In the emerging digital era, where every field is adapting digitization methods, so is the world of live entertainment. Creators in all aspects of live entertainment have had to adapt to the increasingly sophisticated tastes and expectations from global audiences. From to the largest stage ever built in North America, to a fleet of choreographed drones, to an 80’ foot robotic owl, one Los Angeles-based creator has had his hands in many of the most spectacular live entertainment moments of the last decade. It is how Taylor Jeffs, the President and Chief Creative Officer of Legacy Entertainment, contributes to the world of live theater for over a decade. The entrepreneur is known for creating and producing groundbreaking live stage spectaculars both on Broadway and around the world.
The Road to Success Began in Anaheim
Born on June 07th, 1983, in Orange County in California, Jeffs knew his life goal. As young as 15 years old, Jeffs knew what he had to do. Although his career began by flipping burgers at Disneyland’s Stage Door Café, he eventually became the leader of Legacy Entertainment, benefitting people with his live theater productions. Stating Jeffs’ contributions in the reverse chronological order, his journey to success goes down multiple events.
In January 2020, Variety announced that Taylor Jeffs and his collaborators Benoit Jutras and Harris Shper were developing an original slate of stage musicals, aiming to “showcase stories that fall outside of traditional Hollywood-centric properties.” Additionally, it was reported that their first project is a rock opera tracing Japan’s Imperial Family through the final days of World War II. This was not the first foray into the live theater for Jeffs. His company, Legacy Entertainment, has been active in the world of live theater for over a decade on both the creative and producing fronts. Before that, in 2009, the firm (under its former brand) co-produced its first Broadway show- the Tony Award-winning revival of the tribal rock musical Hair. Staged to commemorate the musical’s 40th anniversary, the production began in September 2007, performing at Central Park’s Delacorte Theater for a limited run. A Broadway transfer opened at the Al Hirschfeld Theater on March 31st, 2009, and played for 29 previews and 519 regular performances after the rapturous response. This production would receive eight Tony Award nominations, including a win for Best Revival of a Musical. That same year, Jeffs’ firm also co-produced the Broadway premiere of Neil LaBute’s Reasons to be Pretty, directed by Terry Kinney and starring Thomas Sadoski, Piper Perabo, and Alison Pill.
It indeed wasn’t easy to be there on the first go. However, moving forward with the events that took place, in 2016, Jeffs’ firm co-produced the Broadway transfer for Simon McBurney’s The Encounter. Based on Petru Popescu’s 1993 book, Amazon Beaming, this one-man play was the first Broadway show in history to utilize binaural 3-D audio. In addition, the entire audience donning headphones allowed for the fusion of live dialogue with pre-recorded audio effects.
Jeffs’ most recent producing credit is the 2017 Off-Broadway production of the smash-hit In & Of Itself, written by and starring Derek Delgaudio. The production was first mounted in 2016 by producer Glen Kaino in Los Angeles. It was directed by Frank Oz. Legacy Entertainment got involved following the show’s sold-out run at the Geffen Playhouse, joining producers, Neil Patrick Harris and Tom Werner. The New York production staged at the Daryl Roth Theatre opened to rave reviews in April 2017, including being selected as a New York Times Critic’s Pick. The sold-out run concluded in August 2018, and a filmed version of the production debuted on Hulu in 2021. Beyond Broadway, Jeffs has also been active in the music festival scene, serving as a guiding creative force at some of the world’s most significant events, including Electric Daisy Carnival, Beyond Wonderland, Escape from Wonderland, and Nocturnal Wonderland. Working closely with Insomniac founder Pasqualle Rotella, Jeffs led the design effort on some of the largest and most ambitious stage designs in history. Billboard Magazine hailed the 2013 Electric Daisy Carnival design as “One of the greatest achievements in the history of live events.”
Creative Collaborations Spanning Mediums, from Mega Spectaculars to Groundbreaking Attractions
Jeffs has a long history of collaborations with composer Benoit Jutras, the former chief composer of Cirque du Soleil. Their first production, the Six Flags Glow in the Park Parade, debuted in 2008 at Six Flags Mexico, and was an instant hit. Following this success, the parade was replicated at several other Six Flags theme parks, including Six Flags Great Adventure, Six Flags New England, Six Flags St. Louis, Six Flags Over Texas, and Six Flags Great America.
In 2014, Jeffs produced and directed the Let’s Dream! Spectacular at Lotte World, South Korea’s #1 theme park. Featuring a cast of over 80 performers, as well as an original score by Jutras, this mega-production boasted several “firsts,” including a fleet of 25 choreographed drones, holograms, and a menagerie of puppets from famed designer Michael Curry. The show drew international acclaim, with Disney fan site MiceAge proclaiming that it “may be the best light parade ever created.” In addition, the Korea Herald reported that the show had been equally successful from a business perspective, boosting overall attendance by 2.8% and visitor length of stay by over 35%. Jeffs and Jutras collaborated to create the $12 million Road Rage dark ride at Indonesia’s Trans Studio Bali theme park in the location-based entertainment sector. The ambitious attraction billed as the ‘world’s first stunt show dark ride’ is the first ride to incorporate a large cast of live performers paired with high-repetition stunt and action effects. The ride debuted along with the park in December 2019.
With all that Jeffs has achieved and his contributions in the world of live theater, it is self-explanatory that he is a motivated individual. His dedication, hard work, and ability to keep the live theater ‘alive’ have undoubtedly helped Legacy Entertainment grow and reach a massive audience.