John Farrell

Oklahoma City Community College’s stage manager is not new to the world of theater and live performance. 

John Farrell was brought into the theatre by his brother and father as a teenager. 

He was 14 when he first started asking to work with them. When he was 16 is when he started getting paid to work with his brother. Not long after that he became an apprentice with IATSE, Local 112. 

Farrell was working with brother and father for many years on various different shows at places like the fairgrounds and the Civic Center. 

This time and connections he had in the industry put him in the perfect position to become a stage manager. 

Farrell said his favorite part of the theater is the organization that goes into both small and large productions. There is a social aspect to it that he enjoys as well. Each production has a certain way they would like a show to be run. So he spends time with many different kinds of people. He will even go out and listen to what people say after a show is over to see if it went well.

Farrell has worked at theaters other than OCCC’s VPAC. He was also stage manager at Civic Center as well. That’s where he got to work on his favorite show, Les Miserables. 

This was more than just a good show to him – his mom was named after the character named Cosette. Her father really liked the story and the character of Cosette in particular. 

“Her dad gave it to her since he liked the story of the father and daughter from the story, this was in like 1924,” Farrell said. 

His family has always had a love for the arts. His mom was given that name in 1924, they have been influenced by these works of art for a long time. 

The show, Les Miserables, was also the last shown done before the old Civic Center was renovated. John remembers this show fondly, it meant that a lot was about to change the Civic Center. There is also the connection he personally has with it, because of his mom’s name. It was a two week run the show had at the Civic Center, and it got to be one of his favorite shows. 

Farrell hasn’t only worked on well-known large scale productions like Les Miserables, he has even worked on rock shows like Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band. 

“I was pretty young and liked the album that he had put out, it was an excellent album that he had put out, it was an excellent album.” Farrell said. 

He described this show as, “a show you would not believe, the entire audience was begging for more.” 

There were so many encores Farrell lost count of how many there were. 

Watching would be more difficult for someone who was working during the show. 

Thankfully, all he was doing was running a dry ice machine, so he had opportunities to enjoy the show. It was such a good show he had to take some time to enjoy it. 

Farrell has seen many different kinds of shows which has given him a well-rounded perspective of the theater. 

He has been able to take advantage of this perspective to perform his job and do it well. 

It’s important for someone in his position to have the experience he has. 

It’s what has allowed him to be able to run OCCC’s VPAC.

*Editor’s note: Contributor Michael Farrell is the son of stage manager John Farrell.

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