‘A Quick 5′ With Spencer Hankins

For almost 4 years, Spencer Hankins provided top notch service to the patrons of Signature Theatre. As Box Office Coordinator, he many times was the first person you saw as you entered Signature.

Spencer Hankins. Photo by Jennie McMullin.

I said that in this column you would meet people who work in all kinds of jobs for the theatre. Working Box Office is one of the hardest. Any job where you deal with the public is always interesting and challenging. Spencer Hankins made it look easy. He has since moved back to Oklahoma City and is now working for an Interior Designer.

What brought you to Signature Theatre?

Fate brought me to Signature Theatre. I had been aware of Signature and Eric Schaeffer since I first read about The Rhythm Club in 2000. In 2007, I decided to change things up and moved to Arlington, Virginia. In that process, I saw that Signature had an opening in their box office at the new location. I applied for the job, the rest the say is history, or ‘MY Signature Experience.’

What is your ‘worst patron of all-time’ story?

You want me to dish? You’ll just have to wait for my forthcoming book. Oh there are so many to tell, but I won’t go into specifics, because I can’t tell the story with out being specific. For my co-workers, Erin, Caroline, Megan, Michelle, Amanda, Mari, Nicole and Emma (if they are reading this) I’ll just say “Get Moose and Squirrel.”

Have you ever wanted to perform?

Yes, in fact I did. It’s a little known fact that I was nominated for the Irene Ryan Scholarship my Senior year at St. Gregory’s University. There are SEVERAL roles that I’d like to tackle, and if those projects ever come up out in Oklahoma – I’ll audition. (Michael Baron I’m looking at you.)

Who are some of your idols in the theatre?

First and foremost: Elaine Stritch. I still regret not getting to see her in A Little Night Music. At one point in my life before I moved to Arlington I was going through some “stuff,” and a dear friend of mine handed me a copy of Elaine Stritch: At Liberty and said, “If Elaine can do it, so can you.” I did, and still am.

Second: John Kander. When I was in college, I saw a production of Chicago at KC/ACTF in Denton, Texas. I remember saying to myself, “THIS is what I want to do.” I don’t care what ‘it’ is, but I want to be involved. Meeting John is an experience that I will cherish forever. I will never forget the day Eric called me said he wanted me to go to John’s apartment to get some items for the Kander and Ebb Exhibit – we did in the lobby for the Kander and Ebb Festival. I’ll never forget getting to his apartment, expecting his assistant to answer the door and deal with me picking stuff up, and John actually answering the door. My exact words were “Ummm. You know who you are…right?”

Third: All of the D.C. Artists that I met and call friends. Nancy Robinette (whom I’ve been in awe of since the day I moved to DC and saw her in Souvenir), Sheri Edelen Simpson (whose “I’m Still Here” is the best I’ve ever heard, and is just as ‘inappropriate’ as I am.) Chan and Rob McQuay, Kate Mielke, Karen Currie, Kerry Epstein, Julie Meyer, Matt Conner, Stephen Gregory Smith, Eleasha Gamble, Tracy Lynn Olivera, Flo Lacey, Ed Gero, and Jace Casey, all whom I love dearly. This list could go on and on but I’ll stop there. These people are my idols because they are out doing what they do, because they love it. I admire the HELL out of them for it. It’s tough, and something that I’m not cut out for.

What do you want people to remember most about you now that you have left Signature?

Just the fact that they REMEMBER is enough. It means that I did my job and provided the best customer service, and contributed to their overall ‘Signature Experience.”

Watch Spencer at work having to deal with Jenna Sokolowski.