Shattering the Glass Ceiling; One Play at a Time!
Having spent many years in New York seeing many plays and hearing stories from investors on how Broadway is so hard to make money, I wanted to find out about the power women of Broadway. Into my focus stepped Ms. Catherine Schreiber, who just happened to win Global Producer of the Year for 2017. Ms. Schreiber is one who allows the magic to happen before the curtain comes up; she is a producer. There are many opportunities to get involved on Broadway — from check writing to being a part of the entire process. Ms. Schreiber chooses the entire process and takes you along with her.
Having graduated from Yale, Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude with honors in English, Ms. Schreiber started acting in New York. She then moved to Hollywood to pursue her acting and writing career. With a few roles in television and film and producing under her belt, she returned to New York, and is now making magic happen nightly for thousands of people, looking to change the world with the arts.
Q&A with Catherine Schreiber
How did you get into producing Tony-winning plays for Broadway? How does one start a career like yours?
I got involved with my first show, “Next Fall”, which was in fact Tony-nominated, when I had first moved back to N.Y. after another life in L.A.
A little background here: I grew up in Great Neck, New York, and lived in the city pursuing an acting career after studying English and acting at Yale College. I acted Off-Broadway, creating the role of Jill in A.R. Gurney’s “Wayside Motor Inn” at the Manhattan Theatre Club, and then was cast in the tour of “Sly Fox” starring Jackie Gleason. After that, I went to L.A. to pursue work. I met my husband and started a family while pursuing an acting (television and film) and writing career. I wrote solo and with a writing partner. Several films were optioned and developed. I/we worked with Sony, Disney, Kate Hudson’s company, among others. Several features were also finalists in screenwriting contests. We had so much fun with one script, “Desperate Writers” (running lines together, etc.) that we decided to make it into a play. I produced the play at the Edgemar Theatre in Santa Monica. We were fortunate to get great reviews, Critics’ Pick, etc. It was a highlight in my life. Actually, I hadn’t been on stage in 20 years before “Desperate Writers.” It was a joy connecting again with an important part of myself – my love for acting on stage.
When we moved to New York, my hope was to produce “Desperate Writers” there. I was introduced to a wonderful man/producer/general manager who is now a dear friend, Tom Smedes. He said if I wanted to get involved in producing a show in New York, I should invest in a Broadway show for a learning experience. He was producing “Next Fall” at the time. I read the reviews from the Off-Broadway production, which were stellar, and I said, “I don’t want to invest, I want to produce.” Here was a show about an important subject: homosexuality and the resistance of institutions like hospitals to acknowledge a homosexual relationship when it came to visitation rights, etc. This ticked off an important box for me in terms of important issues. So I went for it. That was my first Broadway producing experience and it was a wonderful one. It was a brilliant show by Geoffrey Nauffts and directed by Sheryl Kaller, and the show was nominated for four Tony Awards, including “Best New Play”.