New Jersey mom becomes Broadway theater producer

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Sandy Kenyon has the story. (WABC)

It can cost more than $10 million to stage a musical on Broadway, and sometimes it's necessary to recruit dozens of investors. For the cost of a new car, or a bit more, almost anyone can put in their money to get a piece of the action - which is how one suburban mom turned a hobby into a career and came to be the toast of the town.

Wendy Federman helped to run her family's manufacturing business and then became a psychotherapist, all while raising two children with her husband, but she longed to be in show business. Then, she managed to find truth in the old saying: "where there's a will, there's a way."

She may look like any theatergoer headed to see a show, but this mom goes past the main entrance to the stage door.

Her name can be found above the title of some of Broadway's biggest hits, and she says she has a feel for what audiences want and what shows will get noticed.

"I'm the exact demographic of a theater ticket buyer: you know, the female of a certain age, city and suburban," Federman said. "I can just say to myself, 'Do I want to see that? Yeah, I want to see it. Well, then there's a lot of other people that might want to see it also.'"

"Something's Rotten" may be the name of a Broadway musical, but Federman's cupcakes for the show's cast are fresh. And as a producer who raises millions of dollars, with or without food, she is always welcome backstage.

She got her start investing in shows, and her first was a flop.

"I think I was so thrilled to be even a little cog in the wheel, I probably got involved with shows I wouldn't now," she said.

But she learned from her losses and kept investing, then began recruiting friends and neighbors to put money into shows.

"There's no question it's a high risk investment," Federman said. "But there can be high reward."

In her New Jersey home, the rewards are obvious: photos of the famous amid so much memorabilia, and a refrigerator covered in show posters.

"In the old days, it was my kids' report cards," Federman said. "Now I don't have report cards anymore. These are my children."

One of her new shows will feature Al Pacino. A revival of "The Gin Game" marks the fourth time she has worked with James Earl Jones. But there is a lesson in Federman's story that extends well beyond show business.

"I speak often at career days, and I mentor, and I always say, 'Don't ever think your first job has to be your last job,'" she said.

The savvy woman has followed her passion in life, and today, she helps other theater lovers get involved. The old-timers on Broadway call these investors "angels," and Federman has certainly earned her wings.

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entertainmentbroadwaymusicaltheatercareersinvestingentertainmentsandy kenyon
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