ART/WNY Announces New Artistic Director Candice Kogut
American Repertory Theater of WNY has appointed Buffalo actor, director and Artistic Director for the West Seneca Youth Theatre company, Candice Kogut as Artistic Director.
"Am completely confident in naming Candice as Artistic Director for this company." Executive Director Matthew LaChiusa on Ms. Kogut's appointment. "Based on her work ethic on stage, seeing solid management of her Youth Theatre group, her dedication to the Dramatic Arts, and commitment to taking this company to new levels, naming her to be the new Artistic Director wasn't a difficult decision to make."
Since LaChiusa began American Repertory Theater of WNY, he has overseen both duties as Executive and Artistic Director. He will still remain as the company's Executive Director. "After the tenth-season I felt the need to bring on someone who could take what we've built upon, inject some new creative ideas, and see this company through for the next ten more seasons and beyond."
Ms. Kogut has been overseeing West Seneca Youth Theatre group for over a decade now sees her experience with this company as a great building block for her new position. "Theatre is about community and collaboration, and in essence, family to me. That is what I've worked hard to cultivate in WSYT and that's what makes my students in the Southtowns successful." Confident her experiences speaks for the qualifications behind this appointment, Ms. Kogut expressed a firm commitment to accomplishing the tasks as ART/WNY's Artistic Director. "Of course, from a technical standpoint, I'd say my experience there has helped me to understand the business end of things and the ability to take all the moving parts and help them fit together effectively. I understand what it takes to build, plan, hire, create, and execute a season."
Although Ms. Kogut has not officially released the entire 2018-19 season, she is coordinating the first production of the upcoming season to include a joint collaboration between ART/WNY and WSYT to open the season as part of the Curtain Up celebration. Currently, Ms. Kogut has five productions lined-up for the 2018-19 and she intends to make a formal announcement coming in Spring 2018. "I've seen what Candice has assembled and, man, is ART/WNY going to come out swinging in her first season as AD." LaChiusa on the 2018-19 season. "I'm jacked and we still have two more shows to go in the 2017-18 season!"
Her appointment marks an addition to the small list of female Artistic Directors in the Buffalo Theater scene. In reflecting on the women who've blazed trails in these positions, Ms. Kogut showed her appreciation for their hard work. "I have looked up to these pioneering women for as long as I can remember. I don't wish to compare the work I hope to do or my career in any way to theirs, but it's strong, uninhibited women like that who truly pave the way for me to even be considered for this position." Ms. Kogut's skills and management experiences has also provided the trust in accepting this position. "The people I've confided in on my appointment who know me best in this world say this is exactly what I was meant to do. While I am anxious and humbled to accept, I am confident in their confidence in me and ready to give my all."
Although her tenure officially begins on July 1st, 2018, Ms. Kogut will be working with outgoing Artistic Director, Matthew LaChiusa, in the upcoming months. Among two current projects she will be acting in, "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "The Rain Dogs Project" she is also organizing several special events including a staged reading slated for January 25th featuring local playwrights as well as organizing general auditions and contacting potential director candidates for next season.
"American Repertory Theater of WNY's future is in an amazing person's hands." LaChiusa concluded. "I am confident to hand over the steering wheel to Candice and excited see where this Porsche will take us."
"I am so excited for our amazing prospects, but that's as far as I'll go!" Candice Kogut on her thoughts about the future. "You're all going to be surprised and super pumped! I love this company more than life."