Who are Broadway’s most powerful people? Just like last year, I put the question to a handful of industry insiders — from Producers to Press Agents to maybe even a Pulitzer nominee or two, whose identity, like mine, I’m keeping confidential. They ranked Broadway’s movers and shakers for a final and decidedly unscientific Spotted list of 50. Is power the ability to get a show up with the scratch of a pen? Is it the person at the very top of the game or the person you wouldn’t dare put on hold? I let everyone define “power” for themselves and let the chips fall as they may.
50. Hal Luftig (First Time On The List) With his hefty involvement in Evita and the upcoming Kinky Boots, Hal makes his way onto our list for the first time! This Broadway producer has been treading the boards since the early 1980’s and has shows to his name such as Angels in America, Jelly’s Last Jam, Annie Get Your Gun, and Legally Blonde.
49. Nick Wyman (Last Year: #46) As the President of Actors Equity, Nick is at the helm of Broadway’s most important union, comprising over 49,000 members. With new issues cropping up every day, from natural disaster (how can the community help those affected by Hurricane Sandy?) to Broadway disaster (what should the actors in Rebecca do with themselves?), Nick is always on hand to help our people.
48. Bob Greenblatt (Last Year: #38), Josh Safran & The Cast of Smash (First Time On The List) The one word on the lips of every Broadway person this season… SMASH. Thanks to Bob Greenblatt at NBC, the popular TV show about our own industry made it through its eventful first season amongst fanfare and criticisms… and its second season is poised to be so much bigger and better, we almost can’t believe it. Josh Safran has taken the reigns from previous show runner Theresa Rebeck, and the list of Broadway and Hollywood stars being added to the mix is astounding. New stars include Jennifer Hudson, Jeremy Jordan, Krysta Rodriguez, Sean Hayes, Andy Mientus, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Jesse L. Martin, Liza Minnelli, Nikki Blonsky, Julian Ovenden, Carolee Carmello… the list goes on and on. Expect return appearances by the likes of Bernadette Peters, cameos from people like Jordan Roth and Michael Riedel, and most of the insanely talented first season cast, and new songs from Marc Shaiman & Scott Wittman, as well as contemporary Broadway writers including Joe Iconis, Benj Pasek & Justin Paul, and Drew Gasparini. Whew! With Safran at the helm, the new episodes will have more music, less camp, bigger production values, and hotter, younger players on the team. We think the second season will be… well… a smash.
47. Damian Bazadona (Last Year: #49) The founder of Situation Interactive, this guy is an expert on all things digital and all things Broadway. Situation Interactive’s “tagline” is “a digital marketing agency spotlighting see-it-to-believe-it experiences.” We think they’re doing a great job with that spotlight. This season alone, Situation has worked on campaigns like Bring It On, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Spider-Man, Cyrano, The Performers, and Picnic. The company has offices in New York, but also in LA and Vegas, and they do live events, sports, and film as well. Last year, they were named one of iMedia’s Top 25 agencies to watch, and well… we’re watching.
46. Paul Libin (Last Year: #45) Paul is the Executive Vice President of Jujamcyn and the co-owner of Circle in the Square. He was formerly the Chairman of the Broadway League and has produced over 250 productions on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and on tour. His long and successful career in the theatre means that when Paul speaks, theatre folks listen. Fingers crossed for a long and successful tenant in Pump Boys And Dinettes!
45. Stephen Schwartz (Last Year: #43) One of Broadway’s reigning writers, Schwartz was represented on Broadway this past year with the ever-gravity-defying Wicked, as well as the Broadway revival of Godspell. (The breezeway that connects the Gershwin with Circle in the Square was briefly and affectionately renamed Schwartz Alley.) Stephen’s show Working also made an NYC return with an acclaimed run at 59E59, and Pippin is on its way soon. Someone sure is pop-u-lar.
44. Michael Cohl (Last Year: #44) Everyone said it couldn’t be done. But Michael has kept Spider-Man running against all odds. As one industry insider quipped, “I bet the Titanic wishes they’d had Michael Cohl on board.” The former Chairman of Live Nation, the largest live entertainment company in the world, Michael will now forever be known in the theatre community as the producer of Spider-Man. Michael holds the reins on the most expensive production in Broadway history, and he’s turned it from a Safety-Hazard-Making-National-Headlines to a Top-Grossing-Broadway-Musical. Jury is still out on whether or not the superhero will recoup, but the jury is unanimous that Michael makes our list.
43. Tino Gagliardi (Last Year: #40) This past December, Tino won a second term as President of Local 802, in the first uncontested election since 1990. The Broadway Musician’s union is 100% behind their leader and Tino will not let them down. With producers eager to cut costs they deem unnecessary, the size of our Broadway orchestras is a hot topic on the Great White Way. Tino is the Enjolras of the musician’s brigade and we’re just waiting for the battle.
42. Sonia Friedman (Last Year: #41) When Sonia last appeared on our list, she had 12 Tony nominations and 4 wins to her name. Just a year later, this powerful British producer has racked up 2 more Tony noms and another win! This season, Sonia has Lucky Guy on her plate. We’re thinking we’ll probably see her on the red carpet soon.
41. The Cast of Glee (Last Year: #29) There is not a single person in the biz who has not dreamcast a Glee actor in a show. These stars are on the tips of everyone’s tongue when a new project comes up. “What about Lea Michele in Funny Girl?!” has been said with excitement or disgust, at every gay bar on 9th Avenue.