"In it for Life": Cubby Bernstein Takes a Moment for Playbill.com

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21 May 2008

Broadway is abuzz with Tony fever. Busiest of all is Tony campaign manager Cubby Bernstein.

Between screening calls from Martha Plimpton and advising Sondheim on the program for his Tony night tribute (picture Liza singing "Four Black Dragons"), Cubby had a few moments for Playbill.com.

Those still wondering who Cubby is should check out the celebrity-studded videos that have popped up on YouTube and at www.cubbybernstein.com. Cubby is "the Tony campaign manager," according to Tony Award-winning composer Duncan Sheik.

"Small suit, big results" is the motto of the Tony campaign manager who stands under five-feet tall and appears to be roughly 13 years of age. The pint-size showbiz pro – who has been enlisted to lead Xanadu to Tony victory on June 15 – claims to have been behind 63 Tony wins for musicals including Sweeney Todd and La Cage aux Folles.

After years of service to Broadway insiders, Cubby felt it was time to let the public in on the secrets of the trophy business. "I have been a hush hush for so long, and I have to say, the one thing I admire most about theatre people is their ability to keep secrets, respect privacy and honor personal boundaries," Cubby told Playbill.com.



Cubby quelled speculation as to the timing of his foray into the media spotlight by proffering, "Why do the birds sing just before the sun rises? Why does the sea tortoise swim to the beach to lay her eggs? Why does Arthur Laurents return to Gypsy for a fourth time? It just feels right."

"The moment I found out they had a Broadway I knew I had to be there," says the industry mogul of his foray into theatre. "When my mom played me the overture to Gypsy, I said, 'I'm in.' Then she played me the overture to Candide, and I said, 'I'm in it for life.'"

For a youngster, the world of Broadway can be an inhospitable environment, but Cubby has kept his nose clean by taking advice from showbiz pros. "Sex? Drugs? Cigarettes? Booze? I'm too young to try any of this stuff, but Elizabeth Ashley has, and she says live theatre is the biggest thrill of all. I'm with Liz," Cubby says.

For 2008 Cubby is championing Xanadu for Best Musical. When pressed about his choice, he responded, "I checked out all the shows in competition this season, and they're all top drawer — Tiffany shows I call 'em. But Xanadu — that's the one that got me right in the ticker."

It is also thanks to Cubby that Xanadu's producers decided to prepare for a national tour that begins in La Jolla this November. "Who do you think thought up the tour?" he retorted. "I told these producers, 'You do the road, it's your honor bound tradition as showfolk…' This is classy stuff — this is not a Guber and Gross thing," Cubby scoffed.

While he selects only one musical per year for his Tony clientele, Cubby has yet to decide on which non-musical categories and solo nominees he will endorse. However, he states that one Top Girls cast member "is a persistent little honey!"

All things Cubby are available by visiting www.cubbybernstein.com.