How Alexander Baron is making waves in the theater world
By Lindsay Hand
We all have dreams of making it big and doing what we love. Here in Westchester, many kids are fortunate to have the fun and exciting experience of being in a show, whether through school or community theater, but only a select few are able to turn it into a career. For Armonk native and current Penn State freshman Alexander Baron, however, that dream has come true.
Discovering the NYC Theater Scene
Though he never dreamed of being involved in theater when he was younger, while at Byram Hills High School, Baron discovered a passion for the production aspect of the business. Rather than studying for finals, Baron wrote a one-act show and submitted it to the Manhattan Repertory Theatre. The show was accepted, and from there his involvement in New York City theater really took off. “I’m terrible at writing plays and it was the worst show ever, but I loved producing it,” says Baron. “I loved bringing things from page to stage.”
Through this initial experience, Baron was introduced to many successful people involved in theater who have helped him gain experience and discover his passions. One such person is Marathon Live Entertainment president and Penn State Programming Board of Theater member Mike Karns, who “has been able to make me realize how many more options there are in the theater world than just producing,” explains Baron.
Through Karns and Marathon Live Entertainment, Baron had the opportunity to intern at both The Last Ship and Hamilton, two extremely successful recent Broadway shows. In addition, in 2014, he produced his own off-Broadway show entitled Vote For Me: A Musical Debate, which provided him invaluable experience and a new connection in producer Dori Berinstein, a fellow Armonk resident.
She was impressed with him from the moment they met. “Not only was Alex already–at such a young age–a determined, visionary producer,” she says, “but he was kind, warm, articulate and very clearly an extremely smart and focused young man.”
Gotta Dance (and Produce)
Despite starting college, Baron is still working nonstop. He started his own production company called Baron Theatrical Inc., and then truly got his chance when producer Berinstein presented the opportunity for Baron to co-produce Gotta Dance, a pre-Broadway show set for the Chicago stage. The show focuses on a story about the 2007 New Jersey Nets senior citizen basketball team and incorporates music and dance. After a successful premiere in Chicago, the show, directed by Kinky Boots director Jerry Mitchell, is planning on a Broadway debut this Fall. Baron points out how the show “crushes the stigma of age that you’re never too young to dance,” and compared it to himself, stating proudly, “you’re never too young to produce.”
He is fortunate to bring extensive experience to the show, and credits Hamilton in particular with really showing him the power of social media, and he plans to use those ideas “to get the younger crowd to come see the show.” For someone so young he has already accomplished so much, and this fact is not lost on him. “The opportunity has done so much for me and we’re only getting started, and I’m really excited for what the show is going to hold in the future,” Baron states.
He recognizes that he has been incredibly lucky to have some experienced, extraordinary people helping him along and providing him with incomparable opportunities. “As we ramp up for Broadway, Alex’s insight on how best to excite and engage younger theater-goers about Gotta Dance will be invaluable,” Berinstein adds. “I’m thrilled to have Alex on our team and I’m very much looking forward to watching him become a major force on Broadway.”
While of course paying attention to his studies and life in college, Baron is highly focused on Gotta Dance. He plans to not only keep producing but also get more involved in the advertising, PR and marketing aspects of the industry. He is co-producing a show headed to Broadway and living his dream, and can serve as inspiration for many young people with similar dreams of working in the theater. There is no doubt that he will continue to grow and become an important part of the New York theater community. “It’s an incredible feeling to open up a playbill and see my name under the title,” Baron adds. “Every second I’m truly grateful.”
Two-time Inside Chappaqua Guest Editor Lindsay Hand is a sophomore at Cornell University.