Leo Blum may have fantasized about life as a producer, but what does the title actually mean? In between the lunches at Sardi’s (yes, those do happen) producers are the shepherds of Broadway—uniting the creative team, raising the financial investment, and guiding a show every step of the way.
“The producer is sort of the mother or father; the producer takes a project and gives it life,” says Catherine Schreiber, a Tony-winning and Olivier-nominated producer who was recently named 2017 Global Producer of the Year.
“Some people define lead producers differently, but there are general partners who start at the very top,” she explains. “They are financially responsible for the show—so often there will be just one or two—[and] they have the total burden.” Then there are the lead producers, who are responsible for raising a certain amount of capital and also contribute to creative decisions—but the general partners have final say. (In some cases, people call general partners lead producers.) Then there are co-producers, who bring in money from individual investors, but their creative involvement is more limited.