When starry-eyed youngsters dream of someday clutching a Tony Award, few think they’ll get one by majoring in business administration and accounting.
But a Bachelor of Science degree from Montclair State is what put Aldo Scrofani on a path to producing, co-producing or being associated with more than 100 Broadway, national and international productions – and, yes, multiple Tony Awards.
For more than four decades, Scrofani has been at the heart of the revival of Broadway and American theater through his leadership roles at Jujamcyn Theaters Corporation and Columbia Artists Management, and later founding Theatre Management Associates and Moonglow Productions. In 2018, he became COO of the Apollo Theater Foundation, Inc., which includes the iconic Apollo Theater in Harlem.
“Finance and business was my father’s instigation: ‘You need a job and this is the best place!’” recalls Scrofani, who continued his education at Fairleigh Dickinson University earning an MBA.
When he first became an accountant in New York City, many of his clients were in the entertainment industry. One night he had dinner with a client who had left for The Shubert Organization. Scrofani told him he was frustrated and wanted to run a company.
Long story short: Soon Scrofani was at Jujamcyn, which owns and operates Broadway theaters and produces shows. “Every day I thought, ‘What the hell am I doing in this entertainment field? These brilliant people are crazy!’ … I discovered my talent was taking companies that supported creative endeavors and turning them into reality.”
Now an adjunct professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business, Scrofani shows students all the ways to participate in the creative process.
“I make students walk through the theater and make them name each area and who works there,” says Scrofani. “This results in shock for many at how many people are involved in making theater work.”
Scrofani’s family emigrated from Italy to Palisades Park, New Jersey, when he was 8 years old. His father, who had been a manager for the port of Venice and had worn linen suits every day, became a bricklayer in America, sacrificing to ensure a better future for his children.
The skills Scrofani developed as a child navigating a new world and language inform his outlook. “You can’t stop cultures from melding together,” says Scrofani. “Whether you are an immigrant or not, you can make a difference. Understand you can and stay at it. Don’t quit.”
- Written by Mary Barr Mann for the Fall/Winter 2019 Montclair magazine