Entrepreneur of the Month: Cate Cammarata

Article by Jen Bush

Cate Cammarata is the Executive Producer for Retraction.  She wears many hats in the theater world as an Off-Broadway producer, director, and dramaturg.  She likes to breathe life into new material and see it through to the end on its’ journey.  “My passion is developing new plays and musicals and then putting them on stage.”

Ms. Cammarata was drawn to the work of the playwright for Retraction.  “David Gutierrez had an important message to share in this play – that not only does journalism play an important role today in communicating what we believe and why, but that the journalist herself is a human being, often pulled in many different directions at once. In this instance she’s not only a dedicated journalist, but also a wife, mother, and community advocate. What happens when we get so busy juggling life that we overlook important professional details? What does that human error mean to an exceptionally talented woman journalist, to her career, reputation and self-esteem? What does it do to our collective trust in the press?”

During her creative process, Ms. Cammarata uses the gestalt of her theatrical expertise to work with a play.  She uses a building block approach to prime the material for an audience.  “I love to take a play and identify the structural foundation – and then to build it up architecturally, to make the writer’s message resonate theatrically to an audience. The dramaturg is first and foremost an advocate for the playwright; secondarily, I use the tools of a director to help communicate visually what the text demands. It’s a process of researching, testing and then continually refining the message based on feedback from the audience.”

Some theatre professionals feel an added sense of responsibility when they undertake a work with serious or topically charged subject matter.  With her excellent work ethic, Ms. Cammarata gives all her projects equal responsibility regardless of the subject matter.  “I feel the same level of responsibility with every play or musical entrusted to me. My job is to make the work “work,” and that’s a responsibility – and sometimes a challenge – that I always take very seriously!”

The pandemic has changed the landscape of every aspect of life including live performance.  Ms. Cammarata has some thoughts on what is different and what should be different.  “I think we’ll be working to sort this out for at least a decade. For now, my chief goal is to remain flexible on all things, and to always make sure that every artist or crew member feels heard and taken care of. My goal was to make CreateTheater an artistic home, following a lifelong inspiration of Ellen Stewart’s (La MaMa)example. Believing in each artist and in their own creative expression is how we can heal and move forward together as an industry.”

Ms. Cammarata is not tied to NYC.  Good theater can be created everywhere and that’s what’s next for this talented professional.  “I’m already preparing for new ways to develop new plays and especially new musicals away from the costs and demands of NYC. Look for new announcements expected soon :)”

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