“What do you want?” he said to the voice on the other end.
“Sorry,” came the reply, “I just thought you’d like to know you’re a Tony-nominated producer.”
“I nearly drove off the road,” Loftis admits.
Until about three months ago, the idea of co-producing a Broadway musical, not to mention being in the running for the theater world’s top honor, wasn’t really in the cards for Loftis. Then he received a call from an old friend who knew Loftis has a facility for raising money. Would he be interested in rounding up some investors for the B’way bow of The Visit, a Kander & Ebb musical starring Chita Rivera? He excitedly agreed. Then, less than a month before opening night, he snagged an especially large whale — one that entitled Loftis to an official “producer” credit on the show … and eligibility for a Tony nomination. Still, he wasn’t holding his breath.
“There were these big, [traditional] musicals like An American in Paris that we assumed would [snag all the attention],” he says over a burger. “We were this small, darkly comic musical, which is what drew me to The Visit in the first place.” Then the highly-anticipated Doctor Zhivago tanked and the reviews for The Visit rolled in. Suddenly, Loftis is on the short-list right beside 82-year-old Chita Rivera.
It was a natural progression for Loftis, who has been a patron of the arts since he was a little gay boy singing to original cast albums. Suddenly, he’s already committed now to producing two more Kander & Ebb shows in upcoming seasons. But for the near future, while he’s trying not to get his hopes too high, there’s one thing he’s sure of: He definitely will be attending the Tony Awards on June 7.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 15, 2015.