Staff Spotlight: Joey Infinito

December 26, 2023 by Jordan Hewitt Beard

There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes to bring amazing performances to life on stage, and our production team works their magic to make it all happen. Joey Infinito, our Senior Director of Facilities & Production, is a fixture at the theater and takes care of just about anything and everything. He has also been involved in several theatrical productions throughout the Triangle and sat down to share his “Theatre Baby” story and how he came to the Carolina Theatre nine years ago.

CTD: Can you share a little about yourself and how you started working at the theater?   

JI: I’m a Theatre Baby! I was born in Morristown, NJ and had exposure to and participation in the arts practically from birth. Or as a former tap teacher I had once used to say (cigarette in hand), “Tappin’ since I’m 2.”  I can’t not do it. I am a conservatory-trained actor, dancer, and singer (probably in that order LOL) from The American Academy of Dramatic Arts and The Boston Conservatory of Music (now Boston Conservatory at Berklee). I worked professionally in almost every aspect of live theater, from stagehand out of the IATSE Local 1 in several Broadway houses to most recently performing with several Triangle area theater companies. I am the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Ratio Theatre Company, a nonprofit company in New Bern, NC. I have also been a theater educator, teaching and directing middle and high school students because I believe that active participation in the arts produces empathetic, critical-thinking citizens. 

My wife and I were planning to move back to New York or New Jersey from North Carolina and my brother, who has lived here for more than 25 years, convinced us to give Durham a look. One of the first places he took me to tour downtown was the Carolina Theatre, and I fell in love! I started working here in 2015, under Bob Cochran, as a stagehand and technician and took over for him full-time in 2017. 

CTD: What does a typical day look like for you and what do you like most about your job?   

JI: I am interested in craft. That is to say: I’m interested in the process of making things and making things work. So a typical day usually involves something hands-on. This could be solving technical issues with our Production Department (Of course, they do a fine job without me! They say 95% of directing is casting 😉 Thank you, Josh, Michael, and Kastor!), swapping out lightbulbs, or planning major building improvements. In a nearly 100-year-old building open to the public almost 365 days a year, there is never “nothing to do.” 

The production team poses for a photo after replacing the stage floor.

CTD: What are some interesting and little-known facts about the theater you can share?   

JI: There are tons of interesting facts about our history in the beautiful historical exhibits here at the theater! One of my personal favorites are the original dressing rooms. There used to be dressing rooms directly behind the proscenium wall (of Fletcher Hall), three levels up a steep, winding staircase on both stage-right and stage-left. One of these became “the popcorn room” for the cinema for many years. They don’t exist anymore. Some now house our amplifiers and theatrical lighting dimmers. I always imagine some glamorous diva of the era preparing for her grand entrance to the stage in one of those spaces. 

CTD: How have things changed around the theater and in Durham since you started working here?   

JI: I think, like everywhere else, technology and expansion have been the biggest drivers of change. We have worked hard over the last several years to keep up with the rapidly changing technical demands of artists and audiences, and I think it shows.  How we doin’?  

CTD: What are some of your most memorable moments of being at the theater?   

JI: This is an easy one! At any of our Arts Discovery Educational Series performances, the look on a young student’s face as they walk up the plaza and enter the theater (possibly their first) with exclamations of “Wow! This is like a palace!” or something similar. 

CTD: What are some of your favorite artists who have performed at the theater and why?   

JI: There are so many, and for so many reasons! I think I might be dating myself here, but, since I’ve worked here, I have to say (in no order mind you) Arlo Guthrie, Lilly Tomlin, and Isabella Rossellini.   

CTD: What are you most excited about for the next five years at the theater?   

JI: I am excited to be a part of continuing the legacy that is the Carolina Theatre. As the theater’s history shows, it is the community of Durham that has kept that legacy alive. The theater is and has been since integration, the community’s theater. I am excited that our vision includes opportunities for active participation by and for the community we serve, truly embodying the ideal and real concept of Civic Theatre.