As Theatre Projects continues to expand services and build up offices across the country, we have hired three new faces since February. Brant Underwood recently signed on as a project manager and designer. Laura W. Leichtman came aboard as an auditorium designer, and Jake Groft joined our growing performance sound, video, and communication (PSVC) team.
An associate principal supporting both the design and project management team, Brant splits time between Theatre Projects’ New York and New England offices. His entry marks an increased focus on experiential design and more opportunities to bring theatrical thinking to unexpected environments. Brant comes from a unique background merging managerial, fabrication, engineering, automation, and immersive design experience. This gives him a wide lens through which to view projects: at times highly mechanical, at times highly logistical, at times highly integrative—but always client-minded and rooted in real solutions.
Before joining Theatre Projects, Brant was lead project manager at Hudson Scenic Studios. His resume also includes time as technical director with UAP Company, head of engineering at Guild, head of automation at Lincoln Center Theater, and technical director for Streb Dance.
“Just thrilled to add Brant’s unique combination of fabrication and theatrical background to our team,” says Daniel Ordower, Theatre Projects general manager. “He has such an intuitive understanding that theater happens everywhere, not just in traditional venues, and his solution-oriented approach to design engineering is vital. It will allow Theatre Projects to continue serving all of our clients—whether they be in traditional venues or working on experiential installations—throughout their project lifecycle, from concept to installation to commissioning and beyond.”
Laura is also balancing her time between New York and New England. Formerly lead draftsperson with Sargenti Architects and an architectural designer at SNS Architects & Engineers, our newest consultant weaves together her formal training in architecture with additional experience in art history, public spaces, research, and theatrical design. On top of her master of architecture degree from University of Miami, Laura holds a bachelor of arts degree in mathematics and art history with a minor in theatre arts from Rutgers University.
“I am thrilled that Laura has joined Theatre Projects. Her theatrical studies, architectural background, and enthusiasm for gathering spaces will be a great addition to the design team,” shares Hazem Al-Saheb, associate and head of the design team at Theatre Projects.
Jake joins our Mountain West office as a consultant and carries with him over a decade of experience as a systems installer, programmer, commissioner, designer, and front of house engineer. Most recently, he worked as an AV design engineer and AV field engineer for LINX Multimedia in Denver. Prior to that, Jake worked as a systems designer, systems installer, and commissioning engineer in Maryland and Indiana. Jake brings a solutions-centric mindset to Theatre Projects, inspired by both the design and delivery ends of the process. He also makes time to freelance and volunteer as an engineer for conventions such as MAGFest and TooManyGames.
“Jake’s passion for live events and experience in the integration side of the industry makes him a fantastic addition to our PSVC team,” offers Tom Bukovac, associate and head of PSVC for Theatre Projects. “His deep knowledge of networked AV and control systems is impressive and enhances our team’s capability for creating intuitive technology solutions. Jake has already made a positive impact on our team, and we look forward to his future success with the company.”