Black Man White House

Featured in ENTREPRENEUR w/ Pharrell ft. Jay Z
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I’m Robert Hartwell. Gay Black Man, Artist, Entrepreneur, and now: Homeowner. 

As a Broadway performer, I spent 10 years working in NYC. Then I launched my own education company – The Broadway Collective – where we train the next generation of Broadway artists.

This year, I bought my first home.

It was built in 1820 at a time when slavery was still legal in many states. 

Now, 200 years later, I will fill it with love, give it new life, and make my ancestors proud.

About Robert

Robert Hartwell is the Founder and Artistic Director of The Broadway Collective, where he is training the next generation of Broadway artists. As the only Black CEO in the professional musical theatre education space in NYC, his passion lies in making Broadway stages more diverse and inclusive starting at the educational level. 

Robert holds a high school diploma from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts: School of Drama and a BFA in Musical Theatre from The University of Michigan where he graduated with summa cum laude honors and the Willis Patterson Diversity Award. 

He has performed in 5 Broadway shows and 2 National Tours: Dreamgirls, Memphis, Nice Work If You Can Get It, Cinderella, Motown, and Hello, Dolly! starring Bette Midler. He has performed on the Tony Awards three times and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade twice. Regionally, he has performed at The Muny, Sacramento Music Circus, Hangar Theatre, Music Theatre Wichita, and the Fulton Opera House. 

As a Director/Choreographer, his work has been seen at Lincoln Center, Music Theatre Wichita, North Carolina Theatre, Pace University, Naples Performing Arts Center, and The University of Michigan. 

He is the creator of Broadway Quick Change, Hello Broadway: Broadway’s Online Academy, Gathered NYC, Prescreen Prep, and Hello Broadway Live

He is a member of Actors Equity Association, SAG-AFTRA, and the Tony Award-winning Broadway Inspirational Voices. He recently served as the Assistant Director on the National Tour of the Tony Award-winning Revival of Once On This Island

Watch him in Pharrell and Jay Z’s new music video Entrepreneur.  

What’s next for the new home? 

I see a tv show which will go through the process from start to completion of gut renovating this historic house, while simultaneously uncovering my lineage a la “Finding Your Roots”

I wish I could’ve told my ancestors when they built this house in 1820 that 200 years later a free gay Black man would own it. I want to inspire other Black families that generational wealth is possible.  I don’t come from money, but this purchase changes our story.

My Obsession with Interiors

As a kid, I was obsessed with weekend warrior projects with my single mom.  I turned that love into hosting a Broadway dressing room make-over show on BroadwayWorld called “Broadway Quick Change” while I was performing on Broadway.  Here are a few  of my favorite episodes:



The King and I


A Note from Robert

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Santini Reali + Hannah Epstein 


hello at bwaycollective dot com