MEET WENDY FEDERMAN
Wendy Federman is a nine-time Tony Award winning theatre and film producer. She has also received an Olivier
Award, eight Drama Desk Awards, eleven Outer Critics Circle Awards, and thirteen Drama League Awards for many of her over 80 co-productions. It’s no surprise that Wendy became part of the Broadway world as she comes from a family who was firmly entrenched in the theatre and entertainment industry. Her mother and aunt performed on radio, television, movies and the Broadway stage from the 1930s through the ‘60s, while her uncle, Paul Frees, was the voice of Boris Badanov, the Jolly Green Giant, and the Pillsbury Doughboy. She named her production company in memory of her famous uncle, whose biography was entitled “Welcome, Foolish Mortals.”
Inspired by her family’s colorful history, Wendy began her own theatrical career studying dance, singing, acting, piano and guitar at a very young age. Growing up in a home whose walls echoed the sounds of her mother’s beautiful soprano voice, Wendy began her own theatrical career studying dance, singing, acting, piano and guitar at a very young age. She dedicates every new production to the memory of her mother. Wendy began her theatrical life intending to be a performer, but she always had an eye for business. While earning a degree in behavioral science and management from New York University, Wendy would work behind the desk at her father’s office. This didn’t stop her from taking acting classes and attending auditions. However, when her father suddenly died at 60, she gave up her theatrical dreams: following the motto, “family first,” she joined her brother to become the third generation owner and operator of a global floral ribbon manufacturing and importing company.
Wendy successfully ran the company from its NYC headquarters, attended sales conventions and travelled globally to promote merchandise that appeared on the shelves of the top floral, crafts, and department stores. Through it all, Wendy still found time to keep up with her dance, singing and acting lessons in order to maintain her connection to the entertainment world. Her years of experience in the business world proved invaluable when she started her career as a theatre producer. Like the ribbon industry, theatre producing is about a great product you believe in, finances in place, costs under control, and reaching your target market in order to achieve maximum sales. Business is business, but there really is nothing like show business! Wendy sold the ribbon business in 1990 to spend more time with her young family. Since then, she has been a biofeedback therapist, operating stress management centers in New Jersey and is a certified life coach, empowering her clients to achieve their dreams.
Theatre will always be Wendy’s first love, and as luck would have it, the father of a child in her son’s playgroup happened to own two off-Broadway theatres. He realized Wendy’s passion and understanding for the theatre world, eventually asking her to co-produce the National Tour of Legends!, starring Joan Collins and Linda Evans. After her first Producer credit, Wendy has not stop producing shows since. Today, this Tony Award winner is a fixture amongst the “who’s who” of Broadway insiders. Wendy is constantly attending readings and workshops of new and revival materials while traveling throughout the United States and London to look for that special play or musical that may have Broadway potential. In the little down time she has, Wendy reads through the numerous play submissions that arrive through the mail.
Ultimately, when it comes to Broadway theatre investing, Wendy is as meticulous as she is professional: “You have a fiduciary responsibly to your investors and must be extremely concerned and cautious with people’s money.” No matter what others may say, “the project must mean something to me,” she believes, for “I have to be able to speak passionately about it. We’re asking people to spend money, so we need to be sure the product is as good as it can be.”
Wendy has a tremendous commitment to the theater arts and the generosity of her time is evident in her many philanthropic causes related to her profession. Wendy has served as guest lecturer for many charitable foundations and spent countless hours throughout her career mentoring aspiring producers, actors and writers. She has been a continuous source of support and encouragement to interns and creative students of the arts providing advice and guidance enabling them to begin their own successful careers. When her son was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, Wendy co-founded a new annual fund-raising event, “Broadway’s Got Guts,” which directly benefits the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, a non-profit, volunteer-driven organization dedicated to finding the cures for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Wendy has co-chaired the annual “Broadway’s Got Guts” event for the last four years.
Wendy is a proud member of the John F. Kennedy Center’s National Committee for the Performing Arts whose mission is to fulfill President Kennedy’s vision by producing and presenting the greatest examples of music, dance, and theater; supporting artists in the creation of new work; and serving the nation as a leader in arts education.
Wendy Federman is a 2019 recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. This annual medal is awarded to 100 Americans whose accomplishments in their field and inspired service to our nation are worthy of commendation. The Ellis Island Medals of Honor recognizes individuals who have made it their mission to share with those less fortunate their wealth of knowledge, indomitable courage, boundless compassion, unique talents and selfless generosity. They do so while acknowledging their debt to their ethnic heritage as they uphold the ideals and spirit of America.
Photo by Heather Zwain, The Bergen County Bible
Wendy has served as a trustee on the boards of the following:
- Foundation for Gender Equality – The Foundation for Gender Equality (FGE) is dedicated to creating an urgent call to action on behalf of women and girls globally. Its strategic goals include developing new pathways to accelerate change, expanding opportunities and removing obstacles women and girls are facing around the world. Simply put, FGE will help women and girls advance by fostering fresh collaborations and identifying practical, sustainable and successful programs that can be replicated. Through its ongoing outreach, FGE is committed to finding and supporting those great grass-roots initiatives that are already making a difference for women and girls, and by extension, their families and communities.
- Bergen Performing Arts Center – Northern New Jersey’s most vibrant not-for-profit performing arts center – a home to hundreds of world class performances at affordable prices reaching audiences of over 250,000 each year. bergenPAC is also a home to Grammy winning recordings and broadcasts distributed internationally. However, the soul of bergenPAC can best be seen in our efforts to provide a home for innovative arts and educational programs that reach out to thousands of families.
- Gilda’s Club Northern New Jersey – Founded in 2000, Gilda’s Club is an essential complement to medical care for those living with cancer and their families and friends, to help them take control of their lives and learn to live with cancer, whatever the outcome. It is a place where people share and learn how to help themselves by helping others because no one should go through cancer alone. Communities of free support for everyone living with cancer – men, women, teens and children – along with their families and friends. Our innovative program is an essential complement to medical care, providing networking and support groups, workshops, lectures and social activities.
- MCC Theatre – Founded in 1986 as Manhattan Class Company, then a collective of young actors, writers and directors eager to take a leadership role in their own artistic development. Initial peer-based “classes” led to showcases and eventually to the kinds of full-scale productions that have made MCC Theater one of New York’s leading off-Broadway theater companies.
- Penguin Reparatory Theatre – a professional enterprise dedicated to:
- Promoting new voices and works which enrich the body of American drama;
- Nurturing and developing new talent for the stage;
- And reaching new audiences for theatre.
Wendy’s years of investing in and producing Broadway shows have allowed her to befriend the biggest stars, producers, and directors on Broadway. For a sampling of “who’s who” in her circle of friends, spend a few minutes looking through her Gallery of Stars.
Make your Broadway dreams come true. Become a Broadway insider and contact Wendy today!