Women's Impact Report 2011: Sonia Friedman

It’s been an active year for Sonia Friedman, one of legit’s busiest trans-Atlantic producers. The London-based impresario shepherded Broadway transfers of West End offerings “La Bete,” “Arcadia” and “Jerusalem,” and also was on the producing team of a little tuner called “The Book of Mormon.”

And that was just in Gotham. The London activity for the season included a big-hit staging of “Much Ado About Nothing” starring Brit TV stars David Tennant and Catherine Tate. In recent seasons she’s also mounted a West End incarnation of “Legally Blonde” that proved better received than the Main Stem original, and brought “La Cage aux Folles” to both the West End and to Broadway, scoring trophies and acclaim on both shores for actor Douglas Hodge.

Friedman, who began her career as a London stage manager, says she can’t pinpoint which projects she may end up producing. “It’s a gut response, really,” she says. “Although I do regularly look across the West End and say, ‘Where are the gaps? What are we not catering for?’ At my company, I like to have on my shelves a diverse range of work.”

Now she’s on the lookout for a meaty classical drama to be led by a top-notch actor, because there aren’t any similar offerings on the West End at the moment. First up, though, there’s the star-driven Broadway transfer of London hit “The Mountaintop,” toplined in Gotham by the attention-grabbing duo of Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett.

“You have to be sure what you’re doing will stand out,” she says.

SNAPSHOT
Title: Theater producer
Role model: “I’ve learned so much from so many, I can’t pick just one.”
Career mantra: “Quality and integrity matter most. Follow your gut, act on instinct. Never try to be in fashion, as that way you are bound to go out of fashion.”
Leisure pursuits: Walking my dog and sleeping whenever I can.
Philanthropic: I’ve had many, depending on what is happening in my personal life — AIDS and breast cancer awareness, UNICEF and Kenyan orphans.

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