The summer between his sophomore and junior year at WSU, Monda traveled to New York City to assist musician, actor, writer, and Sirius/XM radio personality Seth Rudetsky, who introduced him to the Broadway community and specific power players within the business. After graduation, he took an internship in the office of Tony-winning producer Daryl Roth (“Kinky Boots”), allowing him the opportunity to see how shows are produced from the ground up.
In 2013, following his internship, he was instrumental in producing off-Broadway productions such as James Wesley’s drama “Unbroken Circle” starring Eve Plumb and Rudetsky’s kooky jukebox musical “Disaster!,” which transferred to Broadway for a brief run in 2016.
In 2014, he joined Sing Out, Louise! Productions, which takes its name from an iconic line in the classic musical “Gypsy” and notably creates Broadway films that expand the brand, reach and impact of live theater. Among the shows the company has brought to cinemas in collaboration with Fathom Events include “Allegiance” (starring George Takei of “Star Trek”), “Bandstand” and the forthcoming London production of “Kinky Boots,” which is slated to hit theaters June 25 and 29.
Next season, riding on the successful heels of “Hadestown,” the company will bring Matthew Lopez’s Olivier Award-winning gay-themed drama “The Inheritance” to Broadway. Inspired by E. M. Forster’s novel “Howards End” and directed by Tony winner Stephen Daldry (“Billy Elliot”), “The Inheritance” has already drawn comparisons to Tony Kushner’s landmark epic drama “Angels in America.” Regarding the company’s commitment to bring filmed musicals to cinemas, Monda acknowledges how vital the decision has become.
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“The reality is the majority of people who want to see Broadway shows may not see them due to geographic or financial obstacles,” he said. “As for ‘Allegiance,’ if you didn’t get to New York to see it, you were never going to be able to see it. ‘Kinky Boots’ (didn’t play) every city, and if it did, perhaps some were unable to afford the ticket. Doing these wider distributions gives many people an opportunity to see shows and further incentivizes them to see a live production. If you loved seeing the movie, you’re more likely to pay the $100 ticket to see it live.”
“Joey is one of our most active and engaged alumni in the New York City area,” added Joe Deer, Chair of WSU’s Department of Theatre, Dance and Motion Pictures, who directed Monda in his sunny portrayal of songwriter/producer Bert Barry in WSU’s joyous 2011 production of “42nd Street.” “(He) sponsors and organizes alumni panels for our new grads and organizes our alumni reunion.”
(left to right) Eva Noblezada (Eurydice), Andre De Shields (Hermes), Reeve Carney (Orpheus), and the cast of “Hadestown,” nominated for 14 Tony Awards including best musical. CONTRIBUTED
“I tell the seniors every year that in the same way you should dress for the job you want not the job you have, it’s important to consume the level of what you want to achieve,” Monda echoed. “Ultimately, that’s where luck and opportunity intersect. Wright State was the perfect school for me because Joe Deer and the entire departmental staff was so focused on me living my dreams and living my bliss. I wouldn’t have had the same flexibility in any other type of conservatory program. For instance, I was able to work in the office of the Human Race Theatre Company and also play in the pit orchestra of their production of ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’ while at school. It was great to take in (various) jobs from multiple perspectives.”
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Three additional WSU alums have ties to shows nominated for this year’s Tonys. Joel Shier (BFA Lighting Design) is the associate designer of Jack Thorne, Marius de Vries and Eddie Perfect’s musical spectacle “King Kong,” which received three nominations including best lighting. Jeremy Cunningham (BFA Lighting Design) is the associate designer of Eddie Perfect, Scott Brown and Anthony King’s musical adaptation of Tim Burton’s 1988 dark comedy “Beetlejuice,” which received eight nominations including best musical. Press representative Matthew Alan Troillett (BFA Acting) serves as the project director of O&M Etc., a newly launched division of the Broadway public relations company DKC/O&M, handling publicity for “Hadestown” as well as the acclaimed production of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” which received nine nominations.
“This is a very good year for Wright State Theatre grads on Broadway,” Deer said. “The more that our students see the success of our alumni, to know it is achievable and within their reach, is hugely important. Representation matters.”
HOW TO WATCH
What: The 73rd annual Tony Awards, hosted by Emmy and Tony winner James Corden
When: Today, live broadcast begins at 8 p.m. on CBS (channels 7 and 12)