As one of the creators and original cast members of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Sarah Saltzberg’s world came full circle several years ago when she returned to Needham High School to see the student rendition of the musical. Sarah, being a 1994 graduate of NHS, reflects back on that visit: “The show is about community, belonging, and finding your way – all things I learned at NHS, and some on that very high school stage.” In addition to her career in entertainment, Sarah is also the co-founder and co-owner of Bohemia Realty Group, an 80-agent boutique firm specializing in residential rentals and sales in Harlem and Upper Manhattan that opened in 2012.
Sarah recalls her time at NHS as nurturing, supportive and fundamental in helping her to figure out who she was as a person. While at NHS, she was a member of the swim team and was involved in musicals, as well as Chorus and Chorale. Sarah’s participation in the theater club sparked the budding producer in her. She was able to explore the different aspects of what fueled her creativity at a young age, which was fundamental to her choice of college and later her professions. A person who had particular influence on Sarah during her time at NHS was swim team coach, Miss Eaton. “She was an amazing leader and taught me great skills that I use to this day; how to listen to people, how to inspire, and how to create a sense of belonging to everyone in the group.”
Upon graduating from NHS, Sarah earned her BFA in Acting at the Boston University School for the Arts, and also attended the British Academy of Dramatic Arts. Sarah’s career highlights include: a creator/actor of off-Broadway’s Don’t Quit Your Night Job (originally a charity event which developed into a commercial run); a writer of off-Broadway’s Miss Abigail’s Guide to Dating, Mating and Marriage; a producer of Broadway’s Godspell, and Peter and the Starcatcher, and the upcoming Broadway productions of Fun Home and Gettin’ The Band Back Together (the latter of which she is also a writer.) The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee won the 2005 Tony awards for Best Book of a musical as well as Best Actor, and the cast won a Drama Desk award for best ensemble. Miss Abigail’s Guide to Dating, Mating and Marriage was nominated for the Off-Broadway TINA Awards in 2011. She has also appeared in the film City Island and on Showtime’s The Big C.
In her free time, Sarah teaches improvisational acting in New York to elementary school students weekly at PS6 on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, as well as high school students coming to NY for theater intensives. She is actively involved in fundraising for Open Doors, a program that sends under-privileged students to Broadway/off-Broadway theater. Sarah is also a member of Harlem Park to Park, a group of small business owners looking to improve and enrich the South Harlem community.
Sarah’s advice to NHS students is “take advantage of what NHS has to offer. In working with inner city schools in NYC who have little in the way of extra-curricular programs, I realize how much I took for granted in my high school experience.” Sarah recounts the sense of camaraderie she felt while on the swim team and in theater club as the single most important life experience while at NHS. “Learning how to work together in a collaborative way prepped me for the work I do as an adult.”
Sarah lives in New York City.