Opening remarks: Caissie Levy and Patti Murin

Spotlighting Marquee Women

Perspectives from the creative forces behind this season’s Broadway shows.

Watch The Panel
Moderator: Gayle King
Panelists: Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Nell Benjamin, Tina Fey, Sonia Friedman, Tina Landau
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Gayle King

Gayle King is a co-host of "CBS This Morning” and Editor-at-Large of the award-winning O, the Oprah Magazine.

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Kristen Anderson-Lopez

Broadway: Frozen; co-creator/writer of In Transit (Broadway’s first a cappella musical).Regional: Frozen (Denver Center); Up Here (La Jolla Playhouse); Finding Nemo: The Musical(Disney World, running since 2006). Film: Pixar’s Coco (Oscar® and Golden Globe nominations for Best Original Song for “Remember Me”), Frozen (Oscar and Grammy Award® wins for “Let It Go”), Winnie The Pooh. TV: songs for 87th Academy Awards (Emmy® nomination), “The Comedians,” “The Wonder Pets.” 2014 recipient, and now proud board member, of the Lilly Awards. Upcoming projects include Disney’s Frozen 2. Williams College grad, BMI Workshop, Dramatists Guild council. She lives in Brooklyn with Robert and their two daughters.

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Nell Benjamin

Co-writer of the score to the musical Legally Blonde with Laurence O’Keefe. They have also written Huzzah! and Life of the Party.

She has written book and/or lyrics for the musicals Dave, Because of Winn Dixie, Halftime, Sarah, Plain and Tall, Pirates! (or Gilbert and Sullivan plunder’d), Cam Jansen, I Want My Hat Back, How I Became A Pirate, and The Mice.

She has written a play, The Explorers Club, and the New York Philharmonic New Year’s Eve and Young Peoples’ concerts.  Nell is also thrilled to be working on Mean Girls the Musical, which opens April 8.

TV: Unhappily Ever After, Whoa! Sunday with Mo Rocca, the new Electric Company, Best Time Ever With Neil Patrick Harris, Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, Julie’s Greenroom.

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Tina Fey

Writer, actress, and producer best known as Liz Lemon on her Emmy Award-winning “30 Rock” and for nine seasons as a writer and cast member on “Saturday Night Live.” Films include SistersWhiskey Tango FoxtrotDate Night and Mean Girls (which she wrote). Youngest recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Ms. Fey’s first book, Bossypants, topped the New York Times bestseller list for over 36 consecutive weeks. Currently: co-creator of Netflix’s “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” and an executive producer of NBC’s “Great News."

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Sonia Friedman

Sonia Friedman Productions (SFP) is a West End and Broadway production company responsible for some of the most successful theatre productions in London and New York.

Since 1990, SFP has developed, initiated and produced over 160 new productions and together they have won a staggering 44 Olivier Awards including a record-breaking 14 at the 2014 Awards. In 2017, SFP won 9 Olivier Awards for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the most awards ever received by a single production in Oliviers’ history. The company has also won 18 Tonys and 2 BAFTAs.

In 2017, Sonia Friedman OBE was awarded 'Producer of the Year' at the Stage Awards for the third year in a row as well as taking the number one spot in 'The Stage 100', becoming the first number one in the history of the compilation not to own or operate West End theatres and the first solo woman for almost 20 years. 

West End and Broadway productions include: the UK premiere of The Book of Mormon, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the UK premiere of Dreamgirls, The Birthday Party, Ink, Hamlet starring Andrew Scott, 1984 at the Hudson Theatre, New York, Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour, The Ferryman Royal Court and Gielgud, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Travesties, The Glass Menagerie, Nice Fish, A Christmas Carol, Funny Girl West End and UK tour, Farinelli and The King starring Mark Rylance, Hamlet starring Benedict Cumberbatch, 1984, Sunny Afternoon West End and UK tour, Bend It Like Beckham, The Nether, The River, Electra, King Charles III, Shakespeare in Love, Ghosts, Mojo, Chimerica, Merrily We Roll Along, Old Times, Twelfth Night and Richard III, A Chorus of Disapproval, The Sunshine Boys, Hay Fever, Absent Friends, Top Girls, Betrayal, Much Ado About Nothing, Clybourne Park, The Children’s Hour, A Flea in Her Ear, La Bête, All My Sons, Private Lives, Jerusalem, A Little Night Music, Legally Blonde, Othello, Arcadia, The Mountaintop, The Norman Conquests, A View From the Bridge, Dancing at Lughnasa, Maria Friedman: Re-Arranged, La Cage aux Folles, No Man’s Land, The Seagull, Under the Blue Sky, That Face, Dealer’s Choice, Hergés Adventures of Tintin, In Celebration, Boeing-Boeing, The Dumb Waiter, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Love Song, Faith Healer, Bent, Eh Joe, Donkeys’ Years, Otherwise Engaged, Celebration, Shoot the Crow, As You Like It, The Home Place, Whose Life Is It Anyway?, By the Bog of Cats, The Woman in White, Guantanamo: ‘Honor Bound to Defend Freedom’, Endgame, Jumpers, See You Next Tuesday, Hitchcock Blonde, Absolutely! {Perhaps}, Sexual Perversity in Chicago, Ragtime, Macbeth, What the Night Is For, Afterplay, Up for Grabs, A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, Noises Off, On an Average Day, A Servant to Two Masters, Port Authority, Spoonface Steinberg and Speed-The-Plow.

Forthcoming productions include: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Lyric Theatre, New York, Travesties at The American Airlines Theatre, New York, Mean Girls at the August Wilson Theatre, New York, The Ferryman at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, New York, and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Princess Theatre, Melbourne.

For a full list of SFP’s theatre credits, please visit soniafriedman.com.

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Tina Landau

Tina Landau is a writer and director whose work includes directing/conceiving SpongeBob Squarepants: The Broadway Musical (currently on Broadway), Tarell McCraney’s Head of Passes (Steppenwolf, The Public, Mark Taper Forum), Wig Out!(Vineyard Theatre), and In the Red and Brown Water (The Public), Bill Irwin/David Shiner’s Old Hats and Chuck Mee’s Big Loveand Iphigenia 2.0 (all Signature Theatre), Paula Vogel’s A Civil War Christmas (New York Theatre Workshop), and her musical Floyd Collins (also bookwriter/additional lyrics, Playwrights Horizons.) On Broadway, Landau has also directed Tracy Letts’sSuperior Donuts and the revival of Bells Are Ringing. At Steppenwolf Theatre, where she's an ensemble member, Tina's twenty productions include The Wheel, Hot L Baltimore, The Brother/Sister Plays, The Tempest, The Time of Your Life (also Seattle Rep, ACT), The Diary of Anne Frank, The Cherry Orchard, The Ballad of Little Jo, Berlin Circle, and her own play Space (also Mark Taper Forum, the Public.) Additional regional credits include Beauty (also writer, La Jolla Playhouse), Antony and Cleopatra (Harford Stage), and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (McCarter Theatre, Paper Mill Playhouse). Landau has taught regularly at such schools as Yale, Columbia, Harvard, and Northwestern, and has co-authored The Viewpoints Book with Anne Bogart.  Her upcoming spring projects include The Doppelgänger, starring Rainn Wilson at Steppenwolf, and the premiere of the new musical Dave at Arena Stage.

Creating Leading Ladies

Exploring iconic women on the page and on the stage.
Introduction by Arielle Jacobs.

Watch The Panel
Moderator: Whoopi Goldberg
Panelists: Renée Elise Goldsberry, Katrina Lenk, Chita Rivera, Lea Salonga, Sherie Rene Scott
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Whoopi Goldberg

In 2002, Whoopi Goldberg became one of a very elite group of artists who have won the Grammy (“Whoopi Goldberg,” 1985), the Academy Award (“Ghost,” 1991), the Golden Globe (“The Color Purple,” 1985 and “Ghost,” 1991), the Emmy (as host of AMC’s “Beyond Tara: The Extraordinary Life of Hattie McDaniel,” 2002 and a Daytime Emmy for “The View” in 2009) and a Tony (Producer of “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” 2002). She is equally well-known for her humanitarian efforts on behalf of children, the homeless, human rights, education, substance abuse and the battle against AIDS, as well as many other causes and charities. Among her many charitable activities, Whoopi is a Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations.

Whoopi has appeared in many films such as ““Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “Sister Act,” ““Corrina, Corrina,” “Boys on the Side,” “Eddie,” “The Associate” “How Stella Got Her Groove Back,” “Girl, Interrupted,” and “Rat Race.” She has voiced characters in such animated features as “The Lion King,” “Racing Stripes,” “Doogal,” and “Everyone’s Hero.” She was part of Tyler Perry’s all-star film adaption of “For Colored Girls…” a Lifetime Original Movie, “A Day Late and a Dollar Short,” which she also executive produced, as well as Paramount/Nickelodeon Movies’ “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” and the upcoming feature film “Big Stone Gap.” She produced the documentary short, “Coach,” about legendary coach C. Vivian Stringer, for ESPN’s “Nine for IX” series. She produced and made her directorial debut with the documentary, “Whoopi Goldberg Presents Moms Mabley,” which premiered at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival and premiered on HBO in November 2013.

On television she has appeared on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” hosted her own syndicated late-night talk show, starred in the NBC sitcom, “Whoopi,” which she executive produced, as well as the television movies, “It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie” and Showtime’s “Good Fences,” which she co-produced with co-star Danny Glover. She produced and appeared on Nick Jr’s “Whoopi’s Littleburg” and guest starred opposite Benjamin Bratt in A&E’s “The Cleaner”. Whoopi most recently had recurring roles on ABC’s “666 Park Avenue,” and in the FOX comedy series “Glee.” She currently appears on ABC’s Emmy Award-winning “The View,” for which she has won a Daytime Emmy Award.

As she has in every other facet of her career, Whoopi has made her mark as a producer on television and on Broadway including SISTER ACT, which is currently playing throughout the world.

In 1992, Whoopi made her debut as an author with her first children’s book, “Alice.” Her second literary endeavor, simply entitled “Book,” became a bestseller in the U.S. and around the world. Hyperion Books published “Whoopi’s Big Book of Manners” in 2006 and launched the “Sugar Plum Ballerinas” book series for young readers in 2008 with “Plum Fantastic,” followed by “Toeshoe Trouble,” “Perfectly Prima,” “Terrible Terrel,” “Sugar Plums to the Rescue!,” and “Dancing Diva.” “Is It Just Me?” and “If Someone Says ‘You Complete Me’ Run” are her most recent books for adults.

Among her many awards and honors, Whoopi has placed prints of her hands, feet and braids in the forecourt of the famed Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in front of the Kodak Theatre.

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Renée Elise Goldsberry

Renée Elise Goldsberry received the Tony Award, Grammy Award, Drama Desk Award, and Lucille Lortel Award for her performance on and off Broadway in the musical phenomenon Hamilton.

Since winning the Tony Award, she has appeared in the title role of HBO’s "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" opposite Oprah Winfrey, and in Baz Luhrmann’s "The Get Down" for Netflix .

Currently she is starring in the hit series “Altered Carbon” streaming now on Netflix. In the Fall of 2018, Renee will be seen in the Amblin Entertainment film "The House with a Clock in its Walls” opposite Cate Blanchett, Jack Black, and Kyle Maclachlan.

Prior to Hamilton, Renee’s appearances on stage include her Outer Critics Circle Award nominated performance opposite Frances McDormand in the play Good People, as well as the original stage version of The Color Purple. She made her Broadway debut in The Lion King, and her performance as Mimi in Broadway’s closing cast of Rent was immortalized on film!  Her off-Broadway appearances have included several Shakespeare productions for the Public Theater, including Two Gentlemen of Verona in the critically acclaimed revival in The Park.

Highlights from her television and film credits include her work on “The Good Wife,” “The Following”, the animated series "The Lion Guard”, the Universal Pictures hit, Sisters, the Independent Film All About You, and her creation of the beloved character, Evangeline Williamson, on ABC’S “One Life to Live,” for which she received two Daytime Emmy nominations and two NAACP Image Award nominations.

Renee has a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University, and an MFA from the University of Southern California. She is a mother of 2 and a happy wife! For every blessing, personal and professional, Renee gives all glory to God!

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Katrina Lenk

Lauded as the actress who will “Quietly break your heart…who combines classic beauty worthy of a 1930s film star with easygoing friendliness” (Elisabeth Vincintelli, NY Times) and a “new kind of Broadway leading lady” (Casey Mink, Backstage), Katrina Lenk is fast making an indelible mark on audiences of all kinds with her unique brand of storytelling through music and performance.

A true triple threat, Katrina can currently be seen starring in Broadway’s highly anticipated transfer of ‘The Band’s Visit’, reprising the role of Dina, the sultry owner of a lone café in a dead-end Israeli town. Ms. Lenk originated the role in the Atlantic Theater Company’s Off-Broadway production, earning a Lucille Lortel Award for Best Actress in a Musical, Outer Critics Circle Nomination, Theatre World Award’s Dorothy Louden Award and a Clarence Derwent Award for Breakout Female of the Year. Prior to ‘The Band’s Visit’ Katrina starred on Broadway in Pulitzer Prize winner Paula Vogel’s ‘Indecent’ (Outer Critics Circle Nomination). 

From a very young age, musicality was in Katrina’s blood. She started dancing at three years old and at six started playing the viola. Her first professional theatre break came during her senior year of college at Northwestern University when she was cast as a dancer in My Fair Lady at a dinner theater in the western suburbs of Chicago. She went on to graduate Northwestern with a degree in Music and a minor in Musical Theater. After graduation, Katrina continued to perform in theater across the Midwest before heading to LA to pursue television and film. 

During her time in Los Angeles, Ms. Lenk starred in ‘Lovelace: A Rock Opera’ for which she won an LA Weekly Award, a Garland Award and a Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award. Soon, she found herself called to NY by director Kate Whoriskey (with whom she had worked on ‘The Caucasian Chalk Circle’ at South Coast Rep and ‘Camille’ at Bard Summerscape) to understudy the roles of both Annie Sullivan and Kate Keller in the ‘Miracle Worker’ on Broadway. Next, she starred in Broadway’s ‘Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark’ and as Reza in the Broadway musical, ‘Once’.

Katrina’s TV credits include: "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel", "The Good Fight", "The Get Down", "Elementary", "The Blacklist," “According to Jim,” and “Will and Grace.” She also co-created and appeared as a series regular on the web series “Miss Teri.” 

On the big screen she has appeared in Look Away, Evol: The Theory of Love, Elan Vital, Crime Fiction, Kiss Me in the Dark and Space Daze. She has appeared in short films such as The Vigilante, Fractured, Arthur and the Bunnies, and Preservation.

Katrina now resides in NYC permanently and, in her free time, can be seen in her one-woman band/ performance art piece called Moxy Phinx.


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Chita Rivera

An accomplished and versatile actress/singer/dancer, Chita Rivera has won two Tony Awards as Best Leading Actress in a Musical and received eight additional Tony nominations for an exceptional 10 Tony nominations. She recently starred in The Visit, the final John Kander/Fred Ebb/Terrence McNally musical directed by John Doyle and choreographed by Graciela Daniele on Broadway (2015). She starred in the Broadway revival of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, the Broadway and touring productions of The Dancer’s Life, a dazzling new musical celebrating her spectacular career, written by Terrence McNally and directed by Graciela Daniele and the revival of the Broadway musical Nine with Antonio Banderas. She trained as a ballerina (from age 11) before receiving a scholarship to the School of American Ballet from legendary George Balanchine. Chita’s first appearance (age 17) was as a principal dancer in Call Me Madam. Her electric performance as Anita in the original Broadway premiere of West Side Story brought her stardom, which she repeated in London. Her career is highlighted by starring roles in Bye Bye Birdie, The Rink (Tony Award), Chicago, Jerry’s Girls, Kiss of the Spider Woman (Tony Award), and the original Broadway casts of Guys and Dolls, Can-Can, Seventh Heaven and Mr. Wonderful. On tour: Born Yesterday, The Rose Tattoo, Call Me Madam, Threepenny Opera, Sweet Charity, Kiss Me Kate, Zorba, Can-Can with The Rockettes. Chita was awarded The Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2009. She received the coveted Kennedy Center Honor in 2002 and became the first Hispanic woman ever chosen to receive this award. In November, 2016 she headlined at Carnegie Hall and in 2015, Great Performances aired their special Chita Rivera: A Lot of Livin’ To Do, a retrospective of her extraordinary life and career nationally on PBS. Her current solo CD is entitled And Now I Swing. Chita is currently on a concert tour with Tommy Tune in Chita & Tune: Just In Time. Her most treasured production is her daughter, singer/dancer/choreographer Lisa Mordente.

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Lea Salonga

Known across the world for her powerful voice and perfect pitch, Lea Salonga is a singer and actress who is best known for her Tony Award winning role in Miss Saigon. In addition to the Tony, she has won the Olivier, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Theatre World Awards, in the field of musical theatre. She was also the first Asian to play Eponine in the musical Les Misérables on Broadway and returned to the beloved show as Fantine in the 2006 revival in addition to starring in the 10th and 25th Anniversary Concerts filmed and recorded for PBS. Lea’s other Broadway appearances include Flower Drum Song and Allegiance. Lea currently stars in the acclaimed Broadway revival of Once on This Island.   Many fans of all ages recognize Lea as the singing voice of Princess Jasmine from Aladdin and Fa Mulan for Mulan and Mulan II. For her portrayal of the beloved princesses, the Walt Disney Company bestowed her with the honor of “Disney Legend” in August of 2011. As a concert artist Lea has toured all over the world, performing sold out concerts in some of the world’s most iconic venues including the Sydney Opera House, Disney Concert Hall, Singapore’s Esplanade, Hong Kong Cultural Center, Carnegie Hall, and London’s O2 Arena.

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Sherie Rene Scott

Actor: John Patrick Shanley’s The Portuguese KidThe Front PageWhorl Inside a LoopEveryday Rapture (Tony, Drama Desk, Lortel noms.), Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Drama Desk nom.), John Guare’sLandscape of the Body (Obie Award, Lortel Award), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Tony, Drama Desk, OCC noms.), Disney’s The Little Mermaid (OCC  nom.), Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida (Derwent Award), The Last Five Years(Drama Desk nom.). Writer: co-author with Dick Scanlan of the critically acclaimed Whorl Inside a Loop and Everyday Rapture (book and musical Tony, Drama Desk and Lortel noms.). Artist in residence: Second Stage Theater. Founder of Grammy-winning Sh-K-Boom/Ghostlight Records 2000-2014. Producer: The Last Five Years film.

Women of Broadway: Advice & Lessons Learned

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Emerging from the Wings

​Overcoming underrepresentation of women on and off stage.
Introduction by Bonita Hamilton.

Watch The Panel
Moderator: Juju Chang
Panelists: Hillary Blanken, Natasha Katz, ​Baayork Lee, Marsha Norman
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Juju Chang

Juju Chang is an Emmy Award-winning co-anchor of ABC News’ “Nightline.” She also reports regularly for “Good Morning America” and “20/20.”

Chang has been recognized for her in-depth personal narratives set against the backdrop of pressing national and international news. Her exclusive television interview with transgender solider Chelsea Manning, after seven years in prison, explored issues of national security leaks and LGBTQ military service. Her profile of former firefighter Pat Hardison – after a groundbreaking face transplant – highlighted the crisis of organ donation. Additionally, Chang anchored a special edition of “Nightline,” “Consent on Campus,” from Penn State which tackled complex issues surrounding sexual assault.

Chang has also covered major breaking news for decades for ABC News, including Superstorm Sandy, the Orlando nightclub massacre and the Boston Marathon bombing. She has traveled around the world to report on global issues including a three-country trip through Central Africa on the front lines against Boko Haram in the latest on #bringbackourgirls, and to Honduras for “Femicide: the Untold War,” an eye-opening look at rampant violence against women.

Chang has profiled newsmakers like Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, former Vice President Joe Biden and Oprah Winfrey as well as entertainers like Chris Pratt, Channing Tatum, and Nicki Minaj. Her extensive feature reporting covers parenting dilemmas, digital addictions and social media moguls like Dude Perfect and Esther the Wonder Pig.

A former news anchor for “Good Morning America,” Chang joined ABC News as an entry level desk assistant in 1987 and rose to become a producer for “World News Tonight.” Her first on-air job was reporting for KGO-TV in San Francisco. After a year in Washington, D.C. covering the White House, Capitol Hill and the presidential election for NewsOne, she co-anchored the overnight show “World News Now.” Chang’s work has been recognized with numerous awards including multiple Emmy’s, Gracie’s, a DuPont, a Murrow and Peabody awards.

Born in Seoul, South Korea and raised in Northern California, Chang graduated with honors from Stanford University with a B.A. in political science and communication. She is married to WNET President and CEO Neal Shapiro and together they have three sons. Chang is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a founding board member of the Korean American Community Foundation.

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Hillary Blanken
Technical Supervisor

Juniper Street Productions provides production and event management on Broadway and across the United States. Founded in 1998, Juniper Street Productions has strong ties throughout the theatre community in New York. The scope of these relationships includes producers, general managers and designers as well as production personnel. JSP also enjoys an excellent rapport within the theatrical support industry, having worked closely throughout the years with various lighting, sound and scenery shops. Juniper Street Productions is Hillary Blanken, Guy Kwan, Ana Rose Greene, Joseph DeLuise and Victoria Bullard.

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Natasha Katz
Lighting Designer

Natasha Katz has designed extensively for theatre, opera, dance, concerts and permanent lighting installations around the world. She is a six-time Tony Award® winner whose recent Broadway credits include FrozenSpringsteen on Broadway; the recent revival of Hello, Dolly!; Cats; Long Day’s Journey Into Night; School of Rock; An American in Paris; Aladdin; Skylight; The Glass Menagerie; Once; The Coast of Utopia: Salvage; Aida; and Beauty and the Beast.

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​Baayork Lee
Director/ Choreographer

Baayork Lee has performed in a dozen Broadway shows and created the role of Connie in A Chorus Line, also serving as Michael Bennett’s assistant choreographer on A Chorus Line, of which she has directed and choreographed many national and international companies.

Her directing and choreography credits also include; The King and I and Bombay Dreams(national tours), Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (NYC Opera), Barnum (Australia), Carmen Jones (Kennedy Center), Porgy and Bess and Jesus Christ Superstar (European tours), Gypsy and A New Brain. She has also choreographed Miss Saigon (Kansas City Starlight), Mack and Mabel (Shaw Festival), Animal CrackersSouth Pacific (Helen Hayes nominations,) CoconutsCamelot, and Damn Yankees, all at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.

Through her nonprofit National Asian Artists Project (NAAP), Baayorks’ vision includes educating, cultivating, and stimulating audiences and artists of Asian descent through the many outreach programs the company offers. The organization has produced Oklahoma!,CarouselHello Dolly!Oliver! and Honor (collaboration with Prospect Theater Company)with all Asian-American casts. With these classic shows, NAAP has demonstrated that famous works can speak to all audiences and ethnicity is no longer a barrier.

She has been the recipient of numerous awards for her work, including the 2017 Isabelle Stevens Tony Award, 2014 Paul Robeson Award from Actors Equity Association; the Asian Woman Warrior Award for Lifetime Achievement from Columbia College; Asian/Pacific American Heritage Association Achievement in Arts Award; and the Dynamic Achiever Award from OCA Westchester.

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Marsha Norman

Marsha Norman won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for her play, ‘night, Mother, and a Tony award for the book to her musical, The Secret Garden, as well as another for the Revival of The Color Purple. She has been co-chair, first with Chris Durang, and now David with Lindsay-Abaire of the Playwriting Program at The Juilliard School for twenty-four years. She also teaches musical book at Yale. Her most recent Broadway work is The Bridges of Madison County, and the revival of The Color Purple. Her new project is the book for a musical about two women who dressed as men and fought in the Civil War , and a new play, assisted by the UN, about trafficking and violence toward women worldwide.

She has won a Peabody award for her work in television, as well as grants and awards from among others, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. She has won the Margo Jones Award, the Sidney Kingsley Award, the William Inge Lifetime Achievement Award in Playwriting, and the Dramatists Guild Career Achievement Award. And in 1916, she was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame.

She writes and lectures frequently on playwriting and the musical book, and holds 18 honorary degrees from American colleges and Universities. She is a founder and President of The Lilly Awards Foundation, and serves on the Dramatists Guild Steering Committee, as well as serving on the Education Committee.

Pioneering a new (Broad)way

Powerful leaders forging a new path for women.
Introduction by Irene Mecchi.

Watch The Panel
Moderator: Meredith Vieira
Panelists: Nancy Coyne, Mandy Hackett, Diane Paulus, Daryl Roth, Jeanine Tesori
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Meredith Vieira

Meredith Vieira is a 14-time Emmy Award-winning host, executive producer and anchor. Most recently, she served as executive producer on the award-winning documentary “TOWER.” Vieira hosted and served as executive producer on her own nationally syndicated daytime talk show, titled “The Meredith Vieira Show,” which premiered in September 2014 and ran for two seasons.  Previously, she received critical acclaim for her hosting of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” “The Today Show,” and “The View.”  Vieira founded and is CEO of “Meredith Vieira Productions,” which develops and produces film, television, and theatre.  A native of Providence, R.I., Vieira received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University in Medford, Mass.  She has three children, Ben, Gabe, and Lily, with her husband, best-selling author and journalist, Richard Cohen.

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Nancy Coyne

As Chairman and founder of Serino Coyne, Nancy Coyne has played a leading role in theatrical advertising since 1977. The company she started over 40 years ago now handles some of entertainment’s biggest brands including: Frozen, Aladdin, The Lion King, Wicked, Dear Evan Hansen, The Phantom of the Opera, MTC, SpongeBob SquarePants The Musical, Angels in America and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. Serino Coyne has guided more than 500 properties, many into history-making events.

Ms. Coyne has also made numerous significant contributions to Broadway. Following the events of September 11, 2001, she started “Seasons of Savings” which incentivizes theatre goers during the slowest selling months of the year. She also spearheaded the “Tuesdays at 7” campaign which moved curtain times for Broadway shows an hour earlier on Tuesdays. This encouraged theatergoers to attend the theatre on what was generally the poorest selling night of the week. The program was originally an experiment set to take place during the spring of the 2003 Broadway season, but it was so successful that many shows have expanded the early start time to other weekdays and continue the practice.

Ms. Coyne serves on the Boards of The Actors Fund and Rosie’s Theatre Kids and has taught entertainment marketing in the graduate program at Columbia University. Ms. Coyne lives in Manhattan, Bedford and Clearwater, Florida. Her daughter Kate is currently the executive editor of PEOPLE Magazine and is the mother of Joe, Ben, and Eve.

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Mandy Hackett
Associate Artistic Director

Mandy is at the forefront of non-profit leadership with over 20 years’ experience in producing exceptional theater and providing institutional stewardship. Currently, Mandy serves as Associate Artistic Director and Director of Public Theater Productions at The Public Theater. During her tenure, Mandy has launched innovative new programming including Public Lab, Public Studio, Emerging Writers Group and The Master Writer Chair. In addition, Mandy plays a leadership role in institutional stewardship including fundraising, board cultivation and management, strategy and branding and Broadway partnerships. Prior to joining the Public Theater, Mandy was the founder and producer of The Underwood Theater, a new company dedicated to supporting and producing new work from emerging playwrights. At Underwood, she produced the world premiere of Julian Sheppard’s Buicks (nominated for two Drama Desk Awards including Outstanding Play and Outstanding Lead Actor, Norbert Leo Butz) and the New York premiere of Sunil Kuruvilla’s Fighting Words. Prior to founding the Underwood Theater, Mandy served as Literary Manager/Resident Dramaturg at New York Theatre Workshop where she had the privilege of collaborating on many projects including Jonathan Larson’s RENT, James Lapine’s Dirty Blonde, Tony Kushner’s Homebody/Kabul, Doug Wright’s Quills, Paul Rudnick’s The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, John Guare’s Lydie Breeze, Theresa Rebeck’s A View From the Dome, Naomi Wallace’s The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek, David Rabe’s A Question Of Mercy and Dael Orlandersmith’s The Gimmick. Mandy sits on the boards of The Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History and Almasi Arts. She graduated cum laude from Columbia University, and lives in New York City with her husband and two daughters.

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Diane Paulus

Diane Paulus is the Terrie and Bradley Bloom Artistic Director of the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) at Harvard University, and was selected for the 2014 TIME 100, TIME Magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Paulus is the 2013 recipient of the Tony Award for Best Director of a Musical (Pippin). At A.R.T., she has directed Claudia Rankine’s The White Card, Eve Ensler’s In the Body of the World (currently at Manhattan Theatre Club), Waitress (currently on Broadway at the Brooks Atkinson Theater and on US National Tour, including Boston 2/20 – 3/4), Crossing (a new American opera with music and libretto by Matt Aucoin, also at BAM in 2017), Finding Neverland (currently on US National Tour), Witness UgandaPippin (Tony Award, Best Revival and Best Director), The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess (Tony Award, Best Revival, NAACP Award, Best Direction), Prometheus Bound, Death and the Powers: The Robots’ Opera, Best of Both Worlds, Johnny Baseball, and The Donkey Show. Her other recent work includes Cirque du Soleil’s Amaluna, currently on tour in South America, Invisible Thread at Second Stage, The Public Theater’s Tony Award-winning revival of HAIR on Broadway and London’s West End. As an opera director, her credits include The Magic Flute, the complete Monteverdi cycle, and the trio of Mozart-Da Ponte operas, among others. Diane is Professor of the Practice of Theater in Harvard University’s English Department. She was selected as one of Variety’s “Trailblazing Women in Entertainment for 2014” and Boston Magazine’s “50 Thought Leaders of 2014.” She received the 2017 Elliot Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence.

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Daryl Roth

Daryl Roth is honored to hold the singular distinction of producing seven Pulitzer Prize-winning plays: Anna in the Tropics; August: Osage County (2008 Tony Award); Clybourne Park (2012 Tony Award); How I Learned to Drive; Proof (2001 Tony Award); Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women; and Wit.

The proud recipient of eleven Tony Awards and London’s Olivier Award, her over 110 productions both on and Off-Broadway include Kinky Boots, now approaching its 6th smash year on Broadway and around the globe (London, Toronto, Australia, Korea, Japan, Germany; 2013 Tony Award, 2016 Olivier Award). Other highlights in her producing career include: Bea Arthur on Broadway; Buyer and Cellar; Caroline, or Change; A Catered Affair; Closer Than Ever; The Crucible; Curtains; The Divine Sister; Driving Miss Daisy; Fela!; The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? (2002 Tony Award); Harlem Song; The Humans (2016 Tony Award); Paula Vogel’s Indecent; Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron’s Love, Loss, and What I Wore; The Normal Heart (2011 Tony Award); Old Wicked Songs; One Man, Two Guvnors; Our Lady of 121st Street; The Play About the Baby; A Raisin in the Sun (2014 Tony Award); Shuffle Along; Sunset Boulevard; The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife; The Temperamentals; Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992; A View from the Bridge (2016 Tony); War Horse (2011 Tony Award); Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?; Wiesenthal; The Year of Magical Thinking; and De La Guarda and Fuerza Bruta, which ran for 14 years at the Daryl Roth Theatre on Union Square.

Ms. Roth was recently named to Crain’s 2017 “50 Most Powerful Women in New York.” She is a newly appointed member of the New York City Police Foundation Board of Trustees, a member of the Mayor’s Theater Sub-district Council, and an Honorary Trustee for Lincoln Center Theatre, having served on the Board for 21 years. Honors include: the Lucille Lortel Lifetime Achievement Award; the Town Hall Friend of the Arts Award; The New Dramatists Outstanding Career Achievement Award; The Elly Award from the NY Women’s Forum; The Order of the Golden Sphinx award from The Harvard Hasty Pudding Institute; New York Living Landmarks award; Humanitarian Award from the Women's Division and Albert Einstein College of Medicine; Broadway Association Visionary Leader Award; Family Equality Council Family Award; and the Live Out Loud Humanitarian Award. She is proud to have been inducted into the 2017 Theatre Hall of Fame.

The Daryl Roth Creative Spirit Award annually honors a gifted theatre artist or organization, providing them with financial support as they develop new works in an artistic residency. The inaugural Creative Spirit Award was given to Michael Mayer in 1996. Over the years the award has been given to Mark Brokaw, Sinan Unel, Steven Williford, Cybille Pearson, G. W. Mercier, Edwin Sanchez, Debra Monk, Kia Corthron, Michael Wilson, Karen Hartman, Anika Noni Rose, David Pittu, Musical Theatre Works, New Dramatists, LAByrinth Theatre, and Playing on Air. The last two years the Creative Spirit has been granted through the Lilly Awards for an Apprenticeship for Women in Design.

Ms. Roth is a member of the New York City Police Foundation Board of Trustees and the Mayor’s Theater Subdistrict Council; an Honorary Trustee for Lincoln Center Theatre; and has served on the New York State Council on the Arts.

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Jeanine Tesori

Jeanine Tesori has written a diverse catalog for Broadway, Opera, film and television. Her Broadway musicals include: Fun Home (2015 Tony Award Winner, Pulitzer finalist); Violet; Caroline, or Change; Shrek theMusical; Thoroughly Modern Millie; Twelfth Night (LCT); John Guare’s A Free Man of Color. Delacorte: Mother Courage (starring Meryl Streep). She has received five Tony nominations, three Obie Awards and three Drama Desk Awards. The hallmarks of her work have been described as "close-to-the-surface emotion, structural rigor and rhythmic drive".

Her operas include: The Lion, the Unicorn and Me; Blizzard on Marblehead Neck (MET/LCT Opera/Theater and Glimmerglass Opera commission)and her upcoming collaboration with Tazewell Thompson,Blue was commissioned for Glimmerglass Opera company and will premier there next season. She wrote the musical featured in the 2016 revival of Gilmore Girls and has also written special material for artists such as The Girl in 14G for Kristin Chenoweth and has been featured in documentaries Show Business and Theater of War.

Jeanine Tesori became the founding Artistic Director of a new concert series at New York City Center called Encores! Off-Center for which she has helmed seasons joined by artists such as Stephen Sondheim, Lin Manuel-Miranda, Randy Newman, William Finn, Alan Menken, Renee Elise Goldsberry, Sutton Foster and Jonathan Groff. After producing four seasons of Off-Center concerts, she took one of those concerts, Sunday in the Park with George (starring Jake Gyllenhaal) to Broadway where she produced the 2017 revival, with ATG and Riva Marker. She was the recording producer for Sunday as well as the Original Cast Recordings of Violet; Caroline, or Change; Shrek; Twelfth Night; etc. 

A lecturer in music at Yale and on faculty at Columbia University, Tesori has spoken and taught at universities and programs all over the country. She is the founding Creative Director of the non-profit A BroaderWay, an arts empowerment program for young women. She was given the Einhorn Mentorship Award by Primary Stages for her exceptional work with young artists. Her daughter, Siena Rafter, is a sophomore at Brown University.


Final remarks: Julie Taymor

End of Day