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Reflections on the Last 40 Years


On the first of October of this year, Hudson Scenic Studio will be 40 years old. Recognizing that we are currently living through a pandemic, coupled with an economic collapse, social unrest, and the horrific results of failed climate control, we would like to reflect on our 40 year journey rather than ceremoniously wishing ourselves a “happy birthday” or “happy anniversary”.

We by no means take this milestone lightly. Although today’s environment presents more challenges than we have ever seen before, we have certainly been challenged in the past --specifically the recessions of 1988 and 2008 along with the horror of 9/11/2001. Through it all, we managed to survive, regroup, and thrive. We did this with the support of the producers, directors, managers, and designers who entrust us with their Broadway productions, Off-Broadway productions, theme park and cruise ship entertainments, special events, and corporate shows --the individuals and entities who allowed us to do the original productions of Les Misérables, Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon, The Who’s Tommy, Chicago, The Lion King, Aladdin, and Hamilton, as well as take part in the Papal Mass at Yankee Stadium where we supplied all of the scenery and labor, transforming the venerable ballpark into a majestic cathedral of worship. These and so many other projects have been a part of the Hudson story.


Enjoying a special place in our catalogue is our collaboration on the works of Athol Fugard, August Wilson, Lloyd Richards, Anna Deavere Smith, Tony Kushner, Terrence McNally, and Harvey Fierstein. These are the playwrights and directors who invited us to do the original productions of Blood Knot, Two Trains Running, Angels in America, Love! Valour! Compassion! and Torch Song Trilogy. These works address the horrors of apartheid, economic and social inequities, and celebrate the dignity present in the black community as well as introduce and liberate the discussion of the LGBTQ movement, while challenging, entertaining, and educating its audiences. Hudson’s collaboration in these projects also resulted in lasting friendships with Lloyd and Terrence. Having been here for the entire 40 years, I feel especially blessed to have been part of all these shows and events, and am extremely grateful to an industry that not only embraced Hudson and its employees, but also always believed in us.

Many have asked over the years what the greatest moment of being at Hudson has been or what show am I most proud of. What permits me the most pride is that for 40 years Hudson has provided a place of employment where its employees can earn a living, send their children to school, pay the rent, and buy a car. Our goal going forward is to continue to provide an environment where people enjoy coming to work, are able to earn a living wage, and continue to work on productions that will entertain, enlighten, and educate our audiences -- three goals that have never been more necessary than now. We will continue to persevere and do everything in our power to make sure we are still here when our industry reopens.

Thank you to everyone who has ever been a part of or worked with Hudson Scenic Studio over the last 40 years.

Neil A. Mazzella

CEO

Reflections on the Last 40 Years
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