Please note we will be closed from Friday, December 21st through Tuesday, December 25th for the Holidays.  We'll re-open at 8:30 am on Wednesday.

Our History

In the Beginning...

In 1971, entrepreneur Jan Musson saw a need for a theatrical equipment supplier in Northern California and created Musson Theatrical in her Los Gatos home.  “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.

Jan's Legacy...

In 1989, Jan and Wick moved to Kentucky and began a grueling retirement of traveling and relaxation.  Jan loved the traveling, but the relaxation drove her crazy.  She made frequent trips to visit friends on the west coast and stayed involved with the theatre community, even serving as resident lighting designer for Louisville’s Walden Theatre.  In late December 2015, Jan passed away, but her courage, tenacity, intelligence, and humor continue to leave a lasting legacy on the Musson team. 
Read more about Jan's life...

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, people came out of the woodwork to help us.” said Jan.  The next day Jan went out and found the Walsh Avenue space – where Musson is today.

The Flood...

After many seasons of strategic bucket placing whenever it rained, we finally got the go-ahead in the Summer of 2016 for a new roof, and there was much rejoicing!  However, it was not to last.  After removing the roof above our offices, it was discovered that the corner support beams had rotted.  What was a simple roofing job turned into a protracted battle between our landlord and the city about the extent of repairs to our almost century-old building (which used to be a canning factory).  In the Summer of 2017, repairs finally started and we were able to shed the giant blue tarp roof that covered over 25% of our building.

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, and in 1988 he added Dinna Myers to the crew to help create a strong retail sales program.  Musson became a member of ESTA in 1989 and continues to be a contributing member of both ESTA and USITT to this day.

Into the 21st Century...

Today, with full rental, sales, system integration, 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.  We may have grown up from our humble roots, but we still strive to deliver first-in-class customer service, product offering, and support.

Copyright © 1971-2018 Musson Theatrical, Inc.