A few months ago I sat down and had dinner with the ONLY African American male to serve as Vice President & Executive Director of a major Performance Arts Center in the country, Mr. Anthony McDonald who has that distinguished title at the Shubert Theatre in New Haven, CT.
Originally from Roselle, NJ, Anthony moved to Connecticut from NY in March 2021 where he had been sharpening his craft for his new role as VP & Executive Director at the Shubert Theatre.
During our discussion, I was blown away by his humility, experience and success in the world of Theatre, which as we mentioned is not known as a world led by African Americans at the executive level, in fact Anthony has worked on several Broadway productions and has extensive theatre management experience in general, company, and house management.
Below are just a few he shared with me:
Theatre Manager with the Nederlander Producing Co. of America at both the Minskoff Theatre, home to DISNEY’S THE LION KING, and the Gershwin Theatre, home to WICKED
An Associate to the General Managers on Broadway’s FIRST DATE
Associate General Manager for Off Broadway’s FUERZA BRUTA: WAYRA
Assistant to the General Manager, Peter Boygo on TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL
General Manager of The Miranda Theatre Company’s THEY PROMISED HER THE MOON
General Manager Broadview Phoenix/Magis Theatre Company’s MIRACLE IN RWANDA
General Management Consultant with Show Shepherd
Assistant Company Manager on Broadway’s HOLLER IF YA HEAR ME
Anthony is an HBCU grad and received his BFA from Howard University in Theatre Arts Administration and his MFA from Columbia University in Theatre Management and Producing. He is a proud member of (ATPAM) the Association of Theatrical Press Agents and Managers.
I asked Anthony about his motivation to choose Theatre as a career and he indicated that “my love and passion for the performing arts started with me growing up performing in all aspects of the performing arts. I sang in the choirs, played the French horn, studied tap and hip-hop dance and performed in theater. While I may not perform now, I love the fact that I can support artists and provide opportunities for kids to see the performing arts.”
We talked about mentors in this business and his first response was “Good question, I’m in many ways blazing a trail unique to myself. However, men who inspire and whom I can call on in this industry are Lynn Singleton and Thomas Schumacher ” I met Lynn through my previous employer. Lynn is the CEO and President of another Performance Arts Center called Providence Performing Arts Center and a theater conglomerate called Professionals Facilities Management. Lynn quickly took a liking to me and wanted to be a mentor and “cheerleader” for me. He was happy to be one of my references for this particular position.
Thomas Schumacher is the President of Disney Theatrical. He was also one of my professors at Columbia. Out of all my professors, he and I have been able to keep in touch the most. I’m grateful that I can still reach out for advice or guidance on different matters and no matter how busy he is, within a day, I will get a thoughtful response back. Both of them have been at the top of their field for quite some time and I hope to have their longevity while making a positive impact on my community.
Anthony is a Master Mason in Mount Moriah Lodge #20 of the Free and Accepted Masons of the State of New York. To unwind you can find Anthony watching movies, exploring new towns and cities, seeing theatre, and traveling to foreign countries.
I asked Anthony to walk me through his goals and vision for the Shubert Theatre over the next 5 years and his reply was “transforming the Shubert Theatre to thrive in this community like never before! I see our programming becoming more diversified to where it has become the norm. I see us presenting new genres of shows that speak to our community which the entire community can support. In the end I see myself leading this theater into the future where everyone in this multicultural community feels welcomed at the Shubert Theatre.”
Anthony also spoke to my guest about his vision for the Shubert Theater at the “7th Annual Kentucky Derby Fundraiser” view by clicking the link below:
Please join me in welcoming Ethnic GEM Anthony McDonald as the new VP & Executive Director at the Shubert Theatre