Stephen C. Byrd & Alia Jones Harvey Named 2019 Broadway Global Producer Of The Year Winners
The only African American lead producers on Broadway for the last 13 years they and their company Front Row Productions have blazed a trail of "firsts," Stephen C. Byrd and Alia Jones-Harvey have brought a unique brand of diversity to Broadway and London's West End by mounting new productions featuring non-traditional casting and diverse voices to the stage. Established in 2006, the Olivier Award Winning and Tony-nominated Producers strive to employ diverse talent, creative teams and management for all of their productions.
Currently, Front Row Productions is co-producing the musical Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations with book by Dominique Morriseau, direction by Des McAnuff, choreography by Sergio Trujillo, and orchestrations by Harold Wheeler. After sold-out runs at the Berkeley Repertory Theater, The Kennedy Center, the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles, and the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto, Ain't Too Proud opened on Broadway on March 21st at the Imperial Theatre, received 12 Tony nominations and is now on sale into Summer 2020!
Byrd serves on The Broadway League Board of Governors. He is also a member of The Society of London Theatre, an advisor to the Amas Musical Theatre, and serves on the Board of the City College of New York Center for the Arts. Jones-Harvey serves on the Advisory Board of the American Theatre Wing, is an advisor to the National Black Theater, and serves on the Board of the National Urban Technology Center.
Last Fall, Front Row co-produced American Son, the new Broadway play by Christopher Demos-Brown, starring Kerry Washington, Steven Pasquale, Eugene Lee and Jeremy Jordan. It was directed by Tony Award Winner Kenny Leon at the Booth Theatre. A Netflix film of American Son has been filmed for streaming release on November 1st.
In 2008, Byrd and Jones-Harvey mounted the first-ever African American Broadway production of Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, directed by three-time Emmy winner Debbie Allen and starring two-time Tonywinner James Earl Jones, Tony winner Phylicia Rashad, Terrence Howard in his Broadway debut, and Tony winner Anika Noni Rose. It went on to become the top grossing play on Broadway that season. The following year, the production transferred to London's West End, introducing an entirely new audience to the theater and going on to win the 2010 Laurence Olivier Award for Revival.
Byrd and Jones-Harvey followed up with a multi-racial production of Tennessee Williams' Pulitzer Prize-winning play, A Streetcar Named Desire, on Broadway in 2012 for a Tony-nominated run directed by Tony nominee Emily Mann and starring Blair Underwood and Nicole Ari Parker in their Broadway debuts, Tony winner Daphne Rubin-Vega, and Wood Harris. New Orleans native and five-time Grammy winning jazz musician Terence Blanchard composed original music and the cast also featured legendary dancer/choreographer/actress Carmen de Lavallade. The Actors' Equity Association honored the production with its Award for Extraordinary Excellence in Diversity on Broadway.
In 2013 Byrd and Jones-Harvey joined the producing team of Horton Foote's The Trip to Bountiful, the critically-acclaimed production starring celebrated actress Cicely Tyson, whose performance garnered her first Tony Award, Outer Critic's Circle and Drama Desk awards. Byrd and Jones-Harvey also co-produced Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, directed by five-time Tony Award nominee David Leveaux and starring Orlando Bloom in his Broadway debut alongside two-time Tony Award nominee Condola Rashad.
Front Row broke new ground with the enhancement of The Public Theater New York premiere of Danai Gurira's Eclipsed and subsequently transferred the powerful Pulitzer Prize finalist to Broadway. The triumphant run of Eclipsed on Broadway was the first to be helmed by a female playwright, director and featuring an all-female ensemble led by Academy Award Winner Lupita Nyong'o. Acclaim for the play was resounding - 6 Tony Award nominations including Best Play, 4 Outer Critics Circle nominations, 2 Drama Desk Award nominations and 2 Drama League Award nominations. The production transferred to the Curran Theater in San Francisco for a March 2017 run. Byrd and Jones-Harvey partnered with Cirque du Soleil Theatricals in 2016 to co-produce Paramour, the first Cirque du Soleil musical on Broadway. This tale of love versus art transported audiences to Golden Age Hollywood with the depth-defying spectacle of Cirque du Soleil. Paramour performances can currently be seen at the Neue Flora in Hamburg, Germany!
Byrd and Jones-Harvey co-produced Eugene O'Neill's Iceman Cometh in Spring 2018 on Broadway directed by five-time Tony Winner George C. Wolfe and starring Tony winner Denzel Washington. The production celebrated eight Tony Award nominations including Best Revival of a Play.
Byrd and Jones-Harvey are currently developinga Broadway-bound musical adaptation of Black Orpheus, based on both the original play by Vinicius de Moraes and the Oscar-winning film. Black Orpheus is the enchanted re-telling of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice set in romantic Rio de Janeiro during Carnival and featuring the music of bossa nova kings Vinícius de Moraes and Antonio Carlos Jobim.
Broadway Global honors investors for their work on and off the stage, global live stage works inspiring and educating respect for religions, cultures, embrace diversity, and educate issues in our global society.
All winners must be accessible on social media; leave a legacy of live stage works that inspires respect, embraces diversity, and brings nations together; for the common goal of global peace. Every Nominee gives back to not-for-profits that embrace humanity and make our society a better world for all, each sharing their time and efforts in outstanding charity work.
Each winner is presented with the Producer's Puzzle, an original work of art created by internationally acclaimed artist Steve Marshall, living in Japan.
Next season, Broadway Global will expand its honoring program by recognizing regional theatre producers for their excellence in production values.