How did you get involved with The Miracle Worker?
I got involved with The Miracle Worker because it was as though a light bulb went off over my head. I was just cooking in my kitchen and I decided that I must find out more about this incredible story about to be told on stage for the first time in 50 years and be a producer to help bring this play to the public. I then just contacted our lead producer David Richenthal and...the rest is history.
What is a producer's job for a Broadway play?
I believe that a producer's job is everything. Obviously raising capital for the production is a huge responsibility but for me, it does not end there. I believe that every producer must become an ambassador for his or her show and do everything in his or her power to promote and sell tickets. The bottom line is to make your investors their money back and then some. One should call upon every contact they have and make it happen...from press opportunities to marketing to meeting and greeting at the theatre. I like to act as a personal concierge as people really enjoy and respond to great customer service. My mind never stops thinking of new ways to promote the show from having my husband, talk radio personality Lionel, moderate talk-backs to calling upon anyone that I have ever worked with and have relationships with to help out.
How does producing a Broadway production compare to an Off-Broadway show?
I believe that Broadway and Off-Broadway are comparable these days. Both take much hard work, dedication and raising money. It's a risky business but...the rewards outweigh the risk if one pushes hard in every way possible to make the show a success.
What has been the most exciting aspect of the Miracle Worker journey so far for you as a producer?
The most exciting part of The Miracle Worker for me so far was sitting in the audience during our first preview. To hear the laughs, cries and every emotion in-between from the audience. To hear the chit-chat in the audience...the great buzz afterwards. To see the actors on stage at Circle in the Square bring this most important piece of theatre to life after only seeing rehearsals and tech truly made me cry.
What makes this production of Miracle Worker different from previous productions?
This is the 50th anniversary revival of The Miracle Worker on Broadway. This beautiful play has not been seen in all this time, so we have big shoes to fill. The original production starring Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke won the Tony in 1960 for Best Play, Best Direction, Best Actress for Anne Bancroft. I was just thinking today that people are very different from 50 years ago, but you know what? A classic story speaks to all and the diversity of ages in our audiences proves just that.
Shaw was an associate producer on the Off-Broadway show The Last Word and is currently an associate producer on the national tour of Little House on the Prairie the Musical; she will be lead-producing See Mom? Run currently in development for stage for 2012.