nurturing the artist in all aspects of theatre is more important than any individual product we may present. Nothing makes me happier than exposing an artist to acting, writing, directing, and producing, and watching them find their voice.

Figuring out what they want to do and what they don’t want to do – I think that’s valuable as well. So ultimately, I think what makes Theatre 68 stand apart is that the individual artists are more important than any wonderful production we may produce. Or at least that’s how I feel about it. To the general public, you probably wouldn’t’ know that, because we do wonderful productions, and I’m very proud of them.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My favorite childhood memory is after moving to New Jersey when I was six years old from Brooklyn, NY – going back to Brooklyn on Sundays to be with my big family. All my cousins, my aunts, my uncles, my grandparents, my great grandmother – all of us would sit around the dinner table every Sunday, and I’d have Sunday macaroni.

There must have been 30 of us at the table every week. Everybody was so loud and so passionate that if you didn’t speak English or Italian, you’d probably think we hated each other.

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