A Non-Star Is Born
Watson played football for one year at Central High School in St. Joseph.
But he found his way to the stage during the off-season for his high school’s production of “Hello, Dolly!”
After a freak ice skating accident permanently sidelined him from football, his focus shifted.
“(In football) I wasn’t a star in any way, and I felt that I could do more in theater,” Watson said.
But soon after “Hello, Dolly!” it was goodbye to the stage.
The Music Man
With a double major in marketing and management and a minor in public relations, Watson brought concerts and comedy shows to Northwest Missouri State University with the student activities council.
During a sold-out show — where more than 3,500 fans came to see rock band Hinder — he had an epiphany: “Rather than be on stage, I wanted to bring entertainment.”
He got an internship at Starlight with three goals in mind: 1. Get his foot in the door. 2. See whether the business was something he might want to do as a career. 3. See how a professional performing arts venue operated to upgrade campus concert operations.
After a second year interning at Starlight and graduating in 2009, Watson landed a permanent job.
They Might Be Giants
Even though Watson’s stage career was short-lived, he still believes in the power of entertainment and helps promote Starlight’s youth theater education efforts and community outreach.
“In sports you’ve got All-City and State. In theatrics you have the Blue Star program, which is kind of like the championship. If we don’t keep youth involved in theater and theatrics and art in general, it might go away.”
Singin’ in the Rain
Let him tell it, and there’s nothing better than an outside venue.
“You want to be outside, especially in the summer,” Watson said.
“It’s a staple: barbecue; baseball game; outside concert. If you don’t do all of those, you probably didn’t have a very good summer.”
But what about inclement weather?Watson sees it as par for the course, and even a kind of bonus.
“I’ve worked many concerts where it rained,” he said, “and a lot of people stayed to watch the show and danced in the rain.”
Although Starlight’s Broadway shows don’t start until May, there’s plenty of preparation now, he said.
“We educate ourselves on the shows, read reviews, gather marketing materials,” Watson said. “Some of the shows we haven’t seen before, some of them we have if they’re classic.”
Starlight-produced shows, such as the coming season’s “Footloose,” require special attention.
“Those shows take a lot more time because we don’t have the marketing materials; those things are created in-house by members of our marketing team,” he said.
And Watson gets to tweet, Facebook and blog about all of it with Starlight’s social media followers.
I Do! I Do!
Watson prefers staying behind the scenes, but sometimes he shares personal updates along with ones about Starlight. He posted pictures on Facebook of his marriage proposal to longtime girlfriend Kodi Moore of Parkville.
Watson proposed to Moore in a photo booth at Dave & Buster’s because “I wanted it to be a private moment” while still capturing her reaction.
She said yes.
The couple plan to marry on Sept. 14, the day after Starlight’s Broadway season ends.