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article imageChatting with Jamie deRoy: Tony Award-winning Broadway producer Special

By Markos Papadatos     Mar 26, 2019 in Entertainment
Tony Award-winning producer Jamie deRoy chatted with Digital Journal about her upcoming show at Birdland on April 15. She also spoke how technology and streaming has changed the landscape of Broadway and theatre.
She has been producing cabaret shows at Birdland and other venues for many years. "My director, Barry Kleinbort and I strive for a variety of talented artists, including people I know and have seen perform. In my next show at Birdland on Monday night, April 15th at 7 p.m., we are showcasing some of New York City's finest performers," she said.
deRoy shared that they love to present eclectic shows. "When working with singers, we ask each performer what they would like to sing and both my director, Barry Kleinbort and Ron Abel, my musical director, work together with the artist on the creative process. In the case of comedians, I just leave it to them," she said.
She continued, "We have a great mix of talent coming up for the next show at Birdland which features such great performers as
Christina Bianco, from Forbidden Broadway who is a YouTube sensation for her many voices in which she is capable of doing. Christina is one of the best impressionists I know."
She described Mike Birbiglia, who was on Broadway in his show The New One, as an "utter genius." "I think he could talk about the phone book and make it funny and poignant," she said. "E. Clayton Cornelious, who just opened on Broadway in Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations and has eight Broadway show credits. I saw Clayton in The Scottsboro Boys, and he just blew me away."
"What is also so enjoyable for the performers is that they get to see and work with people that they may have never met or have never able to attend any of their shows due to conflicting schedules. My shows have become fun nights backstage for the cast as well," she said.
The acclaimed producer established the Jamie deRoy and friends Cabaret Initiative to benefit The Actors Fund. "Having served as Vice President and President of MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs), I learned that most performers who work in cabaret and comedy usually, can't afford health insurance," she said.
"Having this in mind, I called Joe Benincasa, the president and CEO of The Actors Fund, and told him my thoughts that I would like the fund to help people in cabaret. He loved the idea and thus the Jamie deRoy and friends Cabaret Initiative was born," she added.
"The Actors Fund cares about and for everybody in all aspects of show business. I encourage people to take advantage of the Fund's many services," she acknowledged.
Her plans are 2019 are quite busy. She is involved in several Off-Broadway and Broadway productions such as The Ferryman, Network, To Kill a Mockingbird, Ain't Too Proud, Beetlejuice, the Yiddish Fiddler On The Roof, Tootsie and Be More Chill. "Coming up soon is Kate Hamill's Little Women directed by Sarna Lapine for Primary Stages at the Cherry Lane Theatre," she said.
Each day, deRoy is motivated by "people." "I love people. People motivate me. I love the interaction and the friendships I've fostered. I love this business. It's my high. Another gratification for me is my cable TV show, 'Jamie deRoy and friends' that airs on Spectrum, RCN and FIOS, where I get to promote everything I love," she said.
Digital transformation of Broadway and theater
On the impact of technology on Broadway and theater, she said, "With technology, theater and moviegoers can now buy tickets online without having to visit the box office. Certainly, social media can help a show or a film in many ways, but with everyone thinking they can be a 'critic,' social media can sometimes have negative and harmful effects."
"On the other hand, since I'm such an advocate for theater and the arts, I'm thrilled about the technology offered today that allows streaming on platforms such as Broadway HD, which has streamed such magnificent shows as She Loves Me, Falsettos, and Benjamin Scheuer's The Lion to name a few. You get to watch them in the comfort of your own home."
She also noted that Netflix streams such feature film as Roma, Black Panther, Incredibles 2, as well as others and from Off-Broadway such as Mike Birbiglia's SleepWalk With Me and John Leguizamo's Latin History for Morons, among others. "Boy, times they are a changing," she admitted.
Her advice for young and aspiring producers is to "get their feet wet by getting involved in non-profit theater." She noted that even in a volunteer capacity for a project is a "great stepping stone." deRoy also found the Commercial Theater Institute (CTI) courses to be helpful. "For me, the CTI weekend course was an eye-opener but I must admit I learned a
lot 'on the job.' I still have a ton to learn, and yet sometimes I think the more I know, the less I know, because producing theater is not a science," she said.
deRoy defined the word success as "achieving your goals and making a good name for yourself in the process." "Not every show may turn a profit, but I take pride in the fact that I've helped bring wonderful theater to the masses," she said.
To learn more about Jamie deRoy, check out her official website.
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