They were just 21, fresh out of college and everyone told them it couldn't be done. But when Gail Berman (right) and Susan Rose set out to produce Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat for Washington, D.C.'s Ford Theatre, they ended up with a Broadway hit and seven Tony nominations. Berman and Rose have perfected their act since the early Joseph days when they only "sort of knew" what producers did. Currently, they are co-producers of Hurlyburly, David Rabe's scathing Broadway play about drugs and relationships in Hollywood. Though they aren't the show's only producers, Berman and Rose, both 28, along with partner Melvyn J. Estrin, 40, contributed nearly $150,000 to bring the drama from Chicago to New York.
The women met as theater students at the University of Maryland. Rose performed as a youngster in Baltimore, while Berman, who didn't act as a child, grew up on Long Island. Broadway's young producers and Estrin now have their own offices and a newly formed production company, which is developing several movie projects. Occasional trips to the Coast and dinners to establish contacts have kept Berman away from husband Bill Masters more than she'd like. Rose, who is single, has another complaint. "When most women my age are trying to meet men," she says, "I am trying to meet investors."
For a youngster who was, by his own admission, "afraid to go out in the woods by myself," Lansing Taylor has executed a remarkable turnaround. At 14, he is the only winner of both North American and U.S. titles for his age group in the fast-growing outdoor sport of orienteering. Developed in Sweden in 1918, orienteering is a timed cross-country competition in which runners devise a course across unfamiliar terrain. With the aid of topographical maps and a compass, the competitors must stop at a series of checkpoints, punch a card and dash to the finish line. "You always read the map while you run," says Taylor. As a result, "You run into trees once in a while."
The Acton, Mass. teenager was introduced to the sport by his orienteering parents, a lawyer and an English teacher. Lans suffers from an attention-deficit disorder (a tendency to skip steps in his thought processes), so he fell behind in his studies and often had disciplinary problems in grade school. But after switching to a private school that encouraged outdoor activities, Taylor found an outlet for his energy.
Now a bright, well-adjusted eighth-grader, Taylor is also a music lover. He often sings his own tunes while orienteering, which would be music to the ears of his competitors at next month's North Eastern Student Championships in Cross River, N.Y.—if they're anywhere near him.
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