Joy Rosenthal and Serena Cohen of BroadwayWiz.com
In this new feature called #MakerSeries, RyeTheNewsGuy.com will give you a first-hand look at some of the up and coming makers of tomorrow by showcasing some of their products that are making a splash in the industry. These makers are all apart of Broadway Makers' Alliance, which is a collection of creatives who’ve taken their passion for Broadway and created high-quality products and services for the Broadway and theatre community. RyeTheNewsGuy.com is a proud member of Broadway Makers' Alliance.
Serena Cohen and Joy Rosenthal are the two powerful female forces behind the popular Broadway site BroadwayWiz.com. From interviews, stories, and an online shop- Broadway Wiz is a one-stop shop for all things Broadway. Both women chatted with RyeTheNewsGuy.com about where the idea came from for the site, their favorite interviews, and what is next for Broadway Wiz. They are doing big things so be sure to keep up with them at www.BroadwayWiz.com.
Where did the idea come from to start Broadway Wiz?
Joy: It was suggested to us at the stage door of If/Then and Serena ran with the idea.
Serena: Joy and I were stage-dooring at If/Then and we got into a conversation with other fans about how to get discount Broadway tickets. Someone asked Joy if she had a blog and that sparked the idea. I went home that night and purchased the domain BroadwayWiz.com, designed the site and told Joy to start writing! At first it was mainly show reviews and tips & tricks for Broadway fans. Eventually it transitioned into interviews, news and merchandise. We both love seeing Broadway shows, and Broadway Wiz has given us so many opportunities to share our love of theater with others and meet so many amazing people in the industry. https://broadwaywiz.com/why-i-started-broadway-wiz/
Logo for Broadway Wiz
Who has been your favorite interview and why?
Joy: I loved so many of them for different reasons:
Kathryn Gallagher (https://broadwaywiz.com/kathryn-gallagher/), because she was my favorite in Spring Awakening and that interview put us on the map.
Jarrod Spector (https://broadwaywiz.com/jarrod-spector/), because it is really cool to interview the guy who made me fall in love with Broadway.
Jenna Leigh Green (https://broadwaywiz.com/jenna-leigh-green/) – I grew up watching her episodes of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, so it was so cool to meet and speak with her.
Laura Bell Bundy (https://broadwaywiz.com/laura-bell-bundy/),
Kate Rockwell (https://broadwaywiz.com/kate-rockwell/)
Laura Osnes (https://broadwaywiz.com/laura-osnes-loves-being-part-of-the-band/), because strong female leading ladies are the best. But I love them all and I’m so happy I get the opportunity to interview Broadway people.
Serena: It’s so hard to pick a favorite because each person we get to meet is so interesting in their own way. Some of my favorites have been:
Nathan Johnson from Drift Studios (https://broadwaywiz.com/nathan-johnson/),
Tim Dolan (https://broadwaywiz.com/tim-dolan/) from Broadway Up Close (and fellow Broadway Makers Alliance member)
Justin Robertson (Squigs) (https://broadwaywiz.com/justin-squigs-robertson/) because I find it fascinating to speak with creative people who are passionate about their craft. They’re not Broadway performers per say, but have all made a career pursuing their love of Broadway.
I also really loved the interview about “No Bullying” (https://broadwaywiz.com/peace-love-and-cupcakes/) with the kids from Peace Love & Cupcakes. They were so honest and emotional about an important topic. I think it’s necessary for our site to address vital issues such as bullying and feminism, we’re not just here to provide mindless entertainment.
Currently, what is your favorite show on Broadway and why?
Serena: I recently saw Beetlejuice and it was a blast. I love shows that have dark humor and the set design is just mind blowing.
Joy: Right now my favorites are Mean Girls, Prom, Beautiful and Cher. All those shows are so great and have great female empowerment. My all time favorite is Groundhog Day– it was brilliant the way they repeated each day, the same but different. The cast was always on fire and I just loved it.
Serena Cohen, George Salazar (Be More Chill), and Joy Rosenthal at Broadwaycon
Where did the idea come from to start selling merchandise?
Serena: I’m a graphic designer by trade, so whenever I’m inspired by a specific show or quote we try to turn it into merchandise for our store. Broadway Wiz is really a passion project for both of us and we don’t make any money from it (so far). The small profits we make from the merch helps us with the costs of running the site. We also donate a percentage of all our profits to Broadway Cares and other charities.
Joy: It was all Serena, she’s the designer and I love everything she’s made!
Some merchandise from Broadway Wiz
What’s in the near future for Broadway Wiz as far as new ideas and new content?
Joy: More interviews and to grow our site. I love our Instagram interviews so I hope we get more opportunities to do that.
Serena: More interviews, more merch. We are always thinking of new ways to present our content, our Instagram Interviews this past year were well received.
Kristin Maldonado: https://www.instagram.com/stories/highlights/17893713586195872/
Michael Campayno: https://www.instagram.com/stories/highlights/18025266772052388/
Taylor Iman Jones: https://www.instagram.com/stories/highlights/17995115893030147/
Robert Fairchild: https://www.instagram.com/stories/highlights/17873653597274053/
What’s your favorite thing about running Broadway Wiz?
Serena: Having people tell us that they love what we do - it makes all the effort worthwhile! I also love getting to see as many Broadway shows as possible and meeting cool people in the Broadway industry.
Joy: Everything from starting the site, to meeting amazing Broadway stars that I look up to, to meeting fans who say they love what Serena and I have created. I’m so grateful for everything and I hope it keeps growing.
What’s your advice for the future makers of tomorrow who have a passion for something but don’t know where to begin?
Serena: Keep persisting and keep learning. It may sound cliche, but you learn something new every day. The longer you work at something, the more experience you gain and that helps you to grow your passion into something sustainable.
Joy: Don’t give up! Do what you love and it will hopefully pay off.