JAMAICAN ON A MISSION: Brian P Gaynair
Theatre Manager, Sam S Shubert Theatre
Who is Brian Gaynair?
I was born in St Andrew at Nuttall Hospital and resided in the Stony Hill area in my younger years. I moved to Russell Heights, Barbican before migrating to the United States. My early school years were spent at Queen's Preparatory School, after which I completed my secondary education at my grandfather's and father's alma mater, Jamaica College. Patrick Anthony Gaynair, my father, was a senior manager at Pannell, Kerrfoster & Company, International Chartered Accountants. My mother, Helen Ann Matthews, nee Goodin, worked for the Chairman of Standard Building Products Limited (later known as Jamaica Particle Board Company) prior to migrating to the US.
When did you move to the United States?
I migrated to the US as a teenager, prior to the 1980 elections, residing first in Miami, Florida and later on in the suburbs of Fort Lauderdale.
Take us back to those early days in the USA — the good, the bad, the frustrations.
Migrating to the US was one of the most difficult periods of my life - I left my heart and soul in Jamaica. However, as difficult as it may have been to adjust, I always embrace new personal experiences, and this was certainly one.
Tell us about your job. What do you do?
Currently I am the theatre manager of Broadway's brightest star, The Shubert Theatre in New York, and have been in this position for 17 1/2 years. I got my start in the theatre business providing protection for the talent in musicals. Yes, back in the day I was a lot fitter. I worked my way up to my current position, overseeing employees, managing payroll, fire safety, evacuation planning and a great deal of customer service issues. My responsibilities also include keeping the almost 100-year-old building in tip- top condition. There is some glamour to all of this, in that I have face-to-face interaction with many VIPs from movie stars to heads of state - yes, even presidents and their families. My portfolio includes Chicago, The Musical; Monty Python's Spamalot, Gypsy and Memphis.
What are your earliest memories of Jamaica and what do you miss most when you are away?
Earliest memories are the fun times as a child going to the North Coast, watching my mother race cars at Vernamfield, hiking in the Blue Mountains, time spent in Negril and my time spent in the Cub Scouts. What do I miss? Saturday soup, Sunday dinner, Tastee patties, fresh coconut water, fry fish and bammy, and the state of mind — "a Jamaica state of mind".
Where is your favourite chill spot on the island?
Silver Sands in Duncans, Trelawny without question. It has one of the best beaches (if not the best) in Jamaica. I visit on a regular basis to chill with family and friends.
Our nation celebrated 50 years of Independence August 6th. How much progress do you reckon we have made and how do you feel as a pretty successful Jamaican living overseas?
Jamaica has made huge progress over the years. I visit at least twice every year and I see vast improvements in the infrastructure and technology, sports and entertainment. Let me just say, though, that even though I have made a good life for myself in New York City, I seem to work around the clock — quite unlike my Jamaican counterparts.