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Minneapolis man produces Closing Ceremony in Sochi


A man who calls Minneapolis home got to check an item off his bucket list – producing the Closing Ceremony of the Olympics.

Since October, Michael Shann has been developing the production in Russia, first in Moscow and then in Sochi, according to the Star Tribune. He’s worked 12 to 16 hours per day putting the final touches on the show, which will be televised Sunday night.

“This is a bucket-list item for me. The Olympics are a life experience that I think everyone should get a chance to experience. It’s great to watch on television, but it’s really something I wish everyone had a chance to see live,” Shann told the Star Tribune.

Shann got his start as a stage manager for the Walt Disney Company, which led to a 20-year career as a producer, the Star Tribune reports. He produced events for Disneyland’s 35th anniversary, a Super Bowl and movie premieres, among other things.

A former colleague of Shann’s told him about a job with FiveCurrents, the company that’s contracted to create the Closing Ceremony. Shann and six of his former colleagues are working on the Sochi shows, according to the Star Tribune.

The Star Tribune reports while in Moscow, Shann oversaw construction bids for sets and scenery, budget work, recording music and completing models and designs. He told the Star Tribune the creative team had a lot of freedom.

“It was great fun to be around a planning table with French speakers, Italian speakers, German speakers and Russian speakers, all trying to speak English,” Shann told the Star Tribune.

The Closing Ceremony will focus on Russia’s culture, according to the Star Tribune.

The Star Tribune reports Shann attended one sporting event at the Olympics – a speedskating race.

Shann and his wife moved to Northeast Minneapolis two years ago to be closer to their family. After the Olympics he will return to Minnesota and continue working on corporate projects, according to the Star Tribune.

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