Stephen Byrd and Alia Jones-Harvey: Broadway Fellowships Through Columbia University

Stephen Byrd and Jones-Harvey
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Stephen Byrd and Alia Jones-Harvey.

APPLICATIONS NOW OPEN.

New Annual Producing Fellowship Is Designed to Increase Diversity on Broadway. The submission deadline is June 30.   Prospective applicants are encouraged to join an Information Session on Monday, June 7 at 6:30PM EDT. Visit FrontRowFellowship.com for more information.

Stephen Byrd and Alia Jones-Harvey have partnered with Steven Chaikelson, Head of the MFA Theatre Management & Producing Concentration at Columbia to create a pipeline for emerging producers of color to bring their work to Broadway. The program is designed for an individual with producing and/or theatre management experience who is looking to take their existing project to the next level and aspires to a career as a lead commercial producer. The goal of the program is to foster entrepreneurial skills and to help the Fellow create their own business opportunities. The Fellowship will provide the tools to succeed in the competitive Broadway environment; access to a New York City and regional network of theatre professionals; and expert guidance in the creative and business development of their fellowship project.

The Front Row Productions Fellowship is also pleased to announce the growing list of industry professionals who will be supporting the fellows and their work. Fellowship Mentors will include Stephen Byrd, Alia Jones-Harvey, Jordan Roth (President, Jujamcyn Theaters), Eva Price (Producer), Willette Klausner (Producer) and Steven Chaikelson. The Fellowship has also formed an advisory council of industry leaders who will serve as additional resources for the fellows, sharing their expertise, perspective, and complementing the existing mentorship and academic curriculum. The Advisory Council includes Jackie Alexander (Artistic Director, North Carolina Black Repertory Theatre), Saheem Ali (Associate Artistic Director, The Public Theater), Maria Manuela Goyanes (Artistic Director, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company), Amy Jacobs (General Manager, Bespoke Theatricals), Jonathan McCrory (Artistic Director, National Black Theatre), Anthony McDonald (Executive Director, Shubert Theatre, New Haven), Ira Pittelman (Producer), Jeffrey Richards (Producer), LaTanya Richardson Jackson (Actor/Director), Stephen Sosnowski (Senior Vice President, SpotCo), and Tamara Tunie (Actor/Director/Producer).

During their time participating in the year-long Front Row Productions Fellowship, each fellow will develop a new play or musical; receive a $10,000 stipend and a $20,000 budget to cover development costs; receive one-on-one support from the mentors and advisors; have access to the Columbia University resources including the library system and courses offered through the MFA concentration in Theatre Management & Producing; and have the opportunity to participate in the Theatre Management & Producing Concentration’s Producer Exchange Program with Stage One in the UK.

Generous support for the Front Row Productions Fellowship includes The Barbara Stiefel Foundation, Comcast NBCU Foundation, No Guarantees, Jujamcyn Theaters, The Shubert Organization, Ira Pittelman, Rene Smith, Sharon Karmazin, Jeffrey Richards, Scott Wilcox, Jennifer Melin Miller, and Dr. Ofem I. Ajah.

The 2021 Front Row Productions Fellowship year will run from September 2021 through August 2022. Prospective applicants can visit https://FrontRowFellowship.com for more information about the program and the upcoming Information Session.

STEPHEN C. BYRD is the President and Founder of Front Row Productions, Inc., whose primary purpose is to shine the spotlight on diversity, inclusion, and non-traditional casting on Broadway and London’s West End. Multi Tony Award Nominated, and Olivier Award winning producers Byrd, and his producing partner Alia Jones Harvey are the only full time African American Producers, both on Broadway and London’s West End, and they have been Partners for the past 15 years. Their producing credits to date, include, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, (both on Broadway and London’s West End where they won the Olivier Award for Best Revival of a Play; Antoine Fuqua will direct and produce the film adaptation along with producers Stephen C. Byrd & Alia Jones-Harvey), A Streetcar Named Desire, The Trip to Bountiful, Romeo and Juliet, Eclipsed, Paramour (with Cirque de Soleil), The Iceman Cometh, Smokey Joes Café, American Son and the current Broadway smash hit, Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations. They are also developing the iconic Oscar and Palme D’Or winning Brazilian film Black Orpheus into a Broadway musical. Additionally, they are part of the Lead Producing team for Get Up, Stand Up: The Bob Marley musical, opening on London’s West End in Summer 2021, as well as MJ, The Musical (based on Michael Jackson. Byrd, serves on the Board of Governors of the Broadway League, and is a member of SOLT (Society of London Theatre), and on the Board of Directors of New York City Colleges Performing Arts Department. Stephen is the recipient of numerous Awards and Honors, including the recent, Global Producer of the Year Award.

ALIA JONES-HARVEY is an Olivier Award Winning and 4-time Tony Nominated Producer, who, with producing partner Stephen Byrd, has focused on mounting productions with people of color on the stage, on the creative team, in management and as co-producers. As the only African American woman lead-producing on Broadway, she is extremely proud of Broadway & West End directorial debuts for Debbie Allen and Liesl Tommy; as well as debuts for Danai Gurira as playwright, Dominique Morisseau as book writer of a musical, and the many talented designers, stagehands, cast members, managers and new investors. Jones-Harvey serves on the Board of the Arthur Miller Foundation, the Advisory Board of The American Theater Wing, and is a Tony voter. Jones-Harvey and producing partner Stephen Byrd have been honored with numerous awards, including the AUDELCO Pioneer Award.

THE THEATRE PROGRAM AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF THE ARTS is international, collaborative and interdisciplinary. Named in honor of Oscar Hammerstein II, it is defined by its location in New York City, a global capital of theatre, and by the extensive network of Columbia alumni and faculty who run prestigious Broadway, Off‐Broadway and regional theatres; direct and perform in Tony‐ and other award‐winning productions; work in every level of the professional theatre world; and teach, mentor and engage with students on an ongoing basis. The Theatre MFA programs in acting, directing, playwriting, dramaturgy, stage management, and theatre management & producing seek students who have the talent, vision, and commitment to become exceptional artists. At the School of the Arts, students acquire disciplines rooted deeply in the classics while branching out into new forms and exploring the cutting edge of theatrical art. The best theatre in every culture and in all eras has not only reflected its time but also shaped its society and often helped point it toward the future. The Theatre Program aims to train theatre artists to fulfill that important role in today’s society. Among the program’s leading faculty are Anne Bogart, James Calleri, Steven Chaikelson, Peter Jay Fernandez, David Henry Hwang, Brian Kulick, Chuck Mee, Lynn Nottage, Christian Parker, Michael Passaro, and Ron Van Lieu. Visit arts.columbia.edu/theatre for more information.

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF THE ARTS awards the Master of Fine Arts degree in Film, Theatre, Visual Arts and Writing and the Master of Arts degree in Film and Media Studies; it also offers an interdisciplinary program in Sound Art. The School is a thriving, diverse community of talented, visionary and committed artists from around the world and a faculty comprised of acclaimed and internationally renowned artists, film and theatre directors, writers of poetry, fiction and nonfiction, playwrights, producers, critics and scholars. In 2015, the School marked the 50th Anniversary of its founding. In 2017, the School opened the Lenfest Center for the Arts, a multi-arts venue designed as a hub for the presentation and creation of art across disciplines on the University’s new Manhattanville campus. The Lenfest hosts exhibitions, performances, screenings, symposia, readings, and lectures that present new, global voices and perspectives, as well as an exciting, publicly accessible home for Columbia’s Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery. For more information, visit arts.columbia.edu.

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