With 45 Tony Award nominations to her name, Arielle Tepper is a legend in the Broadway world. But the New York native’s also cultivated impressive entrepreneurial creds as the founder of “What Should We Do,” a digital personalized planning, recommendation and booking service. The concept leads locals and tourists in the direction of underground restaurants, must-see shows and experiences that can make even wandering out on a blistering cold day wildly fun.
Gotham chatted with Tepper to get an inside look at her top Theater District suggestions, the greatest lesson that she’s learned as a producer and more.
Tell us about "What Should We Do." ARIELLE TEPPER: “What Should We Do” is a highly curated personalized recommendations app in New York City and other cities around the country. You can use it when you’re visiting with family, on a quick business trip or when you think you’ve seen it all.
What inspired you to pioneer this dynamic company? AT: Whenever I would plan trips for my family and me, there were a lot of concierge services that were very expensive. That was really not what I wanted. This is four dollars and 99 cents a month. It’s something for everyone. That was the whole idea, for people to feel like they can be exposed to art and culture without being intimidated by it.
You’ve worked in theater for over 20 years. What’s your secret to scoring front-row orchestra seats? AT: House seats get released 96 hours before performance, so that’s usually the best time to get orchestra seats!
Spending countless hours in Times Square throughout your career, which restaurant did you most frequent outside of the theater? AT: I have a lot of meetings at The Lambs Club. The booths on the second floor are cozy and enormous.
Which new-concept outpost have you grown to love for coffee and bites? AT: These days I love breakfast at the EDITION. It’s a gorgeous rooftop and view with delicious food and the staff couldn’t be nicer!
Which restaurants were most notably popular amongst your colleagues? AT: I still love Star Lite on 44th between Broadway and 8th Avenue. All the industry people go there and they have the best tuna salad.
As a successful Broadway veteran, when did you first know you wanted to work in theatre? AT: When I was eight I saw Annie. It was my first Broadway show. I went with my grandmother and three cousins over Thanksgiving weekend. I loved it. I was like, those girls are my age! I was an only child. And even though they lived in an orphanage, I thought it was really cool to live with other kids. I was done. I was like, this is amazing. I want to do what they’re doing.
You must have countless memories from award night. Which was your most cherished? AT: We won six Tony Awards for Red! It was a pretty incredible night since we went into production as a true nail-biting experience.
What was the greatest lesson you learned? AT: Trust your instinct. It’s important as a producer and as an entrepreneur.