Columbia University

A Single-Minded Focus
"This theatre program will help me make an impact in the industry, and now I don't have to have my brain in two places at once."
— Brittany O’Neill
Photo credit: Jill LeVine
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An alumna’s success as a Broadway producer plays a lead role in preparing a new generation of theatre professionals to transform the stages of tomorrow.

Brittany O’Neill ’12SOA was a young theatre professional determined to enhance her knowledge and skills when she enrolled in the Theatre Management and Producing Program. A merit-based Whitman Fellowship allowed her to leave part-time work behind without taking on too much debt. Now O’Neill is devoting herself full-time to the stage and her studies, and has served as general manager of SOA productions of Love’s Labour’s Lost and Three Sisters.

“This fellowship allows me to take a full course load without worrying about working outside school; I didn’t realize what a difference it would make not to have my brain in two places at once,” she observes. “That’s the best thing about the fellowship — it allows you to focus on your passion.”

Meet The Donor: Barbara Whitman ’05SOA

Barbara Whitman is currently represented on Broadway by Fun Home (Tony Award, Best Musical) and Fully Committed (starring Jesse Tyler Ferguson), and on tour by Murder for Two.  She made her Broadway debut producing A Raisin in the Sun, starring Sean Combs. Other Broadway credits include and Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Tony Award, Best Musical Revival), If/Then starring Idina Menzel, Hands on a HardbodyRed (Tony Award, Best Play), Next to Normal (Pulitzer Prize), Hamlet starring Jude Law, 33 Variations starring Jane Fonda, Mary StuartLegally Blonde - The MusicalThe 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.  In the West End, she produced Piaf, starring Elena Roger.  National tours include If/Then, Next to NormalLegally Blonde – The Musical, …Spelling BeeDirty Rotten Scoundrels and Frost/Nixon.  A native New Yorker, Barbara attended NYU's Gallatin School and received an MFA in Theatre Management and Producing from Columbia University. She serves on Northwestern University's School of Communications National Advisory Committee, the Board of the Tectonic Theater Project, is a member of the Leadership Council of BroadwayCares/Equity Fights Aids and is Chair Emeritus of Play Group Theatre, a Westchester based youth theater. Her proudest productions are her two sons, Daniel and Will.