When the pandemic began to devastate the entertainment and hospitality industries, Arvind Ethan David knew exactly what he wanted to do: Combine the struggling fields in a way that could benefit both.
The writer, producer and filmmaker, best known for the Broadway adaptation of Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill album, tapped coproducer Nathan Marcus Brown to launch Broadway Wine Club, a wine subscription service that supports boutique producers and Broadway professionals alike.
In addition to access to exclusive events with actors and other entertainment luminaries, members receive a quarterly shipment of small-batch wines bottled with labels created by some of theatre’s best designers. Here, David checks in about the club’s genesis and the responsibility he feels when he’s choosing wines and creating art.
What sorts of qualities do you look for when you’re seeking new projects?
Good artistry, good marketing and cost-effectiveness. Spending time on a story I don’t love with people I don’t love is currently unimaginable.
How has your job shifted since Broadway’s shutdown?
Your job [as a producer] is to go around with a thing that is not a thing yet and will it into existence. In Jagged Little Pill’s case, 10 years ago, I knew the album wanted to be a musical, but I had to convince my producing partner, Vivek Tiwary, and Alanis [Morissette].
Once a project is ready, you have to protect the people you’re working with, and the idea. My job now is to keep the story in the public consciousness and keep everyone as safe spiritually and economically as possible.
What about your background in production helped most with the launch of the club?
I’ve been a passionate oenophile since I was a teenager, but the idea came from a feeling of loss. The entertainment and food-and-beverage industries are similar and devastated by Covid, probably more than any others. Winemakers have lost distribution, lots of them friends of mine.
Many Broadway actors aren’t employed and need creative outlets. Marketing professionals aren’t selling tickets, and audience members miss Broadway terribly. We thought that we could help by creating something that brought everyone together.
Broadway Wine Club brings wealth to communities currently suffering. Do you feel you have a moral responsibility to your consumers?
I’ve told stories for a living since I was 23 years old. I’m conscious of how lucky I am, but I couldn’t do it if I didn’t think it was important. When you do what I do well and get lucky, you generate a lot of revenue and have a lot of influence. Broadway is ridiculously influential for a medium that only 1,000 people a night can see. It became impossible for me not to take that seriously.
“Last year, I couldn’t be useful in many ways…but I could tell stories to raise money and awareness of those on the frontlines.”
Last year, I couldn’t be useful in many ways. I’m not a medical professional…but I could tell stories to raise money and awareness of those on the frontlines. I coproduced a Black Lives Matter benefit for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Legal Defense Fund, the Jagged cast did two benefit concerts and the club donates $10 per membership to The Actors Fund. You can’t do Jagged Little Pill and not do this because voicing painful truths and encouraging people to voice their own truths is in its DNA.
It’s the end of a long workday. What are you drinking?
I now drink with two meals a week. The next time will be with my friend, Jessica Gasca [owner and winemaker] of Story of Soil, and we’ll be barrel tasting.