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In the producer’s office: Kevin McCollum on producing two new musicals in one season

The producer behind “Days of Wine and Roses” and “The Notebook” talks about competition, a packed spring and advertising strategy.

Kevin McCollum at the opening night of “Peter Pan Goes Wrong,” 2023 (Credit: Bruce Glikas)

“‘Producer’ is one of the most maligned and misunderstood words in our culture,” Kevin McCollum told Broadway News. “A theater producer is hard to define — because we have to know enough about every department.”

Indeed, the role of a Broadway producer (specifically a lead producer) can seem mysterious to anyone who isn’t, well, a theater producer. And, specifically, the confusion comes with the title of lead producer. A lead producer is the top decision-maker on a show; contractually, they are a general partner in the entity that is the production. Their impact is both financial and creative. Therefore, they have their hands in every department. 

“I’m coach, I’m psychologist,” McCollum said. “Part of producing is listening to what the world brings you and trying to move the work forward,” meaning producing on a stage for as many audience members as possible. 

Throughout his 30-year Main Stem career, McCollum has been a lead producer on 24 shows. He has shepherded to Broadway such properties as “Rent,” “Avenue Q,” “The Drowsy Chaperone,” “In the Heights,” “[title of show],” “Motown the Musical,” “The Play That Goes Wrong” and “SIX.” He has a track record for giving artists their Broadway break. (With his partners, McCollum produced Broadway debuts for Jonathan Larson, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, among other notables.)

In the first of a two-part interview, McCollum shares insights about his pair of newest projects: “Days of Wine and Roses,” which opened on Jan. 28 at Studio 54, and “The Notebook,” which is set to open on March 14 at the Schoenfeld Theatre. 

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