Sonia Friedman, co-producer of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in the West End, who is lining up a Broadway transfer in 2018 and who is also currently producing the West End premiere of Dreamgirls in a brand-new production, has placed at the top of The Stage 100 list, an annual guide to the U.K's most influential theatre figures published by the weekly theatre trade newspaper.
Friedman, who is also currently represented in the West End by the transfer of Mark Rylance in Nice Fish and is co-producer of the West End edition of The Book of Mormon, also regularly produces on Broadway, where she has transferred such London productions as The Norman Conquests, Jerusalem, The Seagull, and the Menier Chocolate Factory productions of A Little Night Music and La Cage Aux Folles.
She is only the second woman to top the list as a solo entry, and the first top placed person not to own or operate West End theatres. In a press statement, Friedman commented, "This is an amazing recognition of the extraordinary people I have been privileged to work with over the year, and also of my sensational team at SFP who helped me produce / co produce and develop over 20 shows in 2016 and who are already preparing for an even busier 2017. I am very grateful to The Stage for this honor and feel extremely lucky to do a job I love so much and to have had such a stimulating and creatively diverse year. Thank you!"
Alistair Smith, print editor of The Stage, commented on her placement, "Sonia Friedman has enjoyed a number of notable hits in recent years – including Jerusalem starring Mark Rylance and The Book of Mormon – but in 2016, she went stratospheric.Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was always likely to be a licence to print money. What has made it really special was that Friedman and her fellow creatives resisted the temptation to treat the production as a cash cow and created something truly magical, original and—above all—theatrical. In addition to creating the year’s most popular play, she also has a fair claim to having produced 2016’s most anticipated musical in Dreamgirls. She is a phenomenon and now undisputed Queen of Theatreland."
Other figures associated with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child including director John Tiffany, playwright Jack Thorne, sound designer Gareth Fry and actor Numezweni also feature prominently on the list.
The full list of all 100 people is available on thestage.co.uk/thestage100.