I thought I knew every theatre award there was, but I've just been introduced to one more award, "Producer of the Year" which is given out by Broadway Global, founded in 2009 by Richard Cameron and director/choreographer Ron Hutchins. Broadway Global honors investors in live stage works who inspire & teach respect of cultures, embrace diversity & educate on issues in our now global society.
All Broadway Global "Producers of the Year" winners must be #1 accessible on social media, #2 - leave a legacy for live stage works for the Broadway brand that inspires respect, embraces diversity & brings nations together & #3 - give back to not-for-profits that make our global society a better world for all, sharing their time & efforts in charity work. Each winner is presented with the "Producer's Puzzle" an original work of art created by artist, Steve Marshall, who is also an internationally acclaimed American magician living in Japan. Marshall donates the commissions of his works to The Smile Train, an international children’s charity that provides 100% free cleft palate repair surgery & comprehensive cleft palate care to children in over 85 developing nations.
The 2016 "Producer of Year" award went to, Cathy Rigby and Tom McCoy, the first couple and first female winner all in one. Cathy Rigby has represented America globally from her early years as a gymnast & Olympian & through their company, McCoy Rigby Entertainment, they have continued those Olympian values in live theatre & arts education, with regional investments in the arts with productions at their creative home-base of LaMirada Theatre & arts education through McCoy Rigby Conservatory of the Arts. Their producing credits span decades, creating & developing the global brand that is the beloved Peter Pan & continuing to inspire the world to "Believe." Combining the talents of musical theatre star Cathy Rigby with Tom McCoy’s extensive production & theatrical experience, McCoy Rigby Entertainment has become one of the nation’s premier theatrical production companies, with credits that include Tony-nominated Broadway shows, long-running National tours, multiple-award-winning Los Angeles stage productions & TV specials, producing decades of award-winning plays, musicals & concerts.
The nominations for 2017 Broadway Global "Producer of the Year" must be submitted by May 2017, prior to the 2017 Tony Awards. Nominations for Broadway Global "Producer of the Year" are accepted through social media in over 30 city/state Theatre Chat groups on Facebook, with over 200,000 arts lovers. You can also nominate by tweeting your nomination to @BroadwayGlobal or @TheatreChat. Nominations are also accepted through direct email at TheatreChat@me.com. Please use the hashtag #BroadwayGlobal & #BroadwayGlobalProducerOfTheYear.
1. You are the co-founder (along with Ron Hutchins) of Broadway Global, a company that honors investors in live stage works who inspire & teach respect of cultures, embrace diversity & educate on issues in our now global society. How did you two come to create this venture? Ron had a show about Sammy Davis Jr. Once in a Lifetime, from Harlem to Hollywood he wrote Sammy's journey by using the music/songs that made Sammy famous, and the songs highlighted what events happened in his lifetime. I realized even though we have so many contacts in theatre, we didn't know who could invest in it. So I started educating myself on the team of producers who were accessible on social media, and found the team of investors choose similar type shows on their values! Then I realized there was no award to honor these investors! A Tony Award for best play or musical didn't honor their global work on and off the stage. We honored a young face the first year Jordan Scott Gilbert (associate producer, Ghost) as he put a young face to producing! Truth is Jordan Roth was my first choice because of givnik.Com...owner of theatre, gives to not for profits, on twitter...but he wouldn't accept it! I learned quickly not to give them a choice. The producer who wins #BGPOY now wins! ;)
2. Broadway Global was founded in 2009. What was that first year like? What were the high points and low points? "Educational I never knew how amazing this very small group of investors were. We had close to 80 nominations and I kept most of them on the list! With only a handful of families owning 40 Broadway theater's you can imagine the small list of investors, that look huge in the Playbill, but I still see them as two handfuls!"
High point was Dale Badway winner 2nd Year, he also fit our mission on and off the stage and is Theatre World Awards President. Tom Kirdahy 3rd Year winner, openly gay and married to playwright Terrence McNally - he was honored on the set of It's Only a Play but Mothers and Sons stole our hearts! Michael A. Alden 4th Year brought a young face again to investing/producing, and is an Emmy winner! Michael lives in Los Angeles so this year's winners, our first woman and first couple - Cathy Rigby McCoy were honored in LA. They produced Dreamgirls in Japan, Hunchback at LaMirada and run a conservatory passing on the arts baton!
The low moments were educating on framing the "Producer's Puzzle" made by internationally acclaimed Steve Marshall, an American living and working in Japan. The sizes are different so the first two years we had the art sent without frames, the 3rd framed in Japan and it got ruined in mail and me bringing it to NYC...the 4th and 5th have crazy stories...two were made when Steven was in the USA to see his mom before she passed. Ron had one framed so I could get it to Michael A. Alden in NYC on his visit, but the paintings were numbered and the wrong painting was framed. I had scheduled a date for Michael in NYC and didn't want someone to change frames one day and see Michaels name on their win, so I brought him the "Producer's Puzzle" without a frame and gave him money to frame it...lord what a mess, but I believe things are destined for a reason, not sure why it played out that way but makes for a crazy story! Cathy Rigby McCoy and Tom McCoy painting was already framed! If frame is the low points, everything has been above amazing!
3. Each year, you present "Producer of the Year" award to someone or a couple who are looked upon as a global leader "on & off the stage." Nominations are accepted through social media in over 30 city/state Theatre Chat groups on Facebook. You can also nominate by tweeting your nomination to @BroadwayGlobal or @TheatreChat or through direct email. Why did you want the nominations to be submitted via social media as opposed to forming a committee? Once the nominations are submitted, how do you decide the winners? The Board has the final choice to add nominees and choose the official winner. All are amazing individuals/producers, on and off the stage, but we can only honor so many...because we want the winners to be on social media, I prefer they nominate them in the Theatre Chat and Broadway Global groups on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram so all can see! And it advertises their shows and values. It makes it easier for me to educate myself and our board on each one's accolades! Some producers nominate their friends and want it kept secret not to upset fellow investors! The nominations are announced before the Tony Awards and we see it gets Tony Award voters and patrons in seats!
4. All Broadway Global "Producers of the Year" winners must be #1 accessible on social media, #2 - leave a legacy for live stage works for the Broadway brand that inspires respect, embraces diversity & brings nations together & #3 - give back to not-for-profits that make our global society a better world for all, sharing their time & efforts in charity work. Which social media sites do you spend most of your time on? What legacy do you hope to leave behind? How do you give back? I'll start with your last question how do I give back? I think it's important to know that philanthropy can be with time! I spend 24/7 promoting arts. I get 60 or more press releases/emails a day and try to offer the correct city/state Theatre Chat to market their target audience! But it's best when PR post on the groups themselves as they can see the responses and comment. With over 200,000 arts lovers I'm spending much time approving members, approving posts with public events, working websites and proper PR info. "Keeping Artists Employed and Patrons informed" is my 24/7 job but it's the circle of life as it educates me on global productions and investors! On Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Tumbler, LinkedIn...
Legacy for #Broadway can be new shows bringing a younger audience like Ghost, classics like Pippin, or new works like Mothers and Sons that gave closer to a mother who lost her son to AIDS...its global issues, music, dance, theatre again an international language that educates acceptance of cultures, educates diversity and respect for all religions and basic humanity!
5. Each winner is presented with "Producer's Puzzle" an original work of art created by artist, Steve Marshall, who is also an internationally acclaimed American magician living in Japan. As a producer yourself, what is one puzzle you have yet to solve? Every puzzle has different pieces! When producers, directors, choreographers, actors, stage managers and entire production teams trust, each one has the perfect fit, embracing the tricks, clever skills...any puzzle in theatre can be achieved with brilliance!
6. This year's "Producer of the Year" went to Cathy Rigby & Tom McCoy, the first couple ever chose to win together, and Cathy being the first female winner. Why do you think it took six years to get a female winner when there are so many talented female artists out there? Why did you feel they both deserved the award together as opposed to just one of them? These winners must be acknowledged as a team. We honor the individuals not their companies. Cathy Rigby McCoy and Tom McCoy bring her global Olympian attitudes to life and continue to amaze me in what I find out on and off the stage.
Many women have been nominated and I'll point out a few outstanding Barbara Freitag, Pat Addiss, Oprah Winfrey...need I say more? They all could have won. But destiny plays out...non of them have a conservatory passing on the arts baton like our Olympian and her hubby! They set the bar higher for every year to follow! I think we will have a woman president soon #HillaryClinton. So the 40 theatre owners (a handful or the Broadway investors (two handfuls) are seeing more women embrace leadership! It wasn't that long ago that women could not vote, we still see on social media countries that don't want their woman to drive! Globally arts has a huge responsibility to make that change! Investors call me I'll Hook you up! ;)
7. Who or what inspired you to want to work in the arts? My mother Janice Carol Cameron played the piano and organ in church, clarinet, and did shows from Oliver to Sound of Music...so Mom was the inspiration at first but it's our educators. Drama teachers, music teachers, college professors and if I pointed one out I need to point them all. Too many to mention but they prepared me for the audition! Bill Yule and Barry Ball hired me on my first cruise ship, I worked with Wayne Cilento as our director of Fiddler on the Roof, Gypsy and you won't believe his Chess on a cruise ship, the cast loved it! It educated me as I became a Cruise Director to oversee 70 or more entertainment staff and I was blessed to travel on world cruises...what an education I got! If you want to be an actor don't hang out with actors, find every unique interesting person you can find and embrace each individuals passion! Then you will become an amazing artist!
8. If you music, dance, and theatre are the international languages that brings nations together, where do you still hope to create work that you haven't been able to yet? Through technology we have apps that allow me to communicate with Facebook friends from the Middle East, Asia. Europe,...it's not easy to time it right, as our hours are so different. I can only imagine how crazy Mark Zuckerberg feels...but I communicate with them and many have shows they want to produce here! An American living in Miami has a show called Wundrkinds and I love these young ambassadors sharing dance, music, physicality...Cirque may have captured that magic as well, but the sky is the limit. Don't believe theatre must start in America or the west end...humanity and art is global!
9. What is a Broadway show that you would like to see produced globally, but hasn't been done yet? Every country has reasons to produce a show that markets their target audience, needed message, and values! It is much like our two hands of investors. We have to match the right show to the right country! Kinky Boots is too soon for countries killing our #LGBTQ community but others just might need it now! ;) Allegiance should be produced in Japan ASAP! What we did to our American Japanese is what could happen or is happening globally to innocent citizens...not everyone is a terrorist, and when we start living in fear we allow terrorist to control our habits!
Let's look at easier options Disney may have that market and may have even helped our industry get tax breaks on stage works! Movies were not taxed until they recouped...I'm explaining these in simple terms...but because film industry had great lawyers and now they see money and success of Broadway and merchandise...the film industry lawyers and investors educated legislation to give tax breaks to Broadway. So the shows we choose for global productions can't just be about message, the merchandise and future of the initial investment must be carefully calculated! ;)
10. Like Cathy Rigby's Peter Pan, who never wanted to grow-up, what is something you've held onto from your childhood that you refuse to let go of? My innocence! I refuse to focus on the negative, as a child we see no fear, we have a natural positive power for creating stories, characters, eventually a show plays out! I won't let go of that vacuum cord singing "Don't Rain on my Parade," if the easy bake oven didn't warn mom, my memorizing the lyrics from Yentl should have been a clue! How did I miss that as a global production? Barbra it's time to educate the world of this young girl who dresses as a boy so she can be educated! Then the 40 Broadway theater's - just a hand full of owners, and two handfuls of investors, will become an international handful of investors bringing a legacy to Broadway Global! ;)