History

IN THE BEGINNING...

In 1971, entrepreneur Jan Musson saw a need for a theatrical equipment supplier in the South Bay of Northern California and created Musson Theatrical in her home in Los Gatos. “There were fixtures, color and cable in the basement, dimmers in the dining room, followspots in the bathroom, and lamps in the bathtub,” Jan said. With a Bachelor of Arts from Stanford and a Masters from San Jose State University, it wasn’t long before Jan was able to grow her business into a true Silicon Valley start-up. “Our first space was at 805D Los Gatos Avenue. It was 1500 square feet and we leased half of it out to a local theatre company,” Jan said. “There was a little office, two desks, a limited inventory, and three people. A little bit of everything one needs to run a rental shop with a bit of retail.”  In 1976 Musson moved all the way to 805F University Avenue, but it was a big move for the company. Musson now occupied 4300 square feet and had become a real force in the entertainment technology industry in the Silicon Valley. In 1978 Jon Nothwang joined the company and expanded its production services offerings.

 

THE FLOOD...

In 1980 the University Avenue space experienced a flood as great waves of water came crashing in under the back door. While there was little irreparable damage, it was clearly time for another move – this time to Stockton Avenue. This 10,000 square foot facility had offices with storage above and a space for a full carpentry shop allowing Musson to build its own road cases and provide custom scenic solutions to its customers. Jan hired John Garey and Willie Meserve and the company enjoyed its first million-dollar year.

 

THE FIRE...

In 1984 the business located in front of Musson was incinerated as a result of a kerosene vat igniting underneath it. The fire was fierce and the embers reached the Musson shop and essentially destroyed it. “We were amazed by the support we got from the local community,” said Jan. “People came out of the woodwork to help us.” The next day Jan went out and found the Walsh Avenue space – where Musson is today.

 

THE LOCUSTS...

Ok. Maybe there weren’t locusts.

 

GROWTH AND PROSPERITY...

In 1985 Bob Downs joined the company as general manager and surrounded himself with the highest quality people to ensure that Musson would continue to grow and thrive. He added accounts payable and receivable personnel and increased the production services workforce. In 1987 he hired David Rimerman to provide turnkey rigging and lighting solutions for our customers, and in 1988 he added Dinna Myers to the crew to help create a strong retail sales program, and Carolyn Kendrick to provide dedicated customer service. Musson is a Contributing Member of USITT and a member of ESTA since 1989.  In 1989 Jan and Wick moved to Kentucky, his true home, and began a grueling retirement of traveling and relaxation. Jan loved the traveling, but the relaxation drove her crazy.

 

TODAY

Today, with full rental, sales, and production services departments, Musson is one of the largest full service theatrical supply houses in the nation. Our dedication to keeping a large inventory of product on hand for our customers immediate needs and our commitment to truly great customer service distinguishes Musson as a true contender in the entertainment technology industry.  Jan Musson passed away December 21st, 2015.  But her courage, tenacity, intelligence, and humor continue to be a positive influence on the Musson team as we strive to bring you the very best in customer service, product offering, and support.