There he was on Instagram – standing next to stage and screen star Jennifer Hudson and cradling a silver-and-black trophy. Friends who knew him at Duke and in high school were surprised … until it sunk in.
Tre’ won a Tony Award? No way!
Oh … yes … of course he did.
“Anyone who knew me growing up says that I’m returning to who they knew me to be,” said Tre’ Scott ’15, Broadway producer and Microsoft managing director. “And anyone who knows me in corporate America is like, ‘I don’t understand what’s happening.’ ”
It’s no wonder his tech colleagues were surprised. Scott didn’t tell them he was producing musicals. And he definitely never mentioned “A Strange Loop,” the hit Broadway show that won 2022 Tony Awards for Best Musical and Best Book of a Musical.
“I once read a quote about leading an extraordinary life,” Scott said. “I would love to have multiple extraordinary lives.”
Dreams and plans
Scott’s latest extraordinary life began while he slept. “I had a dream that I moved to New York,” he said. “It was three weeks from the dream to the day I moved into the apartment I’m sitting in right now.”
This was in the fall of 2020, during the height of the pandemic, with Broadway shut down. “I’m the only one coming to New York,” he laughed.
If that seems impulsive, it was really just Scott’s subconscious telling him it was time to act on plans he had been developing for years. From the time he attended a performing arts high school in Jacksonville, Florida, Scott’s long-term goals included Broadway. He eventually refined that plan to amplify voices that have not been heard often in the famous theater district.
“A Strange Loop” is a great example. With a lead character who is Black, queer and overweight, and an ensemble made up of actors representing his inner monologue, the show is unlike anything Broadway has seen before.
“I want to be a part of storytelling that penetrates culture,” Scott said. “How are we really telling original stories – particularly ones that have been left out of the conversation?”
How does a 29-year-old novice producer get involved in the hottest show on Broadway? The short answer is that Scott is unafraid to pursue his dreams.
“There’s a fearlessness where others see boundaries,” said Justice Reid, a friend and former Microsoft colleague. “That’s what I would call his superpower.”
The longer answer is that the pressure cooker of big-time corporate work allowed Scott to hone creative skills similar to the ones that enabled him to recognize a great show. As a public policy major with no M.B.A., engineering background or deep technical expertise, he admitted to feeling a bit of imposter syndrome in his early days working for the world’s biggest software company. But public policy analysis is about learning how to solve problems, and Scott found himself succeeding consistently.
Curiosity is no small part of that success. Scott’s genuine interest in people, his ability to remember details about them, and his passion for his own goals make him memorable.
“He puts things out in the universe – the things he’s interested in – and he gathers the information necessary to learn about those things,” said Allen Gannett, a friend, author and entrepreneur. “Since he’s actually expressing his interests by being vocal, they connect the dots back to him.”
The next big thing
Scott and his production partners already have invested in a number of other shows, but their next move has the potential to elevate them to the level of primary producers. They are building a media company that will find and fund creators who are penetrating culture across theater, television and music.
“We’re going to invest in and gain minority stakes in production companies, as well as back creators who are doing some bold things,” he said. The goal is to create a network of composers, writers and producers creating new stories and funding that storytelling.
If Scott succeeds, it won’t surprise anyone this time.