VIDEO INTERVIEW: ALIA JONES-HARVEY
What's The 411's A Salute to Black Broadway Honors Broadway's Finest
In 2006, Alia Jones-Harvey produced Cat on a Hot Tin Roof for Broadway.
"As lead producers, which is a distinction that Stephen Byrd my producing partner and I are proud to have, we develop the concept, we go after the financing, but then we hire the director we put together the entire company, bringing on the general manger, the company manager, the accountants, the lawyers, so it's really putting together the entire company from the ground up for each production that we do," said Alia Jones-Harvey in describing the role of the lead producers.
Lead producers can get involved with hiring the director and cast and Alia Jones-Harvey and Stephen Byrd were very hands-on with both productions.
"It is our prerogative to be very hands-on in that respect with our current production A Street Car Named Desire and even our last production. We were very honored to work with Debbie Allen on Cat on a Hot Tin Roof..."
As a lead producer of Broadway productions, going in Alia Jones-Harvey thought her sole focus would always be on the money, but something happened to change her mind with her first Broadway production, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
"My mindset was to make money for the investors and then I walked into the room with James Earl Jones and thought this is incredible. I don't believe two months ago I was supporting hedge funds, doing financial statements and investor relations for my hedge fund clients and today I am in a room with James Earl Jones talking about our vision for the first African-American production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof on Broadway."
Then there is the extra pressure in remaking a classic Broadway production with an all Black cast.
"...there is an added pressure because what we hope for in the mix of audience that we bring to a show like this are the diehard Tennessee Williams fans that know every word that expect a certain interpretation and so we hope to please them as much as a new audience member who has never seen Tennessee Williams but enjoys one of the cast members or is a fan of the cast members."
In commenting about the future, Alia Jones-Harvey would like to produce more Broadway productions.
"I would love to continue to bring other plays to Broadway. There is always a financial consideration and for us as producers we are constantly reaching out for new opportunities to fund classic works. We're looking at more classic works right now that we might do in the future and also looking at what additional life Street Car will have."
Regarding receiving a A Salute to Black Broadway Vanguard Award from What's The 411TV, "I am really honored and it's especially wonderful for me to get a Vanguard Award because I have always looked at myself as someone who would take the path that had not been followed so I feel like this is symbolic of that and I am very honored."