Fynsworth Alley: Victoria Maxwell

Originally published on Fynsworth Alley.

Victoria Maxwell is one-third of the Momentum Productions, the producers of Bells Are Ringing. What’s more, Victoria is one of the last of an endangered breed — the independent producer on Broadway. In an industry that seems to be dominated by corporate producers like Disney and SFX, Victoria has carved out a successful career putting on shows as diverse as Damn Yankees, Jeffrey, Stomp, Play On!, The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, and last year’s Pulitzer Prize winner, Dinner With Friends.

DL: How did you get involved in producing?

VM: Well, I’m partners with my brother, Mitchell Maxwell. He’s eleven years older than I am, and he was producing plays. He produced his first play in New York when he was 21. Then he directed in England, and soon he was producing more plays. In 1984, he was producing a wonderful play called To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday, which starred Sarah Jessica Parker, Cheryl McFadden, and David Rasche. I was working at the Writers and Artists Agency as sort of an interim receptionist; it was not really a very fun job, but both the writer and the director on that project were represented by the Writers and Artists Agency. So, I had already read the contracts, I had already seen the play. So when they were staffing the show to move it from the Ensemble Studio Theatre to an off-Broadway theatre, I said to my brother, “You have to hire production assistants for the show anyway. I’ve already read the contracts and seen the project, why don’t you try me?” And I did really well – I did everything! I threw the opening night party, I closed the partnership, I spoke to all the investors… I was a one-man-band. I realized that it was really fun and really exciting. There was always a fire to put out, there was always someone to talk to, and then the thing that made it most exciting was at the end of the day, 350 people sat in a theatre and saw your work. The non-stop energy of it, and the immediate audience feedback, people were immediately touched or you made them laugh or you made them cry – it was exciting!
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