Broadway Producer Daryl Roth on Building a Career in Your 40s

catherine sabino | April 24, 2014 | Women of Influence Latest The Latest

Roth is proof positive that it's never too late to get in the game and steal the show.

1 - Broadway Producer Daryl Roth on Building a…Daryl Roth at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, where her hit Kinky Boots is on stage.

Daryl Roth has produced more Pulitzer Prize–winning plays—a total of seven, including August: Osage County and Wit—than any other producer on the Great White Way. She’s won seven Tony Awards, her most recent for Kinky Boots.

As a woman in a male-dominated field, did you feel like an outsider when you began producing?
My biggest challenge was being new to the game, not having come up through the ranks. I started in my 40s.

Tell us about some career turning points and highlights.
An Edward Albee play, Three Tall Women, won a Pulitzer Prize during its 1993–1994 season, and I began an association with Albee. Wit had outreach in the world and ended up influencing a new course that’s taught in medical schools. And The Normal Heart revival, because it involves a lot of things I care about. Kinky Boots right now. It doesn’t get better than this.

You have an extraordinary track record of selecting plays that go on to win Pulitzer Prizes.
That is a bit of luck. The prize goes to the playwright, certainly, but I feel good that I was able to choose something that was applauded for being really worthy.

You once said you were interested in plays that deal with the outsider mentality.
What I mean is being able to give voice to those who aren’t often heard, in the setting of a theater, where people might actually accept them differently.

What are the charities and causes you like to support?
Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights AIDS, the Actors Fund, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Family Equality Council, Live Out Loud, the Animal Rescue Fund [of the Hamptons], the ASPCA—I’m a big advocate of animal shelters and rescue dogs, so I spend a lot of time trying to encourage other people to adopt animals.

This interview is part of a spotlight Q&A series in our May/June issue feature on "The 50 Women Who Run New York."

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