Producing a Broadway Smash

MIKE BOSNER, BBA ’07
PRODUCER, GFI PRODUCTIONS, NEW YORK CITY

BY KAREN-JANINE COHEN

In a few short years, Mike Bosner has gone from School of Business student to producer of the Broadway smash and Tony Award-winning “Beautiful, the Carole King Musical.” His trajectory was set, however, before his freshman year, when he was was picked for an internship in the production office of the Municipal Theatre Association of St. Louis, known as the Muny. He was hooked.

“I was in a meeting and the producer was overseeing the meeting with the entire business staff,” Bosner says. “I never thought about marketing, rules, regulations and contracts. I remember being flabbergasted with this whole world.” At that moment, Bosner set a clear and focused goal: to be a producer. Once at the School, Bosner approached Paul K. Sugrue, who was then dean, and shared his ambition. Sugrue, Bosner recalls, said, “Go talk to the theater people.”

Vincent Cardinal, at that time chair of the University’s Department of Theatre Arts, warmly welcomed Bosner, overseeing the thespian side of his education (script analysis, acting and directing classes) while involving him in back-of-the-house processes. At the same time, Bosner took the standard business curriculum. “I ended up designing a program to do business and theater,” he explains.

During summers, Bosner returned to St. Louis, where he worked closely with Paul Blake, Muny’s contracted executive producer out of New York. Bosner was offered a full-time job with Blake during his junior year, when he was four credits shy of graduation. With the blessings of Sugrue and Cardinal, he worked in New York as associate producer with Blake for Muny. Then, “a little show came out of the blue, a Carole King show,” he says. Bosner earned his remaining credits at New York’s Baruch College.

After more than seven years of working together, Bosner moved from being Blake’s associate producer to a full partner. They are a unique pair. Blake has the institutional memory and long experience on the creative side. Bosner adds the financial, contract and business infrastructure. They recently brought on Ian Wells (BBA ’09) to help grow the business.

The payoff is clear. The show is now on national tour, in production in London’s West End and will open in Australia next year; it’s also still on Broadway. Bosner and Blake are now planning for other venues around the world. Ironically, Bosner initially planned a career in international business; he thought foregoing it in favor of following his dream of producing was a radical turn. Now, he says, international business is at the center of his professional life.

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