Primary Stages Artistic Director Andrew Leynse Has Passed Away

Leynse passed away on January 20, 2023 due to complications from an infection.

By: Jan. 20, 2023
Primary Stages Artistic Director Andrew Leynse Has Passed Away

PRIMARY STAGES has revealed that Artistic Director Andrew Leynse passed on January 20, 2023, following a sudden illness.

Statement from Primary Stages: "It is with endless sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved Artistic Director, Andrew Leynse. We have lost one of the dearest, kindest, most devoted people we have ever known. Andrew was our light and our heart, and his passing diminishes us all. We are grateful for every day we had with him, and know he touched so many of you, both personally and artistically. Please hold his incredible family, especially his wife Mary, son Abadi, brother James, and sister Anne in your hearts - we know this is the first thing he would have asked of all of us.

Andrew's dedication to playwrights and the theater launched dozens of careers and brought hundreds of new plays to life. His work had an incredible and indelible contribution to the American theater, and his vision and generosity will never be forgotten."

Andrew Leynse was the Artistic Director of Primary Stages for 21 seasons. He produced, managed, and directed in the New York Theater community for more than thirty years. Andrew began his career at Primary Stages in a variety of different roles, including Production Manager and Literary Manager, after graduating from Carnegie Mellon University's directing program. In 1999, he left Primary to work as an Associate Producer to Julian Schlossberg at Castle Hill Productions, where he developed over twenty productions on and off-Broadway. Upon returning to Primary Stages in 2001 as Artistic Director, he oversaw their move to 59E59 Theaters, to The Duke on 42nd Street, to the Cherry Lane Theatre, and most recently to their return to 59E59 Theaters.

During his tenure at Primary Stages, he fostered a home for playwrights, producing new works including Charles Busch's The Tribute Artist and The Confession of Lily Dare; Theresa Rebeck's Downstairs and Poor Behavior; Terrance McNally's The Stendhal Syndrome and Dedication or The Stuff of Dreams; David Ives' All In The Timing and Lives of the Saints; Donald Margulies' The Model Apartment; multiple works by Horton Foote, including Dividing the Estate (two Tony nominations); A.R. Gurney's The Fourth Wall and Black Tie; Michael McKeever's Daniel's Husband; Willy Holtzman's Sabina; Danai Gurira and Nikkole Salter's In the Continuum; In Transit by Kristen Anderson-Lopez, James-Allen Ford, Russ Kaplan, and Sara Wordsworth; Billy Porter's While I Yet Live; Sharon Washington's Feeding the Dragon; and Kate Hamill's Pride and Prejudice and Little Women.

Andrew was also a director and founding member of the Primary Stages Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group and helped launch the Primary Stages/Fordham MFA in Playwriting and the Primary Stages Einhorn School of Performing Arts (ESPA). He was the Artistic Director of the Colorado New Play Festival, and a board member of Colorado New Play Festival and A.R.T./New York. Andrew taught for Carnegie Mellon University, The Tepper Semester at Syracuse University, and Primary Stages ESPA.

Andrew Leynse is survived by his wife Mary Bacon, son Abadi Leynse, brother James Leynse, sister Anne Bullock, beloved dog Oreo, and a community of artists, friends, and extended family. A memorial service for the wider theater community to pay tribute to Andrew will be scheduled at a later date.