by Brookelynn Mason
First up in our new series #WomenOnBroadway: 5 amazing producers you should definitely watch in 2019!
Photo: Casey Perfetto via Knoxville Style Magazine
“Just start making stuff.” - on becoming a producer
What she does: You know those kickass pictures and videos on the Once on this Island Instagram page? Yeah, she helps make that happen. She brings in the money, honey…and the followers!
Reasons to follow her: It’s amazing enough that Ashlee is coming hot off her Tony Award win as a co-producer for Once on this Island, but add in her first West End production The Jungle, which is soon to come to St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn? A-ma-zing. Through working with UpLift, an organization that helps increase underrepresented producers on Broadway, she has become a jack of all trades in the producing world. And, the best part? Ashlee is a big proponent of diversity and inter-sectionalism in the theater community.
Photo: Jim Hobart of Macbeth Photography
“The theater has always been the time and place.” - on politics and theater
What she does: Co-Founder of Broadway Advocacy Coalition, producer, and social activist…what DOESN’T she do!?
Reasons to follow her: For Jackie, theater is more than just good performance art—it is the answer to a call to action. She bridges the gap between artists and activism, having produced the Broadway Black Lives Matter concert, which she details as one of her most prideful moments of her career. Her hands are in all the buckets, and she is passionate about diversity in the theater industry as well as the Black Lives Matter movement. All of that love and passion and creative flare demolished the New York Musical Festival stage over the summer with Emojiland, which we are OBSESSED with.
Notable Works: Emojiland (Producer), The Band’s Visit (General Management Fellow), Broadway Sings (Stage Manager), Broadway Advocacy Coalition (Founder).
“You don’t always have to be in Times Square to be involved on Broadway.” - on theater accessibility
What she does: Ummmm a lot. Tech innovation, ticketing, finance…Brisa’s skillset knows NO BOUNDS.
Reasons to follow her: In addition to her publishing company and SiriusXM show where she highlights lead producers in the Broadway world, Brisa is a proponent of showcasing the business side of theater, because “you don’t always know until you're out of school” that there are many other ways to participate in theater beyond performing. Through her publishing company DressCircle, she has also produced Jennifer Ashley Tepper’s book The Untold Stories of Broadway.
Notable Works: DressCircle (Co-Founder), “How to Succeed on Broadway” SiriusXM (Host), Pippin (Co-Producer), The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess (Co-Producer), Hamilton (Investor)
Photo: Michael Kushner Photography
“It felt like a piece of theater that needed to be seen and heard. Especially now...” — on Freedom Riders
Title: Producing Artistic Director (NYMF)
What she does: Ever been to the New York Musical Festival? Saw a show that totally rocked your world? You can thank Rachel for that—she curates them!
Reasons to follow her: Rachel radiates positive vibes and encouragement, which is no surprise given that she works to help give shows a New York stage that might otherwise not see one through her efforts at NYMF. Oh, and somehow in the midst of being a complete badass, she finds the time to produce independently. She believes that producing theater is a circular motion rather than linear—everyone is responsible for bringing their skills to the table, and they are all needed!
Notable Works: The Woodsman (Co-Producer), Freedom Riders: the Civil Rights Musical (Producing Artistic Director), plus many other amazing shows at NYMF.
Nelda Sue Yaw
“Acceptance is more than tolerance.” — on diversity in the theater industry.
What she does: Searches for the story and helps make it happen! Plus, this cool podcast?!
Reasons to follow her: For Nelda, theater is more than just dollar signs and jazz hands—it is the most powerful, inclusive, and uplifting community that there is. As a fellow full-figured woman, I am instantly her number one fan…and hello, The Prom?! Her first Broadway show?! She’s literal human sunshine, and if that doesn’t quite do it for you, she is a passionate activist against human trafficking. Maybe we should add “superhero” to her title!
Notable Works: The Prom (Co-Producer), Half-Time (Co-Producer)
Check back soon for more in YesBroadway’s #WomenOnBroadway series!