Manny Azenberg, Theater Producer

By Nathaniel Hill

Emanuel “Manny” Azenberg is one of the most accomplished producers in Broadway history. Born in 1934 in the Bronx, Mr. Azenberg first began his career on Broadway in 1965 after leaving the army, when he company managed The Impossible Years. Since then he has presented more than 68 shows in Broadway, including all of Neil Simon’s plays since 1972.  At last count, his productions had garnered a total of 134 Tony Award nominations and 42 Tony awards.

Chances area, you have read or seen a popular play because Mr. Azenberg gave the project the green light.  His hits have included Movin’ Out, The Wiz, The Odd Couple, The Iceman Cometh, Long Days Journey Into Night, Lost in Yonkers, Sunday in the Park with George, Side Show, Simon’s Eugene Trilogy and finally Rent, which he general managed but did not produce.

Mr. Azenberg is producing three projects set to open on Broadway this fall.  The first is a unique repertory project called The Neil Simon Plays (or the Eugene Trilogy), which is comprised of Brighton Beach Memoirs and Broadway Bound, two semiautobiographical plays by Simon that focus on a young Jewish man in Brooklyn in the mid-twentieth century.   The second is a revival of the 1998 Americana musical Ragtime, which Mr. Azenberg is bringing from Washington, DC’s Kennedy Center to Broadway.

Mr. Azenberg taught at Duke from the late 1980s until last year.  For one semester each year, he flew from New York to Durham about three times a month and instructed a theater seminar.  In this personal interview with Manny, he describes his class (and much more).  He established a connection with Duke after having taught at NYU and Yale when his daughter attended Duke in the 1990s.  Manny has five children and is married to Lani Azenberg; together they operate Iron Mountain Productions, his company.

Check out this article on Manny’s career and his Jewish faith.

This fall Manny will present on Broadway a revival of the Americana musical Ragtime.

This fall Manny will present on Broadway a revival of the Americana musical 'Ragtime.'

Manny is also producing revivals of Brighton Beach Memoirs and Broadway Bound, which will open this fall

Manny is also producing revivals of Brighton Beach Memoirs and Broadway Bound, which will open this fall

Emanuel Azenberg. Wikipedia.com. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. N.p.  2 Jun 2009. Web. 5 Sept. 2009.

Jones, Kenneth. “Playbill on-line’s brief encounter with Emanuel Azenberg.” Playbill.com. N.p. 27 Jan 2004. Web. 5 Sept. 2009.

Rothstein, Mervyn. “A Life in the Theatre: Emanuel Azenberg.” Playbill.com. N.p. 2008. Web. 5 Sept. 2009.

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