Flat Rock Playhouse's Producing Artistic Director Vincent Marini to Step Down
Flat Rock Playhouse announced today that producing artistic director Vincent Marini will step down on May 31st to pursue new opportunities. Lisa K. Bryant, currently Flat Rock Playhouse associate artistic director, has been named interim artistic director.
"Over his five years as producing artistic director, Vincent Marini has led Flat Rock Playhouse to new levels of artistic excellence while weathering the major challenges of the recession economy," said Clifford Stalter, president of the Flat Rock Playhouse board of trustees. "We greatly appreciate his leadership and creative brilliance."
Lisa K. Bryant will become interim artistic director on June 1st. "We are delighted that Lisa has agreed to take on this responsibility," commented Stalter. "She has had 20 years of artistic accomplishments at Flat Rock Playhouse and will help ensure a smooth transition." The Playhouse board will conduct a national search for a new artistic director.
Marini joined Flat Rock Playhouse full-time in September 2009. Since then, he has overseen many of the theatre's most celebrated shows such as Les Miserables, Evita, A Few Good Men, The Buddy Holly Story, Twelve Angry Men, Cats, The 39 Steps and many more. He also has continued the Playhouse's proud tradition of producing new work with Music of the Night, Our Show of Shows, My Favorite Things, My Own Song, and the most successful new show in the history of Flat Rock Playhouse, Zelda: An American Love Story. During his tenure the Playhouse set records for annual ticket sales and contributions. Under Vincent's leadership, the Playhouse also conceived and opened the 250-seat Playhouse Downtown on Hendersonville's Main Street in 2011 which now brings over 35,000 visitors annually to downtown Hendersonville. The Playhouse Downtown's flexible layout and unique design have made it a favorite among Playhouse patrons and artists alike. The Playhouse Downtown also hosts the popular Music on the Rock Series which Marini developed in 2010 to match-up local musicians with nationally renowned singers. The series has produced over forty concerts since 2010 to an audience of close to 40,000 patrons.
Marini built upon the national reputation that the theater's education programs have garnered throughout its history. The apprentice program, which Marini often cites as among the best in the nation, continues to be a model for educational excellence. Even after he steps down, Marini has been contracted to return in July to work with the 2014 apprentice class and the professional Equity company on the Playhouse's blockbuster summer production of Miss Saigon.
"I am so very proud of all that we have accomplished together at Flat Rock Playhouse," stated Marini. "My wife Erin and I love everything about the Playhouse and this incredible community. It has been the greatest honor of my life leading this institution, and no matter what comes next for us, we will always carry the Playhouse, its staff, board and patrons in our hearts."
"I have been considering this decision for several months, and now that most of the preparation for the remainder of the current season is complete, it is the right time for me to step down and let the new artistic team create a 2015 season that will be their own. I have tremendous confidence in Lisa Bryant to help make this a smooth transition. I am truly looking forward to being here to direct Miss Saigon and then having the chance to pursue a range of new creative opportunities. We will continue to be strong advocates for this theater and this community wherever we go and I could not be prouder of what the staff, the board, the donors and the volunteers of this theater have accomplished over the last five years."
Bryant began her career with Flat Rock Playhouse as an Apprentice in 1994. Since then she has played a myriad of roles including intern, actor, teacher, writer, apprentice director and associate artistic director. She is currently directing Paige Posey and Scott Treadway in the 2013 Tony Award-winning comedy Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike and is excited to be directing My Fair Lady this summer.
Hillary Hart will continue to serve as Flat Rock Playhouse managing director.
FLAT ROCK PLAYHOUSE: In 1937, a group of struggling performers, led by Robroy Farquhar, organized themselves as the Vagabond Players. The Vagabonds worked in a variety of places over the course of three years, and in 1940 found themselves in the Blue Ridge region of Western North Carolina. The local and tourist community welcomed them with open arms when they presented their first summer season of plays in a 150-year-old grist mill they converted into The Old Mill Playhouse at Highland Lake. So successful was that summer, they returned in 1941. After WWII, the Vagabond Players reorganized, came back to the region and opened a playhouse in nearby Lake Summit. The Lake Summit Playhouse thrived during the post war years and soon the Vagabond Players were looking for a larger and permanent home. In 1952, the troupe of performers, and a newly formed board of directors, made an offer to buy an 8-acre lot in the Village of Flat Rock. This new home made the Vagabonds "locals" and a rented big top gave birth to Flat Rock Playhouse. As the beautiful Western Carolina region continued to grow, so did the Playhouse and in 1961, by a Act of the North Carolina General Assembly, Flat Rock Playhouse was officially designated The State Theatre of North Carolina. What began as a few weeks of summer performances in 1940 is now a nine-month season of plays including Broadway musicals, comedy, drama, and theatre for young audiences. The Playhouse's dual mission of producing the performing arts and providing education in the performing arts includes a professional series; a summer and fall college apprentice and intern program; performances and cabaret series by the YouTheatre; year-round classes and workshops for students from kindergarten through adults. Flat Rock Playhouse now hosts over 98,000 patrons annually and is a significant contributor to the local economy and the Arts in North Carolina.