Anne Kauffman & Jeanine Tesori Named Co-Artistic Directors for 2018 Encores! Off-Center Season
"Encores! Off-Center began a new phase last summer under the direction of Michael Friedman, which was tragically cut short," said Shuler. "We are fortunate to welcome two of his good friends and colleagues as guest co-artistic directors to lead us through this transitional year. Both Jeanine and Anne have connections to the Off-Center series. As founding artistic director, Jeanine served as a champion for the work of other artists for four seasons and we were delighted to welcome Anne to the Off-Center family last summer as the director of Assassins. It is always difficult to move on from such a loss, but as an institution it is essential that we continue the mission of Off-Center and bring these important works to a new audience."
Encores! Off-Center was founded in 2013 with the mission of presenting Off-Broadway musicals that pushed creative boundaries when they were first produced. Filtered through the lens of today's artists, these shows are presented not as historical documents but as living, vital works that speak to audiences both new and old. The New York Times has called Encores! Off-Center "a summer theater highlight," with past productions including Violet with Sutton Foster (which transferred to Broadway the following year); tick, tick...BOOM! with Lin-Manuel Miranda; A New Brain with Jonathan Groff; Little Shop of Horrors with Ellen Greene and Jake Gyllenhaal; Elizabeth Swados's Runaways; and The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin with Nikki M. James. In keeping with City Center's founding mission to make the arts accessible to all, many Off-Center tickets are $25.
Programming for the 2018 Encores! Off-Center season will be announced early next year.
Anne Kauffman's recent credits include: Mary Jane and Hundred Days (NYTW); Marvin's Room (Roundabout); Assassins (City Center Encores! Off-Center); A Life (Lortel and Drama Desk nominations); Marjorie Prime (Lucille Lortel and Drama League Award nominations); Detroit, Your Mother's Copy of the Kama Sutra, and Maple and Vine (Playwrights Horizons); Sundown Yellow Moon (Ars Nova, WP); The Nether and Smokefall (MCC); Buzzer (The Public); Belleville(Lucille Lortel Award nomination, NYTW and Yale Rep); You Got Older (Drama Desk Award nomination, P73 Productions);The Muscles in Our Toes (LAByrinth Theater Company); Somewhere Fun and God's Ear (New Georges and Vineyard Theater); and Stunning and Slowgirl (LCT3). Regional: Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Yale Rep, and Wilma. Artistic associate and founding member of The Civilians, Resident Director with Roundabout, Sundance program associate, Clubbed Thumb associate artist and co-creator of the CT Directing Fellow- ship, New Georges associate artist, Artistic Council of Soho Rep, and SDC executive board member. Two Obie Awards (for Directing and Sustained Excellence), the Joan and Joseph Cullman Award for Exceptional Creativity from Lincoln Center, the Alan Schneider Director Award, and two Barrymore Awards.
Jeanine Tesori was the founding artistic director of Encores! Off-Center, leading the series for four seasons. She won the Tony Award for Best Original Score with Lisa Kron for the musical Fun Home, and has also written Tony nominated scores for Twelfth Night at Lincoln Center; Thoroughly Modern Millie (lyrics, Dick Scanlan); Caroline, or Change (lyrics, Tony Kushner); and Shrek The Musical (lyrics, David Lindsay-Abaire). The production of Caroline, or Change at the National Theatre in London received the Olivier Award for Best New Musical. Her 1997 Off-Broadway musical Violet (lyrics, Brian Crawley) opened on Broadway in 2014 and garnered four Tony nominations, including Best Musical Revival. Opera: ABlizzard on Marblehead Neck (libretto, Tony Kushner; Glimmerglass) and The Lion, The Unicorn, and Me (libretto, J. D. McClatchy; Kennedy Center). Music for plays: Mother Courage (dir. George C. Wolfe, with Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline), John Guare's A Free Man of Color (Lincoln Center Theater, dir. George C. Wolfe), and Romeo and Juliet (Delacorte Gala). Her songs were featured in the Netflix revival of Gilmore Girls. Tesori is a member of the Dramatists Guild and was cited by the ASCAP as the first female composer to have "two new musicals running concurrently on Broadway." She is a lecturer in music at Yale University.
NEW YORK City Center has played a defining role in the cultural life of the City since 1943 when it was founded by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia with the civic mission to make the best in the performing arts accessible to all. Today, the distinctive neo-Moorish theater welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors to experience internationally acclaimed artists. For nearly 25 years, the Tony-honored Encores! series has given new life to the American musical theater canon, complimented by the Encores! Off-Center series, which features seminal Off-Broadway musicals filtered through the lens of today's innovative artists. Dance continues to be an integral part of the theater's mission through programs like the annual Fall for Dance Festival, which exposes a new audience to an international array of artists by offering highly subsidized tickets. City Center is also the home to a roster of renowned national and international companies including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (City Center's Principal Dance Company) and Manhattan Theatre Club. Through its education and community programs, City Center brings the performing arts to over 9,000 New York City students each year and activates all areas of the building with talks, master classes, art exhibitions, and intimate performances that provide audiences an up-close look at the work of the great theater and dance artists of our time.
Photo of Jeanine Tesori (right) by Genevieve Rafter-Keddy.
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