The movement I dream of inspiring is to grow the love and appreciation for the arts throughout our community. The arts play an important role in shaping who we are as a society and it continuously helps us find new ways to express ourselves.

As a part of our series about creating a successful career in theatre, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Ari Levin.

Ari Levin is the Executive Director of The Madison Center for the Arts in Phoenix, Arizona. Throughout his career, he has worked in the performing arts and entertainment industry as an actor, writer, producer, and director for several shows. He has produced and directed many Lifetime Achievement Awards, the “Superstars of the Kirov Ballet” for their only U.S. performance, and for Paramount Studios, CNN, the BCC, ShoWest, and CinemaCon.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I was born in Tucson and raised in Vegas. My father worked in law enforcement and my mother was a schoolteacher for over 30 years.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

I performed in all forms of the arts as a child. My passion, talent, and dedication for the arts grew and expanded throughout my career. I have acted, performed, directed, and produced in the performing arts and theatre industry.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

One of my first professional acting teachers from Second City, a prestigious acting school in Chicago, truly helped me get to where I am today. I learned so much from them and continue to incorporate everything they taught me throughout my career.

You probably have a lot of fascinating experiences. Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

The most fascinating experience of my career was working for Oprah as the producer and director of her show, “Where Are They Now,” for over 30 episodes. I also produced and directed the Lifetime Achievement Award for Steven Spielberg, among many other celebrities.

It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

An interesting experience happened when I was directing Star Trek: The Experience. One night we were waiting for the President of Paramount Television, Carey McCluggage, all while rehearsing several hundred actors at midnight. That was a fun time!

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

Some exciting projects I have recently worked on were directing the Lifetime Achievement award for Robert De Niro and the CinemaCon’s Star of the Year award for Zendaya.

You have been blessed with success in a career path that can be challenging. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path, but seem daunted by the prospect of rejection, lack of support, or failure?

The best words of advice I could give is to just keep practicing no matter what.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in the live performance industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

In this industry, it is important to have ample support and to provide yourself with plenty of staff members.

Thank you for all that. This is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful Career in Broadway, Theater or Live Performances” and why? If you can, please share a story or example for each.

  1. Dedication
  2. Passion
  3. Love what you do
  4. Respect others
  5. Practice

For the benefit of our readers, could you describe how the skill sets you need in a theater performance are different than the skill-sets you need for TV or Film?

There are different acting techniques for stage as there are for film. When you are acting in a theater performance, you need to perform to the back of the house but for TV and film, everything is close up (pre-actions).

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

The movement I dream of inspiring is to grow the love and appreciation for the arts throughout our community. The arts play an important role in shaping who we are as a society and it continuously helps us find new ways to express ourselves.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Family is the most important thing in the world. It was just my son and I when I moved back to Arizona during the pandemic, and I am so blessed to have him in my life.

We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

I would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with Shakespeare and Kenneth Branagh.

How can our readers continue to follow your work online?

To learn more about Ari Levin and his work as the Executive Director of The Madison Center for the Arts, visit

This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!


  • Savio P. Clemente

    TEDx Speaker, Media Journalist, Board Certified Wellness Coach, Best-Selling Author & Cancer Survivor

    Savio P. Clemente, TEDx speaker and Stage 3 cancer survivor, infuses transformative insights into every article. His journey battling cancer fuels a mission to empower survivors and industry leaders towards living a truly healthy, wealthy, and wise lifestyle. As a Board-Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), Savio guides readers to embrace self-discovery and rewrite narratives by loving their inner stranger, as outlined in his acclaimed TEDx talk: "7 Minutes to Wellness: How to Love Your Inner Stranger." Through his best-selling book and impactful work as a media journalist — covering inspirational stories of resilience and exploring wellness trends — Savio has collaborated with notable celebrities and TV personalities, bringing his insights to diverse audiences and touching countless lives. His philosophy, "to know thyself is to heal thyself," resonates in every piece.