To quote A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder book-writer and colyricist Robert Freedman, from his Outer Critic Circle Award acceptance speech, “If you looked up mensch in the dictionary, there'd be a picture of Joey Parnes.” One of Broadway's most trusted and respected veterans, Joey has been a tireless driving force behind a multitude of beloved and important productions over the course of his more-than-30-year career producing and managing in the theater. Known industry-wide for his uniquely hands-on approach to producing, his unwavering integrity, and his unfailing taste in material, Joey is responsible for getting this season's most Tony nominated show, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, to Broadway. In the midst of the season's flurry of luncheons, cocktail receptions, and awards ceremonies, Joey graciously agreed to spend a little time on our couch.
What do you consider to be your best asset?
Sue Wagner, John Johnson, and everyone who works at our office.
What was your proudest moment?
Not counting the birth of my three kids, the first High Holiday service that we had at the synagogue my wife and I started.
What is your favorite drink?
Iced coffee, milk, no sugar.
What is your favorite food?
I wouldn't turn down a Pad Thai.
What is your favorite condiment?
What is your current obsession?
Trying to keep up with email. Failing.
If you could give up one of your vices, what would it be?
Who has time for vices?
What is the one professional accomplishment you long for most?
I would like to write the lyrics to an original Broadway score or record an audio book.
What is the one thing you waste too much money on?
Wasting money is not in my DNA.
What is the one activity you waste too much time doing?
Rewriting perfectly good emails.
What do you consider to be the single greatest threat to your health?
Sue Wagner and John Johnson.
What is the single best trait you inherited or learned from your parents?
Believing that everybody counts, or nobody counts.
What is the single worst trait you inherited or learned from your parents?
Worrying about everything.
What in the world most thrills you?
My three amazing children.
What current trend in popular culture most irritates you?
The replacement of actual communication with e-mail and texting. And, on a related note, the fact that it isn't 1981 anymore.
What was the single most embarrassing moment you've ever experienced on the job?
Having to answer these questions about myself.
What is your favorite place in the world?
What is the most important trait you seek in a romantic partner?
After 39 years, patience!
Do you prefer the company of dogs or cats?
I like them both, but have neither.
What would have to happen to make today the best day of your life?
The end of violence worldwide — but I'd settle for being on time for a meeting.
What is your personal motto?
Occasionally, “If you bully me, I kill you.” Most of the time, “You gotta live your life.”