Richard Frankel: Broadway Theater Producer

August 2, 2016 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Richard Frankel is a six-time Tony-winning Theatrical Producer and General Manager who has been working on and off-Broadway since 1970.

Born in  Brooklyn, his first theatre job was at the age of 16 in a Catskill hotel nightclub he worked for The Barry Farber Show on WOR AM in New York while a student at Brooklyn College. After serving for two years in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia, he worked as a stage manager and technician in New York andEurope. Upon returning to the United States in 1973, he worked off-Broadway and in regional theaters as a stage manager, administrator, press agent and marketing director, and in 1981 became Managing Director of Circle Repertory Company where he worked on 40 world premieres of plays by playwrights including Lanford Wilson, Sam Shepherd and David Mamet several of which transferred to commercial engagements on and off Broadway.

In 1985, he formed Richard Frankel Productions and together with partners Tom Viertel and Steve Baruch produced Penn & Teller's first off-Broadway show, which first brought them to national attention.  They subsequently presently Penn & Teller on national tour and on Broadway and brought them back to Broadway in the summer of 2015.

On most of Frankel’s approximately 90 shows his company has served as both Producer and General Manager. Early off Broadway shows included Driving Miss Daisy, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, Love Letters, and Stomp, which is still running at the Orpheum Theatre 22 years later.

Early Broadway projects included Angels in America, a revival of The Sound of Music with Richard Chamberlain and Smokey Joe's Cafe, which would go on to become Broadway's longest-running revue.

In 2000, Frankel and his partners were selected by Mel Brooks to produce and general manage The Producers which would go on to break the all-time Tony Awards records by earning twelve awards in 2001. They produced Hairspray in 2003, Young Frankenstein, revivals of Sweeney Todd and Gypsy, both starring Patti LuPone, Company and the revival of A Little Night Music starring Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Other productions produced and/or general managed include Rock of Ages, Finian's Rainbow, Forever Tango, and The Rocky Horror Show on Broadway.

In 2012, Frankel and his partners opened a new cabaret space Feinstein’s/54 Below which presents Broadway performers doing two shows nightly and fine dining in an elegant setting in the cellar beneath the original Studio 54. It has become “Broadway’s living room” and an essential part of the Broadway community earning many cabaret awards.

Frankel and his wife, playwright Kathleen Clark, moved to Leonia in 1992. They have two children, Clark and Elisabeth, in addition to his son, Joshua from his first marriage, all of whom work in the arts.

 

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