Independent theatre producers Drew Desky & Dane Levens met on a dating website but their relationship bloomed when they moved in together in Hell’s Kitchen. They’re currently leading their first show into NYC, Dracula, A Comedy of Terrors, which will play at New World Stages. This is Drew and Dane’s West Side Story.

So, what’s your New York story? Born here, or just arrived?
Drew: I grew up in California and moved east for college. The corporate recruiting process landed me in NYC, and I’ve been here ever since. I found our current apartment from a two-line ad in the NY Times real estate section in 1999 and didn’t know much about Hell’s Kitchen, but absolutely loved it from the moment I moved in.

Dane: I also grew up in California, and we met on a dating website. I uprooted and moved across the country to move in together after the Silicon Valley crash and after dating for less than a year.

What was your first job? What do you do now?
Drew: I came to NYC to join a bank training program and have worked for banks, rating agencies and insurance companies. After the 2008 financial crisis, I purchased an executive search firm with a couple of partners.

Dane: I was an accountant for a family-owned software development company and then after landing in NYC, I’ve worked in media and insurance companies.

In 2018, we formed our first independent theatre production company, which was succeeded by Drew & Dane Productions in 2021. We started earlier by investing in Broadway and off-Broadway shows, and then we began co-producing shows, including Little Shop of Horrors in Hell’s Kitchen. We also won an Emmy Award for Best Digital Drama Series for After Forever on Amazon Prime. We are currently leading our first show into NYC, Dracula, A Comedy of Terrors, which will play at New World Stages starting in September.

Producers DANE LEVENS and DREW DESKY with the cast of Dracula, A Comedy of Terrors
Drew and Dane with the cast of Dracula, A Comedy of Terrors. Photo: Photo: Maria Baranova

What’s your favorite New York minute (or moment) so far?
Every year, we kick off the holiday season with our annual Christmas Festivity, which is now a benefit for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. We gather our friends for a celebration of our friendship and love, and we program a cabaret/variety show of some incredibly talented people from Broadway and beyond. 

Share with us why you love Hell’s Kitchen
Hell’s Kitchen is a true neighborhood like no other. We’ve found a wonderful sense of community and diversity, as well as incredible dining and entertainment options. When we walk down 9th Avenue, it’s amazing how many friends we run into.

What’s your superpower or hidden talent?
Dane is great with faces, and Drew is much better with names. When we activate this talent together, it’s like the scene in The Devil Wears Prada (you know the one).

What else should we know about you?
We love to explore new places, whether it’s restaurants, shops or just getting in a car and driving.

Drew & Dane’s Favorite Hell’s Kitchen Places

Vice Versa — 325 W51st Street (bw 8th/9th Ave)
We’ve had so many dinners with friends there. Franco and Stefano know how to treat their guests, and the staff lets you take your dinner at your own pace.

Drew and Dane at Vice Versa. Photo: Naty Caez

Delphinium Home — 353 W47th Street (bw 8th/9th Ave)
We smile every time we go in there. The sheer diversity of items you didn’t know you needed in your life is amazing!

Schmackary’s — 362 W45th Street (bw 8th/9th Ave)
Rather than have dessert, we sometimes just save space for their fanciful and flavorful cookies to make our stomachs smile.

Bar Centrale — 324 W46th Street (bw 8th/9th Ave)
After theatre, between the drinks and the silent movies, there is no better place to make you feel like you’re a real New Yorker during the olden days. Plus you never know who you might see!

Arriba Arriba — 762 9th Avenue (bw W51/52nd St)
It’s just a fun Mexican restaurant where the boys in the neighborhood congregate. It always feels like a party.

Westside Theatre — 407 W43rd Street (bw 9th/10th Ave)
We’ve produced four wonderful shows there over the years. Where else could you make memories with Christina Bianco, Lesli Margherita and Jonathan Groff?

Drew and Dane have produced four shows at Westside Theatre. Photo: Naty Caez

Birdland — 315 W44th Street (bw 8th/9th Ave)
We love that Jim Caruso has brought the best of Broadway and beyond to Birdland for so many years to do their hair up, let their hair down, and do what they love to do.  Performers gotta perform!

Route 66 Cafe — 858 9th Avenue (bw W55/56th St)
This is a great place for lunch meetings, and we’ve had many there. Their burgers and smoothies are consistently good.

You can follow Drew & Dane on Instagram @drewanddane. If you know someone who would make a great West Side Story (or you would like to nominate yourself), please fill in this form —

You can check out more West Side Stories and reader recommendations on W42ST’s Hell’s Kitchen Local App.

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