Interview with Oliver Roth (@oliverhenryroth)
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I have been a lifelong theater fan, and shortly after college someone suggested that I meet their friend who was a Broadway Producer. Before this meeting even occurred a lightbulb went off – I love theater, and I love marketing, entrepreneurship and business strately. Here was an opportunity to sit at the intersection of theater and business. I went on leave from the Masters program I was pursuing at the time to move back home to New York City and work as the Production Assistant on a Broadway show. I immediately fell in love with the industry and the people in the industry, and I have not left since. I founded my production company, OHenry Productions (my middle name is Henry), shortly thereafter in 2014.
Can you share the most interest in exciting happened to you since you started doing this?
Conventional wisdom is definitely accurate – there is never a dull moment in showbiz. It’s hard to talk about just one thing but I will share that career highlights include: winning a Tony Award and an Olivier Award (theater’s highest honors in the U.S. and U.K., respectively), starting my consulting company, Standing Room, which operates independently of OHenry Productions to guide inventory and yield management decisions on Broadway, and producing the first show to incorporate both live streaming and live stage elements – broadcasting an actor live from the US into the theater in the UK.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them thrive and not “burn out”?
As producers, we are serial entrepreneurs – each show is a new production LLC. We often have many balls in the air at once – some of those LLCs are in the R&D phase, some are fundraising, others are fully in production. Being able to jump from one thing to the next is critical. It can be hard to focus on the project years out from selling its first ticket when another project is Opening and facing a critical moment of financial success or failure. If you lose focus though, that project you have in the pipeline can become threatened or delayed.
None of us can succeed without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Too many. At the top of the list is my husband, David Manella, who is also, conveniently, an Entertainment Attorney at Loeb & Loeb, LLP. He provides legal and general advice for me on all of my productions. I have a very close group of friends, colleges, and family who I am constantly checking in with/asking for guidance.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Each of my projects tends to focus on some greater good. I just finished producing a piece – THIS BEAUTIFUL FUTURE, a stunning play by Rita Kalnejais – which I am particularly proud of both in the way we used this opportunity to give emerging, talented artist a bit of spotlight, and for the ways the play engages the audience surrounding questions of empathy and political dissent. I started my career with a musical that we just released an album of, WITNESS UGANDA by Matt Gould & Griffin Matthews, which was about humanitarian aid work in Uganda. Both of these pieces and everything in between seek not only to entertain audiences, but also engage them in critical thinking, with the hopes of affecting change and having some real-world impact.
Do you have a favorite “written Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?
I wish I did. The truth is, I don’t. But if I had to pick one quote the first thing I can think of is the Wayne Gretzky quote “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” I’m not even sure if that was really a quote by Gretzky or one of those quotes that is constantly misattributed, but I remember first seeing it when I was growing up – I want to say it was on a poster on one of the hallways in middle school or something. I love hockey so it’s the one quote that stands out, and it’s also one of those life lesson quotes that is so true. I can’t say I think about it a lot, but I would say that do tend to take any shots I can, knowing the worst that will happen is I miss the “net.”
How can our readers follow you on social media?
I’m on twitter and instagram as @oliverhenryroth
Anything specific you’d like to have mentioned in the article?
Nothing in particular. I do have a number of theater awards. I also have some good press outside of whatever comes of this form. I can email you links to those press articles separately.