"Of course, we were surprised. You never know how these things are going to turn out. Award shows are filled with upset, intrigue and sometimes the wrong envelope, right?" said Price, a Chelmsford native and one of the hit show's producers. "So it was completely thrilling, surprising and one of the greatest feelings in the world. I am very blissfully happy."
Price, a 1996 Chelmsford High School graduate, and a 2013 inductee into the school's Alumni Association's Hall of Fame, is a wunderkind, of sorts, making her mark as a successful Broadway producer and she's not even 40.
Chelmsford native Eva Price with Benjamin Scheuer, left, and Sean Daniels at the opening night of "The Lion" in September 2015 at Merrimack Repertory Theatre in Lowell. Price produced "The Lion," which started its national tour at the MRT and was a huge hit in theaters across the country.
It started in 2006 when she networked her way into her first Broadway show -- "How The Grinch Stole Christmas."
Since then, she has produced close to 20 shows, both on and off Broadway and on tour, including "The Lion," Benjamin Scheuer's solo musical that launched its successful national tour two years ago at Lowell's Merrimack Repertory Theatre and is directed by MRT's Artistic Director Sean Daniels.
Price is the daughter of former Chelmsford residents Judit and Richard Price who now live in Florida. She first fell in love with theater at the age of 8, after seeing her first show "South Pacific." "I don't remember a time when I didn't love Broadway. As a kid, I was in productions at school, camp and in local non-professional theaters in the area," she said.
She "dreamed" of being a part of the Broadway business but didn't think it was possible. So, she earned a degree in political communication at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
"No one ever tells a little girl she can be a Broadway producer -- but they do tell her she can be Katie Couric, so I tried that first," she said.
For five years, she had a prestigious job at ABC News as an assignment editor and coordinating producer for special projects, spending her last year producing and reporting on stories related to Broadway for ABCNews.com.
Her parents were stunned when she told them she was leaving ABC to pursue her Broadway dreams. But she persevered.
"It was hard. I didn't know it was possible for a young woman to have this career, since my vision of a Broadway producer was a 60-year-old man with a cigar in his mouth," she said. "But I worked hard figuring out my own path and understanding how the business works. The Broadway community is welcoming, once you prove you are here to stay and are serious about working hard. And I've had many mentors help along the way." It's paid off. Price is executive vice president and executive producer of Maximum Entertainment Productions.
Besides "The Grinch," her Broadway credits include "Peter and the Starcatcher," "The Addams Family," "The Merchant of Venice," starring Al Pacino, Carrie Fisher's "Wishful Drinking," "A Life in the Theatre" with Patrick Stewart, and a successful revival of "Annie."
Along the way, Broadway has taken notice, with Price named to Crain's NY 40 Under 40 Rising Business Stars in the Class of 2012. In her write-up in that publication, Stuart Oken, a Broadway producer who ran Disney Theatrical Productions, raved that Price "is competing at a level beyond her years and is being taken very seriously by a very cynical theater community."
Locally, Sean Daniels also praises Price, who saw "The Lion" during its world premiere at the Manhattan Theatre Club in 2014, met with him and Scheuer, laid out plans for a cross-country tour and made it happen. "Eva is unstoppable. When she finds a piece of theater that moves her, she moves mountains to get it to a wider audience. It's an artist's dream to have someone as passionate, connected and charming as Eva. Ben and I are grateful for all she has done," said Daniels. Price knew the show deserved a wider audience after she saw it. "It's such a special show and when I saw it on its last weekend, I was so drawn in to the story, the music and Benjamin that I realized it had to have a wider audience," she said. "I wanted to be the person to guide its next steps and am thrilled we went on to have a critically-acclaimed, award-winning, commercial off-Broadway run and a 40-plus week national tour. We are making plans to release a film version in the future."
"Dear Evan Hansen," is another such show. As timely as the latest social media posts, it's about Evan Hansen, a high school student suffering from social anxiety. But when a tragic event -- a fellow classmate's suicide -- shocks the community, he is thrust into an evolving controversy and given the opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to be somebody. Price calls it "an important, urgent story about connection and isolation and how our on-line existence greatly affects our off-line existence and vice versa." And, she noted, "It has the sound and style of where musical theater is heading and what musical theater should be today. It is absolutely a reflection of what families, kids, adults and all humans are going through in our culture." Producing it for Broadway was essential to her, as, "It absolutely needed to be shared with a large, commercial audience because we felt it would affect people in profound ways. And the good news is, it really has."