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NSU Alumnus Shines In Sunday’s Tony Awards

Bruston Manuel, NSU Photo

Sunday night’s Tony Awards shined a spotlight on Northwestern State University alumnus Bruston Kade Manuel when “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess” won Best Revival of a Musical at the 66th annual awards ceremony that recognizes achievement in live Broadway theatre. Manuel’s independent entertainment production company, Paper Boy Productions, is a co-producer of the show. 

“It was an amazing event. The theatre community in New York City is very close knit, so everyone wants you to succeed. I was on pins and needles the whole night because we were up against stiff competition,” he said. “What winning the Tony Award means for this production is an increase in exposure and interest. Since winning Sunday night, we’ve already seen a huge spike in our ticket sales, which keeps us running and makes the show profit.” 

Manuel founded Paper Boy Productions with Will Dombrowski in 2010 and their producer/investor resumé includes “Annie” (Australia), “The Addams Family,” “Colin Quinn Long Story Short,” “The Merchant of Venice,” “A Life in the Theatre,” “Hairspray” (UK), “Next to Normal,” “Chicago” (Australia), and “Little Miss Sunshine,” currently in development. 

“I am an ‘above the title’ producer, which means that I raised substantial capital from investors for the show,” he explained. “Although I didn’t have a hand in developing the show, I was brought on board early in its inception to raise funds to make the show a reality. Once the show returns the initial principle to all our investors, which is called recouping, then we are in profit. This show has the potential to run for quite some time in profit, which means investors in the show will continue to reap financial rewards of investing in theatre.” 

Manuel moved to New York City shortly after graduating from Northwestern State in 2003. He began his college career as a music education major and later changed to vocal music, performing with the concert and chamber choirs. He was a drum major for the Spirit of Northwestern Demon Marching Band. After moving to NYC, he auditioned for musical theatre roles and discovered an affinity for the business side of Broadway. While still auditioning, he worked for a private family-run office, which influenced him to start Paper Boy Productions with a friend. 

Last year, Manuel initiated the Carolyn Smith Manuel Music Scholarship for an upperclassman music education major at Northwestern State, which is named for his mother, and contributed to the Spirit of Northwestern uniform drive. Hesaid his performing experiences at Northwestern State help him predict whatdraws positive response from an audience. Winning a Tony Awards gives Manuel credibility as a producer who knows how to pick great works that have the potential for a long run, which drives profits for individual investors. 

“Through my company, I hope to acquire more and more investors that are interested in putting their money in theatrical entertainment with the promise of solid returns,” he said. “Investing in theatre has become a big business. Art really does meet commerce. In 2011, Broadway generated $18 billion for the NYC economy.” 

For more information on Manuel’s company, visit paperboyproductions.net.

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