Executive Producer Of The RNC
Nash's route to the 2008 GOP convention began on Broadway, where he worked on Funny Girl, Uncle Vanya, No, No Nanette, and 200-some other shows. From 1975 to '77, he was the director of technical operations for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, where he brought the Bolshoi Opera, the Paris Opera, the Berlin Opera, La Scala Opera, and others to the United States for bicentennial celebrations. In the 1980s, he helped produce television series and specials for Barbara Mandrell and Dolly Parton, and then, beginning in 1989, produced 15 years' worth of the Radio City Hall Christmas Spectacular. Nash's résumé, in short, does not exactly scream Republican operative, much less executive producer of the Republican National Convention, the position he has held every four years since 1992.
Nash is a lifelong Republican, but he inverts the usual formula by coming to politics by way of stagecraft: In 1988, he worked on both the Democratic National Convention, his first venture into a partisan event, and the subsequent inaugural for Republican President George H.W. Bush. "My job is to create a good theatrical environment to help the candidate put forth their message," he said. Working professionally for both sides, as he did that year, is "no different than switching from Dolly Parton to Barbara Mandrell."
When September 1 arrives, Nash will be sitting in a soundproofed booth overseeing the show. Before the curtain opens, though, he and his crew will have spent months crafting a production calculated to appeal both to at-home television viewers, who see brief clips from the stage, and in-person delegates, who see the full, multi-hour extravaganza. Producing a show that will satisfy both audiences has become more challenging since his first convention, he says. "Since the invention of the remote control, everyone wants a 10-second sound bite," he said. "If you lose their attention for two or three minutes, they hit that button and do another show."