VCU alum makes strides on Broadway, working with notable creators

By Hadia Moosvi, The Commonwealth Times

VCUarts alum Drewe Goldstein first got involved with theater at the age of eight. Now, she lives and works in New York City where she’s helped with the fruition of major Broadway productions like “Hamilton” and “Bliss.”

Goldstein, who uses both she and they pronouns, studied acting at VCUarts and graduated in December 2020. After graduating, Goldstein became an intern for Baseline Theatrical in New York – a general management company for Broadway and off-Broadway productions. She is currently working as an assistant director for two Broadway productions, “Bliss” and “A Walk on the Moon.”

“I graduated college and I was really nervous about being in …Broadway rooms,” Goldstein said. “I wasn’t ever expecting that it would be happening so soon.”

Goldstein said the VCUarts theatre program gave her the opportunity to collaborate with peers and professors on productions both during college and after graduation. 

“I tend to reach out to collaborators I’ve worked with before, see if they’re available and free and then I usually ask them to pick a new assistant that I have never worked with,” Goldstein said. “That way I can sort of get to know new people along the way.”

Goldstein worked in theater management while interning at Baseline Theatrical. In this position, she looked over paperwork and contracts for the Broadway productions of “Hamilton,” “Passover” and “Freestyle Love Supreme.”

“I really wanted to understand what working on a really large-scale production such as ‘Hamilton’ looks like,” Goldstein said. “And [examine] how that money is allocated … where contracts go, and how much people get paid for the certain things that they’re doing.”

Baseline Theatrical was also the management team for “Bliss,” which Goldstein said gave her the opportunity to meet and work with Tony Award-nominated theater director, Sheryl Kaller. 

Goldstein said she asked the general manager of “Bliss” for a chance to sit in on a rehearsal. She then introduced herself to Kaller after getting approval for the musical.

According to Goldstein, Kaller didn’t have an assistant director for the project yet and asked Goldstein to act as assistant director for the day to see how she would do. 

“I have been really lucky to work with a director that is really, really educated on equity, diversity and inclusion, who is really interested in bringing people of color and trans people into the room,” Goldstein said.

Goldstein said a big part of her job as an assistant director is to make sure everyone on the production feels “comfortable and safe.”

“If there’s any emotional content that comes up … they can broach it safely,” Goldstein said. “So that it doesn’t feel like a therapy session … but rather feels like an artistic journey that feels comfortable for them to go on.”

Goldstein worked on theater productions in Richmond after graduating and making strides in New York. She directed a production titled “El Eterno Femenino” at the Firehouse Theatre last spring alongside VCU students and graduates.

“I approached it fully as a professional [paid] production,” Goldstein said. “[The] majority of us working on [the production] were either students at the time or just recently graduated.”

Wes Seals, assistant professor of acting and musical theater at VCUarts, said he had the opportunity to work with Goldstein on the 2019 theatrical production of “Sense and Sensibility.”

Seals said he wanted to make Goldstein the movement director in the adaptation after seeing her use of “specific” and “colorful” aesthetics in “God of Carnage” — a play directed by Goldstein at the Shafer Alliance Laboratory Theater. 

“I just was really captivated by her aesthetic and her vision,” Seals said. “The way that she used lighting [and] the way that she used movement…,” Seals said. “I was like, ‘I want to work with that person.’”

Seals said Goldstein is able to add emotion and meaning behind any production she is working on. 

“There is this determination to be a walking embodiment of truth,” Seals said. “It’s not just like, ‘Let me do work because it’s flashing and it’s showing.’ She can make it a flashing show but she can put the thing underneath the thing.”

Lydia Hynes, an actress who was part of Goldstein’s direction of “God of Carnage,” said Goldstein is a “go-getter” when it comes to her craft. 

“I’ve never met someone with so much inherent motivation artistically,” Hynes said. “[Regardless of] whether it’s a photoshoot or play that she loves.” 

Hynes said Goldstein has a way of relating to people, a talent which pushes her forward in her career.

“[Goldstein] puts herself out there and is just a social and professional animal [who] really knows how to make connections and create really trusted relationships with people,” Hynes said.

Goldstein said she wants to assist and work on productions that involve the voices of people who are not normally heard on stage. 

“I think in order to tell truthful stories, we have to hear people’s truthful stories,” Goldstein said. “I can only express what I’ve been through. I could never express what somebody else has been through, and that’s really important to me as a director.”

Lead Image: Drewe Goldstein directs different mediums of entertainment, like the music video “what’s left?” Photo courtesy of Drewe Goldstein. From The Commonwealth Times.