Jill Furman, Tony® award-winning and two time Tony award-nominated Broadway producer, will be presented The Commercial Theater Institute's Robert Whitehead Award for "outstanding achievement in commercial theatre producing" at a reception at The Glass House Tavern on Tuesday, March 15, 2011. Lin-Manuel Miranda, the Tony award-winning writer, performer, lyricist, and composer, who wrote and starred in In the Heights, will present the award.
Jill Furman was co-lead producer of In the Heights, which won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 2008, and is currently producing the National Tour. On Broadway Jill co-produced the most recent revival of West Side Story and The Drowsy Chaperone, and associate produced Sly Fox and Fortune's Fool. Off-Broadway she produced In the Heights and On the Line and associate produced Adult Entertainment. Currently Jill is co-producing the hip-hop comedy group Freestyle Love Supreme, and will soon shoot a television pilot with the group for a cable network.
CTI is the nation's only formal program, which professionally trains commercial theatre producers. A joint project of The Broadway League and Theatre Development Fund, CTI was founded in 1981 by the late Frederic B. Vogel. The current program director, Jed Bernstein, took on leadership of the program in 2006. The five decade long career of legendary producer Robert Whitehead, who died in 2002, inspired this award.
"CTI is all about helping to develop producers for the 21st century and Jill Furman is an alumna who will be making her mark on Broadway for decades to come," said Jed Bernstein, CTI's Program Director.
"Jill Furman's role as a new producer when she created theatre magic with In the Heights is a testament to her dedication and tenacity. It is exciting to see talented women producers make their mark on Broadway, and no doubt her accomplishments will inspire many more young women to pursue producing for the commercial theater," commented Charlotte St. Martin, The Broadway League's Executive Director.
"Victoria Bailey, TDF's executive director, added, "I want to welcome Jill Furman to the talented group of producers who have been presented with The Robert Whitehead Award since 1993. This list of accomplished awardees honors Robert Whitehead's legacy as one of the greatest theatre producers in the 20th Century. Ms. Furman's production of In the Heights served as an exciting introduction to the theatre for thousands of students involved in TDF's education programs."
The Commercial Theater Institute presented the first Robert Whitehead Award in 1993 to Benjamin Mordecai (seven August Wilson plays on Broadway) and Susan Quint Gallin (Angels in America, Monty Python's Spamalot). Subsequent honorees include: Dennis Grimaldi (Other People's Money, Annie Warbucks) in 1994; Kevin McCollum (Rent, West Side Story) in 1995; Randall L. Wreghitt (The Miracle Worker, Grey Gardens) in 1996; Marc Routh (A Little Night Music, The Norman Conquests) in 1997; Liz Oliver (Wait Until Dark, Last Night of Ballyhoo) in 1998; Eric Krebs (The Dinner Party, Electra) in 1999; Anne Strickland Squadron (Bill Maher: Victory Begins at Home, The Herbal Bed) in 2000; David Binder (A Raisin in the Sun, 33 Variations) in 2004; Nick Scandalios (Executive VP of the Nederlander Organization: Wicked, In the Heights) in 2008; Dori Berinstein (Legally Blonde: The Musical, Thoroughly Modern Millie) in 2009; and Stuart Thompson (A View from the Bridge, God of Carnage) in 2010.