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American Blues Theater Welcomes Claude Binder as Managing Director

American Blues Theater, Chicago's second oldest Equity Ensemble, announces the appointment of the theater's new Managing Director, Claude Binder. He will begin his tenure at American Blues Theater today, March 6, 2017.

Binder will be the first Managing Director for American Blues Theater since its 2009 rebirth, joining Producing Artistic Director Gwendolyn Whiteside and General Manager Jaclyn Holsey.

Newly appointed Managing Director Claude Binder has worked professionally in the Chicago theatre community for more than 30 years. Before joining American Blues he held the position of Director of Production at the Joffrey Ballet. He has previously held the position of Executive Director of Chicago Children's Theatre where he was instrumental in the development, launch and management of the company from startup through the first two years. He has also served as the General Manager and Production Manager of Steppenwolf Theatre Company, providing leadership for the daily operation of the company.

Producing Artistic Director Gwendolyn Whiteside comments, "I am honored and excited to welcome Claude to the Blues family. I've admired his expertise, management style, and counsel for many years. He will help us grow exponentially."

Claude Binder comments, "I am thrilled to take my position next to Wendy to move American Blues Theater to even greater success and a stronger organizational foundation to insure the future stability of the company."

During his 15 years at Steppenwolf, Binder led the company in moving five productions to New York City, including the Tony Award-winning production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest as well as moving productions to theatres in England, Ireland, Canada and Australia. During this time the company also received the first National Medal of Arts given to an Ensemble theatre. His accomplishments while at Steppenwolf include principal management of the reconstruction of the Upstairs Theatre which debuted with the world premiere of Frank Galati's adaptation of After the Quake. Before joining Steppenwolf he worked for the Goodman Theatre and Actors Theatre of Louisville. Binder is a past member of the Board of Directors of Redmoon Theatre and Village Players and has been an adjunct faculty member at Columbia College Chicago and DePaul University.

Winner of American Theatre Wing's prestigious 2016 National Theatre Company Award, American Blues Theater is a premier arts organization with an intimate environment that patrons, artists, and all Chicagoans call home. American Blues Theater explores the American identity through the plays it produces and communities it serves. American Blues Theater follows three guiding values both on and off its stages - to be accessible, responsible, and true.

The diverse and multi-generational artists have established the second-oldest professional Equity Ensemble theater in Chicago. The 37-member Ensemble has 530+ combined years of collaboration on stage. As of 2016, the theater and artists received 186 Joseph Jefferson Awards and nominations that celebrate excellence in Chicago theater and over 31 Black Theatre Alliance Awards. The artists are honored with Pulitzer Prize nominations, Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, Emmy Awards and numerous other accolades.

The American Blues Theater Ensemble includes all four Founders Ed Blatchford, Rick Cleveland, James Leaming, and WilLiam Payne with Dawn Bach, Matthew Brumlow, Manny Buckley, Kate Buddeke, Sarah Burnham, Dara Cameron, Casey Campbell, Darren Canady, Brian Claggett, Dennis Cockrum, Austin Cook, Laura Coover, Ian Paul Custer, Lauri Dahl, Joe Foust, Cheryl Graeff, Marty Higginbotham, Jaclyn Holsey, Lindsay Jones, Nambi E. Kelley, Kevin R. Kelly, Steve Key, Ed Kross, Warren Levon, Michael Mahler, Heather Meyers, John Mohrlein, Christopher J. Neville, Suzanne Petri, Carmen Roman, Editha Rosario, Sarah E. Ross, and Gwendolyn Whiteside.

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