One question that can lurk in the back of high schoolers’ minds is: What good are all the courses I have to take? What good are history or theatre or literature ever going to do me?
Let Sally Cade Holmes, St. Joseph’s class of 2006 and currently a producer of stage productions in the greater New York City area, answer that question.
“St. Joe’s inspired much of the intellectual curiosity that is absolutely necessary in the work that I do,” said Sally Cade who currently is producing the new musical Anastasia in Hartford, Conn. “A producer’s job is to fix things even if she has no idea how. The liberal arts nature of St. Joseph’s gave me the foundation to know the right questions to ask to creatively solve a problem.”
And problem solving is one of the core talents Sally, a resident of NYC, has developed in a career that has taken flight in the last few years.
“The biggest challenge to producing is figuring out what exactly a project needs to succeed,” Sally Cade said. “There are so many paths a production can take; the possibilities are endless. It’s the producer’s job to help the artists achieve their vision in the most efficient and creatively fulfilling environment. Navigating those waters is not often easy.”
“Producers wear a million different hats in a creative process. Sometimes my job is that of a project manager, other times it’s being a therapist and still at other times it’s being a bookkeeper,” Sally Cade said.
“Having the insight to know when to wear what hat is a thrilling challenge.”
After graduating, Sally Cade attended Evansville (Ind.) University along with fellow SJCS alums Laura Gragtmans and Brelyn Holmes, Sally Cade’s sister. She majored in theater as a “generalist,” which means Sally Cade learned a little bit of everything: directing, acting, design, theatre history, etc.
She has been trying to earn her masters in Arts Administration at Boston University, but career success has put that on hold for now. She has her own company, Holmes Productions, and her primary client is Tom Kirdahy, a Broadway producer who contracts her company to run his productions.
They first met when Sally Cade was the associate producer at the Williamston Theatre Festival in tranquil northwest Massachusetts. After that contract expired, Kirdahy and Sally Cade had a coffee date, one thing led to another and they decided they could each help the other. “Lesson learned,” Sally Cade said. “Plan coffee dates.”
The production of “Anastasia,” based on the 1994 animated film and the 1956 live-action film starring Ingrid Bergman and Yul Brynner, is taking up nearly all of Sally Cade’s time these days. The Tony Award-winning composers Terrence McNally, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty have written the music for film. McNally and Ahrens had written songs for the animated version in the 1990s. The production is at the Hartford Stage company, playing until June 19. After that, “Anastasia” is slated to make its Broadway debut in the 2016-17 season.
Sally Cade’s plate remains full including working with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival on an intiative called “Play On!” in which playwrights take a stab at “translating” Shakespeare into modern context while maintaining the integrity of the Bard’s language. Sally Cade also is an associate producer on a documentary on McNally and is working on the debut album for her fellow alumna, Laura Gragtmans.