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Harvardwood HIGHLIGHTS - July 2024



In this issue:


MESSAGE FROM HARVARDWOOD 

NEWS

  • 2024 Jonathan Sethna Harvardwood LGBTQ+ Fellowship Applications Due July 15

  • Harvardwood Artist Launch Fellowship Winners and Updates

  • Featured Job: iHeart Radio Station's iRoc Space Radio INTERNSHIP

FEATURES

  • Alumni Profiles: Daniel Garber AB '13 (filmmaker)

  • Industry News

  • Welcome New Members

  • Exclusive Q&A with Benjamin Nelson AB '11 (producer)

CALENDAR & NOTES

  • Rideback Rise Info Session (Virtual)

  • Pre-Independence Day Ivy Mixer with Penn, Harvard, Cornell, Brown and Yale (LA)

  • Writing Funny - How to Have Humor in Your Prose (Virtual)

  • Harvardwood at the ART’s GATSBY (Cambridge)

  • Last Month at Harvardwood

Want to submit your success(es) to Harvardwood HIGHLIGHTS? Do so by posting here! 



With the coming 4th of July, join me and my dog to pee under the couch during the fireworks. Once you feel safe enough to leave the huddle, our 2024 Jonathan Sethna Harvardwood LGBTQ+ Fellowship application is still open until July 15th!


There is a Rideback Rise Info Session for mid-career screenwriters this month! And for the all-careers in LA, come mix at the Pre-Independence Day Ivy Mixer, or learn how to write Humor in Your Prose with author Lauren Mechling! Then, we return to our roots (Cambridge) to see GATSBY at the ART. Something for everyone--it's so perfect it's as if we planned it.


It's now been over six months since we unveiled our new website and expanded membership perks. Wow! For those of you who are still on an outdated membership plan, we decided in January to extend the sunsetting process to give everyone the opportunity to transfer over to the new site. If you are still on a $5/month plan, you are only getting very limited membership perks! Come and join us with a new membership lest we leave you behind in the dark age of old membership. If you do not want to upgrade and no longer want to be part of the family, we’ll be so sad! Seriously, don’t go! But, if you really want to take a break from the incredible Harvardwood community (we don’t really understand why anyone would do that, wouldn’t you miss our emails too much?), please email us to cancel your old membership plan.


As always, we want to hear from you, our members — if you have an idea for an event or programming, please tell us about it here. If you have an announcement about your work or someone else's, please share it here (members) and it will appear in our Weekly and/or next HIGHLIGHTS issue.



Best wishes,

Grace Shi

Operations and Communications



2024 Jonathan Sethna Harvardwood LGBTQ+ Fellowship Applications Open


Harvardwood is excited to announce the second annual Jonathan Sethna Harvardwood LGBTQ+ Fellowship for projects that elevate LGBTQIA+ characters, themes, and stories by creatives and screenwriters who are Harvard University alumni.


The purpose of the Fellowship is to polish, develop, elevate, and amplify projects for the screen with LGBTQIA+ characters, themes, and stories. The gift, generously donated by Jonathan Sethna (HGSE ’03), will support at least one Fellow and their project, with the possibility of multiple Fellows being selected. Each Fellow will be awarded $5,000. In addition to grant funds, Fellows will receive one-on-one guidance from Harvard alumni and friends that want to empower artists to make the world a better place through their stories. 


The Sethna LGBTQ+ Harvardwood Fellow(s) will be announced by August 31, 2024, and the Fellowship will run from September 1, 2024 through August 31, 2025. Applicants may be at any stage of their career, and their chosen project must be a project for the screen (fiction or nonfiction, film or television). However, applicants can hold any relation to the work: writer, director, producer, etc. 


DEADLINE: July 15th, 2024 11:59pm PT


 

Harvardwood Artist Launch Fellowship Winners and Updates


Harvardwood is pleased to announce that jazz musician Devon Gates (AB ’23) and nonfiction writer Paul Sullivan (AB ’23) are the recipients of the third annual Harvardwood Artist Launch Fellowship (HALF)! Along with a $24,000 grant to support their work, each Fellow will receive professional guidance and support from mentors in their field.


Paul Sullivan is a writer. Paul graduated from Harvard in 2023, where they studied History and Literature, served as Features Editor of The Harvard Advocate, and lived in the co-op. During their fellowship year, they will research, report, and write an essay collection about queer places.


The essays and places will range widely—from Provincetown to Berlin, retirement homes to summer camps, mansions to homeless shelters, prisons to parades, the club to the closet—in their search for queerness. The work will consider how physical spaces both enable and limit belonging and freedom. Paul hopes this book will give readers a map, not just of actual locations, but of the crevices where queer feelings, haunting and ecstatic, exist inside all of us. They want to write the book that they wish their younger self could have had, and they want it to feel like an elaborate mural that queer people everywhere see themselves in.

Photo credit Rivers Sheehan


Devon Gates is a bassist, vocalist, and composer from Atlanta, Georgia, now based in Brooklyn, NY. Through studying anthropology and jazz performance at Harvard University and Berklee College of Music, she has worked with Terri Lyne Carrington, Linda May Han Oh, Vijay Iyer, Danilo Perez, Claire Chase, Yosvanny Terry, and esperanza spalding, and has performed at venues such as Joe's Pub, the Monterey Jazz Festival, London Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, DC Jazz Festival, Winter JazzFest, the Kennedy Center, Roulette Intermedium, and SFJazz. She will begin her master’s degree at Berklee College of Music’s Global Jazz Institute in the fall. 


Devon will spend her fellowship year writing her first album as a jazz artist and expanding on her diverse musical achievements and aspirations. She plans to execute tours as a bandleader, building on her travels in Italy, Japan, Mongolia, and the UK. Devon aims to enrich her compositional skills by leveraging experiences such as the Marion Brown Prize residency and ComposersNow First Commission. Seeking interdisciplinary collaborations across theater, visual art, dance, and film, Devon will extend her work from her recent role as composer and music director for Phillip Howze’s play Self-Portraits. Furthermore, she will continue her community building and organizing work centering female and non-binary artists by executing a second cycle of the SOL (Sounds of Liberation) Collective commission project.

Photo credit Neriyah Mastriani-Levi


In addition to the two Fellows, Harvardwood named four finalists who will each receive a $500 grant to support their work. The finalists are poet Camila Sanmiguel Anaya  (AB ’23), comedian Matteus Carpenter (AB ’24), filmmaker Julius Ewungkem Jr (AB ’24), and filmmaker Kiana Rawji (AB ’23).


Harvardwood is grateful to philanthropists Lisa Henson (AB ’83, Harvardwood Advisory Board Member) and Jonathan Sethna (HGSE ’03) for joining Mia Riverton Alpert (AB ‘99) and David Alpert (AB ‘97) as generous contributors to HALF. Their ongoing support will enable Harvardwood to continue funding two Fellows and awarding finalist grants annually, more than doubling the impact of HALF as originally envisioned by

Harvardwood founder Mia Riverton Alpert, who states: “In addition to being accomplished creative talents themselves, Lisa and Jonathan are indefatigably enthusiastic arts supporters who have always made time to mentor and nurture burgeoning artists. Their involvement elevates HALF in every way and is especially essential given the growing depth and breadth of talent within the applicant pool.” Lisa Henson is CEO of The Jim Henson Company, where she oversees all television and feature film production from early development through post-production. Jonathan Sethna is a writer, film producer, and sponsor of the Jonathan Sethna Harvardwood LGBTQ+ Fellowship.


The Harvardwood Artist Launch Fellowship was created in 2022 with a gift from Harvardwood founder Mia Riverton Alpert (AB ’99) and her husband, producer and media entrepreneur David Alpert (AB ’97). HALF is awarded annually to graduating seniors or recent Harvard alumni working or seeking to work in the arts, media, and entertainment fields, with each term running from June 1 through May 31 of the following year.


The inaugural Harvardwood Artist Launch Fellows, Julia Riew (AB ’22) and Youmna Chamieh (AB ’22), and last year’s Fellows, Uzo Ngwu (AB ’23) and Benjamin Perry Wenzelberg (AB ’21), have seen extraordinary success during and since their Fellowship years.


Julia Riew is currently developing new musical ENDLESS (dir. by Zi Alikhan) for a world premiere in Korea at Kwanglim Arts Center in 2025. Her YA Fantasy Novel The Last Tiger (co-written with brother Brad Riew) is set to publish with Penguin in Fall 2025, and her Middle Grade Fantasy Novel Shimcheong is set to publish with Harper Collins in 2026.


Youmna Chamieh's story "Writing Samer," published in the Financial Times, explores her family friend Samer's battle with glioblastoma, delving into its profound impact on his relationship with language and memory.


Uzo Ngwu collaborated with artists from all over the world to produce a proof-of-concept trailer for her animated short film, Mmanwu. Her successful Kickstarter campaign raised nearly $70k from over 2,000 backers, ensuring the full 10-minute film will be completed this fall. Currently, she is collaborating with a publisher to adapt the Mmanwu screenplay into a chapter book.


Benjamin Perry Wenzelberg celebrated significant artistic achievements across Europe, including  conducting Mahler's Fourth Symphony at TivoliVredenburg Utrecht, marking a debut in a major Dutch concert hall to an audience of 1000. He secured a prestigious position as a Conducting Fellow with the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester in Hamburg.


 

Featured Job: iHeart Radio Station's iRoc Space Radio INTERNSHIP


Job Description:

Do you like to stay up to date on space news? Do you like to joke about news headlines? Do you write well or have a great voice for radio?




Alumni Profile: Daniel Garber AB '13 (filmmaker)

by Laura Frustaci '21

Daniel Garber is a filmmaker based in Brooklyn, New York, with work spanning documentary, fiction, and experimental practices. Primarily employed as an editor, he recently won Best Editing at the Film Independent Spirit Awards for his work on Daniel Goldhaber’s eco-thriller How to Blow Up a Pipeline. Previous narrative work includes Sarah Adina Smith’s improvised comedy The Drop (2022), produced by the Duplass brothers, and CAM (2018), Daniel Goldhaber’s first feature. His documentary credits include Lance Oppenheim’s Spermworld, out now on Hulu, as well as Oppenheim’s debut Some Kind of Heaven (2020); Garrett Bradley’s Naomi Osaka (2021) series for Netflix; and The Reagan Show (dir. Sierra Pettengill & Pacho Velez, 2017), which garnered a Cinema Eye Honors nomination for editing. Daniel’s work has screened at festivals including Sundance, Toronto, Tribeca, Fantasia Fest, Rotterdam, Locarno, Visions du réel, AFI Fest, BFI London, MoMA Doc Fortnight, and True/False. He was named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film, included in DOC NYC’S 40 Under 40 list, and selected for Berlinale Talents.


Film was like “forbidden fruit” to Daniel Garber (AB '13) when he was growing up. “My parents didn't really let me watch TV and movies growing up. And then, when, finally, in middle school I watched THE MATRIX and VERTIGO, I was suddenly hooked. I realized at that point that this was something that could actually be a serious art form and something that might be really fun to work in.” He begins our interview with a smile. 


However, Daniel didn’t start seeing film as a potentially legitimate career until his sophomore year at Harvard, when he was deciding between studying VES (now AFVS) and Economics. “I was working very hard on a film for this notoriously difficult nonfiction filmmaking course, VES50. And I pulled several all-nighters,” Daniel recounts. “Every other part of my life was on the back burner while I was focusing on finishing this film. And I was kind of miserable, actually. But I realized that there was nothing else I would rather be doing in the world. So that was the moment when I decided, okay, this is what I need to do with my life.”


And with that decision made despite the major sleep deprivation, Daniel committed to the industry and continued to make films throughout his time at Harvard. Post-grad, the first film he cut his teeth on was THE REAGAN SHOW, a documentary directed by Sierra Pettengill and Pacho Velez, the latter of whom was a former TA of his at Harvard.  “After I graduated, I didn't have anything lined up,” Daniel explains. “I didn't actually have a strong sense of what I wanted to do or where I wanted to be. I just knew I needed to be working in film in some capacity, and fortunately Pacho hired me as this kind of researcher, assistant editor to help get this film off of the ground when we had zero funding. So I was working with Pacho in the early days to kind of figure out what we were going to do with this project.”


After three and a half years, the film was released. “It was a very long and difficult journey, but it was basically grad school for me,” Daniel says. “I learned on the job—what the process of getting a film financed is, what it's like to actually be a professional working editor, and just how long and winding the path can often be between conception and completion.” THE REAGAN SHOW was Daniel’s first feature length project, and he credits it as what set him up to do “basically everything else that I've done since then.”


He’s continued his legacy of working with other Harvard filmmakers: Lance Oppenheim (AB  ’19), with whom he recently released the documentary feature SPERMWORLD, Daniel Goldhaber (AB ’13), with whom he’s done many projects, the most notable of which was perhaps 2023’s HOW TO BLOW UP A PIPELINE.


“I think it's really funny that I work with all these Harvard grads now, because that was definitely not by design,” Daniel reflects. “I think that there's a lot of value in breaking out of the bubble of Harvard. But there is something that's very unique about the way that VES [now AFVS] teaches you to make films. And there's a kind of shared language I have with a lot of people who have been through that program… And that's really invaluable. There's so many different ways of approaching the medium. When there is  a shared kernel of understanding, that makes it a lot easier to communicate with people.” 


SPERMWORLD, which aired on FX in March  and is now available on Hulu, follows serial sperm donors in their quest to help create families for those who want them most. With such a sensitive topic, it can be challenging to ensure subjects feel properly respected and represented. Daniel notes, “Our subjects have to be able to watch the film and feel that they're being fairly represented…I think that there's a tendency to view this [industry] in pretty salacious, and often unflattering terms, and not really to explore the emotional complexities of that… That was really the main mission of the documentary: to look with a really empathic and humanistic lens at why people choose to reproduce in certain ways.”


Climate change is another contentious subject included in Daniel’s repertoire in the film HOW TO BLOW UP A PIPELINE. Daniel won Best Editing for the heist thriller at the 2024 Film Independent Spirit Awards, but just like reproduction, climate change is the center of much debate. “A big part of the mission was to bring into the public eye questions about tactics. One of the frustrations that all of us working on the film felt was that the climate movement has been around for a long time, and it hasn't made more significant gains. Many of us have been aware for quite a long time that we're facing a global catastrophe… Part of the point of the film is this provocation– you don't have to think that the right answer to this problem is to blow up a pipeline, literally. But it does raise the question of what the hell else are we going to do? If the movie spurs further conversation about tactics, I think that that's really valuable,” Daniel concludes. 


Editing is so much of what helps tell the story in a certain way that will spark exactly that type of conversation. Having worked on both documentary and fiction projects, Daniel finds a harmony between the editing processes for each genre. “The fundamental principles are often the same,” Daniel explains, “and you're still focusing on what the audience's experience of the film is, trying to reverse engineer what would make for a compelling experience, and how to indirectly evoke emotions in the audience…You're trying to get at the same thing. It's just that you have slightly different tools.”


He elaborates: “In fiction editing you have much finer tuned instruments that you can use; you have many takes and angles of a single moment. It gives you a lot of choice over how to finesse an individual scene. In documentary, so much of it is about writing and structure, and there are so many different ways to turn the footage into a coherent story. In that sense, you have a lot more power over the final results. But your tools are also a lot blunter… But I do think that [fiction and nonfiction] combined are really fun. Being able to bring some of the lessons that I learn from fiction into a documentary, and vice versa, gives me a different lens.” 


Since he began his professional journey, Daniel has witnessed evolution in both documentary and fiction film, but he noted that the documentary side in particular has seen a great deal of change. “People are seeing documentaries as much more commercially viable than they used to be, and what that has meant is a lot of consolidation around a handful of different types of docs,” Daniel says. “There's a lot more hunger for rapid turnaround content that fits within some predefined genres like celebrity related documentaries, true crime, sports docs, adventure docs. Those are seen as safe bets, and you have a lot of streamers pouring money into those types of things instead of the types of documentaries that got me interested in the form to begin with.”


Throughout his ten years in the film industry, the main takeaway Daniel has as an editor is his perception on what the role should look like. “There is sometimes this pressure to be the editor who comes in with a brilliant idea and authors the film from the editing room. And I think that's really unhelpful. It is a social art. You get into the business because you want to work with other people… Sometimes the director doesn't have the answer and the editor has to provide it, and sometimes it's the other way around. It's not a reflection of one's shortcomings to have to turn to other collaborators for guidance.”


In addition to working well with collaborators, Daniel’s advice for those aspiring filmmakers out there is to “watch a lot of movies…watch movies that are outside of your comfort zone.” He explains further: “I think developing your taste is one of the most important things that you can do as a young filmmaker or somebody trying to work in the film industry, because it is a very wide world out there, and there are very few completely original ideas under the sun. It's important to understand where your interests lie within this huge matrix of taste.”


 

Industry News


ScreenCraft has sat down with Erica Lipez AB ‘05 to talk about adapting the harrowing true story of WE WERE THE LUCKY ONES, taking care of her team while writing the series, and why every TV writer should write in multiple mediums. Read this interview. (ScreenCraft


Actress and activist Tatyana Ali AB ‘02 has been honored with the Advocacy Impact Award for her policy work in maternal health and reproductive justice for the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC)’s Impact Awards 2024 gala. (Yahoo


Amazon Prime Video has greenlit YOUNG SHERLOCK from Inspirational Entertainment and Motive Pictures with Marc Restegini AB ‘99 executive producing. (Forbes)


NPR’s Michel Martin AB ‘80 speaks with journalist Sarah Stillman, a writer for The New Yorker, about her reporting on efforts to grant children the “right to hug” their incarcerated parents. (NPR


Max has announced the renewal of HACKS for a fourth season. This Emmy-winning comedy, starring Jean Smart and Hannah Einbinder, continues to captivate audiences. Mike Schur AB ‘97 will be executive producing. (The Economic Times


Director Rodrigo García Sáiz MPA ‘18 of Central Films teamed with ad agency Montalvo to take viewers on the harrowing journey of migration in this heart-wrenching short film, ODYSSEY, commissioned for the Mexico City Museum of Memory and Tolerance. (Shoot


Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello AB ‘86 is set to receive the 2024 Woody Guthrie Prize, joining past honorees Kris Kristofferson, Bruce Springsteen, Chuck D, and more. (American Songwriter


Bill Gates to ‘Reflect on the Luck I Had’ in debut memoir. The Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist’s book, SOURCE CODE, will hit shelves next year. (People


Producer and director Alan Yang AB ‘02 has signed a big overall deal with Warner Bros. Television Group. Under the multi-year pact, he will develop and produce new TV projects exclusively for the studio. (Deadline


Academy Award winner Josh Singer MBA ‘00, JD ‘01 will be joining Aaron Zelman AB '95 as an executive producer to the hit drama THE LAST THING HE TOLD ME for a second season. (MSN


Ben Sherwood AB ‘86, former president of Disney ABC Television Group, has been named CEO and publisher at The Daily Beast. (MSN)


Todd Haynes will write and direct TRUST, a limited series starring Kate Winslet. Cinematographer Edward Lachman AB ‘65 will be collaborating. (World of Reel


Larry Tanz AB ‘92, Netflix’s VP of Global Television, outlines film strategy and European production ambitions in an interview with Screen Daily. Tanz says that Netflix is as interested in acquiring third-party titles as it is in producing original films. (SCREENDAILY


Roku Head of Content David Eilenberg AB ‘97 says prioritizing programming is ‘certainly a balancing act’ in an interview during the Cannes Lions in France. (Variety


Wattpad WEBTOON Studios’ David Madden AB ‘76 has been elected as chairperson for the Hollywood Radio and Television Society. (Variety


Mindy Kaling and Dan Goor AB ‘97 will be penning an entirely new script for the threequel of LEGALLY BLONDE. While it seems unlikely that the movie will be released in 2025, the film could get a theatrical release anytime from 2026 onward. (Screen Rant


Listen to this new episode of the Pure Cinema Podcast, where hosts Brian Saur, Phil Blankenship, and cinephile Jackie Greed are joined by filmmaker Rodman Flender AB ‘84 to talk about every film on the New Bev’s July 2024 calendar. (the New Bev

 

Welcome New Members

Harvardwood warmly welcomes all members who joined the organization last month (or those who migrated their membership over):

  • Annie Goldsmith

  • Ashley Ferreira

  • Nicholas Young

  • Tanya Fenmore

  • Annie Winerip

  • Felix Deemer

  • Jas Hammonds

  • Sami Ellis

  • Jen St. Jude

  • Aislinn Brophy

  • Amma Ghartey-Tagoe Kootin

  • Talia Hanley

  • Michael Torto

  • Ricardo Fernandes

  • Sofia Detjen

  • Caroline Curran

  • Chaelon Simpson

 

Exclusive Q&A with Benjamin Nelson AB '11 (producer)


Benjamin Nelson AB '11 is a theater producer in New York, NY. With classmate David Thomas Tao AB '11, he is Nelson & Tao, with current Broadway credits including Oh, Mary!, opening July 11th, and Illinoise, playing through August 10th. He has worked on dozens of productions in New York, London, and at North America's most vital regional theaters, including the American Repertory Theater, La Jolla Playhouse, and the Stratford Festival. 


Q: You’ve had a busy few months - Lempicka, Illinoise, and Oh, Mary! opening on Broadway and Invasive Species downtown (with an appearance on Jeopardy to top it off). What initially drew you to the world of Broadway producing, and how did you get your start in the industry?


Upon graduating I was broadly interested in entertainment but refused to move to LA - despite being born and raised in South Dakota, I’m a New Yorker to the core. I had a very generous housesitting offer here so I came and started applying for jobs in film, TV, and theater. My first big break was being hired to be a major Broadway director’s assistant (from posting my resume on Monster.com) and that segued to the producing team at the A.R.T. and becoming Director of Creative at one of the largest global theater companies.


Theater and music were my first love (my father is a band teacher and community theater bigwig) but making a real career in it seemed quixotic given how impenetrable the Broadway producing club seemed and the anachronism of theater in the modern world, only being able to reach a house worth of people every night.  I’m so glad I did end up here, however, because these same conditions result in huge operational flexibility at a time when entertainment more broadly seems in endless crisis.  Having started a production company with my classmate, David Thomas Tao, ‘11, I get to champion the artists I want to and am not beholden to a studio or corporation’s interests. The only notes I have to worry about are the ones I’m giving, which are always intended to push a project toward its best possible form.


Q: Can you walk us through the typical process of bringing a new musical to Broadway, from concept to opening night?


There really is no “typical” process - musical development cycles now average four to ten years. SIX sprinted from conception to the West End in just over two but Lempicka took fifteen to reach Broadway. When the music or story is pre-existing it can shorten the process considerably, but readings, workshops, downtown productions, and out of town tryouts can all happen in multiples as the creative team rewrites until they and/or the producers think it’s ready. Scheduling is a major issue as there are usually multiple creatives each working on multiple other shows at once and theaters are programmed years out. All of this plus the fact that a truly great musical is possibly the hardest thing to write in entertainment - a creative team has to engage in true collaboration to make all the elements work together with very little room for individual egos. There is no set person like a director on a film who the buck stops with, so the dynamics of who is really driving the project can vary immensely.


Then “opening night,” if you get there, is really just the start - many shows have longer lives in some form on the road than they do on Broadway, and there are an ever-growing number of thriving foreign theater markets which primarily rely on NY and London for content. 


Q: What are the key factors you consider when selecting a theatrical project to produce?


It often seems there’s an almost unbridgeable divide between the commercial and nonprofit sides of our industry - but I aim right down the middle as I refuse to give up on either quality original work or possible appeal to general audiences. I am over the moon with our launch slate because the three Broadway titles each showcase one of my true passions - fully original musicals which don’t look, sound, or feel like anything I’ve seen before (Lempicka), shows which use brilliant existing music as an ideal foundation for ambitious leaps forward (Illinoise), and knock-down-drag-out comedy that leaves you gasping and needing your inhaler (Oh, Mary! - Cole Escola is a mad genius). Plus, Invasive Species downtown at the Vineyard has been a dreamy hothouse for new tactics in storytelling and marketing and signifies our deep commitment to promoting new voices.


Of course, given the realities of commercial theater I often rule out work that I personally love because I know it will be difficult to recoup investment. I keep a spreadsheet of all Broadway and US road grosses this century, which in combination with a decade of new work development experience has resulted in a rubric I use when making these decisions. There are (almost) no sure things in the theater, but if you pay attention to the numbers and know the viable audiences you can certainly beat the industry recoupment rate.


Q: How do you approach fundraising and securing financial backing for a Broadway production? What strategies have you found most effective in gaining support for something totally new?


This varies immensely from project to project and has several aspects: the artistic, the personal, and the purely financial. Once I realized that a huge part of raising money for a show is community building and enabling peoples’ love of the theater, I lost my inhibitions around it. I absolutely love lifting the curtain on our odd little world and bringing people further into the process. The ideal investor loves the specific project so much that they are happy to bear some risk in exchange for literally making the show happen and becoming a part of it - plus getting to go to opening night and some amazing parties. 


That said, I tend to be highly data-driven when selecting shows so sometimes the numbers are just very good and it’s actually a compelling financial proposition. If I personally have signed on to a show’s producing team it’s because I fully stand by the art and see a path to profitability, which usually makes it relatively easy to lay the case out for others.


Q: Illinoise received four Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical, and won the award for Best Choreography (congratulations, by the way). What do you think resonated most with audiences and critics about this production?


The album is such a major, luminous work, it draws audiences who don’t frequent Broadway just to hear it beautifully reorchestrated and performed live. Once they’re in, though, the story Justin Peck and Jackie Sibblies Drury have built on that foundation knocks it out of the park. Without any spoken word, an alternatingly heartbreaking and ravishingly life-affirming story mines primal emotional heft with just the cast’s physicality. There’s no language barrier and it aces all fronts - story, music, dance, and design, sending the audience out on a transcendent high.


Q: What are you looking forward to on the horizon?


We have many irons in the fire and are focusing firmly on what live entertainment can look like 5, 20, and 50 years from now. What we do is timeless - I see connecting through live storytelling as fundamental to human existence. It can double as religious practice or therapy and, more than ever, it’s a critical antidote to the chaos around us. Especially coming out of COVID, we provide an experience that no content on your phone ever will. Everything old is new again.



Rideback Rise Info Session (Virtual)

Monday, 7/1


Join Rideback Rise for an info session on their Y2 Fellowship Applications! Rideback Rise is a program for mid-career writers to get a boost into the industry.


 

Pre-Independence Day Ivy Mixer with Penn, Harvard, Cornell, Brown and Yale (LA)

Wednesday, 7/3


Come mingle with us and the other Ivy entertainment crews to celebrate Independence Day with casual networking! What could be better?


 

NEW DATE

Writing Funny - How to Have Humor in Your Prose (Virtual)

Wednesday, 7/10   Free for all members


Discuss the techniques of writing humorous prose and her new book THE MEMO with author/journalist Lauren Mechling AB ’99!


 

Harvardwood at the ART’s GATSBY (Cambridge)

Thursday, 7/25


Come see the new GATSBY, directed by Tony Award winner Rachel Chavkin (HADESTOWN; NATASHA, PIERRE & THE GREAT COMET OF 1812; MOBY-DICK) with choreography by Tony Award winner Sonya Tayeh (MOULIN ROUGE!). You must purchase your own ticket to the show.


 

Last Month at Harvardwood


Last month at Harvardwood, we had a successful Harvardwood Lowdown, enjoyed poolside camaraderie with some of our Harvardwood Summer Internship Program students and young alums, had our annual Pride Party with Echo Lake Entertainment, and more!


 

Want to submit your success(es) to Harvardwood HIGHLIGHTS? Do so by posting here!

Become a Harvardwood member! We work hard to create programming that you, the membership, would like to be engaged with. Please consider joining Harvardwood and becoming an active member of our arts, media, and entertainment community!

 

DISCLAIMER

Harvardwood does not represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any of the information, content or advertisements (collectively "Materials") contained on, distributed through, or linked, downloaded or accessed from any of the services contained in this e-mail. You hereby acknowledge that any reliance upon any Materials shall be at your sole risk. The materials are provided by Harvardwood on an "AS IS" basis, and Harvardwood expressly disclaims any and all warranties, express or implied.





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