NYer Of The Week: Broadway Producer Strikes Charitable Chord

Author: Jessica Abo
Publication: NY1
Publication Date: May 27th, 2011

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Daryl Roth has produced close to 50 plays over the past 23 years. While the six-time Pulitzer Prize winner primarily focuses on dramatic pieces she says philanthropy always plays a leading role in her life.

"Because my world is so much about theater, I've always tried to figure out ways that theater and the real world can connect," says Roth.

Since her current off-Broadway hit "Love, Loss and What I Wore" is about clothing, Daryl decided to donate a portion of ticket sales to Dress for Success, a non-profit dedicated to helping disadvantaged women succeed in the workplace. In just two years the show has donated more than $125,000 to the organization and collected clothing and accessories from audience members.

"Daryl is really unique because of her commitment to the organization over such a long period of time and in an industry like theater which is often very challenging to make charitable donations. So what she's done has gone above and beyond and exceeded all of our expectations," says Suzanne Elliott of Dress for Success.

In addition to helping Dress for Success, Daryl has turned her new play "The Normal Heart" into another way the theater community can help make a difference.

The Broadway revival about the outbreak of the AIDS epidemic first pledged to donate $10,000 to Freedom to Marry, a nationwide campaign to end marriage discrimination, if 10,000 people "liked" The Normal Heart's Facebook page before opening night on April 27th.

"And we did it! And that felt great. So it's philanthropy that has a reason to be connected to the plays I'm producing," says Roth.

Daryl also partnered with four other charities that will get a portion of the play's proceeds.

"She believes in her heart. She believes in what moves her and she puts her money where her mouth is," says "Normal Heart" Playwright Larry Kramer.

"My friends have died, I grew up in this generation, so I've lost so much and when somebody is going to give back like this it's phenomenal," says "Normal Heart" Audience Member Richard Massa.

So, for putting the spotlight on relevant issues and motivating people to get involved, Daryl Roth is the latest New Yorker of the Week.