O-pa Spotlight: Ambassador Jennifer Silva
Posted On Aug 4, 2020, 11:25 AM
There’s something about their smile, welcoming direction through the doors and to your seat, the Ambassadors at Omaha Performing Arts truly help make live theater a positive experience. O-pa has more than 500 Ambassadors, who provide patrons with quality customer service, including greeting patrons, taking tickets, helping at Will Call, assisting with seating, assembling programs and handling coat-check.
One of our longest running Ambassador’s is Jennifer Silva. She’s a floor captain, part-time house manager and has been an O-pa Ambassador (before it was officially Omaha Performing Arts) since the 1980’s. In a Q & A, Jennifer tells us how she became an ambassador and what she enjoys most about her experience.
O-pa: How long have you been an Ambassador?
Jennifer Silva: I started sometime in 1982. I took time off during the mid-’90s when I moved to California, and when Omaha Performing Arts took over, I joined the ranks again in 2002.
O-pa: When was you first experience at the Orpheum?
Jennifer Silva: I was probably 7 or 8 when my mom brought me along one night to a symphony performance which I probably wasn’t excited about watching at the time. Since she was working, we were there well before patrons arrived and because I wasn’t supposed to be in the way of them getting ready, I could wander. What I remember is walking through the house by myself. I took in all the wonders to see, I went up and down the stairs watched all the people who were dressed up to see the show, and then sat in the dark, quietly watched the musicians play. I heard the music come to life in front of me for the first time. After that night I didn’t mind coming to the Orpheum with my mom when she worked.
O-pa: How did you become an Ambassador and why?
Jennifer Silva: When my mom started ushering in the late ‘70s and she would bring me with her to watch performances as she worked. One night they were very short-handed and the lady in charge asked how old I was (13 at the time) and she decided I was old enough to help out and that began my journey as an usher.
O-pa: What you do you enjoy most about being an Ambassador?
Jennifer Silva: That is tough, but I think it comes down to the people. The people I have worked with over the years and the patrons. I have built some great friendships and have met some amazing people. I love the diversity of people who come to see shows or seeing the wonder on their faces as they walk into the Orpheum for the first time. Nothing is more fun than showing new patrons the wonders of that building. I also enjoy seeing someone come to their “first” show whether it be their first symphony or Broadway, dance or jazz performance in one of our buildings. Learning how much they enjoyed and can’t wait to come back is a wonderful feeling.
O-pa: What's a memorable experience as an Ambassador that you'd like to tell?
Jennifer Silva: I don’t think I could narrow it down to one memory because I have years of memories. They range from seeing a favorite performer, to gaining new favorites. They would include sitting and listening to family members of performers talking about their life. Helping patrons after shows get pictures with cast members or working the lines with kids waiting to get an autograph of their favorite character. The variety of shows that I have been privileged to see or just hear over the years is something else I will always remember. So many years and so many memories, not one stands out alone, but I can say there are a lot of them!