CMU Alumna Play Powerful Roles on Broadway


Broadway experienced an unexpected first last fall: an all-female creative team assembled by alumna Leigh Silverman, mounted a production of "The Lifespan of a Fact" by journalist John D’Agatta.

"I feel it is our responsibility as we gain power and any kind of platform, that we continue to widen the road as we go," said Silverman, a 1996 CMU graduate. "This is my fourth Broadway show and I felt it was important to include, as I have throughout my career, women and people of color, and put them in positions of power."

This year, three alumna from Carnegie Mellon University - producer Jamie deRoy, costume designer Ann Roth and lighting designer Peggy Eisenhauer - have received nine Tony Award nominations. Additionally, alumna Judith Light will receive the 2019 Isabelle Stevenson Award for her work as an advocate for LGBTQIA+ causes.

"My experience of being a woman working on Broadway has been nothing short of extraordinary, amazing in every way," Judith Light said. "These people and these casts and this productions - it’s beyond words how much love and faith and support I’ve received."

Numerous CMU alumna are making their marks on Broadway, and as a part of CMU’s annual celebration of the Tony Awards, we’ve reached out to several of them to learn about what inspires them, what tools they still use from their CMU training, and what advice they have for students following in their footsteps.

Coleman Offers Sound Advice for Women on Broadway

Liz Coleman is a "sound sister,” very much in tune with her professional and personal journey.

deRoy Builds Connections on Broadway

As one of Broadway’s most prolific producers, Jamie deRoy helps get productions up, running and funded.

Eisenhauer Lights Up Broadway

For Peggy Eisenhauer light is more than just illumination - it has a musical quality and rhythm.

Light Illuminates Human Rights Causes

Two-time Tony Award-winner Judith Light will receive this year’s Isabelle Stevenson Award.

Lindsay Finds Her Path to Broadway

Kara Lindsay’s birthday wish came true, putting her on a course to the world’s mecca of live theater.

Lloyd Brings Unique, Bold Voice to Broadway

Kristolyn Lloyd’s noteworthy career has included roles on television and on and Off Broadway.

Silverman Is a Broadway Champion for Diversity

Leigh Silverman didn’t set out to make history when she assembled an all-female creative team for the 2018 Broadway production of "The Lifespan of a Fact," she just wanted the best.

Skinner Seeks to Build Up Female Artists

Emily Skinner’s first stage was her Kindergarten classroom in Richmond, Virginia, where her teacher offered Skinner a chance to perform for her classmates.

Wagner’s "Pretty Woman" a Record-breaker on Broadway

Returning to her theater roots, powerhouse film producer Paula Wagner has brought the musical adaptation of the beloved 1990 movie "Pretty Woman" to the stage.

Change is Music to Zervoulis’ Ears

Meg Zervoulis remembers her mother taking her to see "The Lion King” on Broadway and seeing a woman conducting the pit orchestra.

2019 Excellence in Theatre Education Award Winner Creates Inclusive Environment

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