David Milberg, a successful New York business financier, could be seen on Opening Night, April 19, 2001, at the St James Theater in Manhattan. It was the first of 2,502 performances of The Producers, Mel Brooks’ smash hit movie musical turned Broadway play.
He laughed as Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom, the two outrageous lead characters played by Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, kept the audience in permanent stitches all evening long. Months later, David Milberg earned the right to celebrate the record-breaking 12 Tony awards the show received, including Best Musical.
Why was this Manhattan financier so happy to see a Broadway musical succeed in such a way? David Milberg celebrated with the cast and crew of The Producers because he was one of the very smart and very lucky few who invested their own capital in the musical.
So, how is it that one man can straddle the lines between two such drastically different worlds so successfully?
Young David Milberg grew up amid family discourse on finance. His grandfather had founded Milberg Factors in New York City decades earlier. David Milberg also discovered he truly enjoyed theater during his years in high school. So, as he entered Princeton University in the early 1980s, these two twin interests of finance and theater were already both a very important part of his life.
As a sophomore, he joined Princeton’s historic Triangle Club, founded in 1891, which was the university’s home for original student written and run musical theater productions. Over the generations, The Triangle Club had fostered the growth of such outstanding student talent as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Jimmy Stewart.
The shows were directed by professionals and occasionally by students. David Milberg had the privilege to direct a show himself while in school. Those years with the Triangle Club ensured that Milberg would be involved in theater in some manner for many years to come..
David Milberg received his Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Princeton University in 1986.
Introduction to the Business World
David Milberg was hired by Bankers Trust Company in the spring of 1987 as an analyst, assisting loan sales and syndications executives. His work helped them to finance large leveraged buyouts for clients, including Ralph’s Supermarkets, Northwest Airlines, and Kohl’s Department Stores. His solid work led to a successful promotion to associate.
Before long, Milberg decided he needed more education to advance his career. To increase his knowledge of business and finance in particular, he enrolled in Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business and received his MBA in 1991. He impressed teachers and classmates alike being included on the Dean’s List all four semesters he was at Columbia. During his graduate studies, David Milberg was chosen as a teacher’s assistant for corporate finance.
During his time at Columbia, David Milberg served as a summer associate at Lehman Brothers Holding Inc. Officials at the financial firm appreciated his work and guaranteed a position would be waiting for him upon graduation. In 1991, David Milberg graduated from Columbia Business School with honors and promptly accepted the position offered to him by Lehman Brothers. Milberg began tenure at Lehman Brothers working with natural resource companies. Later, he transitioned to cover media and communications firms. At Lehman Brothers, David Milberg received a well-rounded education in finance working on acquisitions, mergers, private placements, initial public offerings, rights offerings, and follow-on stock offerings.
Milberg rose quickly through the ranks to a Vice President position.
The World of Music Theater
Over the years, always having lived in New York, David Milberg pursued his extracurricular interests in theater by joining the artistic boards of several different distinguished artistic organizations, including the Board of Trustees for his alma mater Princeton University’s Triangle Club.
He also joined the board of the Prospect Theater Company. This nonprofit theater company sponsors the creative efforts of musical theater writers and composers in the off-Broadway theater scene in New York. It was founded by several fellow Princeton theater graduates in 1998. The Prospect Theater network of professionals now exceeds over 1,000 performers, and it has premiered over 30 new musicals.
David Milberg was lured away from Lehman by his father, Leonard Milberg. The elder Milberg assured his son that he would be grooming him for President of Milberg Factors, one of the nation’s largest factoring and commercial finance firms, located in the heart of midtown Manhattan.
He was indeed named President in 2009 and served in that position until 2015. He led modernization efforts, introducing the company to the Internet, email, and local area networks. Milberg expanded online client reporting and worked hard to acquire and maintain high-profile clients for the firm.
Music Theater Investor
Even with these responsibilities, David Milberg found pockets of availability to increase his participation in the New York City music theater world by investing in some major Broadway musicals. His most striking success came from his very first professional investment offered to the Broadway production of Mel Brooks’ The Producers.
David Milberg also invested in the decorated revival of Pippin. Originally, the Stephen Schwartz musical debuted on Broadway in 1972. The travelling musical tale is the story of a young man who happened to be the son of Charlemagne. Pippin was a prince who worked tirelessly seeking his own path in the world. Like many who have encountered the musical, there is no doubt the story was near and dear to David Milberg’s heart. The revival production was directed by Diane Paulus. It ran for 709 performances and received several Tony awards, including best musical revival. That made for award-winning hit Broadway musical number two for investor David Milberg.
David Milberg Now
Today, David Milberg still happily enjoys living between those two distinctly different worlds. He is still heavily involved in Milberg Factors, maintaining good relations between the firm and its high-profile clients, including as a member of its board of directors. David Milberg also continues enjoying the Broadway, Off-Broadway, and Triangle Club musicals he has helped bring to life by investing his own time, his artistic attention and expertise, and money into each of them.
Keep up with David by following his tweets here–David Milberg on Twitter.
Published December 7th, 2021