When Mike Marraccini signed on as Sarasota Ballet’s sales and marketing director in March 2010, the ballet was restructuring and getting out of what he refers to as “financial ruins.” The 32-year-old is responsible for the restructuring of the box office into the well-oiled, multimillion-dollar machine it is today.
He started in an 8-foot-by-8-foot office space on the third-floor of Asolo Repertory Theatre. There he met with patrons renewing their subscriptions. At that time, all of the important paperwork was kept in large storage boxes on the floor. There was no physical box office at the time.
In 2011, his office moved to the first floor where there are two street-facing ticketing windows and an attached office, which is much larger than where he started. Marraccini now works with electronic files.
Now, not only does he know 99% of patrons who walk into his box office, but he sits in on rehearsals and has become as ballet obsessed as the bun-headed dancers.
“Getting into this job, you fall in love with (ballet),” he says.
It’s amazing that Marraccini has time in his 12-hour workday to sit in on a rehearsal or to listen to Artistic Director Iain Webb’s “crazy” career stories when Webb wanders into Marraccini’s office.
“It’s tough because I sort of wear several hats here,” he says. “Nonprofits don’t have a lot of money to keep (a lot of) people on staff (so we all do a lot).”
Marraccini’s responsibilities have grown beyond box-office matters in the past three years. He has slowly picked up more responsibilities, and he now oversees marketing and information technology, sales for the year, projections and gross totals above ticket sales.
He coordinates everything from seating arrangements at the Sarasota Ballet gala to designing all the digital media ads. When a computer needs to be backed up, Marraccini does it. He is known to answer the box-office line and answer ticketing questions, on occasion.
With a broadcast journalism degree from Kent University and experience in public affairs doing communications for the U.S. Army, Marraccini’s background fits the job description he has now.
Marraccini’s favorite time of day is early morning when he spends hours designing and coordinating all of the ballet’s advertisements.
“I love marketing; that’s (ultimately) what I want to do,” he says, “but it’s going to be really hard for me to give up control of the box office when that time comes because it’s my baby.”
For now, Marraccini is OK with the long hours required of him because his partner of two years, principal dancer Ricardo Graziano, is there for the same amount of hours. But, most importantly, Marraccini is a big fan of his job.
“It’s what you love,” he says. “I do what I love.”
Although, he does have one work-related complaint: “It’s a little disheartening working around so many good-looking, attractive people,” he chuckles. “You think, ‘Oh, God, I gotta work out more because I sit on my butt all day.’”
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Daylight Saving Time starts 2 a.m. Sunday, so be sure to set your alarm accordingly.