Sewickley woman helping promote theater production

| Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

Jessica Scioscia had the opportunity to combine her two passions this summer thanks to a new educational program offered by a local theater company.

Scioscia is one of five interns working with Sewickley-based Front Porch Productions and Carrnivale Theatrics on “In the Heights,” which is set to open Aug. 23 at New Hazlett Theater on the North Side.

“I learned a lot about mixing my love of the arts with business — something I have never done,” said Scioscia, 21, a marketing and communications intern.

Scioscia was paired with Bruce Smith, 64, of Aleppo, and Leon Zionts, 55, of Point Breeze — co-founders of Front Porch — to help promote the show.

“I have learned just how much work goes into producing and marketing a professional musical,” said Scioscia, a 2010 Quaker Valley graduate who also works as a communications intern at Sewickley Valley YMCA.

She will be a senior at Robert Morris University where she plans to graduate in 2014 with a bachelor's degree in communications with a concentration in theater.

She said she hopes to have a career in the marketing, communications or public relations field with a non-profit organization.

During her internship, Scioscia marketed the show through a variety of outlets, including social media, updated the website and assisted with grant writing and database management.

“Lots of theaters have internship programs so that students can get hands-on, valuable experience and make connections in the theater,” said Amy Jackson, Smith's daughter, who recruited the interns and organized the program.

Professional producers, directors and choreographers worked with the interns in the production, also giving them experience teaching their craft to others. The program provides insights into various career opportunities in theater, Jackson said.

“It can help develop marketable skills for future jobs or study in theater,” she said.

The musical, nominated for 13 Tony Awards in 2008 and the winner of four, also was a finalist for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It focuses on the lives and intertwining stories of residents of Washington Heights, in Manhattan, N.Y., a strong Hispanic community. Smith, who is producing his third show, said “In the Heights” is the biggest show yet, with a $100,000 budget, most of which was raised through local foundations, corporations and individuals.

“We don't make any money on this,” Smith said.

“It's volunteer on our part, and it's fun to do.”

Joanne Barron is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1406 or

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