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Hartford Stage Announces Darko Tresnjak as New Artistic Director

Hartford Stage's Board of Directors, under the leadership of President Paul Bourdeau and Vice-President and search committee chair Jill Adams, announced today the appointment of Darko Tresnjak as the Tony Award-winning theatre's new Artistic Director, succeeding Michael Wilson. He will work in partnership with Hartford Stage Managing Director Michael Stotts.

Darko Tresnjak is an acclaimed director of theatre and opera who has worked at leading theatres and opera companies throughout the US. He also served as Artistic Director of The Old Globe Shakespeare Festival in San Diego from 2004-2009. His work in the New England area has been seen at such companies such as the Huntington Theatre, Goodspeed Musicals, Long Wharf Theatre, Westport County Playhouse, and Williamstown Theatre Festival.

Tresnjak will be the fifth Artistic Director to lead the company in its 48-year history, following Michael Wilson (1998-2011), Mark Lamos (1981-1998), Paul Weidner (1968-1981), and Jacques Cartier (1963 - 1968).

"We are thrilled to welcome Darko Tresnjak as our new Artistic Director," says Paul Bourdeau. "Darko is one of the most accomplished and well respected directors in the United States today. We are confident he will continue to build on our position as a leader of American regional theater for years to come."

Darko Tresnjak commented, "It is a great honor to follow in the footsteps of Messrs. Cartier, Weidner, Lamos, and Wilson. I look forward to working with our Managing Director, Michael Stotts, and to getting to know the entire Hartford Stage family and the people of Hartford. Years ago, I heard Peter Zeisler, who was the Executive Director of Theater Communications Group, speak with great affection about Hartford Stage, referring to it as the National Theatre of the United States. It is a good thing to aspire to. I want to bring great theatre artists from within our shores - and beyond - to Hartford Stage. And I hope that every premiere and revival will remind our audiences of why they fell in love with theatre in the first place."

"Darko brings such a wonderful blend of strengths to Hartford Stage," commented Jill Adams. "He's visionary, yet practical. Well versed in the classics and passionate about new works. Brilliant, yet down to earth. Focused on retaining existing audience members and attracting new ones. It's easy to see why so many top leaders in the field recommended him so highly - and why he connected so quickly with our board and staff."

Michael Stotts says, "Darko is an extremely passionate individual who cares deeply about not only the work on stage, but the people that make it happen and the audiences he is programming for. I look forward to working closely with him to build on the wonderful artistic legacy he inherits, and taking Hartford Stage to a new level of accomplishment."

Darko Tresnjak was the Artistic Director of The Old Globe Shakespeare Festival in San Diego from 2004 to 2009. His directing credits at The Old Globe include Cyrano de Bergerac, Coriolanus, The Women, The Pleasure of His Company, All's Well That Ends Well, Bell, Book and Candle, Hamlet, Titus Andronicus, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Winter's Tale, A Comedy of Errors, Antony and Cleopatra, The Two Noble Kinsmen, and Pericles. He received four awards from the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle: for outstanding direction of Cyrano de Bergerac, The Winter's Tale, and Pericles and for Excellence in Artistic Direction.
Tresnjak is currently directing and designing the set for Titus Andronicus at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Canada. His acclaimed production of The Merchant of Venice, featuring F. Murray Abraham as Shylock, just completed a national tour. The production originated in 2007 at Theatre for a New Audience and transferred to the Royal Shakespeare Company as part of their Complete Works Festival.

Tresnjak's directing career began at the Williamstown Theatre Festival where over eight seasons he directed The Skin of Our Teeth, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, The Love of Three Oranges, Princess Turandot, The Blue Demon, The Winter's Tale, Moving Picture, and Under Milk Wood. He has also directed at the Joseph Papp Public Theater, Theatre for a New Audience, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Vineyard Theatre Company, and Blue Light Theater Company. From 2002-2004 he was Director in Residence at Boston's Huntington Theatre Company where his productions included What the Butler Saw, Heartbreak House, and Amphitryon.

Tresnjak recently directed Der Zwerg, Der Zerbrochene Krug, and Die Vögel for Los Angeles Opera, the inaugural productions of their acclaimed Recovered Voices cycle. The productions were released last fall on DVD/Blu-Ray by Arthaus Musik. He has also directed at Opera Theater of Saint Louis, Florida Grand Opera, Sarasota Opera, and Virginia Opera.
Connecticut audiences will know Tresnjak's work from Goodspeed Musicals where he directed Carnival, Amour, and A Little Night Music; Long Wharf Theatre where he directed Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead; and Westport Country Playhouse where he directed Hay Fever and Princess Turandot.

Tresnjak grew up in Yugoslavia, the United States and Poland. He was educated at Swarthmore College and Columbia University and became an American citizen shortly after graduation. Between college and graduate school, he studied at the Martha Graham School, performed with numerous Philadelphia dance and theatre companies, and toured across the United States and Japan with Mum Puppettheatre. He is the recipient of grants from Theatre Communications Group, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Alan Schneider Award for Directing Excellence.

Tresnjak assumes the post of Hartford Stage Artistic Director in July 2011. Outgoing Artistic Director Michael Wilson programmed the first five productions of the theatre's upcoming 2011-2012 season, which have been announced, including Tresnjak's production of Bell, Book and Candle by John Van Druten. Tresnjak will select the final play of next season, which will be announced this fall.

The ten month search was conducted by Thomas Hall of Albert Hall & Associates. Members of the search committee include Jill Adams (Chair), Paul Bourdeau, Sue Ann Collins, Susan Copeland, Walter Harrison, David Klein, Elsa Suisman, Jennifer Smith Turner, and Sherwood Willard.

Founded in 1963, Hartford Stage is one of the leading resident theatres in the nation, known for producing a broad spectrum of work, including plays from the classic repertoire, new plays and neglected works from the past. The theatre has earned many of the nation's most distinguished awards, including the 1989 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre, the Margo Jones Award for Development of New Works, OBIE awards, New York Critics Circle awards, a Dramatists Guild/CBS Award, and an Elliot Norton Award, to name just a few. The 2009 production of Horton Foote's The Orphans' Home Cycle earned Drama Desk, New York Drama Critics Circle, Lucille Lortel, and Outer Critics Circle Awards. Locally, the theatre has received the Hartford Courant's Tapestry Award for its outstanding efforts at promoting diversity and inclusiveness, the Bank of America Neighborhood Builders Award, and numerous Connecticut Critics Circle Awards.

Since its founding, over 290 new productions have been produced by Hartford Stage, including 64 world or American premieres. Recently, the theatre has produced new plays including the premieres of Divine Rivalry by Michael Kramer, Resurrection by Daniel Beaty, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Laura Eason, Horton Foote's The Orphans' Home Cycle, Peter and Jerry by Edward Albee, and Floyd and Clea under the Western Sky by David Cale. The Tony nominated Dividing the Estate transferred from Broadway to Hartford Stage in 2009. The plays Enchanted April, Our Country's Good, Tiny Alice, Necessary Targets, The Carpetbaggers Children, and Tea at Five originated at Hartford Stage.

From its inception, Hartford Stage has maintainEd Strong community partnerships, education programs, and humanities initiatives. Through collaborations with such institutions as the University of Hartford, the Artists Collective, the National Conference on Community and Justice, the City of Hartford, Trinity College, Hartford Public Library, and schools across the state, the theatre provides exceptional educational, training, scholarly, and artistic experiences for Connecticut residents of all ages.

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