From Interlochen dilettante to The Times

In this episode of “With Special Guest” theatre critic Jesse Green shares how his Interlochen experience helped shape his career.

Jesse Green

A recent headshot of New York Times Co-Chief Theater Critic Jesse Green.

Jesse Green as a Junior camper at interlochen arts camp

A photo of Green as a junior camper, taken by his counselor, John Herreshoff.

Jesse Green as an Intermediate Camper at interlochen arts camp

Green (right) rehearses a scene from The Hobbit as an intermediate student.

Jesse Green as a high school camper

Green (seated) in The Skin of Our Teeth.

In this episode of “With Special Guest” we sat down with Co-Chief Theater Critic of The New York Times Jesse Green (IAC/NMC 67-74).

During the interview, you’ll come to understand that Green’s career path was not straightforward nor planned. Green, in a somewhat self effacing manner, refers to himself as an artistic generalist or dilettante.

Green and his brother, Anthony (IAC/NMC 67-71), sampled the gamut of course offerings during their summers at Interlochen, majoring in music as well as drama, visual arts and radio. While Anthony remained committed to the clarinet, Green never settled into a niche, choosing instead to immerse himself in all areas of art. Years later, Green continues to utilize the breadth of skills he learned at Interlochen in his career.

“It was the best possible education I could have had,” said Green. “There are many ways to have careers in culture and in the arts, and they don’t all require you to be a prodigy.”

After graduating from Yale with a double major in English and theatre, Green moved to New York City and began working as a “gopher” for Broadway shows. Green eventually advanced to copyist and musical coordinator positions, thanks to his musical training at Interlochen.

“I spent seven or eight years doing music [on Broadway] as if I had an actual, scholarly background [in music], which I did not,” he said. “All I had was Interlochen.”

Green made his first foray into professional writing after joining the staff of 7 Days Magazine as a puzzle creator. Since then, Green has had work published in Vulture, GQ, The Washington Post, The New Yorker and Out.

Since 1991, Green has been an active contributor to The New York Times, and just shy of a year ago he joined their staff as the new Co-Chief Theater Critic.

In addition to his work, Green has two books to his credit: a novel, “O Beautiful,” published in 1990; and a memoir about his experiences as a parent, “The Velveteen Father, An Unexpected Journey to Parenthood.” Green is currently working on his third book, a biography of Mary Rodgers Guettel; mother of composer and lyricist Adam Guettel (IAC/NMC 80).

You can find the full episode via Apple Podcasts or on the Google Play Store. Be sure to subscribe once you’re done! Lastly, you can follow Jesse Green on Twitter at @JesseKGreen. Thank you to Jesse Green for his time.