The New York Minute

Interview Series: Meet Your Remarkable New York Neighbors

The Talent Agent

Paul & Vince would like to welcome to the conversation Mark Subias of United Talent Agency (UTA).
…as soon as I started working, I knew I wanted to do this. I wanted to be in conversations with writers and directors about how they do their work. I wanted to set up plays and musicals…representing very intelligent, kind of “high wire act” writers, always focusing on the work I love the most.

Mark Subias is the Head of the Theatrical Department of United Talent Agency (UTA).

He grew up in Orange County, CA, before moving to New York in 1994. He was Director of Animazing Gallery in SoHo and then worked in film production and producing theatre prior to his career as an agent. He assisted George Lane at William Morris Agency before becoming an agent at WMA and eventually started his eponymous management company SUBIAS, which he ran for nine years. In 2012, he joined UTA.

His clients include multiple Pulitzer, Tony, and Academy Award-winning writers, directors, actors, and composers across theatre, television, and film, including Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Heidi Schreck, Ivo van Hove, Adam Rapp, John Leguizamo, and Susan Sarandon.



Paul & Vince: Tell us, Mark, how did you come to be in New York City and in your current career?

Mark: Well, as a teenager, I saw the movie Hotel New Hampshire, and there is a character in that who is a book editor. I was always a huge reader, so once I found out what book editors do…of course, I imagined sitting in an office, reading manuscripts, smoking, and telling people what their books should be. And then I’m also a huge theater nerd. So I wanted to work in the theater, but I didn’t know how then. So I moved to New York when I was 24 years old.

I had a small animation art gallery then. We specialized in vintage animation cells and drawings from Warner Brothers, Disney, and Hanna Barbera films from the 30s to the present. That was in 1994. It was also the year that Disney had their first Broadway show, “Beauty and the Beast.” So I called the Disney people, and I commissioned them to create two lithographs based on Ann Hould-Ward’s drawings of her costume designs. We did a limited edition of her original sketches and sold them in the gallery. I got to know Ann, who was this amazing costume designer, and that was my first entry into the theatre world.

Paul & Vince: So you began working with producers.

Mark: Yes, eventually, I started raising money and assisting producers. I met Nelle Nugent in a taxicab one day, so we connected, and I worked for her, and she paid me $100 a week.

But ultimately, I went to work for George Lane, who was an agent at William Morris Agency at that time. And as soon as I started working, I knew I wanted to do this. I wanted to be in conversations with writers and directors about how they do their work. I wanted to set up plays and musicals. I carved out a niche for myself as an agent, representing very intelligent, kind of “high wire act” writers, always focusing on the kind of work I love the most.

And then, I was partnering with a lot of the big agencies, and I got very close to two people at UTA and I really liked their iconoclastic style. So in 2011, Jeremy Zimmer, the CEO at UTA, asked me if I would come over and start a theater division because they just opened the New York office. And it’s been ten years now, and it’s been glorious.


Paul & Vince: That’s fascinating. So what is a typical day like for you on the job?

Mark: Well, there’s an order and a structure…But each day is a new adventure. I wake up pretty early. I may look at text messages, but I don’t look at my email until after I’ve meditated. I meditate for twenty minutes on a timer. Once I’ve started my day, there’s often a breakfast meeting with a producer, a client, or someone visiting from L.A. or London.

And then, throughout the day, I might do readings – like a client just wrote a new play right now. And so we did a reading in the office. We put it together ourselves with a cast but without a director, and it was really helpful for him to hear it out loud for the first time. So, in the evening, I go to the theater, or I’m at a dinner, a film screening, or something like that.


Paul & Vince: Can you tell us about a project you’re especially proud of?

Mark: Sure…I represent Heidi Schreck, who created a play called “What The Constitution Means to Me.” And the play started at the Wild Project in the East Village. It was a pleasure to help shepherd it from there, to New York Theatre Workshop, to the Barrow Street, and ultimately to Broadway, where it was a Pulitzer finalist, and she was a Tony nominee as Best Actress in a Play. She now has book deals; she’s doing several TV projects with Amazon…

Paul & Vince: You’re not just on the financial side of your clients’ careers. You’re also working on the creative side as a sounding board, is that correct to say?

Mark: I’d say every agent works differently. It’s a privilege to get to work that way with my clients. I don’t presume that I’m invited into all those conversations, but it’s pretty exciting when I am.


Paul & Vince: What are some of your favorite things to do in New York on your days off?

Mark: Well, since the pandemic, my husband and I have been going back to the movies, and that’s a real joy of mine: being in the cinema. We went to see this film the other night about music, it was fascinating, and we had a long dinner after discussing it, it was great.
I also love to bike. Biking is a form of meditation for me; it’s how I get around the city. I’m excited whenever I get on my bike, whether blazing hot or raining. It’s the most efficient and vibrant way for me to experience New York — I always love it.

…and one more, Just For Fun

Paul & Vince: Okay, Mark, it’s time for our Just For Fun question. Who would you be if you could be any character from any book, movie, or play for one day?

Mark: Wow, I’m trying to think of somebody who has a skill that I could never possess, like, you know, a character from Sebastian Junger’s The Perfect Storm.

Paul & Vince: Hmmm…ok, that’s quite a specific character you’ve chosen.

Mark:  I know [laughs], that’s just what came to me. But to have the temerity and the ability to overcome something as massive as the ocean, survive, and help other people…

Paul & Vince: Absolutely, you have to be brave yourself and also protect your crew.

Mark: Yes, the idea of going out to the high sea…knowing how to do that is amazing…the ability to muster all of that strength and know what to do. That’s truly incredible.

Original artwork by Jolisa Robinson, Gavriani-Falcone Team Marketing

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