Looking out into a crowd of thousands at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday night, Baton Rouge businessman Kevin Lyle joined his fellow producers and their team of actors, directors and artists on stage to accept the Tony Award for best musical revival for the Broadway production “Once on This Island.”
“One of the first things I had to do was apologize to the person sitting in front of me when I slammed my hands on their chair and shouted ‘Yes!’ as the word ‘Once’ came out of Christine Baranski’s mouth,” Lyle says, describing how his wife, Renee Chatelain, excitedly pushed him into the aisle. “I’m not sure it’s all sunk in yet, but it’s pretty exciting.”
The newly minted Tony Award winner is the former vice president of LCR Corporation of Baton Rouge, a family plumbing and distribution company sold in 2001.
Now Lyle spends his days working as the chief technology officer for a health care startup called Naveon and is also the president of a nonprofit called PolitiCraft. But for much of the last decade, he’s spent his nights and weekends immersed in New York’s pinnacle of entertainment.
Lyle has invested in 80 productions both on and off Broadway, including the wildly successful Broadway musical “Kinky Boots,” and has worked as a producer on three off-Broadway shows.
But in 2017, Lyle took his lifelong passion for theater to the next level accepting his first Broadway producer role for the revival of the 1990 musical “Once on This Island.”
He is also an investor for the Broadway hit, “The Band’s Visit,” which took home top prizes like best musical, best lead actor in a musical, best lead actress in a musical and best direction of a musical.
The night will be remembered as one in which smaller productions were recognized while many of the big shows didn’t show at all. “Once on this Island” beat out big musical theater revivals like “Carousel” and “My Fair Lady,” and “The Band’s Visit” nearly swept the music category, winning 10 Tony Awards, which Lyle acknowledges, is almost unheard of.
“It’s pretty spectacular to be involved with the two shows that ran away with the night in terms of the surprise that we were—‘Once on this Island’ as the upset—and “The Band’s Visit’ having such a wonderful night,” Lyle says.
For more about Kevin Lyle’s adventures on and off Broadway, check out an upcoming profile in the July issue of inRegister.