Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Three Cheers for Howard Blau

I received this press release yesterday. Howie is a good friend and I'm very happy for him.

Announces Change in Board Leadership

Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU), a supportive network of producing organizations, announces a newly-appointed president of the Board of Directors, Howard L. Blau, effective January 14, 2008.

“This is a watershed moment in TRU’s twelve year history, an opportunity to bring in new leadership, new vision and new energy to propel us to a new level of service for the producing community,” stated TRU co-founder Bob Ost.

Howard L. Blau is a long-time TRU supporter, board member and an attorney in New York City with more than 37 years of practice in a wide array of legal matters. He has a special interest in helping not-for-profit organizations and has served as legal counsel to hundreds of artists and cultural institutions through a division of his company, Legal Services for the Performing Arts.
“I welcome this opportunity to serve the theater community, both not-for-profit and commercial. During the upcoming year, I plan to increase membership in TRU by 50% and to raise TRU’s profile,” Mr. Blau said.

Mr. Blau replaces Bob Ost as board president. Mr. Ost, who has served as president since TRU’s incorporation in 1995, will continue to serve as executive director and will also assume the title of Chairman of the Board.

“We welcome Howard’s expertise and leadership in his new role at TRU. This transition is an effort to stave off ‘founder’s syndrome.’ Too many worthy organizations fold when their founders need to move on and we want to make sure now that this won’t happen to TRU in the future,” said Mr. Ost.

The transition comes following an auspicious period of growth for TRU, which was founded in 1992 to promote a spirit of cooperation and support within the general theater community. Over the years, TRU grew into an information and resource conduit and began to offer a variety of entertainment-related services and resources that strengthen the business capabilities of producing organizations, individual producers, self-producing artists and other theater professionals.

Last year, TRU received funding for 2007 and 2008 from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs for the first time, and the company increased its operating budget by nearly 50%. In November, TRU hosted an immensely successful benefit at Sardi’s featuring appearances by theater legend Elaine Stritch and Tonya Pinkins, among others. In addition, producers Ken Davenport, Kristin Caskey of Fox Theatricals, Lauren Mitchell of Dodger, Stewart Lane, Randall Wreghitt, and Cheryl Wiesenfeld signed on as mentors in TRU’s Producer Mentorship Program, founded to guide career-path producer proteges with their current projects. The program currently has more than 35 active mentors who are producers and general managers working on and Off-Broadway.

TRU’s core program is a series of monthly seminars on a wide range of subjects important to theatrical producers and directors conducted by panels of experts from both the commercial and not-for-profit segments of Broadway, Off-Broadway and the motion picture industry. The seminars are open to the general public as well as TRU members. The company also publishes a bi-monthly newsletter and a monthly email newsletter update. In addition, TRU served as the umbrella organization for a co-production by several of its member companies as a part of the first annual New York Fringe Festival. From that experience, the organization expanded its production efforts by creating the TRU VOICES Annual New Play Reading Series and the TRU VOICES Annual New Musicals Reading Series in which TRU underwrites developmental readings of new works for theater. In 2001, TRU began giving annual scholarships to The Commercial Theater Institute, to encourage the development of aspiring producers; and in 2003, started an annual audition event to offer casting opportunities to TRU member producers.
Programs of Theater Resources Unlimited are supported in part by public funds awarded through the New York State Council on the Arts and the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, as well as generous support from the Friar’s National Foundation Association.

For more information about TRU, including membership benefits, visit

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Anonymous said...

Dear Leonard:

Thank you for the very kind words and, more especially, for your friendship.


Howie Blau

Anonymous said...

Regrettably, less than a month after becoming President of the TRU Board of Directors, Howard's license was suspended for misappropriating his clients' funds: