Based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Square 1 is making big waves in the theater world. Formed by Jay Krottinger and Ryan Tanner, Square 1’s mission is to offer compelling, powerful entertainment for a vast audience with thought-provoking works that inspire change, including works from and about their Oklahoma home. The company carries a strong commitment to collaboration and producing local and regional works with others that share in the same mission.
Krottinger, a native Oklahoman, is a graduate of Broken Arrow High School and The University of Central Oklahoma. Tanner hails from Illinois as a graduate of Quincy Senior High and Illinois College.
Both producers were drawn to drama and the arts from a young age. An active participant in band, choir and drama during his school years, Krottinger performed professionally across the globe for years before landing at Square 1. “Since the moment I stepped on stage as a kid, I knew that for the rest of my life, I was supposed to be in entertainment,” he says. “Like everything we do in our careers, our life journey places us in our niche. I laugh now because here I am, 10 to 15 years later, discovering where I feel most comfortable in my shoes, in entertainment. You ask why I laugh? Well, for almost every professional job I contracted as an actor or performer, the artistic directors and producers of the theater or the college professors always said I would make a great producer. I didn’t believe them, or for that matter believe in myself to go for it. Without sounding idealistic, I am pretty sure life directs us where we are supposed to be,” he continues. “It’s interesting how life comes full circle.”
For Tanner, stepping onto the stage was more intimidating, so he chose other ways to enter the theater world. “As a young kid, I dreamed of performing and yet was scared to death of it,” he says. “So I did the next best thing: I volunteered for local theater productions in my hometown. I initially started by selling ads for the show program, and that grew into volunteering as a stagehand. I did whatever was needed to get closer to the production. I distinctly remember having an unhealthy obsession with the making of Anything Goes. It was then that I fell in love with each of the layers involved with theater and the amount of work by all involved to bring stories from paper to stage.”
The production team cut its teeth with the off-Broadway production of Flipside: The Patti Page Story, which will begin its world tour in 2013. The production debuted at the University of Central Oklahoma in 2010 before embarking on an eight city tour of Oklahoma. In December of 2012, the musical made its off-Broadway New York City premiere. While in NYC scouting the Flipside venue, Krottinger and Tanner were invited to co-produce PIPPIN.
PIPPIN is the first Broadway production for Square 1 Theatrics. PIPPIN won four Tony Awards in 2013, including Best Revival of a Musical. This is the first Tony nomination and win for Krottinger and Tanner.
In addition to producing theatrical performances, the pair manages IQ Surgical, a healthcare marketing firm.
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