Home celeb profile Lamar Richardson

Lamar Richardson

by devnym

Lamar Richardson is a Tony
Award®-nominated producer
and award-winning actor with
over a decade of experience
in the entertainment industry.
He made his debut as a Co-
Producer of the Fall 2022
revival of Arthur Miller’s
Death of a Salesman while
his other Broadway producing
credits include New York, New
York, Merrily We Roll Along,
and The Wiz.

“… the
of wait-
ing for the
phone to
ring . . .
[and] for an
audition to
turn into a
job finally
pushed me
to try some-
thing new… “

Lamar Richardson is a great example, or perhaps even the full embodiment, of the American Dream. His parents immigrated to America from the Caribbean in the eighties, raising Richard- son to become a first generation college student, (at Colum- bia, nonetheless.) He worked to achieve his dream of working in entertainment, and while it wasn’t linear, he made his Broadway debut just last year and has already received a Tony nomination. After working as a producer on Death of a Salesman, Richardson was given the opportunity to work on a project that felt too good to be true: New York, New York. “I said: Oh my God, this is literally my story.” But he’s sure to tell us that this isn’t just his story, but a collection of shared experiences from the “cultural melting pot” of New York City, which Richardson now gladly calls his home. 

“I just think
that the human
nature to con-
nect musically
and sonically
is so strong.”

Producing wasn’t always particularly the dream for Richard- son, though. He spent a large amount of time auditioning to be an actor for the past decade in LA. It wasn’t until after the pandemic that Richardson made his return to New York—not to be an actor, but a producer. The exhaustion of “waiting for the phone to ring . . . [and] for an audition to turn into a job” had finally pushed him to try something new. “I knew I wasn’t a writer, I knew I wasn’t a director, so I knew that producing was the next best thing,” Richardson explained his thought process. “I wanted to be able to find a way to have more power in the industry.” 

Working on the production team for Death of a Sales- man became a rewarding experience for Richardson. He was ecstatic to be working on such a classic returning to Broad- way for the sixth time. The story is “quintessentially American” and includes a number of timeless themes that only create more layers and perspectives as it continues. “There were many people who said they’ve seen that play multiple times but they heard it for the first time when they saw this production,” Richardson said with a smile. “And for me as a producer, that will live on with me forever because I was a part of making that happen.” 

You would expect that after the energy Richardson put into producing New York, New York that he would have a flourishing musical background, but it turns out that it’s a bit limited. He took trumpet lessons, and his father tried to teach him the piano, but nothing stuck. He also never had a strong voice, so he never pursued musical theater as an actor. De- spite that, Richardson believes that music can bring these works “to a completely new level.” It can also leave a more lasting impression on the audience. “These tunes go from that stage, to a soundtrack, to being the musical of some- one’s life. The music lives on with people, and that’s what drew me into it.” And sometimes, music is what ends up bringing people back to such popular musicals like Wicked, Chicago, and Hamilton. “Memories are embedded in music,” he said. “I just think that the human nature to connect musically and sonically is so strong.”

Working on New York, New York was a special project for Richardson, but another level of challenges arose at the start of the writer’s and actor’s strike. As a member of SAG- AFTRA, Richardson believes there are a lot of changes that need to be made. A start is beginning to create protections in regards to AI technology, and to simply have fair wag- es. Obviously, that is up to a very specific group of people. There are ways to make your voice heard, whether it be out on the streets protesting or making financial contributions. But when it comes down to it, Richardson believes it’s the “one percenters and the A list talent in the industry” that it comes down to. “Those are the ones who have to be present and to be vocal in whatever capacity they can,” he told us. “I think that it’s when the people in the highest position of power stand up and speak out in a collective force . . . that’s when things will be done more expeditiously.” Richardson speaks of the topic with understanding and no hint of remorse for what it means for his work. At the time of the interview it had been four months since the writer’s strike began and two months since the actor’s strike. Richardson shed some light on the situation: “There’s a lot of new talent making their Broadway debut or some- one who hasn’t been on stage in years that are coming back.” 

Being a producer has created a new perspective on actors and acting for Richardson. With his current work, for the first time, he’s the person that people are going to for a variety of needs. Whether it be knowledge, expertise, or money, he doesn’t have to wait anymore. “There are many people who I could never interact with as an actor who are now peers . . . it’s just fascinating to see that minor shift.” With the privilege of stability, Richard- son has decided to get back into auditioning as an actor—and it’s a completely new experience for him. “Now I don’t take it as personal,” he explained. “If I don’t get the job, I’m not as devastated by it anymore.” The reason for this understanding? His work as a producer. “I see just how much goes into the casting.” It can be the smallest things that keep someone from getting a role. You could be “too short, too tall,” or even “look like somebody’s cousin.” Richardson chuckled at this freeing realization that it isn’t always based around talent.  

What does the future hold for Lamar Richardson? That’s easy: Comedy. Well, there’s nothing set in stone yet, but it’s definitely something he wants to give a try one day. “I really want to take on the challenge of, you know, a romcom or a sitcom . . . just to see how it would be received,” Richardson said with a glint of childlike excitement in his eyes as he continued. “[Or] like a network multicam pilot or series on one of the big four networks . . . in front of a live audience with the laugh tracks and all that.” After the jump Richardson has made in the past couple years, who’s to say where the limits of his potential lie. Maybe we’ll see him starring in a romcom along one of his idols like Viola Davis or Mark Ruffalo. Or maybe we’ll catch him doing stand up in a New York City club.

Either way, it’s easy to say that Lamar
Richardson’s American Dream is only
getting started!

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