Jason Brett is an award-winning writer, producer and creative entrepreneur whose career includes film, television, live theater and education technology.
He began his career in 1978 as founder of Chicago’s famed Apollo Theater, where he produced dozens of plays and musicals featuring such renowned actors as John Malkovich, Laurie Metcalfe, Gary Sinise, Joan Allen, Jim Belushi, William Peterson, Megan Mullalley and William H. Macy.
Expanding into film in 1986, Jason produced the comedy hit, "About Last Night…", starring Rob Lowe, James Belushi and Demi Moore and directed by Oscar winner, Edward Zwick. The film went on to become one of the most revered romantic comedies of all time. His initial screenwriting effort, "The Street Where You Live", was a finalist in the Sundance Film Festival Screenwriting Competition, and launched his career as a screenwriter, writing more than thirty screenplays and teleplays and achieving Lifetime Member status in the Writers Guild of America.
Moving into television in 1989, Jason spent several years creating, writing and producing new television series under multiple, multi-year contracts with New World Television, TriStar Television and Sony Pictures Television.
In 1997, he partnered with Oprah Winfrey to establish a scripted television series division for her Harpo Entertainment Group and ABC Network Television. Following, in 2002, he headed the film and TV division of The Second City, where he oversaw the DVD release of the Emmy Award winning series, "SCTV" and forged a multi-year production agreement with Sony Pictures Entertainment.
In 2006, a partnership of AOL, AEG and SiriusXM Radio, recruited Jason to launch a new digital comedy channel focusing on emerging talent. Jason's production team shot more than 25 hours of stand-up comedy featuring some of the early comedy performances of Zach Galifianakis, Patton Oswalt, Upright Citizens Brigade and Sarah Silverman.
In 2010, Jason and Nick Weir formed Portofino Partners, to produce and develop new film, theater and media opportuntities and pursue innovation in digital technology and education, Their first endeavor, MashPlant Studio, launched in 2011 as the first-ever online showcase for young media artists to share their work and collaborate with experienced professionals in a safe, supportive environment. Portofino Partners produced more than 20 hours of original content for MashPlant.com, including segments featuring Jim Belushi, Jeanette McCurdey, Emmy Award winner Bill McGlaughlin and legendary comedy institution, The Second City. Following in 2013, Portofino Partners was behind the launch of MashPlant.com, the first-ever, digital classroom platform to blend the power of social media with the engagement of project based learning. In 2019, MashPlant was acquired by The Source for Learning, and is now used in classrooms and organizations, worldwide.
In 2020, Jason returned to the theater to write the book for "Miracle", a musical comedy about faith, family and the Chicago Cubs and how one family finds the miracle they need, just as the Cubs win the 2016 World Series. "Miracle" went on to win Chicago's prestigious Jeff Award for "Best New Musical".
In 2021, Jason assembled an all-star line-up of Chicago celebrities to perform the Blues anthem, "Sweet Home Chicago". Featuring an ensemble of more than 100 participants, this star-studded celebration of Chicago and its rich, diverse performing arts community, raised more than $100,000 for the Arts for Illinois Relief Fund to help support the many performing artists struggling in the wake of COVID-19 closures. The music video won Emmy Awards for excellence in editing and audio mixing.
Jason holds a BFA in Theater from the University of Illinois, is an accomplished pilot and a lifelong musician. He is married to physician, author and media personality, Dr. Lauren Streicher.
Jason can be reached via email at JBrett@PortofinoPartners.com.