Amar Ramasar and the company of CAROUSEL
© Julieta Cervantes
On June 10, the entertainment industry will gather for Broadway's biggest night—the night of The Tony Awards®. And while the stage at Radio City Music Hall will be filled with the season's leading performers, there will also be many professionals working behind the scenes to make the night go smoothly, including those who specialize in lighting, sound and sets.
City National Bank — the Official Bank of the Tony Awards — has a strong appreciation for the behind-the-scenes happenings as the sponsor of the Tonys' Creative Arts Awards, which honor those professionals. The sponsorship is a good fit for the bank, since City National also plays a "backstage role" in so many Broadway productions.
“Sponsoring the Creative Arts Awards makes sense for us because we're also behind-the-scenes, managing a full suite of products while the theater professionals produce the shows," said Stephanie Dalton, who leads City National's theater banking group along with Erik Piecuch. They both work out of the bank's New York entertainment division.
“Every Broadway show is like a new startup business that needs a bank for deposit accounts, cash management, foreign currency exchange, letters of credit and other important financial services," Dalton said.
Banking on Broadway
Every theatrical production needs a bank, even before it gets to Broadway. In fact, many of the major Broadway hits started with successful runs off Broadway or as theatrical workshops. And the time between a producer opening a bank account for a production and the show's opening night can range from a few months to several years.
“It's exciting because we get to see the project come to fruition," said Piecuch. “We see the marquees going up on Broadway, the sets being loaded into the theaters and the launch of the marketing campaigns, all leading up to opening night."
While serving as bankers and trusted financial advisors for producers is the theater banking team's primary role, “we also have great appreciation for entertainment and theater, both the management and the creative side," Dalton said. And with her more than 20 years of experience in entertainment banking, in addition to Piecuch's more than a decade in the industry, the City National entertainment banking team has built a solid reputation that brings in consistent repeat business.
Currently, City National banks about 50 percent of the shows on Broadway, including 12 Tony-nominated shows, accounting for 75 nominations including:
"Mean Girls" - 12 nominations
"Angels in America" - 11 nominations
"Carousel" - 11 nominations
"Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" – Parts One and Two - 10 nominations
"Once On This Island" - eight nominations
"Three Tall Women" - six nominations
"Farinelli and the King" - five nominations
"The Iceman Cometh" - eight nominations
"Children of a Lesser God" - one nomination
"Meteor Shower" - one nomination
"1984" - one nomination
"Springsteen on Broadway" - one nomination
Relationships drive much of that business, Dalton said: “We know a lot of people in the industry, our service level is high touch, and we have a nimble approach to banking."
City National has a dedicated team in New York who focus on serving the theater industry and additional colleagues in Nashville, Atlanta and Los Angeles, serving the film, television and music industries as well as professional athletes.
“We see our role as letting the creative team behind the show do what they do best: hiring directors, casting actors and designing sets, while we manage the day-to-day banking for them, making it as easy as possible," Dalton said.
Before a Broadway show ever earns a Tony nomination, the producers and creative teams have been working for months or years to get the production to that point. The same principle applies in any business, Piecuch said. “Your banker should know you and your business well, so they can bring a whole suite of products to help you and your business grow."
“The level of service we bring to shows is very entrepreneurial. A banker who truly understands how your business works and what you're trying to accomplish can add tremendous value," said Dalton.
Tune in on CBS on June 10 at 8 p.m. Eastern/5 p.m. Pacific time to watch the Tony Awards.
Tony Awards is a registered trademark of the American Theater Wing, Inc., New York