Women Who Rock: Amy Watson Bish
While “Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie” might seem like a natural soundtrack to Amy Watson Bish’s furious home-kitchen piemaking sessions (the frequently medal-winning pies don’t stick around for long), our guess is she’s more likely humming along to the Broadway musical, Waitress.
That’s because Amy has not only chosen pie making as an avocation, but has a job as The Grand’s Associate Director of Marketing with a focus on their Broadway programming. When she’s not rolling out handmade pie crusts, she’s cooking up fun promotions for the Broadway IN Wilmington show series presented at The Playhouse on Rodney Square.
We asked Amy what brought her to this place in her career.
IN: What was the first play you were in?
Amy: The very first play I was in was Annie when I was 8. My mom was directing a junior high production and she threw me in as an extra orphan. I always liked to say it was cheaper than getting a babysitter. She let me pick my own character name and for some reason I picked “Debbie.”
IN: What plays did you perform in high school? College?
Amy: Our high school didn’t have a big theatre department, which was strange since our band and choir was so big. I mostly did community theatre productions – Oliver!, Me & My Girl, 42nd St, Guys and Dolls, George M. Though, in my senior year, I was in my high school’s production of Oklahoma.
In college, I was in E-52 Student Theatre at University of Delaware. We did more contemporary plays and Shakespeare, than musicals. And besides a role in Torch Song Trilogy, I took more a backstage position in our shows…makeup, costuming, props, etc.
In the summers, I continued to do community theatre shows near home.
IN: What drew you to theater administration as a career?
Amy: Mid-way through college I decided to major in Theatre Production. I considered a career in props or stage management.
But it was my mom who suggested I think about administration. She was a high school theater teacher, but was also the programming director for the Union County Arts Center in Rahway, NJ (a historic theater similar to The Grand). My dad was also a teacher, but was the Technical Director at the same theater. That place was practically my second home growing up.
My mom suggested it and the two of us took a four-week intensive at NYU for Arts Administration. My marketing instructor was Donna Walker-Kuhne, who was the marketing director of New York’s Public Theater and created the marketing for the Tony-winning show Bring in Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk. I was captivated and energized by her.
It was after that month that I decided to work toward marketing in the arts. I proceeded to intern at several theatres, in different capacities, just so I could get some experience under my belt – Paper Mill Playhouse, George Street Playhouse, John Harms Center for the Arts, and OperaDelaware.
After graduation, I started in the box office at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, because I felt that having front-of-house experience would help me better when I eventually found a spot in marketing. Eventually, I moved back to Delaware and got lucky with getting a job as a marketing manager with OperaDelaware and Delaware Symphony Orchestra.
IN: What would you tell a young person infatuated with theater?
Amy: To consider all parts of the theatre. Theatre is not just being in the limelight; there are important roles behind the scenes that don’t get seen, but without them the show would not go on. If you want to pursue acting, also have a back-up plan. I’ve known actors who have majored in theatre, but also business or education.
IN: What's your dream show you'd like to see come through Wilmington? (We knew what she was going to say!)
Amy: I would love to have Waitress or Wicked. Waitress because I’m an amateur pie maker, plus I just love the music. Wicked because it’s such a spectacle and my 7 year old keeps asking for it.
In the 2019-2020 Season, The Grand will feature the following musicals and shows at The Playhouse at Rodney Square:
Bobby Bones & the Raging Idiots, October 5, 2019.
Beautiful, The Carole King Musical, November 14-17, 2019.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer – The Musical, November 23, 2019.
Mannheim Steamroller Christmas, December 1, 2019.
The Illusionists: Magic of the Holidays, December 13-15, 2019
Jersey Boys, January 18-19, 2020.
The Play that Goes Wrong, March 12-15, 2020.
Piano Men – Time in a Bottle, April 4, 2020.
Fiddler on the Roof, May 7-10, 2020.