When I Grow Up: Born for Broadway

Four-time Tony Award-winning Broadway producer Stewart Lane shares what it&s like to be a major player in the world&s greatest theater scene.
Feb 06, 2013

What's fabulous about my job: Everything! I get to work with wonderfully talented people. I also get to see all of the Broadway shows and stay out late. I don't have to be at work until 10 o'clock in the morning.

An average day: I send two of my girls off to school at 7:30 in the morning. Then it's a brisk walk around the park with my wife and breakfast at the Three Guys Restaurant. Then it's play with the babies, read the newspapers, and visit some Web sites. Then I might stop by rehearsal for Cyrano de Bergerac to see Kevin [Kline] or go over to where they're rehearsing The Receptionist at Manhattan Theater Club. Then I have lunch with an agent and finally head to the office to check my email. Later, I'm off to dinner and a show or perhaps another signing for my book Let's Put On a Show. By midnight, I'm back home. What can I say, I'm not as wild as I used to be

What I adore about being a Broadway producer: I get to work with some of the most talented people in the world. Whether it's Kevin Kline doing Cyrano de Bergerac, Bernadette Peters in Gypsy, or Tommy Tune directing The Will Rogers Follies — just to name a few — the thrill of working with these giants of our industry is enormous.

How it all started: Ever since I was 11 years old, I wanted to be an actor. I had a best friend, Ricky, whose father was an actor, and when I was invited to see him in a Broadway show, I jumped at the chance. The whole experience of driving into Manhattan, entering a beautiful Broadway theater, and getting a Playbill and ticket was awesome. I sat in the front row, and the curtain went up on the musical, Little Me, starring Ricky's father, Sid Caesar. What a fun show! Afterwards, I went backstage and saw Sid holding court with his friends. The camaraderie and good will was infectious, and his dressing room — with a bed, refrigerator, and television set — had this home-away-from-home feeling. From then on, I knew what I wanted to do with my life: Broadway. I knew I wanted to be a producer much later, when I discovered that I could bring to the table the unique combination of my artistic and business experiences. It is the rare producer indeed who has also worked as a writer, director, and actor.

What my childhood self would think of my job now: My childhood self would love the job I do now — I get my name up in lights!

What I would change if I could: Sometimes I have to make tough decisions, like hiring and firing people. I would like it if everyone I hired was perfect for the job.

Career tip from a pro: It's important to stay close to your family — to support and be supported by them. When I was 18, I swore I could never work with my father in business because we were so different — he was not interested in the arts. Ten years later, I was sitting at his side learning the facts of business and applying them to Broadway.

Raising Kids