Mike Rego ’90 describes himself and his business partners as “three guys with a dream.” That dream—to produce theatre in New York City—came true in 1997 when Rego, his brother Matthew Rego, and classmate Hank Unger ’90, founded The Araca Group. What started in a one-room, windowless Times Square office grew into a renowned theatrical production, screen printing, and merchandise company with over 250 dedicated employees and operations worldwide.
With a degree in drama from the College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) at Syracuse University, and a unique perspective of retail operations from working in a family supermarket business, Rego launched The Araca Group with a simple purpose: to produce the work of emerging playwrights off and off-off-Broadway.
He and his partners quickly established The Araca Group’s reputation as a leading theatrical production company. Its inaugural Broadway undertaking, the critically acclaimed Urinetown: The Musical, received dozens of major awards including three Tonys.
Next came the hit Broadway premiere of Terrence McNally's Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, starring Edie Falco and Stanley Tucci. Subsequently Rego and his partners co-produced the blockbuster new musical Wicked, with continuing productions on Broadway, across the nation and around the world.
Recent Broadway producing credits include productions of Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge, starring Liev Schrieber and Scarlett Johansson, Lend Me a Tenor, starring Anthony LaPaglia and Tony Shalhoub, and the '80s rock musical Rock of Ages.
As theatrical producers, Rego and his partners aim to create entertainment that is artistically compelling to audiences and financially successful to investors. By vertically integrating the theatrical production company to provide marketing, general management and accounting services, the partners also gained their niche as live entertainment producers, merchandisers and screen printers. With this specialty, their mission is to design and manufacture singular, fashionable products that generate profit for clients while supporting marketing strategies.
The Araca Group is now the largest screen printing and merchandising company on Broadway, and through it Rego strives to transform the live entertainment experience with innovative apparel, souvenirs and licensed products. Incorporating design, manufacturing, warehousing, and in-venue and online retail operations, Rego’s company sets the new benchmark in entertainment merchandise.
Rego is a generous VPA supporter and often returns to campus as a guest lecturer. The Araca Group's latest partnership with VPA's Department of Drama, is a new initiative—The Araca Project—which gives selected SU theater artists the opportunity to take on the full artistic and fiscal responsibilities of producing their work off-Broadway.