The Early Years
Learning the Industry
Even though his parents had a long history and tradition in theatre, Paul Vincent’s original dream was to become a marine biologist. It wasn’t until his junior year at the University of Cincinnati in the spring of 1972 – when his course load included Physics, Organic Chemistry, German and Calculus to name just a few – that he thought his brain would pop. He walked into the theatre department, met Steve Carmichael and never looked back. Shortly thereafter, he switched his major to Speech and Communication. An ambitious learner, Paul continued his schooling over the summer to catch up on a few classes and worked at the Showboat Majestic that summer (which happened to be run by the University of Cincinnati at that time).
He earned his bachelor’s degree the next summer in 1973 and continued on toward earning his Master’s degree. He became Steve’s graduate tech assistant. While working at the University of Cincinnati, Paul readily admits that he was a “crappy carpenter.” With that said, it was Steve’s instruction to take pride in all projects – no matter if it’s the audience or the backstage crew that sees it – that gave Paul the insight to always do the job right.
Paul’s love for optics naturally led him to lighting, writing his thesis on “Lens Systems Used in Stage Lighting.” In 1974, just one year after earning his Bachelor’s degree, Paul graduated with his Masters of Art in Technical Theatre. But before he graduated, in the spring of 1974, Paul had an opportunity to help present the show, “Company” at the Southeast Theatre Conference (SETC). This event pushed the doors of opportunity wide open for Paul. The list of people he met at the conference was a veritable Who’s Who of legendary names in the theatre industry.
At this conference, Paul was introduced to Sheldon Storer, who was a Manufacturer’s rep for Kliegl Lighting. Through this connection, Paul learned of a job opening and soon interviewed in New York City with Joel Rubin, the Vice President of Sales at Kliegl. Paul accepted the job as Inside Sales, Quotations and Convention Manager. Paul later learned how small the theatre industry was: Joel Rubin had worked closely with Paul’s father, Larry Vincent, at Cain Park in Cleveland Heights, Ohio in the late 1940s/early 1950s.
- Next Section: Paul Builds His Career