Who will be The Broadway Producer of the Year 2015? VOTE NOW!
Cue the music! Hit the lights! It’s time for everyone’s favorite awards “show” . . . The Broadway Producer of the Year!
Every December for the last seven (!) years, I’ve polled my Broadway Producing peers for a list of those Producers who stood out in the previous twelve months as shining examples of our profession (the polling takes place at our year-end holiday parties, by the way, after my voters are a couple drinks in). And then, I take those suggestions, and list them here . . . so you can make the ultimate decision on who . . . who . . . who will be the Broadway Producer of the Year!
That’s right, you’re going to vote on who you think was the “Best” Broadway Producer of 2015. Ready?
May I have the electronic envelope please? Ladies and gentlemen, here are your nominees for Broadway Producer of the Year 2015! (In alpha order.)
1. Oskar Eustis
“Do you remember that article in the Times from 2011 about how The Public was in trouble after that big bet on Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson?” a Producer I polled asked me. “Me neither,” he answered after I shook my head no. “That’s because of the amazing job Oskar has done since.”
Under Oskar’s Artistic Direction, The Public helped birth Fun Home, which won this year’s Tony Award for Best Musical, and was also a mid-wife for Hamilton, which will win next year’s Tony Award for Best Musical (that’s not much of a prediction, so don’t look so shocked). But wait, there’s more. Eclipsed is also on its way to Broadway this season, and guess where that’s from? Not only has Oskar helped foster the development of terrific and important pieces of theater, these shows have also become commercial hits . . . which will line the pockets of The Public for years. Art + Commerce = Great Producing.
2. Fox Theatricals & Barbara Whitman
It was one thing for The Public to produce Fun Home. In fact, The Public’s production of Fun Home is a perfect example of regional theaters doing what they should do . . . produce and develop exceptional work that might not get produced otherwise. So it makes sense that The Public did it. It didn’t make sense that Fox Theatricals & Barbara Whitman did. The only reason to do it? Simple. They thought it was an incredible piece of theater and were passionate about getting it out to the world (and is there ever any better reason?). So they ignored every bit of conventional wisdom, burned up the phone lines, raised that money and moved the show. And boom, it won the Tony, will tour in an upcoming season . . . and has already announced recoupment! As I wrote here, Fun Home is a win-win-WIN for all of us, and for that, I was happy when its Lead Producers were suggested for this nomination.
3. Sir Howard Panter
“Owning one theater gets you invited to the club. Owning two theaters? People will now come to your club,” is how one Producer (and a Brit at that) described Sir Howard Panter’s recent acquisition of the Hudson Theatre, only eighteen months or so after he bought the Lyric. I always think of our industry in Godfather terms . . . and well, our five families just went to six. And ATG (Panter’s parent company), which owns a major ticketing company in addition to all its other theatrical assets, is making a move to be a major player on this continent.
4. Scott Rudin
“Scott Rudin is the most powerful person on Broadway.” I spit out my Coke when I heard a peer of mine utter this controversial comment, and looked around to make sure there were no theater owners within earshot. “He can get a theater whenever he wants. He can get whatever star he wants. And he practically owns the NY Times with all the advertising he buys. Success in business is controlling real estate, media and labor. He’s got it all.” Afraid of getting whacked by association, I skulked away slowly toward the pigs in a blanket. But I will say this, Scott is the Lead Producer of five shows this season. Five. Shuffle Along, The Crucible, Blackbird, The Humans and A View from the Bridge. Four of those, or 10% of the available theaters, will be running at the same time. And come Tony Time, all those shows will be contenders. Yeah, so controversy aside, he’s a Producing firestorm.
5. Jeffrey Seller, Jill Furman and Sander Jacobs
Three words. Ham. Il. Ton. I didn’t need to poll anyone to know that the names above the title on Hamilton (and the only names at that, besides The Public) would be nominees for Producer of the Year. Jeffrey Seller is a Best Musical making machine, on his way to his 4th Best Musical Tony. Four! One could be luck. Two, right place right time. Three? FOUR? Come on, now. That’s mastery. But as one Press Agent reminded me,” Jill Furman deserves special recognition for finding the unknown Lin-Manuel Miranda in the basement of the Drama Book Shop so many years ago and helping to ‘raise him’ into the artist that he is now.” All three of these Producers deserve special kudos for their support of an artist who has taken the entire art form in a new direction. That’s what great Producers do, shine a spotlight on someone who didn’t have one before.
So there they are . . . the current slate of Broadway Producer of the Year nominees for 2015!
And now it’s up to you . . . VOTE NOW!
We will accept votes up until December 29th at 11:59 PM EST and we will crown the Producer of the Year on December 30th!Click here to vote now!
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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.