Jan Rosenberg: Diplomatic, Generous and Kind

Volume CX, No. 5May, 2010

Larry Rawdon

Local 802’s membership is filled with talented musicians who are not only dedicated to the art of music but who are also dedicated to the business of music.

So what would make an individual so unique that he or she would stand out over most others?

Jan Rosenberg was special not only because her expertise in the music business was so diverse, but also because her excellence in each area was so selfless.

I was fortunate to have observed Jan in each of her various roles: as musician/conductor at “Cats,” advertising manager of Allegro, co-chair of the Music Directors Committee in the 1990’s, and most recently as delegate to the Broadway Theatre Committee of which I was chair until 2007.

It is Jan’s dedication to the Broadway Theatre Committee that I especially wish to remember at this time.

Because of Jan’s extensive background as Broadway keyboard player and conductor, Jan brought to the Theatre Committee a breadth of knowledge possessed by few other delegates on the committee. She freely shared that knowledge quietly, authoritatively, and never condescendingly.

Jan’s position on any issue always struck me that it was about being right for the musicians the committee represented and never about Jan herself.

Having worked on many shows from their inception, Jan could share with the Theatre Committee issues from the viewpoint of management.

This was an enormous asset to those of us less enlightened on managements’ perspectives so that we committee members could understand how to best approach a given issue.

The year 2006 really exemplified Jan’s commitment to the Broadway community when the Theatre Committee turned its attention to the upcoming contract negotiations with the League.

Members will remember that 2006 was an election year at Local 802 and suspicions ran high that differing opinions were as much political as actual differences in opinions.

There was a need for a subcommittee of the Theatre Committee to be formed to better prepare for the upcoming League negotiations and I as chair could not imagine such a subcommittee being complete without the expertise of Jan Rosenberg.

The dilemma was how to persuade the notoriously apolitical Jan to take on this additional gratis obligation in such a highly charged political climate.

Using the power granted the chair by Theatre Committee bylaws, rather than ask Jan if she would volunteer for the State of Broadway Subcommittee, I simply appointed her and hoped she would not resign.

She did not resign and the manner in which she contributed is one of the things I will always most remember about Jan.

She had a way of championing a particular position on an issue while at the same time distancing herself from whichever Local 802 political camp might have a stake in that particular position. This was a unique feat of diplomacy that few possess as Jan did.

Jan Rosenberg was dedicated, talented and sincere. She will be missed by all of us at Local 802 who were fortunate to have had her contributions in our midst for so long.

(Editor’s note: Jan Rosenberg’s obituary was published here.)