deRoy Builds Connections on Broadway
By Erin Keane ScottMedia Inquiries
Jamie deRoy is a connector. As one of Broadway's most prolific producers, she helps get productions up, running and funded.
But her career in the theater began as an aspiring actress at Carnegie Mellon University, where she learned the discipline and rigor that would lead her to a dream she held since she was a girl in Pittsburgh, when her father invested in the Broadway productions of "The Pajama Game" and "Damn Yankees."
"I really loved school and [voice professor] Edith Skinner was such a trip," remembers deRoy who attended CMU, but moved to New York before earning her degree. "When I came to New York, I felt like, 'I know all this stuff already.'"
That work led de Roy to parts in films, including "Goodfellas" and "Raging Bull;" on television in "Spiderman" and "Knight Rider;" and on stage in "The Threepenny Opera" and "The Drunkard."
She dipped her toe into the world of producing after seeing "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)."
"Everything is about connection for me. It snowballs — I didn't rush into things right at the beginning. And now I see something off Broadway, like 'The Band's Visit' or 'Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,' and become attached because I think it's a great production, or I like the director or writer."
For young people interested in following in her footsteps, she recommends seeing everything and getting on board with a nonprofit or off-Broadway theater. Producing a great off-Broadway piece can often lead to awards, and then to the next project.
"Off Broadway is where young people can get their feet wet," deRoy advised.
The aspect of connecting with others is a thread that carries on into her live performance series, "Jamie deRoy & Friends," a cabaret program she puts together regularly at various clubs in Manhattan. The show brings together a myriad of players from the entertainment industry.
"Most of the people are friends. It's just fun," she said. "I think my big high in life is people, and knowing people, and introducing people to people."