Women of Broadway Women of Broadway

2021 Schedule | Friday, March 12 at 1:00pm EST

This is a 2 hour 15 minute event with a 5 minute intermission.

Session #1

Opening Remarks

Anne Quart is Senior Vice President of Production and Co-Producer for Disney Theatrical Group (DTG). Based in New York City, Quart oversees all aspects of Production for DTG shows worldwide. Together with her team, she manages casting, physical production and general management for all DTG stage titles.

Quart began her career in Canada at the Stratford Festival at the age of 6. Following several years as a child actor, she transitioned from stage to work in costume construction as a wardrobe manager followed by eight years as the head of a busy scene shop, which built scenery and automation for Broadway.

She joined Disney Theatrical Group in 2002 as Production Manager for The Lion King and went on to serve as Associate Producer for all subsequent companies world-wide.  Throughout her tenure, she came to hold this title, turned Co-Producer, for all DTG productions including Newsies, Aladdin, Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Frozen.  Anne is also the co-producer of Fathom’s record-breaking film-capture of Newsies.

Anne is married and has two fantastic daughters.

Introduction of Women's Day on Broadway

MARIJA JULIETTE ABNEY received her BFA from The Ailey School/Ford­ham University, MA from NYU’s Tisch and acting training from The William Esper Studio. She was a Dora Milaje in Marvel’s Black Panther and Avengers. She was featured in Broadway’s The Cher Show and After Midnight, In Your Arms at The Old Globe in San Diego, New York City Opera’s final opera Anna Nicole, and Disney’s The Lion King. Film/Television credits include: Luke Cage, Isn’t It Romantic, The Tick, The TONY Awards, Black Nativity, and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Social media: marija_abney.

Tavia is a performer, director & former Communications Coordinator for the LA Chamber of Commerce.  Theater credits include the National Tour of Motown the Musical and Disney Theatricals workshop cast of Aida.  Since the Broadway shutdown, Tavia has focused her skills to build the specialized role of Cultural Coordinating, designed to improve cultural competency in artistic spaces.  Tavia is currently heading the Equity & Inclusion Committee for Broadway Inspirational Voices and works as Project Coordinator for Ava Duvernay’s ARRAY CREW.

Broadway Moms: How Life Goes On When The Show Doesn't

The first session will bring mothers together to discuss the unbelievable challenge of parenting and specifically mothering during the pandemic.


Cara Cooper is the co-host of the hit podcast, Mamas Talkin’ Loud, most recently seen in The Prom. She’s the longest running Mary Delgado in Jersey Boys on Broadway, during which she had two babies and co-founded Broadway Baby Mamas. Broadway: Elf, The Wedding Singer, All Shook Up, and Legally Blonde. TV and Film: City on a Hill (Showtime), Adult Beginners and The Great Gilly Hopkins. As the mother of a child with special needs, she is keenly aware of the specific challenges raising children of different ‘abilities’ brings and fights for this community of warrior parents to feel seen and supported.

Jessica Rush is the co-host of the hit podcast, Mamas Talkin’ Loud, & was performing as Rhonda in the original Broadway company of Tina: The Tina Turner Musical when the shutdown happened. Broadway: Dear Evan Hansen, SUMMER, Gypsy. Jessica closed the Broadway run of Jersey Boys as the longest running Lorraine. TV: Billions, White Collar. Co-founder of Broadway Baby Mamas and recently launched, along with her six-year-old daughter Elliot, Ivy & Clarke, a bespoke gemstone jewelry business – a true #pandemicpivot come to life.


Tony Award-winner and five-time Tony Award nominee LAURA BENANTI is a highly celebrated stage and screen actress who recently debuted in the film WORTH at the Sundance Film. Laura can soon be seen in the film HERE TODAY starring opposite Billy Crystal and Tiffany Haddish. Both films will release in 2021. She is currently in production for HBO Max’s highly “Gossip Girl” reboot. She is also reprising her role on the final season of the hit TV series “Younger.” She frequently appears on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” in her celebrated comedic portrayal of First Lady Melania Trump.

Laura created and executive produced the HBO Max special, “Homeschool Musical: Class of 2020” an unscripted musical special that features students from across the U.S. In April, Laura released a cover of “Sucker” along with a moving video donating 100% of her earnings to FoodCorps. She followed up the single with her debut solo self-titled album.

Broadway credits include “My Fair Lady,” “Meteor Shower,” “She Loves Me,” “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown,” “In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play,” “Gypsy,” “The Wedding Singer,” “Nine,” “Into the Woods,” “The Sound of Music,” and “Swing!”

Vanessa Javier is an advertising professional with over 15 years of experience. Vanessa has worked on an array of accounts ranging from B2B to travel, attractions to Broadway. Currently the Group Director on Disney Theatrical Group at Serino Coyne, Vanessa is responsible for developing brand strategies and integrated communications plans for “The Lion King” &  “Aladdin” on Broadway. Vanessa chairs the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committees at Serino Coyne and works to continue to nurture meaningful dialogue and action in the space. When not “online”, you can likely find Vanessa crafting with her two kids in her Bronx apartment.

Twenty years stage managing on Broadway, productions include: The upcoming MJ, The Musical, SpongeBob SquarePants, The Musical, Urinetown, Bandstand, Disney’s Tarzan, A Little Night Music (Revival), Motown (Original B’way Production) Sweeny Todd (Revival), Ghosts, The Musical, The Producers, The Norman Conquests & An American In Paris. Greatest accomplishments: Olivia, Cooper & Ruby Jones.

Karen Olivois a television, film, and stage actor who currently plays“Satine” in Moulin Rouge, The Musical. Additional Broadway credits include West Side Story(Tony Award), In the Heights (Astaire Award), Brooklyn the Musical, and Rent. Additional theatre credits: Murder Balladat MTC, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark at Second Stage, and The Miracle Brothers at the Vineyard. Olivo is also an educator, visual artist, and writer. In the Spring of 2020, Olivo co-founded the non-for-profit organization, Artists for Economic Transparency www.AFECTchange.org

Tanya has taken her years of experience as a professional Broadway performer and melded it with her love and passion for justice. With a deep and grounded sense of presence, Tanya uses her voice to provoke curiosity, promote love and empower others to create change from the inside out. Tanya has been a guest speaker for “The Dream Unfinished” an activist orchestra highlighting the under recognized works for artists of color. She spoke about being one of the “tokens” on Broadway and how that has informed her life and career promoting advocacy and education as a way to continually diversify the arts. Tanya was a guest speaker at the Faith + feminism rally which was in support of the Women’s March here in New York City. She spoke of these turbulent times being a new day and a new opportunity for those who were not in mind when this country was founded to take their rightful seat at the table. Tanya is the founder of SoHumanity and creator of the Embodying Change workshop series and retreat which focuses on the Rights of the Body and how we can reclaim them as an act of liberation. She is also a 500hr E-RYT Yoga teacher and has recently led 100 educators in both New York and Denver in bringing yoga and mindfulness into the classroom through the Breathe for Change program. Her most recent collaboration is with revolutionary Urban Educator Chris Emdin and founder of hip-hop Ed on the power of embodying the knowledge that we receive.

Introduction to Intermission

Brittany Monachino recently closed her first Broadway show with King Kong: Alive on Broadway. She has performed in productions of Kiss Me Kate, Saturday Night Fever, and West Side Story, as well as toured with Philadanco and Norwegian Cruise Lines.  Further credits include Hairspray LIVE Philadelphia, The Washington Ballet, and Dianne McIntyre’s Why I had to Dance written by Ntozake Shange.


Session #2

The Broadway Sinfonietta


Macy Schmidt is an Egyptian-American Orchestrator, Music Director, & Copyist based in NYC. Recent projects include: TINA (Broadway), the upcoming Disney revival of Aida, the adaptation of Chelsea Clinton’s SHE PERSISTED (Music Supervisor), and the acclaimed Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical (Orchestrator), for which her work was praised by The NY Times for its likeness to a “classic Disney Act I finale in the brassy manner of Alan Menken.” At just 23 years old, Macy recently founded The Broadway Sinfonietta, an all-female-identifying, majority women-of-color orchestra uplifting BIPOC women musicians on Broadway, which has caught the attention of national press. Macyschmidtmusic.com

Introduction To Session #2

Phoebe Moore is a producer, designer, and creative consultant in the event, communications, education, and nonprofit spheres. Phoebe passionately advocates for Black & brown creatives, promoting diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion in any space she enters. She earned a BA in Strategic, Legal, and Management Communications from Howard University.

Broadway's Second Act: A Conversation About Moving Beyond Intention

The second session will be moderated by award-winning ABC News Correspondent, Deborah Roberts, leading a conversation about what actionable steps we can all take to ensure that we not only increase representation of BIPOC women in our board rooms, writing rooms, rehearsal rooms and beyond but that they have equal access to power and privilege.


Deborah Roberts is an award-winning ABC News Correspondentfor “20/20,” “Nightline,” “Good Morning America” and “ABC World News Tonight with David Muir.” A media veteran, Roberts is a highly respected journalist who has traveled the world in her reporting. She has also served as substitute anchor for Good MorningAmerica, World News Weekendand20/20, as well as a co-host on “The View.” Roberts’ long form reports on 20/20 have consistently produced extraordinary narratives such as an intimate profile of first lady Michelle Obama, first daughter Ivanka Trumpandanin-depth investigation into abuse within the Amish community. She has reported from Africa on children orphaned by the HIV/AIDS crisis and was part of the historic coverage of the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Roberts has been awarded multiple Emmy awards for her internationalandnational coverage of world events, including her poignant reporting on an Ethiopian American woman’s emotional journey back to her African village to discover her long lost mother. Roberts is author of “Been There, DoneThat: Family Wisdom For Modern Times,” a book written with her husband, Al Roker. She makes her home in Manhattan with her husband and two children.


Maria Manuela Goyanes is the Artistic Director of Woolly Mammoth Theater Company. Prior to joining Woolly, she served as the Director of Producing and Artistic Planning at The Public Theater, where she oversaw the day-to-day execution of a full slate of plays and musicals at the Public’s five-theater venue at Astor Place and the Delacorte Theater for Shakespeare in the Park. Earlier in her career at The Public, she managed some of the theater’s most celebrated productions, including Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Josephine & I by Cush Jumbo, Straight White Men by Young Jean Lee, Barbecue by Robert O’Hara, and Here Lies Love by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim.

Maria holds a position on the adjunct faculty of Juilliard and curates the junior year curriculum of the Playwrights Horizons Theater School at NYU. She has guest lectured at Bard College, Barnard College, Brown University, Columbia University, Juilliard, the National Theater Institute at The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, UCSD, the University of Texas-Austin, and Yale University, among others. Since 2015, Maria has also served as a member of the board of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre. From 2006 to 2008, she co-chaired the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab with Jason Grote, and from 2004 to 2012, Maria was the Executive Producer of 13P.

Maria is a first-generation Latinx-American, born to parents who emigrated from the Dominican Republic and Spain. She was raised in Jamaica, Queens, and has a collection of hoop earrings to prove it. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in 2001 from Brown University.

The Olivier Award-Winning and 4-time Tony Nominated Producer, has spent the past 15 years mounting productions on Broadway and London’s West End with a focus on people of color on the stage and off-stage. As the only African American woman lead-producing on Broadway, she is extremely proud of Broadway directorial debuts for Debbie Allen and Liesl Tommy; as well as writing debuts for Danai Gurira and Dominique Morisseau. Past productions include Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; A Streetcar Named Desire; The Trip to Bountiful; Romeo & Juliet; Eclipsed; Cirque du Soleil’s Paramour; Iceman Cometh; American Son; and, currently “on intermission”, Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations. @accessFrontRow

EVA PRICE is a three-time Tony Award-winning producer, NYCLU/ACLU honoree and a Crain’s 2020 Notable LGBTQ Leaders and Executives Honoree. Credits: Oklahoma! (Best Musical Revival); Jagged Little Pill (15 Tony nominations); Tina: The Tina Turner Musical; What the Constitution Means to Me; Angels in America; On YourFeet!; Frankie Valli and the FourSeasons!; Peter and the Starcatcher; Cruel Intentions; Small Mouth Sounds.

Aaliytha Stevens is the Chief Operating Officer at SpotCo, the world’s leading full-service advertising, marketing and branding agency. She joined the company in 2002 as a member of the account services team and got her start managing brand and media strategy for Manhattan Theatre Club, Cirque du Soleil, and The Radio City Christmas Spectacular, to name a few. She went on to found the agency’s Direct Mail/Print Services department, a role in which she oversaw the list acquisition for mailers and the creation of printed materials for hundreds of Broadway shows. Seeing a need for greater organizational development within the company, Aaliytha would also go on to found the company’s Operations and Human Resources departments. Today, she is the highest-ranking person of color in the theatrical advertising industry.

She is passionate about philanthropic giving, fair workplace practices, and diversity in the industry: improving its statistics from the root up. In addition to spearheading Equity, Diversity & Inclusion initiatives for SpotCo and its clients, Aaliytha proudly sits on the board of the Black Theatre Coalition and the New Heritage Theatre Group.  Aaliytha is also the mother of three and grandmother of one and enjoys family time, cooking, and traveling.

Tali Pelman joined Stage Entertainment in 2014, and as Group Creative Managing Director is responsible for strategic original content creation globally across the Stage Entertainment group. She produced and is leading the global rollout of the acclaimed hit musical TINA – The Tina Turner Musical in the West End, Broadway, Hamburg and Utrecht.

Tali joined Stage Entertainment following a decade of producing in the West End and on Broadway, both independently and as Producer for the Ambassador Theatre Group. Previously, Tali was Executive Director of the Gate Theatre. Tali is a graduate of Columbia University, was a Kohn Fellow at the London School of Economics, and received her Executive MBA from the London Business School, where she was awarded the Celia Atkin Scholarship. She is a member of the Society of London Theatre.

Session #3

Introduction of Lynn Nottage and The Lorraine Hansberry Initiative

Gethsemane Herron-Coward is a playwright from Washington, D.C. Her work has beensupported from Roundabout Theatre Company, JAG Productions, Liberation Theatre Company,Ars Nova, and WP Theater. Winner of the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Festival. Shereceived her MFA from Columbia University. She writes for survivors and magical Black girls.

The Lorraine Hansberry Initiative

On behalf of The Lillys, Lynn Nottage will announce a new initiative to honor the legacy of Lorraine Hansberry, the groundbreaking playwright of A Raisin in the Sun and establish a unique opportunity to address gender and racial disparity in American theater.

Lynn Nottage is a playwright and a screenwriter, and the first woman in history to win two Pulitzer Prizes for Drama. Her plays have been produced widely in the United States and throughout the world. Her plays includeFloyd’s,Sweat,Mlima’s Tale, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark, Ruined, Intimate Apparel, Fabulation, or the Re-Education of Undine Crumbs from the Table of Joy, Las Meninas, Mud, River, Stone, Por’knockers and POOF!. Musical librettos include The Secret Life of Bees and MJ (upcoming). She has also developed This is Reading, a performance installation in Reading, Pennsylvania. Ms. Nottage is the recipient of a MacArthur “GeniusGrant” Fellowship, among other awards, and is an Associate Professor at Columbia University School of the Arts.

Introduction of Closing Remarks

Erin Moore earned her BFA at Fordham/Ailey and was a member of Philadanco. Some credits include – HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, Netflix’s A Very Murray Christmas, and SNL. She was in the original Broadway casts of: Follies, After Midnight, and Shuffle Along, the company of Rigoletto at The Metropolitan Opera, and featured with the San Francisco Symphony. Most recently she can be seen in Fosse/Verdon and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

Closing Remarks

PearlCleage is an Atlanta based writer, currently Distinguished Artist in Residence at the Tony Award winning Alliance Theatre. Her new play Angry, Raucous, and Shamelessly Gorgeous, had its world premiere as a part of the theatre’s 50th anniversary season in 2019 and is scheduled for productions around the country when the theatres reopen next year. Her other plays premiered at the Alliance include Pointing at the Moon, What I Learned in Paris, Blues for an Alabama Sky, and Flyin’ West, the most produced new play in the country in 1994. Her play The Nacirema Society Requests the Honor of Your Presence at a Celebration of Their First One Hundred Years was commissioned by the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and co-produced with the Alliance in Montgomery and Atlanta in 2010. Her first play for young audiences, Tell Me My Dream, was commissioned and produced by the Alliance in 2015. Her book for children, In My Granny’s Garden, was co-authored with her husband, writer Zaron W. Burnett with illustrations by Radcliffe Bailey.
Her first of 8 novels, What Looks Like Crazy On An Ordinary Day, was an Oprah Book Club pick and spent nine weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Her other novels include Baby Brother’s Blues, which received an NAACP Image Award for Literature, I Wish I Had A Red Dress, Babylon Sisters, and Things I Never Thought I’d Do. Her memoir,Things I Should Have Told My Daughter: Lies, Lessons and Love Affairs,was published by Simon and Schuster/ATRIA Books in April, 2014.
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