Interview by Jana Letonja

Seven-time Tony-Award winning producer Jordan Roth has established himself as a theatrical innovator, style influencer and talented creator. As President of Jujamcyn Theaters, he champions shows that push the boundaries of Broadway and create unique experiences for audiences. Besides producing, Jordan is also known for his style and has walked Paris Couture and New York Fashion Week shows.

dress NOIR KEI
catsuit ALAÏA
shoes RICK OWENS
crown & gloves PAUME LOS ANGELES

What is the first thing you want people to think about when they think of ‘Jordan Roth’?

Tell me more.

How does your approach and inspiration to fashion differ based on the medium you’re presenting it in? For example, how does what you would wear to a show in Paris differ from what you would wear to be shot for the cover of a magazine or an opening night? Is there a different process? Do you draw inspiration from different places?

For me, fashion is clothes plus context. The where and the how that make sense of the what. So, it’s never just about figuring out the right look, it’s about figuring out the right look for me at that place and time. That’s what makes the process so rigorous and so fulfilling.

Walking versus watching. You’ve walked on the runway of shows like Thom Browne and Luchen and also sat front row. Do you prefer one over the other and how does your perspective change based on how you’re observing the show?

I love every perspective of a fashion show, both walking and watching. And the more I do of one, the more I understand and appreciate the other.

Whether it’s acting, producing, walking the runway at a show or attending the Met Gala, how do you bring authenticity to the ways you express and present yourself?

I used to feel unfocused with all the many different things I was doing and interested in. But now I understand them to all be expressions of me. They are all different ways out of the same place, and different ways in.

Jordan, you are a Broadway producer who has established himself as a theatrical innovator. What made you fall in love with Broadway?

From a very early age, theatre was a refuge for me, a place where the world make more sense. I found that everything that made me wrong outside the theatre, made me right inside the theatre. 

As a producer, you have won seven Tony Awards for ‘Moulin Rouge! The Musical’, ‘Hadestown’, ‘Kinky Boots’, ‘Clybourne Park’, ‘Hair’ and ‘Angels in America’, which broke records in 2018 as the most Tony-nominated play in Broadway history. What do all these awards mean to you professionally and personally? How do they fuel you up for your future work?

I grew up watching the Tony Awards on television and dreaming of being there. Every year when I’m there is a fulfillment of that dream.

dress RICHARS QUINN
mask HOUSE OF MALAKAI
headpiece NEW YORK VINTAGE
ring PAUME LOS ANGELES
shoes HAN KJVOBENHAM
dress MOON CHANG
jumpsuit BALENCIAGA
neckpiece VINTAGE
gloves UNDERCOVER from PAUME LOS ANGELES
shoes DRIES VAN NOTEN
headpiece HEATHER HUEY

You champion shows that push the boundaries of Broadway. How do you decide on the shows you want to bring to life and how do you push these boundaries?

I generally think about three broad questions when exploring shows. The first, is it theatrical? Does it make sense of the fact that it is live? The second, does it matter? Does it need to exist in the world? The third, will it sell tickets? Is it commercial? Most often the answer to the third emerges from a yes to the first two, but not always.

You’ve also performed and have appeared as Mickey Marcus in a 2023 benefit reading of Larry Kramer’s ‘The Normal Heart’ presented by Broadway for Arts Education. Which do you creatively enjoy more, producing or performing?

Both. I’m very ‘and’ not ‘or’. And I have found that the more I allow myself to be, the more whole I feel. I began my love of theatre as a performer, then veered into producing and am now realizing I am both and that doing one enhances my understanding of the other. 

Besides Brodway, another important part of your life is fashion. You’ve made your Met Gala debut in 2018 and have landed on the Best Dressed list many times. How do you push the boundaries in fashion? What makes your style unique?

Fashion has always been a vocabulary for me. A way of exploring, understanding and expressing myself, both to you and to myself. All of our styles are unique if they are expressions of ourselves.

coat ALAÏA
jumpsuit BALENCIAGA
belt NEW YORK VINTAGE
sheer black robe EARLY HALLOWEEN
gloves EARLY HALLOWEEN
collar HEATHER HUEY
necklace ARMEN RA from PAUME
necklace worn as tiara PAUME

Which one of your Met Gala looks is your favorite so far and why? Do you have any ideas on this year’s look already?

They’re all my favorites. One of the many things I love about the Met Gala is each one is an opportunity to dig deep into a theme and create a piece that explores what it means to me, as manifested in the space between me and a designer. So each one is a unique expression of that experience, that moment.

As for this year, we are deep into it. It began, as they always do, with a short piece of text I wrote, a sort of vision statement for what the look would be about. And we’re growing from there.

Together with your husband Richie, you received The Trevor Project Hero Award in 2016 for being leaders in the LGBTQ community. How do you advocate for the community and what is the one thing you would like to see change the most in the near future?

We are at a crisis point for our trans and non-binary young people. For so many, just waking up every day and existing at home, at school, in the world can be life-threatening as well as soul-crushing. Until this generation of boundary explorers can not only survive, but thrive, none of us are really free.

How do you balance it all, producing, fashion, charitable work and family life?

As soon as I figure that out, I’ll let you know.

What can you share with us about your upcoming projects? What are you working on next?

I’m developing two new musicals, coincidentally both one-word titles that begin with G. One with the last name of the main character, ‘Gatsby’, with music by Florence Welch, and ‘Galileo’, a rock musical. I’m also continuing to develop my own work as an artist in performance, fashion and visual art. One project in particular I’m very excited about, but can’t share quite yet. Stay tuned.

long dress PAILMER HARDING
jacket NEW YORK VINTAGE CRINOLINE QUEERA
neckpiece VINTAGE PERSONAL
belt NEW YORK VINTAGE
gloves MARGIELA
ring PAUME LOS ANGELES
shoes RICK OWENS
crucifix JEAN PAUL GAULTIER from PAUME LOS ANGELES

talent JORDAN ROTH @jordan_roth
photographer MARK SELIGER @markseliger
fashion editor CHRISTIAN STROBLE @christianstroble
executive producer RUTH LEVY @boomboomlevy
producer MADI OVERSTREET @madiover
talent’s fashion director MICHAEL PHILOUZE @michael_philouze
hair BRENT LAWLER for ART + ACRE @brentlawler
makeup SIL BRUINSMA at THE WALL GROUP @silbruinsma1 @thewallgroup
manicurist SONYA MEESH at FORWARD ARTISTS using MANUCURIST @sonyameesh @forwardartists
seamstress ESTELLE CHATORRIER @estellechatorrier
set designer MICHAEL STURGEON @mishkabeluga @mondayartists
editor TIMI LETONJA @timiletonja
interview JANA LETONJA @janaletonja
cover design ARTHUR ROELOFFZEN @arthurroeloffzen