TheatreWorks Names Giovanna Sardelli as Director of New Works
TheatreWorks, the nationally acclaimed theatre of Silicon Valley, has announced the appointment of Giovanna Sardelli to the position of Director of New Works. Sardelli brings stellar national directing credits and close ties with many of today's hottest rising playwrights to the company, which has established itself as a leader in cultivating and producing new works. No stranger to TheatreWorks, Sardelli helmed the company's 2013 production of Somewhere by rising star Matthew Lopez, as well as the TheatreWorks' 2011World Premiere of Pulitzer Prize-nominee Rajiv Joseph's The North Pool, named by the San Francisco Chronicle as one of that year's ten best productions in the Bay Area.
"We are delighted to have acclaimed director Giovanna Sardelli leading our New Works Initiative," said TheatreWorks Artistic Director Robert Kelley. "Nationally known as a director and developer of new works, she has already brought us two brilliant main stage productions, with more to come. Under her leadership, I predict an even greater commitment to new works here at TheatreWorks." Says Sardelli, "I am beyond thrilled to become part of the Theatreworks team. To be in a position where I can take my passion for play development and storytelling, and connect artists I respect with a theater company I so deeply admire, is one of the things that excites me the most."
Sardelli will join the company this summer, as playwrights and composers from across the nation arrive for TheatreWorks' 13th Annual New Works Festival (August 9 - 17), a two-week event in which audiences view readings and showcases of new plays and musicals, providing written feedback and interacting with writers in panels, as the company helps to shape five extraordinary new works for future productions. Next season, Sardelli will direct TheatreWorks' West Coast Premiere of Rajiv Joseph's latest work, The Lake Effect. This arresting new play, which received the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Play at its Chicago world premiere, is on the company's roster for March 2015.
Besides Sardelli's well-received productions with TheatreWorks, she has directed and developed plays around the country, including ten off-Broadway productions in ten years. Her directing credits include Rajiv Joseph's first professional production, Huck & Holden (Cherry Lane), as well as the World Premieres for his All This Intimacy (Second Stage), and The Leopard and the Fox (Alterego Productions), The North Pool (TheatreWorks), and Animals Out of Paper (Second Stage), for which she was awarded the Joe A. Callaway Award for Best Direction. She recently directed a highly-acclaimed production of Joe Gifford's Finks at off-Broadway's Ensemble Studio Theatre. Sardelli directed the World Premiere of Theresa Rebeck's Dead Accounts (Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park). She has also worked on numerous productions of award-winning actress/playwright Adriana Sevan's one-woman show, Taking Flight, directing her performances for Sundance Theatre Lab, Center Theater Group's Kirk Douglas Theatre, San Diego Repertory Theatre, and Goodman Theatre. Her West Coast Premiere of Mathew Lopez' The Whipping Man for The Globe Theatre won her an NAACP nomination for Best Director. Sardelli holds an MFA in Acting from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and taught in NYU's Graduate Acting Program as well as its Dance Department. Before being invited to train at NYU's prestigious Director's Lab program, Sardelli worked as a professional actress for a decade in television and theater, solidifying her well-rounded knowledge of the industry.
With some 100,000 patrons per year, TheatreWorks has captured a national reputation for artistic innovation and integrity, often presenting Bay Area theatregoers with their first look at acclaimed musicals, comedies, and dramas, directed by award-winning local and guest directors, and performed by professional actors cast locally and from across the country. A home for artists developing new works, it was at TheatreWorks that Memphis, the 2010 Tony Award-winning musical that played on Broadway for three years before embarking on a 19 month national tour, was first workshopped and received its World Premiere. The company also hosts a Writer's Retreat, as part of its continued commitment to developing New Works. One of the nation's leaders in cultivating and producing new musicals, each year TheatreWorks welcomes collaborating teams of established, as well as up-and-coming composers and playwrights for a week of New Works development. After a week of creative collaboration and experimentation, Writers Retreat 2014 participants gathered May 4 for an invitation-only presentation featuring selections from each work. This year's retreat participants ranged from established and emerging playwrights, to a songwriter known for his PIXAR credits, and a legendary folk hero.
Participants in this and past years have included Paul Gordon, Marsha Norman, Henry Krieger, Stephen Schwartz, Duncan Sheik, Joe DiPietro, Andrew Lippa, Beth Henley, Lauren Gunderson, and Lynne Kaufman, among many others.
For information on TheatreWorks and its New Works Initiative programs, visit TheatreWorks.org.
Photo by Amanda Embry