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Student Blog: Level Forward's Producer Julia Dunetz on THE QUEEN'S GAMBIT Stage Adaptation

The Queen's Gambit moves to Broadway with a young producer.

The media went crazy when the news of The Queen's Gambit's musical adaptation broke. Leading this ambitious endeavor is Level Forward, including one of its producers, Julia Dunetz.

You may not know her yet, but you have certainly heard of some of the projects she has been involved in: Sea Wall/A Life (starring none other than Jake Gyllenhaal) and the 12 Tony Award-nominated Slave Play.

Student Blog: Level Forward's Producer Julia Dunetz on THE QUEEN'S GAMBIT Stage Adaptation
Level Forward's Producer, Julia Dunetz

At just 24 years old, 2 years out of Cornell University, Dunetz already has quite a resume. I got a chance to talk to the young producer about her career and this exciting new project.

I'm impressed by how many great projects she was involved in. When I asked her to share a little about how she got these opportunities, Julia said she considered herself a "serial networker." She said that since high school, she used to reach out to professionals in the industry to learn more about their careers and create connections. "The worst, they can say is no," she added. Throughout her 4 years of college, she had internships with marketing agencies, a producing office, and a general management firm. During her senior year, she was the Associate Producer of the national tour of Hundred Days. After she graduated, she was a co-producer of Sea Wall/A Life, for which she received her first Tony Award nomination.

Later, she became an Associate Producer at Seaview Productions and worked on the critically acclaimed Slave Play.

"It was a master class in producing," she said as I asked her how it was to be involved in such an iconic piece. In her words, Slave Play shifted the normal on Broadway, from the way it was brought to the stage and the audiences.

Dunetz told me that they hosted "Sunday talks" where a group of 50-60 patrons who have seen the show the previous week would get together with some cast members and have conversations about the play. Some were lighthearted, and others were deep and thoughtful, but everyone left having learned something and a stronger connection to the play.

Student Blog: Level Forward's Producer Julia Dunetz on THE QUEEN'S GAMBIT Stage Adaptation

Slave Play also proudly hosted two BLACK OUT nights, where a Black-identifying audience occupied the seats at Broadway's Golden Theatre. By invitation only, these performances were private, sent to organizations such as Black student unions and Black social clubs, following the mission of making theatre more accessible for non-traditional audiences.

Currently, she is a producer at Level Forward, a story-driven, impact-minded entertainment company led by women who share the same values as her, she explained. This leads us to the most exciting part of our interview: the musical adaptation of The Queen's Gambit.

Dunetz shared, "We are beyond excited to bring this story to life as a musical." She added that this opportunity aligns perfectly with Level Forward's mission to extend the access and opportunity of creative excellence.


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