Kite Runner

Finding her path

By David Menconi

Finding her path

By David Menconi
UM alumna, Jayne Baron Sherman, reflects on her career and her connection to UM

Jayne Baron Sherman, an award-winning producer in theater, film, and television, is dedicated to finding the right stories to share with the world.

“For me, it’s all about the passion and creativity of finding, developing, and attaching myself to a script or a play and then nurturing the project into fruition,” says Sherman, who graduated from the University of Miami with an English degree in 1967. The Alvin Sherman Family Stage at the Jerry Herman Ring Theatre on the Coral Gables campus was named after her father for his generous gift to the help renovate the stage.

Jayne Sherman

“If you look at my body of work, it all has a pattern,” she adds. “I don’t do fluff. Whether it’s a play or a musical or a series, they’re all about human emotions—acceptance, change, inclusion—or looking at things a little differently.”

Sherman is an expert at balancing the best of both words—business and the arts. As a child, she had an interest in theatre and foreign films, and later in life, Sherman went on to a successful career in business, rising to the level of vice president at a major multi-national company before the age of 30.

“My path into this was somewhat unusual,” Sherman says. “I used to do advertising, public relations, and marketing for the kind of companies you can’t write advertising jingles for—service companies, insurance brokers, and investment banks. I also started doing a lot of non-profit work, which brought me into contact with people who were producing theater. They told me, ‘You have all the right skills to do this, why don’t you come work with us?’” 

That led to a long and successful run on and off-Broadway as well as movie and television screens starting around 20 years ago. Sherman’s credits include Tony Award winners like “Kinky Boots,” “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” “The Normal Heart,” and “A Raisin in the Sun,” as well as the 2014 film “Love Is Strange” (starring John Lithgow and Alfred Molina), and the social justice thriller “The Accidental Wolf.” The current season of the latter is keeping her busy now, along with readying a stage production of “The Kite Runner” for Broadway this summer. Currently, Sherman has films streaming on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, and Topic.

“There’s no simple answer about what a producer does. I guess you’d say the job is, A, making it happen and then, B, putting it together, and, C, keeping it going—it can be harder to manage a successful show than an unsuccessful one,” she adds. “For me, it’s about first loving the piece and then believing it’s commercially viable. It really is a team effort in both theater and film, and these days and it’s rarely one producer. There’s a creative side to producing—figuring out how to market a project, how it’s going to look, putting together a team with the right vision, and hopefully, passion. Ideally, the goal is to work together and become a family.”

Sherman is also proud of her 30-plus years of dedication and activism for the LGBTQ community by serving on numerous boards and volunteering with organizations.

“Business helped me make a living, but my passion was always in the arts and sharing LGBTQ stories that have the capacity to create dialogue,” she adds.

Given the glamour factor and the lure of the stage, it’s no surprise that theater and filmmaking are very hard to break into – everybody wants in.

“It is a tough business and connections never hurt,” Sherman says “I try to be helpful when I can, steer people toward a specific person or path because I believe in that. But it’s about finding your own path, and a lot of it is also good fortune. Mine came from knowing people who were doing this and being in the right place at the right time.”

For more information about Sherman and her work, visit momsmoneyproductions.com.