Nina Lannan was elected to the post of Chair of The Broadway League last December, accepting the torch passed by former Chair Gerald Schoenfeld of The Shubert Organization. In doing so she became the first woman to occupy this position and only the second general manager to serve (the first being Herman Bernstein).
As a general manager working on Broadway since 1980, Lannan handles the business details of running a show from contracting and scheduling to paying royalties, salaries, and expenses. She does this for a variety of shows and in that capacity works for several different producers. Her office currently manages Mamma Mia!, The Color Purple, Legally Blonde, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof and will open later this year Billy Elliot on Broadway, Dirty Dancing in Chicago, and the new musical, Nine To Five in Los Angeles.
Working in tandem with Executive Director Charlotte St. Martin, Lannan's goals for the next two years are to open up the organization to embrace all of its constituencies and to harness the talents and power of the 600-plus members who live and work in 240-plus North American cities to ensure the continued economic success of Broadway and touring Broadway productions in communities around the country.
She also hopes to "redefine the League's relationships with the unions and guilds, audiences, and governmental officials all of whom contribute greatly to this glorious business" and to "ensure the continued growth of an industry that has contributed so much to our personal lives as well as to the culture and economic health of the communities where we live and work". One of the first steps Lannan took was to streamline the name of "The League of American Theatres and Producers" to the simpler and clearer "The Broadway League" in order to put Broadway first and foremost in the minds of audiences across the country. In addition, she has been able to re-structure the League to allow for greater participation of its members so that strategic planning now includes theatre owners, producers, presenters from around the country, press agents, booking agents, advertising agencies, and affiliate members who represent the various shops that construct the splendid scenery, costumes, and props that delight audiences night after night.
Taking care of audiences is also her priority and the transformation of the League's Broadway Ticket Center into a full-service Broadway Concierge is just the first step towards that goal. The Concierge is one of the newest League programs, joining such other favorites as the Touring Broadway Awards, Kids' Night on Broadway, and Broadway on Broadway.
"In an age of mechanization, Broadway is a hand-crafted, custom-made business. Among other things it is that unique quality that entices producers to take great risks in guiding a show from the unwritten page to the stage. The Broadway League is here to protect and nurture that journey for all of us who love the theatre."
(This article appears in the Playbill of the 2008 Tony Awards at Radio City Musical Hall.)