Backstage.com has picked the twenty-five most powerful people on Broadway. While not an easy task, they have done well in picking the power brokers but have not included the entertainers. The first star/writer to appear on the list is Harvey Fierstein at number twenty-three.
Here are the top ten:
1. Phil Smith (Chairman) and Bob Wankel (President), The Shubert Organization
Phil Smith was bound for Broadway greatness, especially after coming up with the idea of the Telecharge ticketing system. Now, Smith and Wankel are in charge of the largest theater syndicate in America, comprising 17 Broadway houses and one Off-Broadway.
2. Jordan Roth, President, Jujamcyn Theaters (see photograph above)
This year Roth became the primary shareholder of Jujamcyn Theaters when Rocco Landesman sold most of his stake in the company to him. At 37, Roth is the youngest principal owner of a Broadway theater chain. With five theaters, Jujamcyn is home to “Kinky Boots,” “Jersey Boys,” and smash hit “The Book of Mormon.”
3. James “Jimmy” Nederlander and James L. Nederlander, The Nederlander Organization
The father-son duo own and operate nine theaters in New York and 15 other venues around the world, which makes the organization the second-largest theater syndicate of Broadway theaters. Both have made their mark on Broadway and national theater: Jimmy has produced more than 100 shows, and the National High School Musical Theater Awards are named the Jimmy Awards after him. His son is active in the theater community; he serves on the Broadway League Board of Governors as well as the Actors Fund board of trustees.
4. Thomas Schumacher, President, Disney Theatrical Group(photograph above)
“Mary Poppins” closed on Broadway this March, but Schumacher’s schedule hasn’t lightened; he will fill that small Disney void with a musical adaptation of “Aladdin,” set to debut on Broadway in 2014. With “Aladdin” joining the successful “The Lion King” and “Newsies,” Disney continues to prove its Broadway prowess—and collect those Tony Awards.
5. George P. Lane, Agent, Creative Artists Agency
Actors who complain about how star-studded Broadway has become can blame Lane. The CAA agent was instrumental in bringing such clients as Tom Hanks and Alec Baldwin to the Great White Way this season.
6. Scott Rudin, Producer
Rudin had a pretty awesome 2012, joining the elite crowd of award winners who have garnered Emmy, Oscar, Grammy, and Tony awards. 2013 looks to be just as amazing for him. Not only is this the producer behind the Tony-winning Broadway powerhouses “Fences” and “The Book of Mormon,” but he produced some heavy hitters this year, including “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” starring Scarlett Johansson, and “The Testament of Mary.” Also, he will produce a revival of Harold Pinter’s “Betrayal” in the fall
7. Todd Haimes, Artistic Director, Roundabout Theatre Company
One of the most successful not-for-profit theater companies in the country, Roundabout has under Haimes’ stewardship become a Broadway mainstay and continues to pull in big names for its shows, such as Bobby Cannavale in this season’s “The Big Knife.”
8. Michael Riedel, Columnist, New York Post
When he wasn’t stealing scenes on “Smash” this season, Riedel proved the power of his pen with influential columns on the infamous “Ghost Skipper” in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and the “Lucky Guy” poster. It’s tough to say whether it’s all because of Riedel, but Skipper disappeared and the poster changed.
9. Nick Scandalios, Executive Vice President, The Nederlander Organization
Scandalios has been the executive vice president of the Nederlander Organization—which owns and operates nine Broadway theaters—for more than 25 years. Scandalios is active in the theater community; last year he was appointed to the Broadway League Board of Governors, and he serves as vice chairman on the board of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
10. André Bishop, Artistic Director, Lincoln Center Theater
With a passionate flair for new works and playwrights, Bishop has made Lincoln Center Theater a creative hotbed that turns new works into classics, such as the Tony Award winners “Contact” and “The Light in the Piazza.” This season Lincoln Center has already put up a few fan favorites, including Holland Taylor’s “Ann” and Douglas Carter Beane’s “The Nance”—along with the recently anointed Pulitzer Prize winner “Disgraced,” which debuted at LCT’s Off-Broadway theater.