"I never set out to achieve a popular success," McAnuff admits, revealing more of his formula. "I try to tell a great story."

Curiously, when he first was asked to get involved in Jersey Boys, he declined. Later, when shown an outline, he was less than dazzled. "I just didn't respond to what was on paper."

It wasn't until McAnuff "discovered the stories behind the songs" that he got excited and decided to dive in. "I got interested in telling this story not to create a Broadway hit but because I believed the story of the Four Seasons is a great story that deserves to be told.

"I believe I am not weird. If I'm passionate about a work - if I really love it - there is a good shot others will share that passion. In theater, you have to go with what turns you on."

Other marquee names: John Doyle (Company, Sweeney Todd), Jack O'Brien (Coast of Utopia, Hairspray, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels)

Artistic Director
Todd Haimes

In 1983, the Roundabout Theatre Company was 18 years old - and broke. Debts amounted to $2.5 million and the company had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection five years earlier, yet recent Yale grad Todd Haimes said yes to a job running the company. Thanks to a generous board member, Roundabout emerged from bankruptcy within two years, and Haimes put the group on a trajectory that mixes equal parts art and financial stewardship. Flash-forward to 2007, and the not-for-profit Roundabout is putting on plays on three stages and has about 45,000 season-ticket subscribers - "twice as many as any other theater company in New York," says Haimes, 49. Haimes does not direct plays; he determines the plays that Roundabout will produce.