The Story Behind the Making of the Movie “Rudy”


A graduate of St. Bonaventure University with a BA degree in philosophy, Kenneth Wirth subsequently earned an MFA in creative writing from Manhattanville College more than 40 years later. A multi Tony Award-winning producer, Kenneth Wirth’s most recent project was the one-night-only, sold-out production of “Dream Big: Rudy Ruettiger Live on Broadway” on February 11, 2019 at the Samuel Friedman Theater in New York City In the show, former University of Notre Dame walk-on football player Rudy Ruettiger shared his life story.

It was in 1975 that Ruetigger made his brief – and only – appearance in a Notre Dame football game as a defensive end against Georgia Tech. On the field near the game’s closing seconds, Ruettiger’s sacking of the Georgia Tech quarterback surprised everyone.

The Broadway show was a stage adaptation of the “Rudy Ruettiger: The Walk On” documentary. In addition, there was a Hollywood feature film, “Rudy,” which was released more than 25 years ago. Regarded as one of the best feel-good sports films of all time, it featured Sean Astin in the title role with a supporting cast that included Ned Beatty, Jon Favreau Vince Vaughan and Greta Lind. As popular as the movie still is today, Ruettiger revealed in 2018 that he had an incredibly difficult time getting it made.

After having two different scripts, both of which he authored, turned down by producers, Ruettiger met one last time with representatives from the University of Notre Dame and film producer Frank Capra, Jr. The meeting proved fruitless, but that same day, Ruettiger met the brother of a man who had connections with Hoosiers writer Angelo Pizzo and director David Anspaugh. Eventually, Ruettiger made the trip west to meet with Anspaugh and Pizzo. After several twists and turns, Pizzo agreed to write the film’s screenplay.
Kenneth Wirth and his other producers are expanding the Rudy play to other national theaters. The interest in the 25th anniversary year is significant given how many people have been touched by the message of this story. It is inspirational and motivational.


Master Workshops at The Drama League

Master Workshops pic

Master Workshops

Kenneth Wirth continues his multi-faceted professional life in the financial services world along with other endeavors. Active for over four decades years Mr Wirth has balanced Financial pursuits with Broadway and music. Alongside this business he has succeeded as the Business Manager of the accomplished musical group The Midtown Men He also produced five Broadway shows. Kenneth Wirth also serves on the Board of Directors for The Drama League.

In addition to his Board membership with this prestigious organization Mr Wirth was elected both Treasurer and member of the Executive Committee. The Drama League, beginning its second century continues to be the development haven for aspiring directors. Their two annual events are the most significant celebrations of the year.
This November at its Gala the Drama League is honoring the legendary Nathan Lane with a lifetime achievement award.awatd.celebration with be held at The Plaza on November 5 2018.
The event will be a sold out party honoring one of the greats of the industry.
Mr Wirth has helped raise money from several corporations to benefit the Non Profit organization. He has brought sponsorship to the Drama League for years.
In addition he has recruited additional Board Members to the Drama League. The benefit of growth and recreating oneself are critical to Board continuity.
With all of the time commitment with the Drama League he has been able to be a Producer of five Broadway show wining 6 Tony Awards. The most recent was the Tony Award for Jitney, the winner as Best Dramatic revival.
The marvel of this is enhanced by his Financial services business and the sophisticated concepts and program his firm brings to the planning arena.

Manhattanville College – Master of Fine Arts Creative Writing


Facts about Broadway Theaters and Shows

 Peter and the Starcatcher pic

Peter and the Starcatcher

An executive with extensive experience in finance, Kenneth Wirth is also an accomplished professional in the world of theater. Kenneth Wirth has produced various Tony Award-winning Broadway shows, including Peter and the Starcatcher and Jitney.

Broadway has a long history dating back to the early 1900s. Here are some interesting facts about the historic theater district.

Broadway is comprised of a group of 40 professional theaters located in New York City at different areas in Midtown Manhattan, the Theater District, and Lincoln Center. Theaters with the capacity to hold at least 500 people are official Broadway theaters, while venues with between 100 and 499 seats are called off-Broadway theaters. Theaters with up to 99 seats are known as off-off-Broadway.

In the history of Broadway shows, the longest-running is the Phantom of the Opera, which has been performed over 11,400 times since its opening in 1988. In terms of the highest-grossing show, the Lion King stands out as having earned over $1.09 billion.

In the theater industry, the Tony Award is the most prestigious honor that can be bestowed to a show. The Tonys were first presented in 1947, when the award was a cigarette lighter for men and a compact for women. The Coast of Utopia (2007) and Fences (2010 revival) have received the highest number of Tony Award nominations to date. Each show was nominated 10 times. However, The Coast of Utopia has won the most Tony Awards.

The Drama League Provides Arts Education to NY Students

The Drama League pic

The Drama League

Kenneth Wirth serves as the CEO of First Financial Resources, Ltd., and as the business manager for The Midtown Men, a performance group that includes the four original stars of Jersey Boys. Outside of work, Kenneth Wirth remains actively involved in the community through many board positions, including sitting on the board of The Drama League. This organization undertakes a number of initiatives to transform the relationship between artists and their audiences.

This year, the organization responded to the continued cuts to pubic schools arts education funding by launching a new program for New York high school students. Called New Visions/New Voices, the program provides theater training at no cost after school at the Drama League Theater Center.

Through the program, students interested in drama as a career can learn about the several roles individuals can fill in relation to the theater so that they can make more informed choices about their career paths. The first class taught under the program was called “Theater Directing: Staging Your World” and culminated in scenes from The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams performed by students.

The Drama League Unites Artists and Audiences

The Drama League pic

The Drama League

Kenneth Wirth works as CEO of First Financial Resources Ltd., in Greenwich, Connecticut. Outside of his professional endeavors, Kenneth Wirth serves on the Board of Directors of The Drama League.

The Drama League, located in New York City, exists to bring together artists and audiences through artistic development and audience education to build a richer overall stage experience for all involved. The League develops artists’ abilities through several fellowship opportunities – among them the Fall Directing Fellowship, which allows four directors to immerse themselves in directorial opportunities available in New York City and throughout the region.
Mr Wirth in his second three year term as a member of the Board of Directors brought National Life Group to the Board as a sponsor for 100th Birthday of the Drama League.
Last Friday May 20th was the annual Drama League Awards Luncheon. The event was attended by more than 500 people as they handed out all the awards for the current season.
Mr Wirth, recently was awarded an MFA in Creative Writing from Manhattanville College in Purchase NY. He was awarded this degree with Honors.
Mr Wirth, a Producer of ” Turn Me Loose ” currently on Broadway is involved with two other plays headed for Broadway.

Peter and the Starcatcher – A Grownup’s Prequel to Peter Pan

Peter and the Starcatcher pic

Peter and the Starcatcher

Kenneth Wirth is CEO of First Financial Resources, Ltd., and co-producer of the musical Peter and the Starcatcher, a grownup rendition of what takes place before the classic story of Peter Pan. Kenneth Wirth has been instrumental in the production, which is based on Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson’s best-selling novel of the same name.

In an effort to answer the question of how Peter Pan became known as the boy who never grew up, Peter and the Starcatcher is an origin story presented by a dozen actors who bring over one hundred characters to life on stage. Suggesting that the imagination is the most powerful gift in the world, this musical highlights the prelude to Peter Pan’s journey.

Ken Wirth continues his Broadway involvement with the opening of Turn Me Loose and exciting play about Dick Gregory the famous comedian. The epic play opens Thursday May 19 2016 with Joe Morton, famed actor from the TV show Scandal playing Dick Gregory.
Turn Me Loose will premier at the Westside Theatre in Manhattan on West 34th Street.
The greatly anticipated work has been in the works for seven years. Wirth partners with musical sensation John Legend and Eric Falkenstein to bring this event to Broadway.