Erik Orton: Mormon Producer
Erik L. Orton is a playwright, theatre producer, lyricist, and composer. He is the founder of O Productions.
Orton was born in California in 1974, but grew up largely in West Germany and the Washington, DC suburbs. His father was an Air Force officer and his mother was a Finnish immigrant to New York. During high school, he appeared in a high school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which he was asked to write the music for a few lines of lyrics that the fairy queen sings. From that small beginning, he decided he wanted to be a musical theatre writer.
Orton earned his bachelor’s degree in music media with a minor in playwriting from Brigham Young University.
He wrote and produced Berlin, an original musical about the Berlin Wall, which played off-off Broadway in 2003, in New Haven in 2007, at BYU in 2008, and was made into a film by BYU and shown on BYU-TX in 2008. It went on to win an Emmy Award in 2009 as well as the CINE Golden Eagle Award, and the Bronze Telly Award. He wrote The Drummings in collaboration with Joshua Williams and based on the life and times of Irish statesman Daniel O’Connell. He wrote The Bottom of the Barents Sea about the international rescue effort to save the crew of a downed Russian nuclear submarine. He produced Children of Eden for Broadway. He wrote State of the Union, a play about Thomas Kane, a prominent lawyer, who endeavors to avert a war between Brigham Young and President Buchanan. It was workshopped with The Sting & Honey Company. In 2005, he produced the Off-Broadway musical The Ark (written by BYU professor Kevin Kelly and LDS composer Michael McLean.
Orton has worked for a variety of Broadway general management and production offices including Alan Wasser Associates, Richards/Climan Inc., and The Wolf Trap Center for the Performing Arts. Broadway shows and tours he has helped manage include Wicked, The Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, Jane Eyre, and Fosse, among others.
Orton has been featured on the cover of Crain's Business New York, The New York Times, and Playbill.com, the theatre industry news hub.
Orton also co-wrote the book for "Savior of the World: His Birth and Resurrection", a musical dramatic production that was produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and shows at Christmastime in the Conference Center Theater on Temple Square. He was the artistic director of "Standard to the Nations", the LDS Cultural production staged before the dedication of the Manhattan New York Temple.
In 2016, he was guest artistic director for the Cape Playhouse season.
Orton and his wife, Emily, live in New York with their five children. The famiy spent part of 2014 on a boat called Fezywig, sailing from St. Martin to Manhattan.