No Business Like Show Business

As part of our Big Apple series, Jordan Roth ’10 talks about his role as president of New York City’s Jujamcyn Theaters, the third-largest theater chain on Broadway.
Simone Silverbush |  June 25, 2013
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His New York City Legacy
Jordan Roth ’10 remembers going to class for the first day of his third semester at Columbia a few hours after he was named president of New York City’s Jujamcyn Theaters, the third-largest theater chain on Broadway. “It was fortuitous timing,” says Roth. “I took over the company with the benefit of having just put two semesters of focused work into thinking through my management philosophy.”

That focus is evident in the succession of innovative box-office successes Roth has since ushered into Jujamcyn’s five theaters (the St. James, Al Hirschfeld, August Wilson, Eugene O’Neill, and Walter Kerr) — productions like American Idiot, Book of Mormon, and Spring Awakening that, as Roth puts it, “honor the Broadway legacy while delivering it forward.” Take the Tony Award–winning How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying: “a classic revival,” says Roth, “whose stars — first Daniel Radcliffe, then Darren Criss and Nick Jonas — speak very much to an audience of today.” Last spring, Roth doubled as a producer when he brought the Pulitzer-Prize winning play about race relations, Clybourne Park, to Broadway, where it earned a 2012 Tony Award for Best Play.

How He’s Helping New Yorkers
Building on the industry’s strong legacy of cause marketing, Roth created Givenik, a service that allows theatergoers to buy discounted tickets and give 5 percent of their ticket price to a charity of their choice. currently supports more than 500 organizations, including Big Brothers/Big Sisters, local chapters of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, and Habitat for Humanity. “Rather than creating a relationship with a charity that ends with a particular show, we’ve introduced a way of coming to the theater and supporting various causes that doesn’t end,” says Roth.

Why He Loves the Big Apple
“There’s an electricity to this city that causes people of passion to want — or need — to be here,” says Roth. “You see that in business, fashion, technology, and, of course, in artists. New York theater is so vibrant because of the people that New York attracts.”

Photography: Chad Batka/The New York Times/Redux