HAGERSTOWN, Md. (DC News Now) — Barbara Irvine is back home in western Maryland after 40 years as a music producer on Broadway.
Passionate about music and theatre, Irvine earned her undergraduate degree in Ohio at Wittenberg University. She then went on to study for her graduate degree at the University of Texas in Austin.
But she cut her teeth professionally in a job not too far from home, in Washington, D.C.
“It was the summer of 1980 and I was hired to be backstage at the Wolf Trap Performing Arts Center. I met everybody who’s anybody,” Irvine said. “I decided the time was right to move to New York.”
The Big Apple is where Irvine made her mark.
“It’s the composers that really drew me to New York,” she said. “I wanted to work with them.”
Irvine soon found herself backstage with Sarah Brightman working on Phantom of the Opera.
“Some of the high points were touring with Michael Crawford and music with Andrew Lloyd Weber,” Irvine recalls. “That was exciting.”
Much of the memorabilia she collected over the years is now on display at the Washington County Free Library in Hagerstown, in the Maryland Room.
Joining her for a special gathering at the library Tuesday night was a colleague from her Broadway days, Rabbi Mark Perman. He said the quality of her work from the past 40 years impresses him.
“The quality of her work and the people she’s worked with and the fact that she is still so humble,” he said. “She’s just walking down the street and she’s just this regular Hagerstown girl. I really appreciate her work and her contribution to theatre.”