A conversation between Charlotte St. Martin, President of the Broadway League and Suzanne Tobak, Senior Director of Events at Serino Coyne. Moderated by Frank Dilella.
It was 9:00 am on a Tuesday morning at The Skylark in Times Square.
The guests were catered to some coffee, food and an incredible view. The room was 30 floors above ground with floor to ceiling windows all around.
It was a very small and intimate setting.
Nikki James, 2011 Tony Award Winner was in attendance, out of pure love and passion for Broadway and Theater.
This conversation could not have come at a better time as the Tony Awards just took place on the 11th of June.
They briefly recapped the Tony Awards in which the theme of the award show this year was “Theatre Inspires”. They applauded the diversity and recognized the debut Broadway shows that are gaining so much hype, despite their very recent showcase.
Dilella asked about the role of social media and how that came into play with the preparation for the Tony Awards. He noted how the impact of social media on Broadway today is a lot more noticeable and influential, in comparison to how it was 5-6 years ago. Charlotte St. Martin responded and said:
“Broadway and theatre in general I think is very fortunate that social media and the internet had become such an important part of our lives.I think social media in particular has evened the playing field for our members, and I think it’s one of the reasons why attendance is growing.”
When asked to comment on what the future of broadway looks like in the next 5-10 years. Both women gave some great perspective.
Charlotte St. Martin: “I think the fact that we had 4 new plays and American playwrights. We had 13 new musicals, which is the most since 1986-1987 season, says that the future is very very bright. I’m older than almost everybody in this room and I remember when I was in business school they kept saying the more technology driven we get, the more need we’re going to have for interaction with others. The high-tech – high-touch. I actually see that coming to pass now. The more we all walk down the street like this (looking at phones), the more we need to go see something and do something that interacts with people. I think that’s a very good sign for Broadway and I think we’ll just be busting out at the scenes.”
Suzanne Tobak: “It’s amazing because I can’t really help a client until they have a specific date, because the venue they’re looking at, may not be available. There are multiple producers who’ve all told me they have the same theatre, coming up. So (laughs), clearly there’s a robust amount of product out there that wants to come into Broadway. It’s really interesting where works are being developed in regional theaters, in London, new shows coming straight to Broadway but it is, vibrant. It is exciting and it’s a great time to be in the business.”
On a final note, Charlotte St. Martin ended with a beautiful reminder and said:
“We know that art matters and that theater matters and we all need that escape from the daily stresses, so what’s good for theater is good for the country.”