Bennett Leak to Serve as Interim Director of Second Stage Theater | Playbill

Industry News Bennett Leak to Serve as Interim Director of Second Stage Theater

Leak is succeeding founder Carole Rothman, who is set to depart the company in August.

Bennet Leak

Second Stage Theater has named Bennett Leak their interim artistic director for the 2024-25 season.

Leak steps in for founder and current Artistic Director Carole Rothman, who will remain with the company through August. Rothman has led the company since its founding in 1979, when she endeavored to create a new company to support living American playwrights and new emerging talent. 

The move is the most recent development in a period of transition for the non-profit company. It was recently announced that Second Stage would vacate its Off-Broadway venue as of the end of the year, citing a lease with unfavorable terms and high rent as reasoning for leaving the building, a former bank in which the company's Tony Kiser Theater has been housed since 1999. Following the loss of the company's Off-Off-Broadway theatre on the Upper West Side last year, this move leaves Second Stage with just one dedicated venue, Broadway's Hayes Theater. The theatre company is nevertheless still planning to produce work Off-Broadway, at a new venue to be determined. Alexis Scheer's Breaking the Story is currently the latest scheduled production for the Kiser, with performances running through June 23.

Leak has worked in New York theatre for nearly two decades, joining Second Stage in 2015 as the director of special events, where he has produced large scale fundraising events and raising over $7M for the organization. Leak became the associate artistic director of the company in 2019, and director of artistic production in 2021. 

Throughout his tenure with Second Stage, Leak has produced over 20 plays, both on Broadway at the Hayes and Off-Broadway at the Tony Kiser Theater and the McGinn-Cazale Theater. His productions include the Tony winning revival of Take Me Out by Richard Greenberg, Appropriate by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, The Thanksgiving Play by Larissa FastHorseBetween Riverside and Crazy by Stephen Adly GuirgisClyde's by Lynn Nottage, and Make Believe by Bess Wohl

Says Guirgis in a statement, "Bennett Leak is the real deal. When the chips were down in tech and previews, Bennett was in the trenches with us daily—getting things done, getting us what we needed, contributing artistically, and ever gracefully providing his keen eye, smart notes, and an empathetic ear. He cared deeply and he was indispensable. I'm thrilled for him but more thrilled for Second Stage. You've got an old school gentleman with vision, artistry and work ethic in Bennett Leak."

Leak will continue to work alongside Rothman as the nationwide search for her permanent replacement is held through the end of her tenure.

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