Behind the Scenes
Bobby Fehribach has logged in many hours on Broadway. No, you haven’t seen his name in lights or his face plastered on a billboard in Times Square, but if you’ve ever attended a show on Broadway or one of the hundreds of national traveling tours, then chances are, you’ve seen Bobby’s work.
Fehribach, who retired to Winston- Salem, spent 45 years of diverse and comprehensive technical experience on Broadway, with national tours, bus and truck companies, regional theaters and industries that gave him an extensive understanding of all aspects of musical theater and play production.
His skills as both a carpenter and later an electrician landed him jobs with many of the national Broadway touring productions such as Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, The Phantom of the Opera and was the production electrician for all of the North American companies of Wicked. He also worked on the first national touring production of A Little Night Music.
Bobby started as an assistant carpenter for A Little Night Music in 1974. Fresh out of the Navy, he toured with the show to the “Big 8” cities where his primary job was to run the automated scenery. In the 70’s, Broadway productions that were based in New York were already using computerized automation and computers for the sets, but when the show toured, the automation was too heavy and complex to transport. The touring show of A Little Night Music was different. This touring production incorporated more automation load, resulting in more setup time but ushered in a new level of theatre experience for audiences who couldn’t see the show on Broadway.
The challenges that a national touring show faces are much the same as they were 40 years ago. “The goal of a traveling show is to duplicate the Broadway experience in a different city and on a different stage,” Bobby said. “But, of course, the challenge is that no two stages are the same.” That’s when creativity and a variety of sets come together to create a seamless production that looks exactly like the Broadway production but fits onto various stages across the country. Bobby assured viewers that the show they see in a touring company is the same show they will see in New York or Los Angles.
Although he looks back on his days on the road with much fondness, today Bobby loves being retired where he can enjoy golf and spending time with his wife, Barbara.