Theatre Student Melissa d'Arabian Produces 'White Rose: The Musical'

Lillian Mottern
February 06, 2024

First-year Theatre Management and Producing student Melissa d'Arabian is working as a co-lead producer of White Rose: The Musical, a new production currently running off-Broadway at Theatre Row. 

Based on a true story, White Rose follows a group of German student activists in 1940s Nazi Germany who, led by Sophie and Hans Scholl, wrote and distributed pamphlets challenging Hitler’s propaganda. 

Jo Ellen Pellman stars as Sophie Scholl with Mike Cefalo as Hans Scholl, heading a dynamic cast of actors under the direction of Will Nunziata. The show’s rock-influenced score is by Natalie Brice, with book and lyrics by Brian Belding and orchestrations by Charlie Rosen. 

d'Arabian has worked in culinary television, previously appearing on successful Food Network shows, as well as hosting her own show, Ten Dollar Dinners, from 2009 to 2012. She is the author of several New York Times best-selling cookbooks. 

d'Arabian first met Nunziata at the end of 2023 and the two connected immediately. She describes their first meeting as “professional-love-at-first-sight.”

White Rose came into my life twice in one week, and I believe in listening to life’s gentle nudges," d'Arabian said. “I had become 'Instagram friends' with director Will Nunziata. I saw he was mounting an industry workshop, and I just asked him if I could attend. That led to a coffee meeting where we realized how aligned we are in terms of stories that matter to us. We just hit it off and found ourselves finishing each other's sentences. We left that coffee knowing we had to work together someday, but I imagined that happening in the far future. Later that same week, though, I coincidentally met White Rose lyricist and book writer Brian Belding… His dedication to sharing this untold story of resistance in Nazi Germany was infectious. The pieces came together quickly and we decided I would join the lead producer team.”

As she steps into the role of producer, d'Arabian is also completing her first year at the School of the Arts. She's balancing a lot but she isn’t fazed. “I am carving out three years of my life to be in this program,” d'Arabian said. “I see every moment I’m learning something here as a gift.” 

White Rose started previews on January 17, 2024 and will run through March 2024. Tickets are available here.