Strut & Fret, Inc.


     David Watson, described by the New York Times as “a man with musical theatre in his blood [and] theatre in his soul,” has produced, directed, written, translated or cast more than 75 plays – and one Canadian pop single. He founded Strut & Fret in 1979, when he created the StrawHat Auditions, which Strut & Fret produced from 1979-1996 in New York and Los Angeles.
     As a director, Watson’s theatre credits include the American premiere of David Hare’s Teeth ‘n’ Smiles off-Broadway starring Tony nominee Ellen Greene; and David Rabe's Streamers at the New Orleans Contemporary Art Center.  Stock directing ranges from A Moon for the Misbegotten in upstate New York, through South Pacific in Daytona, to a revival of Cabaret starring Broadway’s original Sally Bowles, Jill Haworth in Connecticut. His produced literary output is equally diverse, ranging from an original musical adaptation of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer developed with Rudolph songwriter Johnny Marks, to a verse translation of Molière’s The Imaginary Invalid.

     Watson’s producing has included two shows which originated at The Public Theatre: the first stock production of Michael Bennett’s A Chorus Line, and an off-Broadway revival of Thom Babe’s musical Kid Champion, with a revised script subsequently published by Dramatists Play Service. Also in stock, Watson revived Michael Brady’s To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday with Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden; Watson’s stock revival of Vernel Bagneris’ musical One Mo’ Time transferred directly to a Production Contract run at The Shubert Theatre in New Haven.

     On the management side, in addition to working on two Broadway shows –The Rink starring Chita Rivera (Tony Award) and Liza Minnelli, and The Guys in the Truck, which closed on opening night –Watson oversaw six seasons of tapings of James Lipton’s Emmy-winning series Inside the Actors Studio. Watson’s New York presenting includes the premiere engagement of the Beijing People’s Art Theatre’s signature production Teahouse; and the Globe Theatre (London) productions of Love’s Labour’s Lost and The Merry Wives of Windsor.

     Internationally, Watson has served as executive director of the British Pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival 1988-1989, and as chief executive of the International Society for the Performing Arts 1998-2002. 

     A graduate of Yale, David Watson holds an M.F.A. from the University of New Orleans, and an M.B.A. from Columbia University.