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A Mid-College Career Change Leads to Broadway Success

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Four performers during The Inheritance

Photo credit: Matthew Murphy

Originally from Los Angeles, Kayla Greenspan ’12 knew from a fairly young age that she wanted to move to New York as soon as possible. Growing up, she ran a tutoring program at her high school and was a teacher’s assistant for many years, so she decided to enroll in Steinhardt's Secondary Education program. 

Everything went as planned for a while, with Greenspan taking her classes and building her life in New York, until she went abroad for a semester in London her sophomore year.

“During my semester abroad, I was focused on taking my English lit courses and experiencing life in London, which for me meant quite a bit of theatre,” says Greenspan. “I was thrilled to find a few courses that were part of the English lit requirement that involved attending at least one show (and often two or three) every week. I always loved theatre but seeing shows at that frequency sparked the idea of what a career in theater could look like.”

When she returned to Steinhardt, she added the Business of Entertainment, Media, and Technology (BEMT) minor (offered jointly through Steinhardt, Stern, and Tisch) to her degree and applied for an internship at a Broadway producing office to learn more about what working on the business side of theatre meant. 

“During my summer internship, the company I was with was preparing to open a Broadway musical revival later that fall,” says Greenspan. “Though school was resuming in the fall and I was supposed to begin my student teaching, I couldn't imagine not seeing the show through the next steps. I made the somewhat crazy decision to spend my senior year at NYU completing my secondary education and BEMT programs, student teaching, and working at the Broadway producing office full timeI completely fell in love with producing and made the decision to pursue that after graduation.”

Today, Greenspan is managing producer at TBD Theatricals, where her Broadway credits include Hadestown, Slava’s Snowshow, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, Gettin’ the Band Back Together, Once On This Island, Anastasia, Deaf West Theatre’s Spring Awakening, and The Inheritance—which won Best Play at the 2021 Tony Awards.

“I served as a co-producer on The Inheritance independently, and the producing office I work with was one of the lead producers on the project as well,” says Greenspan. “The reality that this is my third Tony is somewhat surreal. Adding The Inheritance alongside Hadestown and Once On This Island is an honor and I am grateful to be part of the team that makes it happen.”

Greenspan is also proud that the award was also a win for representation: The Inheritance writer, Matthew Lopez, became the first Latinx playwright to win a Tony for Best Play. 

Greenspan is also director of investor relations for the Broadway Strategic Return Fund, an investment vehicle dedicated to maximizing shareowner returns in the Broadway space. She has also found a way to incorporate teaching into her producing work the Underrepresented Producing Initiative, a producing training program she co-founded in 2017 that seeks to train the next generation of lead producers and increase representation of historically underrepresented communities in the field.

For Greenspan, her background at NYU has been an important part of her career success.

“There’s nothing like being able to say that you’re an NYU alumna,” she says. “The power behind the NYU network and having Steinhardt on my resume opened doors into the theatre industry. My first two bosses in the industry are NYU alumni and so is my current producing partner. NYU alumni look out for each other, and I plan to do the same.”

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