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Friedman tops Stateside legit scene

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Going bicontinental has paid off handsomely for theater producer Sonia Friedman. An increasingly powerful player on the London legit scene since the early ’90s, she doubled the size of her business two years ago and moved into the New York market. The payoff? Two consecutive Tony Awards for best revival of a play (for “Boeing-Boeing” in 2008 and “The Norman Conquests” this year).

“I’m at a point now where this expansion is coming to fruition,” says the petite 44-year-old. What this means on day-to-day terms is “more time to develop, read and research — to do the real grassroots producing that I didn’t have time to do before.”

With eight shows in active production, including Broadway transfers of recent London hits “La Cage aux Folles” and “A Little Night Music” and dozens of other projects in longer-term development (including a musical version of “Shakespeare in Love” co-produced by Harvey Weinstein), Friedman’s small suite of offices over a central London theater is buzzing with activity.

But this, she says, is nothing new: “There are producers who love focusing on one or two things a year, but I need to do a lot. My brain is always fizzing.”

Friedman describes her approach as director- and actor-led, and likens fund-raising to “hedge-funding — I say, ‘If you want to invest in that project, you have to come in on this other one as well.’ Chances are one will work.”

Read full article here.

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