Tom D’Angora and Michael D’Angora, the award winning producing team behind some of off-Broadway’s longest running hits like NEWSical The Musical and Naked Boys Singing, are celebrating a major milestone on 02.20.2022, their 20th anniversary (10 years married) as a couple and as producing/directing partners.
With a relationship that has been completely show-biz oriented for so many years, they have often been described as a modern day version of the legendary Weisslers (a comparison they revel in). From meeting at the TKTS booth, to producing record breaking off-Broadway hits, to raising funds to help save iconic venues stay afloat during the pandemic, to their current Broadway projects and Vegas residencies and everything in between, the couple that works together has somehow managed to stay together.
Tom and Michael met in their early 20s at the TKTS booth in 2001, they were flyering for competing Broadway shows at the time. Within a year they would be dating and running their own promotions company that specialized in promoting at the TKTS booths, which they continued to do until 2020. The couple’s first attempt at producing was a small club act called Divas I’ve Done starring Tom and directed by Michael, which was intended to only play two performances at Don’t Tell Mama. After rave reviews and sold out houses, the two day run at Don’t Tell Mama ultimately turned into a successful two year run that transferred to off-Broadway, had a run in LA and won the Backstage Bistro Award. Playbill.com even included Tom’s performance as one of the “Vocal Heroes of 2002” amongst icons like Hugh Jackman, Cheyenne Jackson, and Christopher Sieber.
After the success of Diva’s I’ve Done, in 2004 the young self-proclaimed “show queens” decided the legendary Elle Greene NEEDED a solo album. They found her phone number, pitched her their idea and within 6 months has produced Ellen Greene’s album In His Eyes. Shortly after they made their major off-Broadway producing and directing debut in 2005 with A Broadway Diva Christmas (featuring Greene, Maya Days, Christine Pedi, Marla Schaffel, and Kathy Brier), which at the time made them the youngest Lead Producers at the helm of a major commercial production in NYC. The show was so well received that they were invited to perform at the NBC Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting live on NBC.
For several summers the couple juggled their NYC productions while running the iconic Post Office Cabaret in Provincetown producing sold out runs of Naked Boys Singing. They also created the wildly popular drag revue ICONS (which played a limited run off-Broadway) as well a run of Debbie Does Dallas the Musical, and concerts with Ellen Greene, Christine Pedi, and Emmy Award winning superstar Rue McClanahan.
In 2010 they began what they would eventually become best known for, the Off-Broadway pop culture satire, NEWSical The Musical. Originally featuring Christina Bianco, Rory O’Malley, Christine Pedi and Michael West, the show went on to run for a full decade, becoming the fifth longest running off-Broadway musical in history. During that time the show was nominated for 9 Drama Desk Awards, won the Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best Musical, and received proclamations from the Mayor, The Senate and The Speaker of the City Council. During its record breaking run, NEWSical featured several celebrity guests including Perez Hilton, La Toya Jackson, Kandi Burrus, Andrea McArdle, Cheri Oteri, Jackée and Carson Kressley and was featured on many reality shows.
After marriage equality passed in NYS in 2012, the couple finally married. Broadway’s Maya Days (Aida, Rent) was ordained and performed the ceremony. That same year they began producing Naked Boys Singing Off-Broadway, which would play until the 2020 pandemic. As producers and directors, their other off-Broadway credits also include the 2015 revival of The Marvelous Wonderettes, which ran three years, followed by a two year run of A Musical About Star Wars.
In 2018 the couple produced a soapy TV pilot (written and created by Tom) called Mélange, starring Morgan Fairchild, which premiered on LOGO TV in 2020. Though the pandemic halted production, a full season is still in the works.
Beyond their commercial success in theater, Tom and Michael began to become known for combining their theatrical skills with their passion for activism and philanthropy. In 2018 they opened the first children’s musical in history about disability, Addy & Uno. A fixture of the democratic party, Tom worked full time on both of Hillary Clinton’s historic Presidential campaigns while Michael worked double time managing their promotions company and keeping their theatrical endeavors afloat.
During the 2020 pandemic, the D’Angoras combined their various skills of producing/directing, grassroots marketing, and their knack for shamelessly asking their celebrity friends for favors, to create a series of successful live streamed fundraising events. Within 12 days of hearing that the beloved West Bank Café and Laurie Beechman Theatre would be closing permanently, they set out to produce a 10 hour Christmas Day Telethon. Producing the event with Joe Iconis (Be More Chill) and Tim Guinee, the event featured appearances from over a hundred performers including Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, Debra Messing, Sean Penn, Alice Ripley and André De Shields while raising enough to save the venue. They went on to produce 6 more star studded benefits in as many months, Save Birdland, The Musical of Musicals The Musical (for the York Theatre), Save LABrynth, as well as The Theatre World Awards Special Event and The Stonewall Inn Safe Spaces Concert, which featured the appearances from President Bill Clinton, Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Whoopi Goldberg, Patti LuPone, Bernadette Peters, Joel Grey, Norm Lewis, Lillias White, Sting, Demi Lovato, Ariana DeBose and many more. Their events raised over 1.5 million dollars, with every penny raised going to the venues they were helping. Due of these efforts, the couple received an honorary Mac Award, Forbes Magazine called them “the producers who care” and People Magazine dubbed them “Powerhouse Producers”. A Pork chop was named after Tom at The West Bank Cafe and the couple’s photo hangs on the “Wall of Fame” at the iconic Birdland Jazz Club.
On December 12th 2021, Senator Brad Hoylman proclaimed the day “Tom and Michael Appreciation Day” in the Theater District.
Currently, the couple is lending their energies to the organization REAP to help at-risk LGBTQ+ students (TheReap.org).
In September of 2021 they opened the Las Vegas residency of Naked Boys Singing, winning the BroadwayWorld.com Award for Best New Musical in Las Vegas and Best Direction of a Musical. Next month they will be opening a limited run of NEWSical The Musical in Las Vegas at the Majestic Repertory Theatre and have plans to open several more shows in “Sin City”
Most recently they served as co-producers on The Roundabout’s critically acclaimed Broadway Revival of Caroline, or Change (the original production in ‘04 was an early mutual obsession in their relationship).
When asked what the secret to their longevity as a couple was they said “We’ve just been too busy to break up and there are so many new projects in the pipeline, we have no choice but to stay together for another 20 years.”
Lia Chang loves to tell stories – as an actor, a multi-media content producer, a performing arts photographer and an award-winning filmmaker. A co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, Lia makes films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, and The Last Dragon. She stars in and is the Executive Producer for the indie films Hide and Seek (AA Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Best Actress Nomination), Rom-Com Gone Wrong, and When the World Was Young (2021 DisOrient Film Audience Choice Award for Best Short Narrative). Lia made her stage debut as Liat in a national tour of South Pacific with Barbara Eden and Robert Goulet, was featured as Joy in Signature Theatre’s revival of Sam Shepard’s Chicago and has worked extensively Off-Broadway. Photo archives: Lia Chang Theater Portfolio collection,1989-2011, housed in the AAPI collection in the Library of Congress’ Asian Reading Room; Lia Chang Photography Collection in The Billy Rose Theatre Division of the New York Public Library. Awards: 2000 OCA Chinese American Journalist Award, the 2001 AAJA National Award for New Media. Lia is an AAJA Executive Leadership Graduate (2000), a Western Knight Fellow at USC’s Annenberg College of Communications for Specialized Journalism on Entertainment Journalism in the Digital Age (2000), a National Press Photographers Association Visual Edge/Visual Journalism Fellow at the Poynter Institute for New Media (2001), a Scripps Howard New Media Fellow at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism (2002), and a National Tropical Garden Environmental Journalism Fellow (2003). www.liachang.com, www.liachangphotography.com
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