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Davis Polk Lawyer Goes from Pit Musician to Tony Winner

June 18, 2019, 1:54 PM

It’s been years since Davis Polk & Wardwell restructuring partner and former musician Brian Resnick played in a Broadway orchestra, but he recently returned to his roots in grand fashion to pick up a Tony Award for his role as a producer of “Best Musical” winner Hadestown.

“It was very exciting. I was particularly happy for the writer, the director and the cast who worked so hard on it,” Resnick said. “It’s been 12 years in the making for them and I thought it was well deserved because it’s such a wonderful musical.”

Resnick was one of several producers of the folk opera that reimagines the Greek myth of Eurydice and Orpheus during a post-apocalyptic depression. The hit show took home eight awards at the June 9 Tonys.

Career Trajectory

The Davis Polk partner was a musician before he was a lawyer. He spent five years studying percussion at The Julliard School, earning his bachelor’s and master’s at the performing arts conservatory.

While at Julliard, he freelanced around the New York City theater scene. He played as a drummer and percussionist in 14 Broadway shows like “Bring in ‘Da Noise,” “Miss Saigon,” “The Full Monty,” and Elton John’s “Aida.” Even when he enrolled at Columbia Law School in 2000, he still managed to play in Broadway pits and several times on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” in the early 2000s.

But when Resnick joined Davis Polk in 2003, he set aside his percussion playing and began building his corporate restructuring and bankruptcy practice.

He represented the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Treasury Department with respect to the $182 billion in multiple financings and nearly 80 percent equity stake in AIG following the global financial crisis.

Resnick, son of the late bankruptcy law expert and Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobsen counsel Alan Resnick, also represented independent directors of MF Global in connection with the commodities firm’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2011. He represented the senior lender group in connection with the multibillion-dollar debt restructuring of Foxwoods Casinos.

Most recently, Resnick served as lead counsel to the debtors in the Chapter 11 cases of Bonanza Creek, Arch Coal, James River Coal and Patriot Coal, and has been leading several major representations in connection with Puerto Rico’s ongoing restructuring efforts.

Brian Resnick
Courtesy of Davis Polk

‘Back to My Roots’

But a year ago, he started talking to some contacts in the producing world about getting involved in investing in shows.

“It brings me back to my roots a little bit but in a different angle now that I’m at a time and position in my life where I thought contributing to the arts in that way would be an interesting and fun side hobby and endeavor,” Resnick said.

He eventually started receiving scripts, workshop videos and recordings of several shows, about more than half of shows that debuted on Broadway this year. But he ended up falling in love with Hadestown and decided to invest in it last year.

“I did feel like it was taking a little bit of a risk given the subject matter, which kind of could’ve gone either way,” Resnick said. But luckily for Resnick, it was a smash success.

Hadestown isn’t the only investment Resnick is making in the arts. He’s a co-producer in the “King Kong” musical on Broadway and an executive producer in the upcoming indie film “Lazy Susan,” written by Sean Hayes starring Matthew Broderick and Allison Janney. Resnick’s investments are purely on the financial side, which doesn’t interfere with his busy practice, he said.

“I found a way to bring things full circle in a way that I don’t have time to perform anymore, but this is a way that I can be involved and support the arts and hopefully have some successful investments,” Resnick said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Meghan Tribe in New York, NY at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at; Rebekah Mintzer at