Second Stage Theatre Co-Founder Carole Rothman Leaving Company After 45 Years And Scores Of Accolades

Carole Rothman, co-founder of the renowned New York theater company Second Stage responsible for such acclaimed productions as Dear Evan Hansen, Next To Normal, This Is Our Youth and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, is leaving the company she started in 1979.

“For 45 years, I have had the great honor of working with countless incredible artists and playwrights, many at the beginning of their careers, who are now among the brightest stars in the industry,” said Rothman in a statement. “The shows we have brought to life have been award-winners, conversation-starters, and groundbreakers. I’m forever grateful to all the people who have helped make Second Stage the creative springboard it is today. I’m so proud of what we have accomplished together.”

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Rothman’s announcement did not state a specific reason for her departure or her immediate plans.

Since its founding by Rothman and Robyn Goodman (who left Second Stage in 1992), the company has moved from its Off Broadway perch on the Upper West Side to the heart of Broadway’s theater district, maintaining its mission statement of developing and producing works by living American playwrights.

A sampling of some of Second Stage’s works: the 2015 Pulitzer Prize winner Between Riverside and Crazy by Stephen Adly Guirgis; 2012 Pulitzer Prize winner Water by the Spoonful by Quiara Alegria Hudes; the Off Broadway and Broadway stagings of Dear Evan Hansen by Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul; 2010 Pulitzer Prize winner Next to Normal by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey; Dogfight by Benj Pasek, Justin Paul and Peter Duchan; Clyde’s and By the Way, Meet Vera Stark by Lynn Nottage; Notes From the Field and Let Me Down Easy by Anna Deavere Smith; This Is Our Youth and Lobby Hero by Kenneth Lonergan; The Little Dog Laughed by Douglas Carter Beane; The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee by William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin; Ricky Jay and His 52 Assistants by Ricky Jay; Jitney by August Wilson; Jar the Floor by Cheryl L. West; Kathy & Mo’s Greatest Hits by Mo Gaffney and Kathy Najimy; and Coastal Disturbances by Tina Howe.

In the two years since theaters reopened following the Covid shutdown, Rothman has produced four plays at Second Stage’s Broadway venue, the Hayes Theater, garnering 11 Tony Award nominations with two wins for Take Me Out (Outstanding Revival, Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Supporting Actor). The company’s current Broadway season – Rothman’s last – will include Mother Play, a world premiere by Paula Vogel starring Celia Keenan-Bolger, Jessica Lange and Jim Parsons; and Appropriate, by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and starring Sarah Paulson.

Second Stage, an independent, non-profit theater company, currently owns and operates the Off Broadway multi-stage venue the Tony Kiser Theater on 43rd Street, and the historic Helen Hayes Theatre on Broadway.

Among the Tony Awards received by Second Stage during Rothman’s tenure are six for Dear Evan Hansen and three for Next To Normal. Single wins in the performing or producing categories include The Little Dog Laughed, Putnam County Spelling Bee and Metamorphoses. Off Broadway accolades include the 2002 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Body of Work, 29 Obie Awards, 11 Outer Critics Circle Awards, four Clarence Derwent Awards, 17 Drama Desk Awards, 11 Theatre World Awards, one Dorothy Louden Award, 20 Lucille Lortel Awards, the Drama Critics Circle Award and 23 AUDELCO Awards.

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