Erich Bergen Discusses His 6W Entertainment Company

Spotlight is ComingSoon’s series of interviews with emerging and/or below-the-line talent in the world of television and film. Our goal is to highlight the various positions that make the entertainment you love possible rather than just focusing on actors and directors.

ComingSoon’s Jeff Ames had the opportunity to speak with the actor, singer, writer and producer eric bergen about his company 6W Entertainment.

Bergen is best known as Blake Moran on the hit drama madam secretary, which ran for six seasons on CBS and is currently streaming on Netflix. He is also known for his critically acclaimed performance as Bob Gaudio in the film jersey boys, a role he previously played on stage in the cast of Las Vegas and the national tour of the Tony Award-winning musical. On Broadway, Erich most recently played Dr. Pomatter in the hit musical Waitress, and is currently reappearing in the CBS drama, BULL.

As a producer, Erich has produced over 100 projects for television, the Internet and in person for his production company, 6W Entertainment. Since its inception in 2020, 6W has worked with the likes of President Barack Obama, Clive Davis, Michael Kors, John Legend, speaker Nancy Pelosi, Chance the Rapper, Bruce Springsteen, Bette Midler, and many, many more.

RELATED: Interview: The Outfit Stars Dylan O’Brien and Zoey Deutch

Jeff Ames: What led you to create 6W Entertainment?

eric bergen: In fact, it created itself and I made the decision to keep it going. In March 2020, the day it was announced that Broadway would be closing due to COVID-19, I instantly thought of my community, the New York theater community, and how difficult it would be financially for those who work in theater. At the time we only thought that Broadway would be closed for a month, but I knew something had to be done to direct funds to The Actor’s Fund to help those affected by the closure of Broadway. My first thought was to call Rosie O’Donnell, who has always been a great Broadway champion, and after a few texts, I thought I’d reboot her classic ’90s talk show for a one-night fundraiser. I made a few calls to people I thought might be able to help, including Lori McCreary, who was the producer of Madam Secretary, the TV show I was on for a few years. yes

he and his producing partner, Morgan Freeman (yes, that Morgan Freeman), had a relationship with YouTube and they connected me with the right people there. After talking with them and getting their feedback, I reached out to my friend Paul Wontorek, Editor-in-Chief of Broadway.com, to see if we could do it on the Broadway.com YouTube channel. He immediately said yes, and the two of us went to work figuring out the technical mechanics, the creative direction, and how it would all come together. With a bit of string, a few pieces of gum, and a prayer, we made it, and it was a very impactful night for our community, and the first of the virtual celebrity-based fundraisers to spring up during the height of COVID.

The next day, there were hundreds of emails, voicemails, and text messages, all highly appreciative, with many asking “how did you do it?” One of those calls was from my old friend Benj Pasek, writer of Dear Evan Hansen and The Greatest Showman, among many other things. He had an idea for a project that would bring a Passover seder to the virtual world. After a few minutes of conversation, we went to the races, and the Saturday Night Seder was born, ending up raising a few million for the CDC Foundation in one night.

After those two events in a row, the incoming calls and emails doubled, and suddenly I was hired to produce fundraisers for everyone from UNICEF to Democratic House candidates.

So I started recruiting a team of people who I thought were smart, talented, and fun to work with, and somewhat by accident, 6W Entertainment was born. Here we are on the eve of our second anniversary, and fundraising events are just a small part of what we produce. We have grown at an incredible rate.

Tell us which of your favorite projects. Is there a favorite anecdote or behind-the-scenes story?

There are a million behind-the-scenes stories, most of which I’ll take to my grave because I’d like to keep working. But I can tell you that one of my favorite stories was when we were doing Hold The House, a 4-part virtual fundraising series for Democratic House candidates that was led by House Speaker Pelosi and John Legend. President Obama joined the event, which was live, and at one point right before we did, I noticed that the president was not sitting in the best light in his house from where he was Zooming. I thought to myself, “Am I really going to tell the president right now that he needs to find better lighting? Like… am I going to be that guy? He wasn’t so nervous as he didn’t know what the protocol was. But I suddenly realized that if I were him, I’d want to be told if I was sitting in bad lighting, so I took the muffler off, gave it an adjustment, which it took, and that was it. I realized in that moment, no matter who you’re working with, when you’re the Director, your job is to make everyone look good. So I did!

What has been the most challenging aspect of creating hybrid and virtual productions through 6W Entertainment and how did you overcome it?

That he had no idea what he was doing! I’m relatively smart and I like to think I have good ideas, but as Stephen Sondheim said: “Just having a vision is not a solution, it’s all about execution.” The how is so important, and I had little knowledge of the “how.” However, I was smart enough to surround myself with people smarter than me in that department, and I learned not to be afraid to ask those who know how something was done. I think the other challenging aspect that I have faced a lot in the last 2 years is working with clients who feel “stuck” when their project had to change due to Covid.

Much of our early work came from nonprofits that needed to convert their in-person events to virtual ones. A virtual event has limitations, all of which can be overcome with creative thinking, but you have to be willing to adapt and pivot and find other ways to reach your goals. Sometimes a client would be so stuck thinking about him because he had done his event a certain way for 20 years or more that they looked at me (on Zoom) as if I was speaking in another language, and to them I was! It wasn’t their fault, they were being thrown out of nowhere and they trusted me not to let their event fall apart. So to answer your question, the most challenging part for me was learning how to communicate with clients who were living in fear and getting them to trust me at least enough to cross the finish line.

For Michael Kors, what was your favorite part of that production?

I have had the opportunity to work with Michael Kors several times in the last 2 years. I produced the Golden Heart Awards for God’s Love We Deliver twice, first as a virtual event and the second time as an in-person gala. Michael was the chair of both events, so we met working on them. In between those events, Michael wanted to do something special for his 40th anniversary fashion show in the spring of 2021, which would take place in New York City’s theater district.

So I came up with a fun idea that would celebrate Broadway, one of Michael’s passions, and luckily he loved it. He hired me to make a short film and used it as the opening piece for his fashion show. I am very happy with the way it turned out. It was the first time he had managed a team in person! We got to make this little short film, complete with special effects and real cameras and lights and fog and whatnot! A dream come true for me. Michael is very kind and allows me to think of creative ways to help him tell the stories he wants to tell, and nothing better than collaborating with people like that.

RELATED: Exclusive Human Factors Trailer For Psychological Thriller

Tell us more about your team. Who helps you achieve all these impressive productions?

I want to shout their names from the tops of the mountains! Aimie Billion, Michael J. Moritz Jr, Adam Kulbersh, Blake Drummond, Garrett Kafchinski, Marc Johnston, Khaled Tabbara, Jeremy Leiner, Stephanie Silvera, Andrew Nielson, and Hannah Lyons. I refuse to say more about them because I don’t want them to be stolen and taken from me, but I know they are miracle workers. All of them.

Tell us more about your future plans with your company. What kind of projects attract you to move forward?

This year is very exciting because we’re continuing the great work we’ve been doing, including working with various nonprofits throughout the year on content and marketing, and we’re getting into the script space. We are developing some projects for television and some for theater, all of which are very exciting for someone like me who lives and breathes this. I think I’m more attracted to projects that give me the opportunity to work with my friends. I am fortunate to have emerged into a community of artists who are now being recognized as some of the best in their respective fields, and if I can work with them to create something great, what could be better?

Leave a Comment