Battling Times Square, Propping Up Clinton And Cheering Jake Gyllenhaal: Gerard & Roth

By Jeremy Gerard, Jordan Roth

Jeremy Gerard, via live stream

EXCLUSIVE: Deadline’s Jeremy Gerard and Jujamcyn Theatres majority owner and president Jordan Roth talk about the state of the industry, the only stipulation being no holds barred.

GERARD: Deadline announced this morning that a special Gotham Award will be presented November 28 to the New York City Mayor’s Office of Movies And Entertainment in honor of its 50th anniversary. “MOME has played an integral role in the growth and prosperity of the media industry in New York City over the past 50 years,” said Joana Vicente, executive director of the Independent Film Project and the “Made in NY”: campaign, which sponsor the awards. I think that’s your cue talk about the relationship between the MOME and Broadway.

ROTH: Julie Menin has been both impressively proactive and exceptionally responsive since taking over as Commissioner, addressing both larger systemic issues and on the ground logistics issues with care and speed.  She and her team recently introduced two initiatives I find particularly interesting: New programs to support women in film and TV, including a $5 million fund, as well as NYC Film Green, a first-of-its-kind sustainability program to reduce waste from film and TV production in the City.

And speaking of City politics and logistics, I know that the challenges of Times Square is one of your favorite topics. Did you know that in addition to the crowds and traffic and construction exacerbating both (which you love to complain about) we get way more than our fair share of street fairs? They close off blocks and blocks of avenues every weekend. Times Square is only 0.1% of the city’s land area, yet has 10% of the city’s street fairs. While other neighborhoods may enjoy less traffic on the weekends and welcome some fun in the streets, Times Square is open for business with Saturday and Sunday matinees at every theater bringing thousands of people to work and tens of thousands to attend shows. So when one of its main avenues is cut off for 10-15 blocks, the result is crippling. We know that more and more audiences are citing Times Square frustrations as reasons they are coming to Broadway less and less.

Thankfully, the City has now realized this and is proposing new rules to require that street fairs be equitably distributed across the city. Not surprisingly, the vendors who enjoy tax-free storefronts, and the fair organizers who run for-profit businesses but get free city real estate by making relatively small charitable donations, are protesting. Their argument is there are more people here so they should be entitled to sell to them. Exactly, there are more people here so we can’t handle crippling closures every weekend. So industry folks who agree with us are urged endorse the Times Square Alliance’s plan — today!— at
or to submit written testimony: But the deadline is this very day.

GERARD: That’s the Willie Sutton argument, right? Why do you rob banks, he was asked. “Because that’s where the money is,” was his famous reply. Which I suppose is true about

New York City Mayor's Office of Movies and Entertainment chief Julie Menin.
New York City Mayor’s Office of Movies and Entertainment chief Julie Menin. NYC Mayor's Office

crowds at the Crossroads of the World. Next subject: You and your colleagues have taken an increasingly activist role in national as well as local politics. That culminated earlier this month with a big fundraiser for Hillary Clinton at your St. James Theatre organized by you, with your husband Richie Jackson, producer Harvey Weinstein and Condé Nast superpower Anna Wintour, and which I covered (via the live stream, since I didn’t have the bucks to attend and wasn’t invited anyway). Some of our commenters questioned why Broadway was getting involved with politics — but of course that also happens whenever Hollywood turns out for a cause.

ROTH: The concert was called Stronger Together. While stronger together is always true for the collaborative process of making theater — not to mention presidential campaigns — it felt especially true for making this event. With just a couple of weeks to pull it all together and a shared passion for our candidate and our cause, we formed an immediate and tight knit troupe. Harvey and his team, Anna and her team, with Michael Mayer, John Guare, Diane Paulus, Lorin Lottaro, David Rockwell, our team at Jujam

‘Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda at Broadway’s Hillary Clinton fund-raiser. Jeremy Gerard via live-stream.

cyn and so many more. The whole thing had a Mickey and Judy “let’s put on a show” feeling throughout. And though not deliberate, Judy Garland turned out to be our Fairy Godmother – with Anne Hathaway and Kelli O’Hara masterfully recreating her and our literal voice of G-d as they performed Barbra Streisand’s legendary duet with Judy on “Come On Get Happy/Happy Days.” (My favorite line from one of our production meetings: “We’re doing the Whitney version with the Judy modulations.” Guess what that was about!)

The result was well over $2 million to support Hillary’s final push to the White House as more than 2 million viewers watched the live stream on various sites and an entire community singing and dancing with pride and conviction that we’re with her.

GERARD: Not the entire community, I venture to say. OK, I can’t end this week’s column with a big nod to City Center and its production of Sunday In The Park With George, which was

Jake Gyllenhaal in 'Sunday In ThePark With George' at new York City Center.
Jake Gyllenhaal in ‘Sunday In ThePark With George’ at new York City Center. Stephanie Berger

perfect in every way, surprised many of us who had no idea Jake Gyllenhaal’s talents include a stupendous singing voice, and raised a ton of money for the Encores! series. I ran into you there, and wondered: In a season crammed with revivals that are drawing crowds, did this one make you think, “I’ve got to find a place for this to have a life beyond a three-day run…”?

ROTH: To your praise, I would add everything about the fearless Annaleigh Ashford. But since Burn This just announced it was postponing from this spring because of Jake’s schedule, I went in knowing this was very likely a fleeting moment of theatrical magic. And magic it was. Perhaps all the more because we all knew we were experiencing something together that was only in the now. And we all heard its charge… “Anything you do, let it come from you. Then it will be new.” Amen.

This article was printed from