People pursue MBA degrees for many reasons, but a love of the Broadway stage is usually not one of them. Still, that was exactly why Adam Sansiveri enrolled in Fordham’s master of business administration program.
Thanks to an internship he landed for University credit, Sansiveri has achieved his dream of becoming a Broadway producer. He is among 10 co-producers behind the revival of David Mamet’s acclaimed play Speed-The-Plow, which opened on Oct. 3 at the Ethyl Barrymore Theater.
“I always knew I wanted to be involved in the arts, and this pairing of an MBA and my love of the arts creates the perfect niche,” said Sansiveri, who is pursuing a dual concentration in marketing and media.
Sansiveri, 25, knew the ins and outs of Broadway before he came to Fordham. The Nashville, Tenn., native graduated from Cornell with a dual degree in biochemistry and mass media communication. He worked as an actor for three years, and sang on stage at Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Opera House.
Now a second-semester student in the Graduate School of Business Administration (GBA), he said he hoped the MBA would help him move from the spotlight to behind the scenes.
“I wanted to be more involved on the business end and have more of a say in the arts community,” he said. “As a performer, there’s only so much you can do in the grand scheme of things.”
That opportunity came when he began interning last summer at Darren Bagert Productions. Although he was accepted to the internship without University assistance, Sansiveri credits Fordham with preparing him for the position.
For example, a graduate level statistics class this past spring taught him how to analyze the Broadway market, the better to predict the ideal time to open a show and when to discount tickets.
“It’s incredible to walk out of a class and go, ‘Wow, I can use this,’” he said.
He quickly moved from the internship to a full-time position, which led to the opportunity to co-produceSpeed-The-Plow.
The revival of Mamet’s 1988 play about mid-level Hollywood producers who debate the conflict between making art versus making money features Jeremy Piven, Raul Esparza and Elisabeth Moss. It has received some of the best reviews of the season, with the New York Times’ Ben Brantley calling it a “world class roller coaster.”
Sansiveri, who is easily among the youngest producers on Broadway, said negotiations are underway to extend the show beyond its February closing date. Also, he is happy that, unlike the characters in the play, he and his co-producers didn’t have to choose between art and money when staging the production.
“To achieve the artistic integrity intended by the author—some would say that’s even better than money. In Speed-The-Plow we achieved them both, and that’s what makes a successful producer,” he said.
Even as Speed-The-Plow continues, Sansiveri is moving on to another project, a revival of the classic 1930s musical Guys & Dolls, which will begin previews on Feb. 3 at the Nederlander Theatre. After that, he would like to help bring an original script to life on the Great White Way.
“I’d like to find a piece that hasn’t been done,” he said. “You know, find something the world has never seen and nurture it from a little play to a big production.”