Growing up in Rio, Roberta Pereira became a fan of the theater after seeing Butterfly Garden at a young age. She attended the show a total of nine times and saw her first Broadway show, Cats, when she was 8 years old. At that point, she was hooked.
Pereira went to boarding school for three years, and had friends all over the world by the time she attended Wesleyan University in Connecticut. She received her graduate degree in Theater Management from the prestigious Yale School of Drama.
"I knew from a young age I would be involved in theater somehow," said Pereira, 33, who now lives in Manhattan and is the co-founder and managing editor of Dress Circle Publishing, the world's only publisher devoted exclusively to theater-themed books.
In addition to her work at Dress Circle, Pereira is a producer with Bisno Productions, where she has worked on hits such as the revival of Annie, the Broadway premiere of Craig Wright's Grace, starring Paul Rudd, Michael Shannon, and Ed Asner, the Tony Award-winning smash War Horse, and a successful run of The Merchant of Venice with Al Pacino.
One of her personal and professional goals is to help expand theater audiences and to inspire Latinos to attend Broadway shows.
"There are several issues that have traditionally discouraged Latinos from attending Broadway productions. Audiences want to hear stories about people who are like them. For a long time, this was not the case for Latinos," said Pereira."
For instance, In the Heights brought in many people who had never come to the theater before. It's all about who is on the stage, who is directing, writing and producing the shows. Latinos are interested in characters that they can relate to."
Lack of previous experience with the theater, cost, and language/cultural barriers also are factors in the relatively low numbers of Latinos who attend Broadway shows.
"Attending a show can be expensive, and someone buying tickets for the first time is likely to worry if he or she will have a positive experience," Pereira explained. "They might stress over what to wear or how to conduct themselves. This can be intimidating for someone who has never attended a theatrical production before."
In 2011, Pereira and fellow theater producer, Brisa Trinchero, met for drinks after attending the opening of a new Broadway show. They wondered why there were few Broadway-themed books, particularly because the book-buying audiences and theater audiences seem to overlap. A few cocktails later, the two friends decided to create a publishing company to fill that void in the marketplace.
Dress Circle's Publishing's mission is to produce a variety of exciting new books with Broadway-related themes to entertain theater-loving readers. The books offer a peek behind the curtain into the wonderful world of theater.
Founded in 2011, Dress Circle Publishing has produced acclaimed works that have made it to the top book rankings on Amazon.com. Showbiz and its sequel, Staged, by Ruby Preston, tell the story of an aspiring female producer who discovers Broadway's scandalous backstage deals and finds love along the way.
On November 12th, Dress Circle will publish The Untold Stories of Broadway: Tales from the World's Greatest Theaters, Volume 1 (Dress Circle Publishing. 350 pages, $19.99) by author and musical theater historian Jennifer Ashley Tepper.
It is the first book to recount the real-life backstage drama of Broadway's greatest shows and performers, through interviews with over 200 theater professionals - actors, directors, producers, stagehands, designers, ushers, and others.
The Untold Stories of Broadway will be available in paperback and eBook forms from Kindle, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble Nook. To sign up for exclusive access to the book, please visit www.dresscirclepublishing.com.
Even though Pereira believes New York City has everything there is to offer, she often misses the country where she was born.
"Brazil is amazing. The people are so warm there and I miss the weather," said Pereira who expressed that her family is thrilled that she is doing so well professionally in Manhattan. "Here in New York, people tend to get quickly down to business. Brazil is much more relaxed."
In her free time, Pereira loves to cook and frequently travels home to Brazil to visit her family in Rio de Janeiro, where she was born and raised. She is considering going back for the 2016 Olympics.
Her passion, however, is theater, and she frequently attends new shows.
"Part of my job is to know who is out there and what is going on."