A LIFE IN THE THEATRE: Producer Sonia Friedman on Her Life and Love of Working Behind the Scenes

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07 Jul 2014

Sonia Friedman
Sonia Friedman
Jason Alden

Meet Sonia Friedman, who shares her evolution from telling stories with milk bottles to producing award-winning shows.

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"Theatre was in my DNA," producer Sonia Friedman says. "I grew up in a very theatrical-musical household. It wasn't really a choice. It was just inevitable."

Friedman, 49, is among the most successful producers in London and on Broadway. Recent New York hits include Twelfth Night/Richard III, Jerusalem, La Cage aux Folles, Boeing-Boeing and The Book of Mormon. Six shows for which she has served as a producer have won Tony Awards as season's best.

In London this year her productions won 14 Olivier Awards, including best musical, musical revival, play, and play revival. In November, on Broadway at Circle in the Square, she is presenting The River, by Jez Butterworth (Jerusalem) and starring Hugh Jackman.

Friedman was raised in London, daughter of a pianist and a violinist. "From my earliest years, we as a family created stories and music at home. I remember thinking of stories to tell with milk bottles."

She thought she'd be a singer or cellist. "But my older sister [Olivier winner Maria Friedman] became the singer. The cello, I discovered by age 12 or 13, was not something I would excel in."

At 13 she went backstage to see Maria perform. "By the end of the show I'd fallen in love with the mechanics of putting on a show. I realized I wanted to work not onstage, but offstage."



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