Best Ex-Prisoners' Publicist (2009)

David Rothenberg

New York's Broadway theaters have spawned the world's greatest publicists, but only David Rothenberg—whose clients have ranged from Richard Burton to Alvin Ailey—can claim to have also launched the first organization to help ex-convicts. In 1966, Rothenberg, promoter of the original production of Hair, became intrigued by a play about prison conditions called Fortune and Men's Eyes. Dipping into this own pocket for much of the dough, he raised $12,000 to get it launched at the old Actors' Playhouse off Sheridan Square. The Times yawned, but Voice critic Jerry Tallmer raved—and a hit was born. The play ran for a decade. It drew so many ex-cons who shared their own stories that Rothenberg decided to launch an organization to help. That was the aptly named Fortune Society—now a major nonprofit helping 4,000 men and women a year handle the switch from prison to everyday society. Not bad for a Broadway flack.


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