Josh Aldridge, a 2008 graduate of Parrish High School, fits into that small category of achievement, but he actually started contemplating his showbiz career while attending the University of West Alabama as a pre-med major.
“One winter I sat down and thought about where I wanted to go in life and if I wanted to be a doctor and go to school for eight to 11 years. Then I thought, ‘No, I really don’t,’” Aldridge said. “I spent most of my life learning music, classically trained and all, and I had always played some type of instrument. … So, I thought maybe [I should] go more in the business of the music industry.”
From there he came across a private institution called Full Sail University located in Winter Park, Fla. He graduated at the top of his class with a bachelor’s degree in the music business program and was voted “most likely to succeed” by members of the faculty and staff. Aldridge also obtained a master’s degree in the entertainment business program.
He made some lasting connections with friends through networking where he met his current roommate and boss, Bob Brockett.
“As I was getting my master’s, he [Brockett] went off and started an internship and during his internship, he came upon a company called iLuminate through another mutual friend. He started working for them, and we just started talking on and on about iLuminate,” Aldridge said. “I was probably about seven months into my master’s when he said, ‘Hey, we are a little shorthanded and we have a couple productions coming our way, would you mind coming up to New York City and working for us?’”
The rest is history.
Aldridge enjoys his career as the stage manager/technician for iLuminate. He even jokes about how his dream job as a young child plays a part of what he actually does now as an adult.
“People always change what they want to do growing up, but I wanted to be a ninja,” Aldridge laughed. “It’s kind of funny that I say that now because with my job, a lot of people that I work with, me and my other coworkers and the talent that we work with, call us ninjas. So, I’m a ninja now!”
He says music and entertainment is definitely his end goal, but he has other aspirations as well.
Eventually, he would like to be accepted and attend business school at NYU where he would receive an MBA in finance and management. Aldridge would then “love” to accomplish getting a doctorate in quantitative finance at Oxford University. But, for now, he is living and breathing every day what he enjoys doing the most.
According to the company’s website, www.iluminate.com, “iLuminate enables performers, choreographers, technicians and artistic directors to produce explosive performances with customized wireless lighting programs.” If not familiar with the name, maybe their performances on “America’s Got Talent” might ring a bell.
Aldridge said the company performed two years ago on the world-renowned show and came in third place during the finale. He was recently a part of the show earlier this month when iLuminate made a guest appearance on AGT.
The company’s creator, Miral Kotb, wanted to take the off-Broadway production and make it bigger and better. She started a new production titled “Artist of Light,” which is getting rave reviews from well-known entertainment icons such as Ellen DeGeneres, Sharon Osbourne and even Good Morning America.
“iLuminate combines state-of-the-art technology with electrifying entertainers to create the ultimate performing arts experience,” according to information from its Facebook page.
“Artist of Light” is an original production meaning everything from the music to the technology to their innovative choreography is a first-of-its-kind. Aldridge said it is “a story told through music, dance and technology.” However, an enormous amount of preparation, work and talent goes into every night’s production.
“I go in and make sure all the dancers are accounted for, that the full cast is in, and once I know that I set up the stage with my lead tech to make sure that all props, all suits, are all functional and that our proprietary technology is fully functional,” Aldridge said, “so that when the show goes on and we press play, the magic of iLuminate will be at 100 percent.”
He works numerous hours six to seven days a week, but Aldridge says he has a passion and takes pleasure in what he does. He rarely gets a chance to visit his father, stepmom, sister and mother — Mark, Suzan and Khristale Aldridge and Josephine Donato, respectively. Josh originally was raised in Japan until he and his family moved to Parrish when he was 10 years old. He said living in Brooklyn, N.Y, is reminiscent of his younger days overseas.
“Parrish was too rural for me. I couldn’t just jump on a bus or a subway and be where I wanted to be in 15 minutes,” Aldridge said. “Of course, when I became 16 and was able to drive that was remedied, but I still would’ve loved to just been able to buy a metro pass and go on my own instead of having to buy gas and things of that nature.”
What’s next for Aldridge is to continue working with iLuminate until he decides to return to college. He would also like to hand over “the reins” of stage manager to someone and eventually become a tour manager for iLuminate where he would be able to travel the world.
“Growing up in Japan, I’ve always known that the world is much bigger than just Parrish, Ala., or even the entire United States,” Aldridge said. “I want to see the world. … I also realize that we only have this one life, so far that we know of, to live so I want to do it knowing that I did everything that I could and to the best of my abilities that I could.”
For more information on iLuminate, visit the company’s website at www.iluminate.com or on Facebook.