By Courtenay Cooper Hall
Ageless Beauty: Daryl Roth, 68
Award-Winning Broadway Producer, New York City
Daryl Roth is many things … a loving mother, an award-winning producer, one of “The 25 Most Powerful People on Broadway” and she also holds the singular distinction of producing seven Pulitzer Prize-winning plays: Bruce Norris’ Clybourne Park (Tony Award); Tracy Letts’ August: Osage County (Tony Award); Nilo Cruz’s Anna in the Tropics; David Auburn’s Proof (Tony Award); Margaret Edson’s Wit; Paula Vogel’s How I Learned to Drive and Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women.
Over her 26 year career, Daryl has proven that you truly can have it all, and with a career most people would only dream of, this down-to-earth beauty, sat and chatted with BELLA about work, family and her love of animals. Her kindness and warmth is felt the moment you step into her gorgeous NYC offices. You notice right away the frames that surround the room – in them are pictures of her family happy and smiling, much like Daryl herself. It was a true joy and an honor to talk to a woman so accomplished. In my opinion, Daryl is the epitome of an “Ageless Beauty.”
Definition of Beauty
Daryl defines beauty in many ways. “Beauty is reflected by how people feel about themselves, how they enjoy what they do in life and by what their choices are. I think a person feels beautiful when she feels fulfilled.”
Secrets to Staying Young
“I have no secrets at all, Daryl says. “I try to eat well. I became a vegetarian four years ago. It didn’t come from a health place – it came from my love of dogs and animals. I like being a vegetarian though, I feel cleansed in a way.”
When asked what her one must-have beauty item is, she said she loves Neutrogena Moisturizer. “It’s nothing fancy,” she says, “but it works.” She also says that a monthly appointment at the salon for color is an absolute must. “The one thing I can’t live without is getting my hair colored. I want my hair color to be bright and look good. It makes me feel sunny.”
Her Greatest Accomplishment
With so many great accomplishments to choose from, Daryl didn’t even hesitate when she answered: “My children.”
On “Having it All”
Daryl didn’t start her career on Broadway until she was in her 40s. An art history major in college, she worked as a designer for many years, which gave her the flexibility to be home with her children when they were little. “As my kids got older and I knew I wanted to find my way into the theatre world, I would take them with me to things. I hoped to ignite their interest in theater and at the same time be able to share things with them. It’s a tough profession when you have small children, because you have to work all day and be at the theatre at night. And so young women have to find their balance and what’s comfortable for them. I worked my life around their lives.”
On Being Named One of “The Most 25 Powerful People on Broadway”
“That was actually a nice surprise,” Daryl explains. “I have been very fortunate. Working as a producer on Broadway for 26 years, it’s nice to still be considered in a position of being able to make a difference by what I produce.” It also held special meaning because her son, Jordan Roth, was also on the list. “It felt great and was so nice to share it with my son, who is just a star in this business!”
With so many award-winning plays under her belt, Daryl admits there are a couple that hold a special place in her heart. “I love them all – I think of them all as my children and I love them each differently – but I would say most recently, The Normal Heart meant a great deal to me because it meant so much to audiences and people were so moved by it. And, of course, Kinky Boots, which is the current show I am involved in. I optioned the film after seeing it at Sundance seven years ago. It’s a huge musical. I am known mostly for doing plays, especially challenging plays, so it was very joyous on every level and I see the audience every night and they are filled with happiness and the messages that I have been trying to share my whole career – messages of acceptance: accepting who you are and accepting other people for who they are. All of those things seemed to come together in this Kinky Boots production wrapped in a little glitter and glam, so it means a lot to me.”
The Meaning Behind It All
Everything Daryl produces holds special meaning to her and she chooses plays based on how they affect her and the stories they tell. “They are personal to me and I hope they become personal to other people. I look for plays that have something to say that might change someone’s mind about something, may enlighten them in a way. I look for plays that emotionally challenge people. I have done plays with themes of gender and although I think now the country is getting a lot more open and receptive, I think of plays I did 15 years ago that would do very well across the country right now. I did a play called The Temperamental, which was about a group of gay men in the ‘50s.
“I think Kinky Boots will do fabulously across the country. It’s everything we are talking about, yet it’s accessible and fun. So while people are being entertained, they can think about what they are hearing or what they are seeing. I think the success is based on the story; the book of a musical or the play itself is really what the heartbeat is of any piece of theatre … if there is a good story that is told well [and with] characters that are truthful.
“I personally like plays that are based on reality. When we did a play called Wit a few years ago about a woman with ovarian cancer, nobody wanted to do it, but it turned out to be hugely successful and empowering for so many people. A successful play or musical needs to have a lot of elements: a good story, characters, if it’s a musical, it’s got to have wonderful music and songs that tell the story. Kinky Boots does that!”
Favorite Part of Living in NYC
“I love NYC. Central Park is my favorite and, of course – Broadway.”
Daryl is currently producing the new Broadway revival of HYPERLINK “http://anniethemusical.com/” \t “_blank” Annie and the new Broadway musical HYPERLINK “http://www.kinkybootsthemusical.com/” \t “_blank” Kinky Boots based on the film, with music by Cyndi Lauper, book by Harvey Fierstein and directed by Jerry Mitchell, and Nora Ephron’s Lucky Guy. Future theatre projects include A Time To Kill by John Grisham, adapted by Rupert Holmes; an adaptation of Abigail Pogrebin’s book, Stars of David; and It Shoulda Been You, a new musical starring Tyne Daly, directed by David Hyde Pierce.