Malini Singh McDonald is a native New Yorker who has been involved in the arts for her entire life. A passionate and experienced artist and producer, Malini has twenty years of practical experience in the NYC theatre scene. She’s served the theatre in many aspects of which she’s very proud – actress, director, producer, stage manager, costume designer, prop designer, theatre reviewer, publicist, radio presenter, and writer/monologist. Malini has been recognized for her role in the community with the Woman of Distinction Award for her contribution to Media, Arts and Culture from the City of New York. Malini received her BA in Theatre Arts and English Literature from Baruch College and her MFA in Directing from the Actors Studio Drama School. As a producer in the independent theatre scene with Black Henna Productions, Malini mastered the skills of marketing and producing her work in an ever-growing and ever-changing theatre scene. Select theatre credits include the revival of Godspell (Producer, Broadway Revival), The Year of Living Dangerously (Publicist, 54 Below), Whiskey Pants: The Mayor of Williamsburg (Publicist, HERE Arts Center), From Ship to Shape (Publicist, Winner of Two United Solo Awards), The Eternal Space (Associate Producer & Marketing Director, Theatre Row).
Malini is the founder of Theatre Beyond Broadway which provides a platform to promote and support independent artists, groups and productions that are produced beyond the bright lights of Broadway. TBB represents a broad range of artists through producing, publicity, education and a podcast. The TBB podcast guests include Tom Viertel (6 Time Tony Award Winning Broadway Producer), Melissa Robinette (VP of Actors Equity), Daniel Gallant (Executive Director of the Nuyorican Poets Café), Jocelyn Bioh (School Girls; or The African Mean Girls Play, Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time). She is also the creative director of Rockwell Park Entertainment, a production company that seeks to bring new and underrepresented voices to the stage and behind the scenes. Rockwell Park is the marriage between the indie theatre spirit and the commercial drive that seeks to bring a get-your-hands dirty ethos to their investments. When she isn’t doing all things theatre, Malini finds solace in writing poetry and her work has been published in Newtown Literary Journal. She contributed to Kew Gardens, a book about the history of “the backbone of Long Island”. She loves being a tourist in her hometown and is currently working on a series of poems on her New York City. Malini is Co-VP of Communications for the League of Professional Theatre Women, a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, the Associate Producer for the Broadway Artist Connection, producing partner for The Anthropologists, and a panelist for the Broadway Bound Theatre Festival.
What do I do best?
What a question to kick this interview off! I love it. I believe that I am a good listener which enables me to be practice patience and focus. As a result, my observation and intuitive skills are strong making me malleable in situations.
What makes me the best version of myself?
Other people have made me the best version of me. Each moment is a teachable one which means I am learning all the time. Resilience has been my word this year. As I look back on my life and career, I see that I have been able to be a rubber band.
What are my aspirations?
My personal aspirations include sitting on a beach writing poetry and visiting the 50 states of the USA. My business goals include winning a Tony Award; producing theatre that will allow artists’ voices to be heard, and to be able to create whatever I want on a whim.
My Biggest Success?
My biggest success has been being in a relationship with the same person for 21 years. We grew together, went through successes and hardships together, and even built a theatrical career together (and apart). We learned how to ebb and flow, how to communicate, and the meaning of acceptance.
My Most Challenging Moment?
My most challenging moment was the short period of time where I lost people in my life. Though it didn’t feel challenging as I had a great support system as well as acceptance of the lost, it was the time after when I was now alone with my grief. Since I had worked through most of it through grief counseling and friends, the emotional side of it sent me on a downward spiral. However, I was able to hit bottom for a short time and begin to climb back to the surface. It was a difficult time I wish on no one.
“Stagnation is death” and “We aren’t given anything we can’t handle” are two that I live by daily. It’s important to grow in every way when possible. Also, we can handle life on life’s terms. I am reminded of the breakthrough after the breakdown and the many times that has happened in my life.
My Favorite People/Role Models?
This has been on my mind a lot in the last couple of years as plan my life. My role models for my career are Oprah and Daryl Roth. They both have empires that are a result of their drive and their true selves. Other favorite people include the many bosses I have had the pleasure to work with and learn from – they have been wonderful mentors.
My Favorite Places/Destinations?
I am a native New Yorker so home is my favorite place. This city is the bedrock that it’s built on and the people are feisty, tough, and loving. You see the true New York in times of tragedy and joy. My other favorite city is Boston. I have many fond memories of it and that would be the other place I would live even if their home team is the Red Sox.
My Favorite Products/Objects?
These are a few of my favorite things: my notebook and pen, iPad, iPhone, my book of inspiration, a scarf, eyeliner and lipstick. I am never without these items. You never know when you need them in a pinch.
My Current Passions?
My current passion is directing again. I had taken a hiatus to focus on producing and PR for the last few years. This year I dusted off my director’s chair and began directing pieces that were in line with my feminist values in light of the #metoo and #timesup movements. In addition to that, I am directing The Wiz in Liberia this summer with young artists. We are bringing Broadway to Africa and we are beyond thrilled to make a difference in their lives as well as our own. When I return, my focus will be on the shows that I have in pre-production on the commercial and indie arenas.