Audra McDonald, left, and Norm Lewis perform in a scene from ''The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess'' at the 66th Annual Tony Awards on Sunda in New York. The production won a Tony Award for best revival of a musical. (Associated Press)
Last Modified: Friday, June 15, 2012 11:27 AM
Kinder native Bruston Kade Manuel helped stage a winner on Broadway.
Manuel, an “above the title producer,” founded the company that raised funds for the staging of the recent revival of “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess.” The production received the Best Revival of a Musical award at the 66th annual Tony Awards ceremony in New York.
“I was on pins and needles the whole night (of the Tony Awards presentation) because we were up against stiff competition,” Manuel said. “What winning the Tony Award means for this production is an increase in exposure and interest. Since winning ... we’ve already seen a huge spike in our ticket sales, which keeps us running and makes the show profit.”
Manuel founded Paper Boy Productions with Will Dombrowski in 2010. Their producer/investor resumé includes “Annie” (in Australia), “The Addams Family,” “Colin Quinn Long Story Short,” “The Merchant of Venice,” “A Life in the Theatre,” “Hairspray” (in Britain), “Next to Normal,” “Chicago” (in Australia) and “Little Miss Sunshine,” which is currently in development.
“I raised substantial capital from investors for the show,” he said of “Porgy and Bess.” “Although I didn’t have a hand in developing the show, I was brought on board early in its inception to raise funds to make the show a reality. Once the show returns the initial principle to all our investors, which is called recouping, then we are in profit. This show has the potential to run for quite some time in profit, which means investors in the show will continue to reap financial rewards of investing in theatre.”
Manuel moved to New York after graduating from Northwestern State University in 2003. He was a vocal music major, performing with the university’s concert and chamber choirs and also serving as a drum major for the marching band.
After moving to New York, he auditioned for musical theater roles and discovered an affinity for the business side of Broadway. While still auditioning, he worked for a private family-run office, which influenced him to start Paper Boy Productions with a friend.
“Through my company, I hope to acquire more and more investors that are interested in putting their money in theatrical entertainment with the promise of solid returns,” he said. “Investing in theatre has become a big business. Art really does meet commerce. In 2011, Broadway generated $18 billion for the NYC economy.”
Posted By: Amanda Braxton On: 6/15/2012
Congratulations! Very exciting Bruston. Keep up the hard work and great rewards will continue to follow. Hope to see you next time in NYC!