2015 Robert Whitehead Award Winner Annouced!










New York, NY – December 16, 2014 – Tony® award-winner Broadway producer, Robert Cole, will be presented The Commercial Theater Institute’s Robert Whitehead Award for “outstanding achievement in commercial theatre producing” at a reception at Sardi’s on Tuesday, March 10, 2015.

The award is inspired by the five decade long career of Tony® award-winner Broadway producer Robert Whitehead, who died in 2002. CTI is the nation’s only formal program, which professionally trains commercial theatre producers. The award honors a graduate of CTI for outstanding achievement in commercial theatre producing. CTI presented the first Robert Whitehead Award in 1993 to Benjamin Mordecai and Susan Quint Gallin.

“It’s hard to imagine a more worthy recipient of the Robert Whitehead Award than Bob Cole,” said Tom Viertel, Executive Director of CTI. “A graduate of one of the very first CTI classes, he has gone on to produce some of the most important and entertaining Broadway shows of our time.  From Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which launched August Wilson’s career, to Angels in America to Once, Bob has made a huge difference on Broadway.”

“Robert Cole’s artistic vision and hard work has been a welcome presence on Broadway for nearly three decades, so I’m thrilled that he has been named the recipient of the 2015 Robert Whitehead Award,” said Charlotte St. Martin, Executive Director of the Broadway League. “Thanks to his multi-faceted talent, this multiple Tony Award-winning and nominated producer is the ideal person to honor Robert Whitehead’s legacy.”

“Like the legendary producer, Robert Whitehead, Robert Cole has presented prestigious productions of plays by some of the greatest playwrights of our time: Tony Kushner, Sam Shepard, August Wilson and Lanford Wilson to name a few,” said Victoria Bailey, Theatre Development Fund’s Executive Director. “It is fitting that he be the recipient of this year’s Robert Whitehead Award.”

Robert Cole has worked in the professional theatre since 1975 as a producer, general manager, teacher, literary agent and actor.  His experience in the entertainment industry also includes film and television development and consulting for performing arts organizations. In 1979 Cole founded the Michael Chekhov Studio, an acting school for professional actors in New York.  He served as the Studio’s artistic director until 1982 when he began to pursue a career in producing.  He continues to teach acting at various colleges and acting studios. Robert Cole made his Broadway producing debut in 1984 with August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.  Other credits include  The Crucible (starring Liam Neison & Laura Linney); Death of a Salesman (starring Brian Dennehy); Angels in America; Horton Foote’s The Young Man from Atlanta; Lanford Wilson’s Redwood Curtain (starring Jeff Daniels); Elaine Stritch at Liberty; Eric Bogosian’s Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll; One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (starring Gary Sinise); Mamet’s The Cryptogram; Sam Shepard’s Buried Child; John Leguizamo’s Freak; Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (starring Ashley Judd); A Raisin in the Sun (starring Sean Combs); and Emily Mann’s Having Our Say. Mr. Cole also produced the film, Tape, directed by Richard Linklater and starring Uma Thurman & Ethan Hawke. In 2002 Robert Cole took a hiatus from producing.  Upon sensing the 7-year itch in 2009 he returned to producing with a development deal with the Shubert Organization.  Since that return he has produced Once; Lucky Guy (starring Tom Hanks); A Steady Rain (starring Daniel Craig & Hugh Jackman); That Championship Season (2011); Orphans; and Harvey Fierstein’s Casa Valentina. He is the recipient of 4 Tony® Awards.  Cole is a member of the The Broadway League and serves on its Board of Governors.


A joint project of The Broadway League and Theatre Development Fund, CTI was founded in 1981 by the late Frederic B. Vogel. The current executive director, Tom Viertel took on leadership of the program in 2013.

The Commercial Theater Institute presented the first Robert Whitehead Award in 1993 to Benjamin Mordecai (seven August Wilson plays on Broadway) and Susan Quint Gallin (Angels in America, Monty Python’s Spamalot). Subsequent honorees include: Dennis Grimaldi (Other People’s Money, Annie Warbucks) in 1994; Kevin McCollum (Rent, West Side Story) in 1995; Randall L. Wreghitt (The Miracle Worker, Grey Gardens) in 1996; Marc Routh (A Little Night Music, The Norman Conquests) in 1997; Liz Oliver (Wait Until Dark, Last Night of Ballyhoo) in 1998; Eric Krebs (The Dinner Party, Electra) in 1999; Anne Strickland Squadron (Bill Maher: Victory Begins at Home, The Herbal Bed) in 2000; David Binder (A Raisin in the Sun, 33 Variations) in 2004; Nick Scandalios (Executive VP of the Nederlander Organization: Wicked, In the Heights) in 2008; Dori Berinstein (Legally Blonde: The Musical, Thoroughly Modern Millie) in 2009;  Stuart Thompson (A View from the Bridge, God of Carnage) in 2010; Jill Furman (In the Heights, West Side Story) in 2011; Jon B. Platt (Book of Mormon, Venus in Fur) in 2012; and Jeffrey Finn (On Golden Pond, A View from the Bridge, American Idiot) in 2013.

#   #   #

THE COMMERCIAL THEATER INSTITUTE (CTI), now in its 31st year, is a project of Theatre Development Fund (TDF) and The Broadway League. The nation’s only formal program, which specifically trains commercial theatre producers, CTI provides resources and guidance to individuals interested in the various paths one can take towards creating commercial productions for the stage. For details and schedules of all CTI programs, visit www.commercialtheaterinstitute.com or call 212.586.1109. Facebook: become a fan of CTI and follow on Twitter @CTIPrograms

THE BROADWAY LEAGUE, founded in 1930, is the national trade association for the Broadway industry. The League’s 700-plus members include theatre owners and operators, producers, presenters, and general managers who present in nearly 200 markets in North America, as well as suppliers of goods and services to the theatre industry. Each year, League members bring Broadway to nearly 30 million people in New York and on tour across the U.S. and Canada. For more information, visit www.BroadwayLeague.com, or follow The Broadway League on Twitter @TheBwayLeague or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BroadwayLeague. BROADWAY.ORG is the League’s new official on-line headquarters for Broadway in NYC and on tour. Download the free Broadway.org mobile app for iOS or Android, and the free IBDB mobile app for iOS or Android. The Broadway League annually presents the Antoinette Perry “Tony” Awards,® one of the most coveted awards in the entertainment industry, with The American Theatre Wing.


THEATRE DEVELOPMENT FUND, a not-for-profit service organization for the performing arts, was created in the conviction that the live theatrical arts afford a unique expression of the human condition that must be sustained and nurtured. It is dedicated to developing diverse audiences for live theatre and dance, and strengthening the performing arts community in New York City. Since 1968, TDF’s programs have provided over 87 million people with access to performances at affordable prices and have returned over $2.4 billion to thousands of productions. Best known for its TKTS Discount Booths, TDF’s membership, outreach, access (including its Autism Theatre Initiative) and education programs — as well as its Costume Collection — have introduced thousands of people to the theatre and helped make the unique experience of theatre available to everyone, including students and people with disabilities. Recent TDF honors include a 2011 Mayor’s Award for Arts and Culture, a 2012 Tony Honor for Excellence for its Open Doors Arts Education Program, a 2012 New York Innovative Theatre Award for its support of the off-Off Broadway community and a 2013 Lucille Lortel honor for “Outstanding Body of Work” in support of the Off Broadway community. For more information, go to: www.tdf.org.