The Industry Standard Group is putting investment muscle and production prowess behind the effort to build a more representative commercial theatre.
The co-founders hosted a roundtable discussion over Zoom to reflect on the building process and where they are so far.
The Industry Standard Group is founded by Rashad V. Chambers, Miranda Gohh, Adam Hyndman, Toni R. Isreal, and more.
The founding members are Rashad V. Chambers, Miranda Gohh, Adam Hyndman, Toni R. Isreal, Rob Laqui, Sammy Lopez, Ronee Penoi, and Cynthia J. Tong.
Isha Gulati is an avid consumer of theatre, film, and television, with a dream of producing a Broadway show. Her passion for theatre began in grade school, where she quickly learned that she preferred running the business of the show to being on the stage herself. She chose to attend college at New York University to be in the epicenter of both the Broadway industry and her other passion, the Tourism industry. She graduated with a B.S. in Hotel and Tourism Management and is now an Inclusion & Diversity Program Manager at the intersection of technology and travel. She envisions that the next phase of her career will center on blending her passions for Entertainment, Experiences, and Inclusion work.
Cynthia J. Tong is an Asian-American creative producer working on and off Broadway. Currently, she is the Associate Producer at Tom Kirdahy Productions (The Piano Lesson, The Inheritance [Tony Award, Best Play], Little Shop of Horrors [Drama Desk Award]). Co-producing credits include August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson and Hadestown National Tour (under the producing team ReACT). Highlights from past producing projects include the Drama League-nominated A Thousand Ways by 600 Highwaymen (presented across 29 venues internationally and nationally), NYCLU’s Sing Out for Freedom benefit (2020 & 2021), Playbill’s Women in Theatre Concert (Virtual, 2020), LORDES (New Ohio Theatre, 2019), and Noah Wise (independent feature film). She is an Artist Ambassador for the NYCLU, a member of the Broadway League’s Rising Stars class of 2022, and a Fellow of WP Theater’s 2020-2022 Lab. She is also a former founding co-chair of Just Inked, a patron-initiative at Signature Theatre in NYC.
Prior to landing in theatre, Cynthia worked in retail, childcare, education, fundraising, and pharmaceutical advertising. She’s a proud alum of Wesleyan University, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa with honors in Sociology. Her familial roots originate in Taiwan and Hong Kong, and her artistic roots are in dance, having spent the first 22 years of her life in the studio. Rich collaborations with artists feed her soul, where process matters as much as product. As a founding member of The Industry Standard Group, she is honored to be building out one of her many dreams in coalition with dynamic, forward-minded producers.
Ronee Penoi (Laguna Pueblo/Cherokee) is a producer, composer, facilitator and activist. As Producer at Octopus Theatricals, she advances the work of many outstanding artists from development, production, to touring in the US and internationally. These artists and projects include Byron Au Yong and Aaron Jafferis (ACTIVIST SONGBOOK), DeLanna Studi (AND SO WE WALKED), Phantom Limb Company (FALLING OUT), Ripe Time (Haruki Murakami’s SLEEP), Homer’s Coat (AN ILIAD by Denis O’Hare and Lisa Peterson), Christine Jones’ THEATRE FOR ONE, and many more. Previously, Ronee was NNPN Producer-in-Residence at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Senior New Play Producing Fellow and Directing Fellow at Arena Stage, and toured nationally with Anna Deavere Smith’s LET ME DOWN EASY. She is a two-time ISPA (International Society for Performing Arts) Global Fellow, and has been an APAP (Association of Performing Arts Professionals) Leadership Fellow and TCG (Theatre Communications Group) Rising Leader of Color.
Ronee is a composer at work on two new musicals with collaborator Annalisa Dias under the banner of FLORA MUSICALS, and is a co-founder of the Groundwater Arts Collective dedicated to climate justice in the arts (recipient of a SPACE at Ryder Farm Residency Grant). Groundwater Arts’ work includes movement building/organizing around a Green New Theatre (GNT), bespoke consulting in decolonization and anti-racism, and new creative theatrical projects. Ronee is a proud NEFA (New England Foundation for the Arts) National Theater Project Advisor, serves on Western Arts Alliance Committees (Indigenous and Conference Steering Committees) and co-leads the emerging Creative and Independent Producer Alliance (CIPA) Programs Committee. She is also on the Advisory Board of the Global First Nations Performance Network.
Ronee is a recipient of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Individual Artist Fellowship for her musical composing work. Previously Ronee spent three years with the Consensus Building Institute, a non-profit specializing in facilitation and mediation services. Her current anti-racism practice builds upon a decolonization framework and embraces systems change as a key component of that work. She graduated with honors from Princeton University with a degree in Music with certificates in Vocal Performance and Theatre & Dance. She has also been invited to guest lecture on producing at Princeton, Howard University, and for American University’s graduate Arts Administration program.
Sammy Lopez is a theatre maker dedicated to uplifting historically excluded voices & stories through the arts. He is a co-founder and producer with the Tony Award-winning P3 Productions, currently developing GUN & POWDER (World Premiere: Signature Theatre 2020), HOW TO DANCE IN OHIO (Upcoming World Premiere: Syracuse Stage, Fall 2022), MIDSUMMER (In Development), BRADICAL (In Development), and two additional projects in development with award-winning artists John Leguizamo and Shakina Nayfack. He launched the company with his partners, Ben Holtzman and Fiona Howe Rudin. Co-producing credits include The Old Vic’s A CHRISTMAS CAROL, BE MORE CHILL, THE KITE RUNNER, A STRANGE LOOP (with A Choir Full Productions) and he was the associate producer of BANDSTAND. At Marathon Digital, he is the Special Projects Manager, representing Broadway productions, regional theatres, and other live entertainment clients.
In addition, he is the first resident director of NY Children’s Theatre developing new theatre experiences for families and young audiences. During the pandemic, Sammy co-founded The Industry Standard Group (TISG) and Second Act Theatrical Capital (2ATC), a decentralized leadership cohort of BIPOC producers strategically formed to promote work reflecting diversity and increase the presence of BIPOC investors and producers in the commercial producing arts and entertainment field. He is the 2022 program mentor for Theatre Producers Of Color (TPOC) and teaches with The Business of Broadway. Currently, he is a recipient of The Shubert Organization’s Artistic Circle and a Broadway League Fellow.
Sammy is a proud graduate of Syracuse University’s School of Drama, L.A. County High School for the Arts, and serves on the board of the New 42, TYA/USA, and CO/LAB Theater Group.. For more, visit www.sammy-lopez.com.
Rob Laqui is a NYC based creative producer and first generation Filipino-American originally from Minnesota. He is currently the Production Coordinator for NT America, the North American producing office for the National Theatre of Great Britain, representing the National on various Tony and Olivier Award winning Broadway productions such as NETWORK, HADESTOWN and THE LEHMAN TRILOGY. Rob also is an Associate Producer with Mara Isaacs company Octopus Theatricals.
Before his producing career he held multiple positions within the entertainment and live performance industry. Rob worked with the American Associates of the National Theatre, the US fundraising organization of the National, on the events team for the Broadway transfers of THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME and ANGELS IN AMERICA. Onstage, he performed in NYC and toured extensively as an actor, dancer and puppeteer nationally and internationally as a member of various companies including LaMama ETC’s Great Jones Repertory under the late great Ellen Stewart, MOMIX Dance Company, the first US national tour of the National Theatre’s WAR HORSE, David Byrne’s HERE LIES LOVE at the Public Theater, and Cirque du Soleil’s collaboration with James Cameron and his Lightstorm Entertainment team in TORUK: THE FIRST FLIGHT – based off of the hit movie AVATAR. Rob has been a choreographer, director, press representative for various productions, production spokesperson, puppet captain, puppet builder for Broadway and off-Broadway projects, and Sesame Street Workshop workshop participant.
Rob’s current projects include; the HADESTOWN Education Initiative which seeks to bring the experience of HADESTOWN to students from underserved communities as well as building an online educational resource, developing a online search application for BIPOC entertainment industry professionals and co-founding The Industry Standard Group LLC, a commercial investment and producing group that addresses the lack of representation and diversity in commercial arts and entertainment investing and producing. www.RobLaqui.com
Toni R. Isreal, is the CEO and Founder of REALEMN Productions LLC, Broadway’s leading multicultural marketing and PR team, run by Black Women. ‘The Real Team’s’ current client list includes Broadway’s leading shows including 8 Time Tony Award Winning HADESTOWN, JAGGED LITTLE PILL, Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu’s “powerful and provocative,” PASS OVER, soon to open – MJ THE MUSICAL, CHICKEN & BISCUITS, and also, New York Theatre Workshop, Princeton’s McCarter Theatre Center, New Brunswick’s George Street Playhouse, and the upcoming HADESTOWN Tour 2021.
In addition to being a proud member of New York Women in Film & Television, this founding member of The Industry Standard Group is also a consultant with New York’s World-Famous Apollo Theater, where she has secured over a million dollars in sales. Previously, Isreal was the Managing Director of Walker International Communications Group (WICG) where she led a team providing all aspects of marketing consultation to arts organizations including audience development, media support, and socially & technology driven initiatives. A proud member of CTI – Commercial Theater Institute, Isreal was instrumental in multiple projects inclusive of, 2018 Tony Award Winning ONCE ON THIS ISLAND, Disney’s ALADDIN and THE LION KING, A RAISIN IN THE SUN, A TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL, A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, BABY IT’S YOU and STICKFLY, Boston’s BORN FOR THIS at ArtsEmerson Theatre and Off-Broadway’s SMOKEY JOE’S CAFÉ, LITTLE ROCK, THROUGH THE NIGHT, ONE NIGHT, BOOTYCANDY, KING LIZ, WHORL, INVISIBLE THREAD, SMART PEOPLE, DOT, and AUTUMN.
REALEMN Productions is actively prospecting producing and marketing opportunities for film, television and/or theater. As a sincere advocate for BIPOC, Isreal enjoys promoting arts and entertainment to multicultural communities and delivering engaging experiences that encourage audiences to secure their seats and tune in! www.RealemnProductions.com follow @realemnproductions and listen to Callbacks Podcast, that’s powered by Realemn Productions.
Adam Hyndman is a Tony Award-winning producer, performer, and activist, who has worked extensively in the arts. Some notable credits include: NBC’s THE SING OFF, CHILDREN OF EDEN in concert at The Kennedy Center, ALADDIN on Broadway, ONCE ON THIS ISLAND on Broadway, HADESTOWN on Broadway & THE INHERITANCE on Broadway. He is passionate about creating possibilities for people to activate their purpose; acting as a conduit of connection, and striving toward the manifestation of a diverse and inclusive world. Adam works across disciplines and within many genres; striving first to be an advocate for artists. He incubates projects as an independent producer as well as within the team at the Tony Award winning Octopus Theatricals. Adam serves on the board of directors for both Pipeline Theatre Company, as well as Broadway For Racial Justice. He continues his work of disruption, radical accessibility, and conciliation as a founder of The Industry Standard Group and its subsidiary; Second Act Theatrical Capital. He is a graduate from Princeton University with a degree in Cultural Anthropology and minors in Theatre and Dance. He periodically returns to Princeton as a guest teaching artist within Princeton’s Lewis Center for the Arts and as an anti-racism facilitator for the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students at Princeton.
Miranda Gohh is an Asian American producer and manager originally from Providence, RI. Most recently, she served as the Company Manager at New York City Center with Manhattan Theatre Club (MTC). From 2018-2019, she served as the Producing Fellow at MTC. Miranda has also worked with companies such as 101 Productions, Arena Stage, The Playwrights Realm, Goodspeed Musicals, and Trinity Repertory Company. She is a member of ATPAM and serves on their Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee. Additionally, she is a recipient of the Broadway League’s 2019-2020 Rising Star Fellowship and served as a panelist for their 2019 Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Summit. She is a graduate of the Commercial Theatre Institute and an alumna of Wesleyan University. She is currently developing Theatre Producers of Color (TPOC), an educational program for active and aspiring BIPOC producers, in partnership with Broadway For All (BFA).
Rashad V. Chambers is a Tony Award winning producer, talent manager and lawyer. He is the Founder and President of Esquire Entertainment. Rashad recently produced the New York premiere of the award winning musical Little Girl Blue: The Nina Simone Musical. His Broadway producing credits include American Son, Ain’t Too Proud, Betrayal, The Inheritance, Caroline, or Change, The Music Man and Topdog/Underdog. Rashad attended Morehouse College where he graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration. He also earned his JD and MBA degrees from The Ohio State University. Rashad is a founding member of The Industry Standard Group as well as a board member of On Broadway Performing Arts Training Program and Houses on the Moon Theater Company.