Debra Martin Chase
Tony Award winner Debra Martin Chase is an entertainment industry icon and trailblazer as the first African American female producer to have a deal at any major studio—EVER. She is also the first African American woman to produce a film that grossed over $100 million. To date, her films have grossed over half a billion dollars at the box office.
Chase’s work has garnered Academy, Emmy, Golden Globe, SAG, BET, and NAACP Image Award nominations and Tony and Peabody Award wins. Her company, Martin Chase Productions, currently has an overall deal with Universal Television, a division of the NBCUniversal Television Group and previously had one with The Walt Disney Company from 2001 to 2016. Prior to that, Chase ran Whitney Houston’s BrownHouse Productions from 1995 to 2000 and Mundy Lane Entertainment, Denzel Washington’s production company, from 1992 to 1995.
She currently executive produces The Equalizer TV series starring Queen Latifah for Universal Television and CBS. On the film side, Harriet (2019) received Academy Award nominations for Cynthia Erivo for Best Actress and for Best Original Song. Chase produced three beloved multi-film franchises: The Princess Diaries, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and The Cheetah Girls. She also produced Sparkle (2012), Just Wright (2010), Courage Under Fire (1996), and The Preacher’s Wife (1996). True Spirit debuted on Netflix in February 2023 on the Top 10 in the U.S. and 58 countries. She produced, with Lena Waithe, a documentary on the iconic Mary Tyler Moore which will debut in 2023.
In 2022 Chase coproduced, in partnership with Marc Platt, the Broadway production of the Pulitzer Prize winning musical A Strange Loop, which won Tony Awards for Best Musical and Best Book. She also produced the Broadway revival of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Suzan-Lori Parks’s Topdog/Underdog which starred Tony nominee Corey Hawkins and Emmy winner Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and was directed by Tony winner Kenny Leon.
Her other television credits include the Emmy Award winning Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Lifetime’s Missing, Disney Channel’s musical Lemonade Mouth, the Academy and Emmy Award nominated and Peabody Award winning documentary Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream, Lovestruck and Zoe Ever After.
Chase graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude from Mount Holyoke College and the Harvard Law School. Prior to entering the entertainment industry, Chase practiced law at several major law firms and Fortune 500 companies in New York City and Houston.
She serves on numerous boards including B&G Foods, Bridge Investment Group, New York City Ballet, and Second Stage Theatre.