Suffolk Alumnus Michael Barra sets bar for theatre productions to come with Gotham Stage Company

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Media executive Michael Barra is a former Suffolk University finance major who has come far in the theatre world. From working with independent troupes like the Gotham Stage Company to conglomerates like Disney, he truly has seen and worked in every single aspect of the business.

Barra has now branched off on his own to start Stageworks Media. He said that Stageworks Media “is the culmination of my entire learned experience to date. I’ve been thinking of ways to monetize, like I did when I worked with Disney. While working with Daryl Roth I was in the position of monetizing intellectual property or packaging the rights for film and television.”

When Barra started at Suffolk, he said that he was a young finance major who wasn’t sure what he had wanted to do.  He had gotten his first taste of theater working for seven years at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Boston and New York. He then joined the critically acclaimed Off-Broadway’s Gotham Stage Company as the co-artistic director in 2005.

Following that, he worked at The Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, Calif. where he helped manage the revenue growth of the film library. After that, he went on to work for Disney Theatricals dealing in business development and franchise management. This lead to running Daryl Roth Theatrical Licensing with award-winning producer Daryl Roth. Feeling that he has come full circle, he said, “It was the next logical step to apply my experience with staff, acquire new talent and promote it.”

He wants to open up these new plays and spread them through word of mouth by not only producing shows independently but also by licensing the rights to schools and amateur productions across the country. By owning all of the creative rights, they can also explore the numerous plethora of selling their own merchandise, comparing the new plan to how similar the film market is. It created the first of it’s kind, a type of independent franchise. An honest perpetual advertising franchise. One that puts control in the hands of the creators. Working on a few plays, now including his original run of Speakeasy Dollhouse, among others.

“Ten years ago, if you’d tell me that I was going to start my own path this way, I‘d tell you that you’re crazy,” said Barra. Truly wanting to create a collective of experiences, make a steady income stream and to expand it into profit licensing. Barra has set on on quite the ambitious path, but  with time and effort he has shown that with patience anything can come. He is pleased that he has found a way to make capital for himself, and to still help new, young talent create and control the art that they wish to create. From independent theatre, to off-broadway, to working with broadway legends and Disney; Michael has proven that there is hope on the horizon for the numerous Suffolk students soon to be graduates and that dreams can come true.

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