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Oklahoma City Repertory Theatre Announces Retirement of Founding Artistic Director


Oklahoma City Repertory Theatre (OKC Rep), Oklahoma's award-winning professional regional theatre announced today that its founding Artistic Director Donald Jordan will transition and assume the title of "Founding Artistic Director emeritus" in the Summer of 2021.

"The reputation of the Oklahoma City Repertory Theatre was built by the hard work of Don Jordan and our community has greatly benefited from his commitment to the organization's mission to serve Oklahoma's diverse artistic, educational and civic needs by providing dynamic, professional theatre," said Cliff Hudson, OKC Rep Board President, "We wish him great joy in his much-deserved retirement."

Donald Jordan has led OKC Rep since 1998, when a group of notable Oklahoma and national artists created the theatre, which became the 1s t year-round Equity professional theatre in Oklahoma. The founding company included Jonathan Beck Reed, Ruth Charnay, Marcellus Hankins, Michele Wilson, James Tyra, Elaine Pfleiderer, Russell Webster, Charlotte Franklin, Jackie West, Michael Jones, and Kirk Rogers.

Jordan and Reed had spent many hours imagining ways to build OKC a professional regional theatre during their years together in NYC and while they performed in the national touring company of the Broadway hit 42ND STREET. OKC Rep performances began in the fall of 2002 and, since, have had more than 85 productions, most of which were world, national, regional, state or city premieres,Jordan's leadership and artistry has been recognized nationally, regionally, and throughout the state of Oklahoma. Among the many innovations and achievements for OKC Rep and Jordan under his dynamic leadership are becoming the first theatre in Oklahoma City history to be given membership in the Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national association of leading American professional theatres in 2010. In 2016, Teresa Eyring, TCG's Executive Director, issued a special public commendation that called Jordan "a vital part of the fabric of The National Theatre community." In January 2020, TCG featured Jordan as one of 12 national creative leaders in American Theatre magazine, the national periodical of the American theatre.In 2012, the American Theatre Wing (also known for presenting the Tony awards for Broadway theatrical achievement) presented its National Theatre Award to Jordan and OKC Rep, stating that he had "articulated a distinctive mission, cultivated an audience, and nurtured a community of artists in ways that demonstrate the quality, diversity and dynamism of American theatre."

Among Jordan's community building efforts were more than 20 co-productions with other Oklahoma theatres, educational and nonprofit institutions, including the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO), the University of Oklahoma (OU), Oklahoma City Community College (OCCC), the Pollard Theatre, and Oklahoma City University (OCU). One of these, a production of THE GRAPES OF WRATH in conjunction with the 75th anniversary of the novel's publishing, became designated the official national production by the Steinbeck Foundation. This co-production also involved the Oklahoma historical Society, Oklahoma City University, and the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority, who featured the production in the television feature "BACK IN TIME." That program was awarded an EMMY Award in 2015.Actors Equity Association has twice recognized Jordan's work at OKC Rep, in 2011 and again in 2016, in special proclamations honoring him as "a cultural leader whose hard work and dedication demonstrates a continuing commitment to the excellence of theatre."
In 2011, Mr. Jordan was honored with the Governor's Arts Award, the highest recognition for the arts given in the state of Oklahoma, again recognizing his leadership and service to the arts. Also in 2011, the Mayor of Oklahoma City issued a proclamation hailing Jordan for artistic leadership and contributions to Oklahoma City.

In 2015, the senate of the state of Oklahoma issued a proclamation recognizing Jordan's work with Leadership Arts.

In 2018, Governor Fallin declared March 17, "DONALD JORDAN AND Jonathan Beck Reed DAY" in Oklahoma, honoring both men for their artistry and service. Jordan and Reed are especially well-known as the co-stars of the popular Oklahoma City productions of the "Greater Tuna" comedies, among the longest running shows in Oklahoma theatrical history and still the best selling plays in OKC Rep's first 20 years.In addition, Jordan brought some of the American theatre's leading talent to the OKC Rep stage, many for the first time to Oklahoma, including Audra McDonald, Bernadette Peters, Patti LuPone, Mandy Patinkin, Judy Collins, Robert Picardo, Stephen Lang, Robert Benedetti, Teri Bibb and Stacey Logan, among many others.
Jordan was instrumental in bringing the acclaimed NATIONAL THEATRE LIVE international broadcasts to OKC for the first time, partnering with OCCC on this ongoing project.

A proud graduate of Oklahoma City University, Jordan was honored as a "distinguished alumni" in 2012, and in 2013 he was part of the inaugural group of honorees in the Performance Hall of Honor for OCU's School of Theatre, once again joined by Mr. Reed, honoring their work and service both separately and together. Jordan returns frequently to OCU, OU and UCO offering free Master Classes to young artists.

Finally, Jordan led community service partnerships with other national and local charities and nonprofits, often while addressing social issues with staging of award-winning productions. These community service partners included The Salvation Army, National Alliance for Mental Illness, Autism Oklahoma, The Green Shoe Foundation, Integris Mental Health, Habitat for Humanity and, most notably, BROADWAY CARES/EQUITY FIGHTS AIDS. Over the years, Jordan's post-show appeals to generous OKC Rep patrons have raised more than $110,000 for BC/EFA.

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