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ALUMNI PROFILE


Greg Rae ’00 is co-


prod er of th uc


e Ton war y A


ALL HEART Written by LINLEY ERIN HALL ’01 H


MC alumni have done many interesting things, but this is a new achievement: Tony Award winner. Greg Rae ’00 is one of the producers of “The Normal Heart,” which was nominated for five Tony Awards and won three. “It’s just an incredible experience. It’s my first time out, and it’s like


we hit a home run,” said Rae, an HMC Trustee and computer science/ mathematics alumnus. “It’s the right time to bring this to Broadway. People are ready for political plays.” “The Normal Heart,” set in New York City during the early days of the


HIV epidemic, won for Best Revival of a Play. Also, Ellen Barkin, making her Broadway debut, won best actress in a featured role in a play, while John Benjamin Hickey won best actor in a featured role. The play follows a group of friends as they struggle to understand the disease killing otherwise healthy gay men and to persuade doctors, politicians, and the press to give AIDS the attention it deserved. The play originally was performed off-Broadway in 1985; this was its Broadway debut.


“It’s important to get that story out there and remind people that AIDS is still a problem.”


“A lot of people in my generation don’t understand what happened in


the 1980s with HIV,” Rae said. “It’s important to get that story out there and remind people that AIDS is still a problem.” Although Rae has invested in several other creative projects, “The


Normal Heart” is his first experience as a Broadway producer. Unlike most Broadway shows, which may have 30 to 40 producers, “The Normal Heart” has only six. This has allowed Rae to be much more involved in the production. Although a producer’s primary responsibility


is to raise money to finance the production, Rae has worked on its marketing as well. Part of what Rae brings to the table is experience in using the


Internet, and social media in particular, to get a message out. “The other five producers use Facebook and Twitter, but they learned how to use these late in their careers. They didn’t grow up with the Internet and are not used to the online world as a way of thinking,” he said. Rae, on the other hand, worked at Google and was the technical lead for the No on 8 (Proposition 8, which prohibited same-sex marriage in California) campaign. Preparations for “The Normal Heart” were rushed. Rae had only two


weeks to fulfill his funding commitment—the same two weeks that the actors had to rehearse. But one would never know from the rave reviews and pile of award nominations “The Normal Heart” has amassed. The production has also won a New York Drama Critics’ Circle Special Citation and Drama Desk Awards, Outer Critics Circle Awards, Drama League Awards, as well as two Theatre World Awards. When not producing, Rae is “looking for fun projects to do.” In


general, he splits his time between investing and political activism. When investing, Rae searches for high-quality productions that tell a good story and have the opportunity to change people’s minds. Clearly his methods are working, and “The Normal Heart” is not the only example: He also was an investor in The Scottsboro Boys, which is nominated for 12 Tony Awards, as well as in a film called The Green, which is currently playing at film festivals. He also serves as treasurer of Fight Back New York, a political action committee that promotes marriage equality. Rae isn’t sure if he wants to be a producer as a full-time gig, but this first experience has been a great one for him.


SUMMER 2011 Har vey Mudd College 35


d-winning pla y “The Nor


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