ONCE ON THIS ISLAND is creating quite a stir on Broadway. I had the privilege of talking to the talented and caring, Yael Silver about her involvement in producing this show and her humanitarian work within the theatre.
Q: Congratulations on Co-Producing ONCE ON THIS ISLAND at Circle In The Square Theatre, how did this opportunity come about?
A: One of the incredible lead producers of the show, Hunter Arnold, had a great new and innovative idea of bringing in a generation of underrepresented producers to the Broadway Community. He started searching for underrepresented producers, including those under 40, female, gender non binary and people of color, who were interested in being a more integral part of the business and a friend of mine in the office brought up my name. I was unbelievably fortunate that he decided to contact me and invite me to be part of team that brought this stunning production to life.
Q: What do you look for in shows that you consider producing?
A: Art reflects our society which in turn gives artists great power and great responsibility. As a producer I strive to showcase stories that shine a spotlight on some of our darker sides of humanity such as racism, gender inequality, persecution of minorities and social injustice. I am passionate about theatre that provokes social understanding and change.
Q: What was your journey to becoming a producer?
A: Following the Orlando massacre in June of 2016, I reached out to my friend Will Van Moss with the desire to produce a benefit concert for the victims and families of this terrible tragedy. 3 weeks later we held a night of celeration, love and acceptance at Loft227 – Queer Composers for Orlando. After producing this beautiful benefit I knew that this was the path that I wanted to follow and started reaching out to people in the industry for mentorship. Robin Sokoloff, the Executive Director of Loft 227 quickly became my dear friend, mentor and collaborator. She has since opened up a brand new venue in Tribeca, Town Stages, where I am blessed to be on the board of directors. This women led venue is exactly the kind of art mecca that I want to be involved in. A place of inclusivity, respect, meaningful art and collaboration.
Q: You are also a human rights and climate activist, how do you live out these humanitarian passions?
A: I am very blessed that my career allows me to actively combine and explore my passions for theatre as well as activism. I strive to find ways to produce work with a charity component. I am right now working on a benefit concert for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline with the music of Rachel Dean and David Brush. Their musical The Anxiety Project is inspired by true stories of survivors of anxiety and depression and it is truly a privilege to put together. I am incredibly lucky that my mentor and boss, Van Dean, is equally passionate about social justice and activism. He frequently creates art with a philanthropic purpose, and I am fortunate enough to work at a company that supports my desire to increase the intersection between arts and activism. For example, we recently attended Former Vice President Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Corp training to become climate activists and leaders. We have since facilitated the opportunity for Christy Altomare, star of Anastasia, to sing at 24 Hours of Climate Reality. It’s an honor for me to be able to raise awareness for causes that are dear to me by connecting artists with charity events. My position as a producer allows me to advocate for causes that I believe in and invest my time in producing projects that create both art and social change.
Q: If you could leave the world one message what would it be?
A: Be Kind!