SCOTT SANDERS is a prolific stage, film and television producer and the recipient of Emmy, Grammy and Tony Awards. He is the principal of Scott Sanders Productions, founded in 2007, which produces exceptional content for stage and screen with an emphasis on elevating diverse voices.
His next film as producer is the stage-to-screen adaptation of The Color Purple musical, with which Sanders has a long and celebrated history stretching back to 2005 when he first brought it to Broadway. Adapted from Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, the original musical production debuted on Broadway to rave reviews and received 11 Tony Award nominations including Best Musical. In 2016, Sanders produced the Broadway revival, which won Tony Awards for Best Revival of a Musical and Best Leading Actress in a Musical for Cynthia Erivo’s breakthrough performance, as well as the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album.
The new The Color Purple film, directed by Blitz Bazawule from a screenplay by Marcus Gardley, is produced by Sanders alongside Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg and Quincy Jones, and features an all-star cast including Fantasia, an American Idol winner making her feature film debut; Taraji P. Henson; Colman Domingo; Corey Hawkins; Danielle Brooks; H.E.R.; Halle Bailey; Phylicia Mpasi; Ciara; Aunjanue Ellis; Louis Gossett Jr.; Jon Batiste; and David Alan Grier. The Color Purple will be released by Warner Bros. on Christmas Day, December 25, 2023.
Sanders’s most recent film production was another triumphant musical-to-film adaptation that he shepherded as a producer for nearly a decade: Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony-winning In the Heights, which was adapted for the big screen by director Jon M. Chu and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Quiara Alegría Hudes. The film features a star-making, Golden Globe-nominated performance by Anthony Ramos alongside Corey Hawkins, Leslie Grace, Melissa Barrera, Olga Merediz, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Gregory Diaz IV, and Jimmy Smits. In the Heights was released by Warner Bros. on June 10, 2021, to widespread critical acclaim.
For television, he is a producer on the new Hulu series, Up Here, a musical comedy from EGOT-winning songwriting duo Kristin Anderson-Lopez and Bobby Lopez (Frozen, Coco) and Tony-winning and Emmy-nominated writer Steven Levenson (Fosse/Verdon, Dear Evan Hansen). The series—starring Mae Whitman and Carlos Valdesand, and directed by Thomas Kail (Hamilton)—debuted on March 24, 2023.
Sanders served as lead producer of the critically-acclaimed 2019 Tony-winning musical comedy, Tootsie, based on Sydney Pollack’s iconic 1982 film and featuring a score by Tony Award winner David Yazbek and book by Tony Award winner Robert Horn. Among Tootsie’s numerous honors were the New York Drama Critics Circle prize for Best Musical and a total of 11 Tony Award nominations, including wins for Leading Actor in a Musical and Best Book of a Musical.
Sanders won his first Tony Award for producing Elaine Stritch’s much-beloved one-woman show, Elaine Stritch: At Liberty, which he also produced as a televised special for HBO, subsequently winning the Emmy Award for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special.
On Broadway, he has also produced the Tony-winning musical revue After Midnight alongside jazz legend Wynton Marsalis, which featured a series of special guest performers during its run including Fantasia Barrino, k.d. lang, Toni Braxton, Babyface, Vanessa Williams, and Patti LaBelle; the Tony-nominated Dame Edna: Back With a Vengeance; the Tony-nominated 2012 revival of Evita; and The Pee-wee Herman Show, also filmed for HBO, which received an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special. In 2022, he co-produced the Tony-winning Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Company, winning the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical.
For film, he produced the 2012 Walt Disney Picture’s feature, The Odd Life of Timothy Green, directed by Peter Hedges and starring Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton, CJ Adams, Odeya Rush, Dianne Wiest, Rosemarie DeWitt, Common, David Morse, and Ron Livingston. For television, Sanders, as co-founder of Mandalay Television, executive-produced six network series including ABC’s “Cupid,” The WB’s “Young Americans,” and Showtime’s “Rude Awakening.” In 2001, Sanders launched Creative Battery, a multimedia production company in partnership with AEG Presents, at which he executive produced Queen Latifah’s 2005 Grammy-nominated jazz album, The Dana Owens Album.
Sanders began his career producing concerts and special engagements at Radio City Music Hall, working with legendary musicians such as Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Frank Sinatra, Madonna, Bette Midler, Lionel Richie, Tina Turner, Diana Ross, and The Grateful Dead, to name a few. Throughout a 15-year tenure as Executive Producer for Radio City Music Hall Productions, Sanders also produced televised rock concerts, pop culture events, a presidential inaugural anniversary gala and a Super Bowl Halftime Show.
Among his many film and stage projects in development, it was recently announced that he is producing a feature film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat for Amazon Studios, directed and co-produced by Jon M. Chu.
Sanders is a graduate of the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications, and in 2006 was named to the school’s Hall of Fame for his remarkable career achievements. He serves on the Executive Board of UCLA’s School of Theater, Film & Television.