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Q&A: Russell Johnson

Russell Johnson

Editor's note: This Q&A is part of Faces A to Z, a series highlighting familiar — and not so familiar — faces around Goodhue County. Learn more about the series and how to get involed here, and check back to the A to Z page for stories, history lessons and more Q&As. 

Where do you work and what do you love most about your job?

I am the director of production at the Sheldon and the thing I love most about my job is that it is ever-changing. In one weekend, we can host a talented band of brothers from the southside of Chicago all playing brass instruments they learned from their father at a young age on Friday and on Sunday have the Vienna Boys Choir.

If you could spend an hour with any person from local history, who would it be and what would you talk about?

I would like to sit down with T.B. Sheldon and ask him if the Sheldon Theatre is something he is as proud of as I am.

Describe a typical day in the life of you ...

Yesterday I coordinated the technical elements for the Chamber event to announce the Small Business Revolution winner. This involved sound, lights, PowerPoint and projections. I was able to run all of the elements at the same time from the back of the theater.

This morning I let the piano tuner in at 9 a.m., started moving platforms, microphone stands and speakers for our presentation of Hypnotic Brass tomorrow night; at the same time training a volunteer on the lighting board.

Oh, and now I'm answering this question — ha ha.

What's your favorite local tradition or event?

I really enjoy the numbers of people that come out for the annual Rolling River Concert in the park. It is a lot of work but once the concert starts and I can stand back stage and look out at all the people enjoying the music, it brings a profound sense of satisfaction to me.

Who is your hero?

I would have to say that one of my great heroes is Arthur Miller (the playwright who wrote "Death of a Salesman," among many others). There is a picture of Arthur and me at a Twins game some years ago. He was working at the Guthrie on his last play, which I was stage managing, and I got the opportunity to sit down with him and talk about many things including his love of making furniture. His energy and presence were truly inspiring.

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