Profile: A Productive Calling

Broadway producer Sally Horchow ’88 enjoys her unpredictable work

Matt de la Peña ’04


A typical work week for Sally Horchow ’88 can be unpredictable. The Yale graduate may find herself stuck in the ho-hum traffic of Los Angeles one day, only to end up in the bustling caverns of a New York City subway the next. “It may be crazy for most people,” Horchow says of her bicoastal status, “but it makes me happy because there’s never a dull moment.” Such is the life of a Broadway producer, a vocation that demands more than its share of cross-country travel, and one at which Horchow has excelled since founding her eponymous production company, Sally Horchow International Productions (SHIP), six years ago. Before that, Horchow spent time as a lifestyle expert and journalist, and cut some of her earlier professional chops in L.A. as an executive assistant to director Steven Spielberg.

Now, she’s involved with several major projects with the potential for blockbuster success. They include a revival of the Tony Award-winning musical Crazy for You, first produced by Horchow’s father, Roger, in 1992; the premiere of Tootsie, a new comedy musical based on the hit 1982 film starring Dustin Hoffman (premiering this fall in Chicago at the Cadillac Palace Theatre and opening on Broadway in April); and a collaboration with SPS schoolmate Paul Spadone ’89, who conceptualized an “immersive theater experience” inspired by and featuring the music of the B-52’s. Musical theater has been a part of Horchow’s life since the very beginning, but as one might assume, some of her roots can be traced back to the SPS Theatre Department. She points to a particularly eyebrow-raising production of A Chorus Line in which she starred as Val, a character with an infamously suggestive solo number.

“It was very controversial,” Horchow recalls with a laugh. “The Rector [at the time] and the Board of Trustees were trying to censor my song, because they thought it was inappropriate for teen audiences.” A negotiation ensued, with the performers arguing that the song deserved inclusion – if nothing else than for artistic integrity. In the end, the conflicting factions compromised. The number would go on as planned, with Horchow’s character singing the song – with the finale cut off by another character. Chalk that up as a victory for an eventual dealmaker, who knew when and how to flex some of her proverbial muscle. “I loved musical theater and Broadway, and with the experience I got at St. Paul’s and at Yale, I knew I liked working in that industry,” says Horchow. “I also knew that I wasn’t good enough to be a professional [performer], but I thought I might be a good producer.”

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