Women to Watch on Broadway 2021

To spotlight women in leadership, the Broadway Women’s Fund — Broadway’s first impact investment fund — is proud to announce the second annual Women to Watch on Broadway.

Covid-19 and its economic implications have devastated the entire theater industry, but research studies show women in the United States — particularly women of color — being disproportionately affected. Women are more likely than men to have left the job force, have reduced work hours, and to delay reentering the workforce. As Broadway rebuilds for a bright future ahead, it is now more important than ever to include women in leadership roles across the industry.

The extraordinarily talented women on this list are excelling in their careers in regional theaters, Off-Broadway, as Broadway associates, and in Broadway offices. Although they have already achieved significant success — many are winners of prestigious grants, scholarships, and commissions — they are still considered “emerging.” But each person on this list has emerged ready to take her place at the very top of the industry and shake up the status quo on Broadway.

This list, curated by Broadway Women’s Fund leadership and advisory board members, is by no means comprehensive. In fact, no list would do justice to the amount of capable and talented women in our industry. But we look forward to spotlighting additional future leaders in the years to come, and we hope that this initiative encourages Broadway industry members to look outside of their networks when hiring, and to empower the many women ready to step up into leadership positions.

We cannot expect the dynamics of this industry to change without the support of our whole community — so please: share this list, hire these women, and invest in their careers, because they are the future of Broadway.

And if you’re inspired to do more, ask us about how you can be a part of the Broadway Women’s Fund.

Sadie Alisa

Production Manager

Sadie is a Production Manager at Juniper Street Productions, she has most recently worked on TINA – the Tina Turner Musical, Dear Evan Hansen (Broadway and First National Tour), Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and Margaritaville.

Masi Asare


Masi is the winner of the Billie Burke Ziegfeld Award, the Holof Lyricist Award, an Emerging Artist Grant from the Theater Hall of Fame, and the Haupt Composition Prize from the O’Neill; she has commissions with Theatre Royal Stratford East, Barbara Whitman/Grove Entertainment, Victory Gardens, and more.

Barlow & Bear

Songwriting Duo

Barlow & Bear are pioneers of the TikTok musical, their viral “Bridgerton” musical has a TikTok following larger than any Broadway show; Abigail Barlow is a pop singer/songwriter and Emily Bear is a singer/songwriter and accomplished classical and jazz composer and pianist.

Haley Bennett

Music Director/Conductor/Arranger/Album Coordinator

Haley’s recent Broadway credits include Associate Music Director and Alternate Conductor of Diana: A True Musical Story, Sub Conductor of Come From Away, Assistant Vocal Arranger/Additional Orchestrations on Once on This Island, and Music Coordinator for the upcoming NBCU / Apple TV show, Schmigadoon!. 

Valentina Berger


Valentina is the Founder of Go Broadway, an international educational program and travel company for Broadway; she is a Co-Producer of Broadway’s Company and The Minutes.

Carmel Dean

Composer/Arranger/Musical Director

Carmel’s first musical, Renascence, won the 2018 Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best Musical, and her song cycle Well-Behaved Women will soon be available for licensing; Carmel’s Broadway credits as Musical Supervisor, Musical Director, and/or Arranger include If/Then, Hands on a Hardbody, and American Idiot.

Chesray Dolpha

Artistic Director

Chesray is the newly appointed Artistic Director of the Broadway Advocacy Coalition; she has worked with TDF, St. Ann’s Warehouse, and The Dream Center in Harlem; she serves as co-chair of the Taskforce on Equity and Inclusion for the New York City Arts in Education Roundtable.

nicHi Douglas


nicHi is the Head of the Movement Department at Playwrights Horizons; she was the Associate Choreographer of Girl from the North Country at The Public; as Playwright, Director and Choreographer, she has commissions with Ars Nova and The Shed.

Jenny Gorelick


Jenny has been running Operations at The Tony Awards for the past six years; she is the Staff Producer for the American Theatre Wing and the Executive Producer of Nightdrive, a theater company with an Ars Nova Makers Lab Residency.

Lauren Gunderson


Lauren has been one of the most produced playwrights in America since 2015; she is a two-time winner of the Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award, the winner of the Lanford Wilson Award, and a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.

Miranda Haymon


Miranda is a Princess Grace Award/Honoraria winner, she is a Resident Director at Roundabout and The Tank, a member of both the Devised Theater Working Group at The Public and the Lincoln Center Theatre Directors Lab, and a Manhattan Theatre Club Directing Fellow; Miranda co-taught Contemporary Theater at Dartmouth College.

Carolina Ortiz Herrera

Lighting Designer

Carolina was the Associate Lighting Designer of Slave Play on Broadway, she has designed shows at Arizona Theater Company, the Apollo, Queens Theater, and Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

Jessica Huang


Jessica was a 2018 MacDowell Fellow, the inaugural recipient of the 4 Seasons Residency, and a three-time Playwrights’ Center Fellow; she has commissions with Manhattan Theatre Club, TimeLine Theatre Company, Audible, Theater Masters, History Theatre, and Theater Mu.

Chika Ike


Chika has directed shows at The Public, Berkeley Rep, Playmakers Rep Theatre Company, The Goodman, Victory Gardens, and more; she has Assistant Directed for many notable directors including Daniel Sullivan, Liesl Tommy, Eric Ting, and Rachel Chavkin.

Amber Iman


Amber is a founding member of the Broadway Advocacy Coalition and Black Women On Broadway; she is a well known Broadway actor who serves as a trusted advocate and voice for actors within the industry.

Jenny Koons


Jenny has developed work at Steppenwolf, Ars Nova, The Playwrights Realm, the Atlantic, Denver Center, Huntington Theatre Company, Roundabout, The Lark, New Black Fest, and more; she was Associate/Resident Director of Off Broadway’s immersive Queen of the Night.

Sarah Lozoff

Intimacy Director

Sarah is the resident intimacy director at Oregon Shakespeare Festival and RudduR Dance, and she has worked with American Ballet Theatre; she is a certified intimacy director and teacher at Intimacy Directors and Coordinators.

Patricia McGregor


Patricia has directed work at the Geffen, CTG, the Guthrie, The Public, Roundabout, Lincoln Center, Dallas Theater Center and Signature Theatre; she directs the 24 Hour Plays on Broadway, is a Usual Suspect at NYTW, and a Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow at Yale School of Drama, where she also served as Artistic Director of the Yale Cabaret.

Grace McLean


Grace is an Artist in Residence at Lincoln Center, where her first original musical In The Green debuted at LCT3, won the Richard Rodgers Award for Musical Theater, and was nominated for seven Lucille Lortel Awards.

Mayte Natalio


Mayte has been Associate to Sam Pinkleton and Assistant to Camille A. Brown on many productions including NBC’s Jesus Christ Superstar Live; she has choreographed at Dallas Theater Center, is a member of Lubdub Physical Theatre Co. and is a founding member of the immersive events production company Minute Zero.

Shakina Nayfack

Playwright/Bookwriter/Artistic Director/Director/Actor

Shakina is the Founding Artistic Director of the Musical Theatre Factory and playwright/director of Chonburi International Hotel & Butterfly Club on Audible; recognitions include a Lilly Award, the TRU Humanitarian Award, The Drama League Musical Directing Fellowship, and the Beatrice Terry Residency for women playwright/directors.

Jesca Prudencio


Jesca has developed new work at The Kennedy Center, La Jolla Playhouse, East West Players, The Lark, NAMT, EST, Space on Ryder Farm, La MaMa, Clubbed Thumb, and Joe’s Pub; she is the recipient of the TS Eliot US/UK Exchange at the Old Vic, The Drama League Fall Fellowship, and the inaugural Julie Taymor World Theater Fellowship.

Macy Schmidt

Orchestrator/Arranger/Music Director

Macy was the Orchestrator and co-Music Coordinator of Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical, Music Supervisor of She Persisted at the Atlantic, and on the music team of Broadway’s TINA: The Tina Turner Musical and upcoming Aida; she is the founder of The Broadway Sinfonietta, an all female-identifying, majority women-of-color orchestral collective.

Jane Shaw

Sound Designer

Jane has designed work at Playwrights Horizons, Manhattan Theatre Club, Theatre for a New Audience, Mint Theater, National Black Theatre, Rattlestick, Hartford Stage, Cleveland Play House, The Old Globe, and many more; she is a Drama Desk Award-winner for Outstanding Music in a Play and two-time nominee for Outstanding Sound Design.

Sarah Shutt

Box Office Treasurer

Sarah is the Assistant Treasurer at the Belasco, she was previously the Assistant Box Office Treasurer at the Circle in the Square for seven years, and she worked in the box office at Off Broadway’s Westside Theatre and Daryl Roth Theatre.

Charly Evon Simpson


Charly, who recently signed an overall deal with HBO, was the 2019-20 recipient of the Paula Vogel Playwriting Award, her play Behind The Sheet was nominated for the Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award and received a NY Times’ Critics’ Pick, and she had two plays on the 2019 Kilroys List.

Katie Spelman


A winner of the SDCF Agnes de Mille Commission and nominee of Helen Hayes and Connecticut Critics Awards, Katie has choreographed at Goodspeed, Denver Center, Lookingglass, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Asolo Rep, Chicago Shakes, and more; she was Associate Choreographer of Moulin Rouge and Rent Live! on Fox.

Joanna Lynne Staub

Sound Designer

Joanna is a go-to Sound Designer at Seattle Rep, 5th Ave, The Goodman, WP Theatre, and many more; she is a frequent Associate Sound Designer on Broadway, recent shows include Angels in America, Sweat, and The Color Purple.

Cherie B. Tay

Stage Manager

Cherie (she/they) is the Assistant Stage Manager of Hadestown, previous Broadway credits include Assistant Stage Manager of Gettin’ the Band Back Together, Amélie, In The Heights (National Tour), and War Horse (National Tour); they are also a photographer, videographer (Hadestown), and ukulele teacher (Margaritaville).

Cynthia J. Tong


Cynthia is the Producing Associate for Tom Kirdahy Productions, Line Producer for 600 Highwaymen, a Fellow of WP Theater’s 2020-2022 Lab, and a founding member of The Industry Standard Group, the first BIPOC commercial theatre investment and producing organization.

To nominate women for the 2022 Women to Watch on Broadway, please email [email protected]

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