We Theatre People: Boosters
A booster is a person or business that contributes resources or effort to help theatres survive (A.K.A. theatre angels). We’ll introduce you to a series of beloved booster-angels each quarter right here. And, please, next time you go see a show, notice the list of contributors in the program. They help make Austin a theatre city. Thank you.
Carolyn & Marc Seriff, Proboosters
Carolyn and Marc Seriff have been involved in the Austin theater scene for over 20 years after retiring to Central Texas. Their involvement began when friends invited them to see an Austin Musical Theatre production of West Side Story. That evening, they learned that high-quality, professional and amateur theater was a vibrant part of the Austin community. Marc went on to join and eventually chair the AMT board.
Over the years, the Seriffs have become patrons and supporters of a number of theater companies including ZACH Theatre, Austin Shakespeare, Jarrott Productions and others. They have also gotten personally involved. Carolyn served for 9 years as a Trustee of ZACH Theatre where she was deeply involved in educational efforts. Marc served as a Trustee and staff member of the Long Center and is currently a ZACH trustee and Vice President.
In 2016, thanks to an introduction by ZACH’s Dave Steakley, Carolyn and Marc took a further step by becoming investors and co-producers in commercial theater productions. Their late-in-life career as theater producers started with the Broadway debut of Anastasia. Since then, they have co-produced six Broadway musicals and plays, four touring productions, one off-Broadway musical, and three shows that have Broadway in their future. They received their first Tony for the 2019 production of Hadestown and have also received two Drama Desk awards, one Drama League award, and most recently a GLADD award for The Inheritance. In addition, Carolyn and Marc had the honor of being one of the lead producers for Terrence McNally’s last play, Immortal Longings, which debuted at ZACH in 2019.
See why they are more than boosters and more than producers? They’re Proboosters. Seriffs, we are so glad you’re here (when you’re not in New York). Thank you for everything you do for Austin theatre and beyond.
As a button (that’s musical theatre talk), Marc is a native Austinite, and his theater involvement stretches back to the mid-1960s when he was a member of McCallum High School’s Royal Court Players. He appeared in a number of productions and served as the business manager for the 1965 production of The Music Man!
Marc and Carolyn are truly the ideal champions for the arts in so many ways. Their generous support of multiple organizations makes such a major difference in our community but their giving goes so far beyond just writing checks. They both lend their extensive expertise and talent for strategic visioning to the organizations that they serve. And as producers and theatre experts, they bring professional skills and knowledge that are deeply valuable and also make them a vital bridge in communication between our boards and our teams. They are some of the most passionate and engaged supporters that I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. But the cherry on top is that they are also such kind, inspiring and incredibly fun humans that I can reach out to at any time for advice, insight and sometimes even counseling. They have had such a profound impact on the Long Center and the entire arts community in Austin that I can’t imagine where we’d be without them.
— Cory Baker, President & CEO
Above: Marc & Carolyn Seriff. Below: Some of the Broadway shows produced in part by Seriff Productions mixed in with Seriff admirations from Austin theatre luminaries.
How many arts organizations in Austin are so lucky to have both Marc and Carolyn Seriff serve on their Board? ZACH’s lucky star was shining brightly the day that Carolyn agreed to join the ZACH Board more than a decade ago. Not only did Carolyn help lead and advocate for ZACH’s education efforts during her tenure on the Board, she also brought us Marc — who has been a source of energy when it comes to new work and strategic planning for ZACH’s future. As you might imagine, they are both fundraisers who are hard to say no to as they not only ‘walk the walk,” but they are able to passionately convey their support for ZACH and the value and impact of the arts. I am still amused remembering that Carolyn first told me she was “definitely not a fundraiser and not very good at it!” They are a force to be reckoned with and have truly transformed ZACH by their work and support.
Needless to say, I know I speak for the entire ZACH family when I say we are BIG fans!
— Elisbeth Challener, Managing Director
Marc and Carolyn are Austin treasures! In a Chinese restaurant in early 2020 (pre-pandemic), I asked Marc how his take on Austin theatre had changed since becoming a New York producer, and how we could improve. He paused for a bit, thinking in that Marc way, and then said, “Austin doesn’t know it’s a theatre city.”
He was right! That’s why ATX Theatre happened. Inspired by Marc over those egg rolls, things had coalesced by March 11 to a gathering of seven people (including Marc) in a room at the Dougherty Arts Center, dreaming up what would eventually become this website. So, you could really say that it’s Marc Seriff’s fault you are reading these words right now. Thank you, Marc!
— Ann Ciccolella, Producing Artistic Director
Having performed in several productions at ZACH Theatre, I certainly knew the names Carolyn and Marc Seriff and their legendary support of ZACH and all of the arts in Austin, but I did not have the pleasure of meeting them until 2016 when they not only attended Jarrott Productions second-ever production, Arthur Miller’s “The Price,” but also penned a favorable social media review of the show. Later our production made their Top 10 list of productions for the year — one of only two Austin productions to make the list, the others being Broadway hits. Since that 2016 production of ours, the Seriffs have been major contributors to our theatre company and have been good and supportive friends. I’ve sought their counsel on many occasions and I always know that I will receive good advice and encouragement. ATX Theatre could not ask for better advocates and supporters than Carolyn and Marc Seriff!
— David Jarrott, Producing Artistic Director