Hangar Theatre to Begin Transition in Leadership

Hangar Theatre to Begin Transition in Leadership

This fall, a transition in leadership will begin in the Hangar Theatre as Josh Friedman, managing director, has announced plans to leave the organization in mid-October to pursue new opportunities.

"Josh has provided exemplary service to the Hangar Theatre. We're saddened to hear that he will be departing, but we understand his desire for new creative and professional challenges," said Jamie Wells, president of the Board of Trustees. "We're confident that we'll be able to find the right person to work with our first full-time, in-residence artistic director, Michael Barakiva, to continue to move us forward.".

Friedman, who is completing his fifth year as the Hangar's managing director, is credited with leading the organization in creating and fulfilling an ambitious five-year plan to stabilize the theatre's financial position while expanding programming. Friedman's accomplishments at the Hangar include overseeing the growth from summer theatre into a year-round performing arts venue, increasing annual audience attendance by over 20,000, improving financial sustainability, and collaborating with many local not-for-profit arts organizations including Opera Ithaca, Ithaca Ballet, the Ithaca Shakespeare Company, and the Ithaca Community Orchestra. Friedman paved the way for and raised funds to support a major expansion of the Hangar's artistic programming.

"I will certainly miss Josh and the extraordinary leadership he has displayed while at the Hangar," said Michael Barakiva, artistic director. "This is a period of enormous artistic growth for the institution. This summer we reinstated a fifth mainstage play, and in December we'll present our brand new adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.Josh was integral to both of these major initiatives."

Friedman has worked in the performing arts for nearly three decades in both administrative and artistic positions. His work as a manager and administrator has included positions at several of the country's most prominent theatres. "I've relished my time at the Hangar," he said. "It's a great theatre and has grown so much in the past few years. I truly appreciate the dedicated staff and the incredible patrons I've met here, and I am looking forward to seeing what Michael has in store for the community."

The Board is developing plans for this transition and for a national search for a new manager.

This year marks the Hangar Theatre's 43rd season. The final summer play, Shakespeare's R&J by Joe Calarco, was originally developed by Calarco at the Hangar during his tenure as a Drama League Directing Fellow in 1995 and has been performed all over the world, holding the record for the longest run of a production of Romeo and Juliet in New York City. From December 10-24, the Hangar will present its original adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, written by Aoise Stratford and directed by Barakiva.

On October 14th, the Hangar Theatre will present its final Charades fundraiser, at the theatre. For tickets and information, please visit www.hangartheatre.org


The Hangar Theatre is Ithaca's oldest and largest professional theatre. Founded in 1974, the Hangar has produced more than 250 plays in over 40 seasons, including a number of world, national, East Coast, and regional premieres. Renovated in 2010, the Hangar has since become a year-round venue, hosting musical and novelty acts from all over the world, as well as numerous local arts groups such as Opera Ithaca, Ithaca Ballet, the Ithaca Shakespeare Company, and the Ithaca Community Orchestra. The Hangar also hosts a series of educational programs, from the in-classroom Project 4 to the nationally recognized Lab Company and Drama League Director Fellowships, which present the summer Wedge and KIDDSTUFF series. Each year, the Hangar serves over 50,000 patrons.

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