Charlotte St. Martin Seven years ago, I left my role as Executive Vice President of Loews Hotels. I had loved and worked for the company for 28 years, but clearly it was time for a rebirth. I’d been spending 75 percent of my time traveling to hotels, and at that stage in my life, traveling was no longer an option for me. As I often say, “Stick a fork in me and I’m done!”

The one thing I knew, as I was contemplating what to do next, was that I wanted my second act to center on something I was passionate about. At the time, my enthusiasms included theater, pets, the arts in general, and all things French and Italian.  But my No. 1 passion was the theater. So when a headhunter presented me with the role of Executive Director of the Broadway League, I knew it was the perfect role for my second act. Who gets to take her avocation and make it her vocation?

While particularly excited me about this role was that it was a man’s role in a very closed industry. The Broadway League is a trade association for theater owners, producers, and presenters of Broadway shows in New York City and across the country. We negotiate all of the 14 union contracts; do all of the government relations work with our elected officials in cities, states, and the federal government; do Broadway research; market and brand Broadway—and we co-produce the Tony Awards with the American Theatre Wing.

The 67th Annual Tony Awards will be broadcast on CBS tonight, June 9, at 8 p.m. EST. Dr. Patricia Yarberry Allen, the publisher of Women’s Voices for Change, recently asked me what I consider the 10 most fun and exciting things about my job in the weeks building toward the Tony Awards. It was hard to narrow the list to 10 stimulating things, but here goes (best last):

10.  Getting the opportunity to invite Mayor Michael Bloomberg to speak at the Tony Award Nominees’ Luncheon about Broadway’s vital importance to the City of New York.

9.  Getting to sit next to Holland Taylor, who’s been nominated for a Tony as Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Play for her portrayal of Ann Richards in the one-woman show Ann, now on Broadway. I knew Ann Richards, and it was great fun to talk to the woman who wrote Ann and who channels this dynamo eight times a week!

8.  Having Bertie Carvel tell me that there is no community that matches Broadway for its welcome of a newcomer. The British actor is a nominee for as Best Performance as a Leading Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of Miss Trunchbull in Matilda.

7.  As I work with the Executive Producers, finding out about the many surprises coming on awards night—things that only we will know until 8 p.m. on June 9.

6.  Having the opportunity to walk the red carpet.

5.  Seeing my members—who work so hard for six to seven years on a new show and invest so much—get rewarded with a Tony nomination for living their dream.

4.  Having the opportunity to work with a colleague, Heather Hitchens, who is Executive Director of the American Theatre Wing, to make every single event that we do for the Tony Awards better and more fun than it was the year before. We have fun doing this!

3.  Working with the Awards Committee to select the special awards given to those who have committed their lives to the industry—and knowing how much it will mean to them when they learn of their recognition. For some 12 hours before the nominations are announced, only a few people know who the nominees are. And I am one of them.

2.  Having the pleasure of picking out every single thing to wear for all of the Tony events, and knowing that when I get the pictures back I can relive the most special night of my professional year again and again.

1.   Getting the opportunity to go to opening nights for all of the new shows in a season, and witnessing the brilliance and excellence of those who make the shows that the world watches . . . after all, that’s what the Tony Awards honor.

Start the conversation

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.