“I had the honor of working with Erin over a period of a year and a half in the development and premiere of FSM, a new musical commissioned by Stagebridge Senior Theatre and written to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Free Speech Movement at Cal Berkeley. It was a project that I inherited as Stagebridge E.D., one for which the company was in so many ways unprepared, but one which was also critically important to many company members including the widow of iconic FSM leader, Mario Savio.
“As a veteran dramaturg and producer of new work, I was already intimately familiar with the inherent challenges of bringing new work to fruition. Those ultimately proved to be the easiest of our obstacles to surmount in a project that also included
* two composers, with vastly different musical voices
* a composer who was the son of the much-idolized main character
* a pro-am theatre company that had commissioned the work without any experience in producing a work of this magnitude
* an incredibly opinionated (and divergent) and demanding (and passionate) group of former FSMers who were advisors and investors in the work
* a mixed cast of senior amateur performers and young professional actors
* a woefully inadequate financial and technical foundation from which to launch the project…
“(During the development period), Erin moved more swiftly than I honestly thought possible, getting the piece on its feet and giving it shape in a way that provided far more valuable information than the authors and I had even hoped for in a short period of time. Erin’s work was dramaturgically smart and directorially quite strong. And because she has been a producer, she knows how to think and plan like a producer. And she was fun to work with on top of all that, which is such an added bonus.
"Because I was also taking Stagebridge through a strategic planning process and organizational overhaul (during the production of the premiere), Erin took on much of the producing responsibility along with direction. I have rarely watched anyone spin as many plates simultaneously as Erin did in this process, swiftly shifting gears from dramaturgical concerns, to choreographic and musical questions, to the specific acting and coaching challenges that attend working with elder performers, and managing all of these with seemingly endless stores of creativity and vision but also with high standards of artistic integrity. Erin never allowed the obstacles to push her to a capitulation of, ‘Well, that's good enough.’
“Particularly in the midst of such an intensive producing process, I was especially grateful to Erin for her ability to really listen to and hear a note, to question and push back when the occasion called for it, but always to find workable solutions — and almost always ones that felt like an elevation and not a compromise.
“Lastly, I think it's important that you understand that Erin is an artist who genuinely needs work that drives her heart and feeds her soul. In the course of my career, I have worked with those who make a living at theatre, those who enjoy the process from an intellectual perspective, those who are devoted to a sense of community, those who are artist activists, and — more rarely — those whose very souls depend on their engagement in the creative process. Erin Merritt needs to make theatre, and for that reason, the theatre needs Erin Merritt.”
—Marge Betley, Former Executive Director, Stagebridge
"Erin is famous in the theatre community. She is well-known for her ability to pull together a supportive network of skilled artists, engaged funders, and well-known media players. Her focus on creative excellence shows through in all her accomplishments. Highly recommended!"
—Jodi Schiller, International ARVR keynote speaker/ARVR Industry Consultant/Immersive Transmedia Storyteller & Content Creator
“Erin has always proven herself to be a driven, passionate person with both a clear artistic vision, and a calm, farsighted professionalism. Her work with Woman's Will was always courageous, exciting, and delivered with the sure hand of an artist/administrator who knew not only how to get things done, but how to do them in a way that was entertaining and provocative.”
—Michael Gene Sullivan, Writer/Collective Member, San Francisco Mime Troupe
“Erin Merritt is one of the most devoted, talented figures on the theater scene. The creativity involved in the productions of Woman's Will is a testament to Erin’s talent and organizational capabilities. I enjoyed interviewing her on several occasions and found her articulate and knowledgeable. She is a valuable resource for anyone with whom she is associated.”
—Harry Osibin, Public Affairs Director, KITS-FM
“As director of the Kurt Weill show "Happy End," Erin Merritt was an inspired and dedicated presence throughout the run. She came to rehearsal with clear and thorough ideas of what she wanted from the performers, and gave us helpful feedback on what could be improved. Erin dealt well and efficiently with the inevitable difficulties arising in such an involved production, and kept her eye on the ultimate goal—giving a sophisticated and representative performance of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht. Her enthusiasm for the work was contagious, and her direction, while demanding, also allowed the performers to bring their own creative ideas and spontaneity to the table. It was an honor to work with her in realizing this production.”
—Hillary Nordwell, Orchestra Leader/Performer, Happy End
“Erin has the unique ability of being able to manage (what would be) the chaos of multiple projects, multiple groups of people, scheduling, endless odds & ends... all while maintaining her personable and warm interactions with each person involved. She is a collaborator and full of initiative. (Her theater company) is a place of imagination, professional integrity, and a personal pleasure.”
—Julie Kurtz, Freelance Actor
“Erin gave me my first professional opportunity as a designer. Her devotion to the company and commitment to developing quality work was and has been an inspiration. She is a driving force in San Francisco theater, a bit of an institution.”
—Jess Hooks, Designer, Woman's Will