"What is a Margo Lion production? I like shows that have contemporary relevance. And I want to put on shows that draw young people into the theater. That is very important to me," she says. "Hairspray has become a huge family show. We actually have had to buy booster seats so that small children can watch. We have so many six-year-olds attending, and that is thrilling to me."

Other marquee names: Philip J. Smith, president, the Shubert Organization (Company, The Vertical Hour, A Chorus Line - 2006 revival); Jon B. Platt (coproducer of Wicked, past credits include Angels in America and Copenhagen)

Elysabeth Kleinhans

Little artsy theaters in New York are hidden in offbeat, dimly lit alleyways in TriBeCa, the Lower East Side, and, increasingly, low-rent Brooklyn. And then there is 59E59 Theaters, a theater complex located at 59 East 59th Street between Park and Madison avenues - in the thick of the Upper East Side's glitter gulch of high-end fashion retailers like Bloomingdale's and Bergdorf Goodman. And yet this three-stage complex, which sits on the home turf of New York's social elite, hosts some of the most fringe plays imaginable, such as a dead-on-perfect production of His Royal Hipness Lord Buckley in the Zam Zam Room - a celebration of the 1960s hipster comedian who influenced everybody from Lenny Bruce to Richard Pryor - and a staged reading of poet Allen Ginsberg's "Howl." This is a theater that is unafraid, takes risks, and, in most cases, prices its tickets only slightly higher than a movie theater's.