Chris Jennings Named Executive Director of Manhattan Theatre Club | Playbill

Industry News Chris Jennings Named Executive Director of Manhattan Theatre Club

Jennings will succeed long-time Executive Producer Barry Grove.

Chris Jennings

Chris Jennings, currently the executive director of the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C., has been named the executive director of New York's Manhattan Theatre Club

Jennings, who will succeed long-time Executive Producer Barry Grove, will begin transitioning to MTC in June. 

READ: “It’s Time for the Next Generation”: Barry Grove on His 48 Years at Manhattan Theatre Club

Jennings said in a statement, “I’m thrilled to return home to MTC, where I began my career and was mentored by Barry Grove. I’m truly excited to partner with Lynne Meadow in building on her success and helping to continue to create an artistic home for the most talented artists working in the theatre today. It is thrilling that in the first few months alone, we’ll be working on new plays by Jocelyn Bioh, Qui Nguyen, John Patrick Shanley, and more. It is with mixed emotions that I take this next step after 19 seasons with STC. My time here has meant more to me than words can say. STC is well positioned for the future with dynamic artistic work and the most dedicated and talented staff.”

Grove added, “I have followed Chris Jennings’ career for a long time. Over the last 25+ years, he has shown himself to be an exceptional talent. I am sure he will be a great leader as he joins Lynne for MTC’s next season. I can’t wait to see what they produce together."

David C. Hodgson, chairman of the MTC Board of Directors, stated, “Chris Jennings brings a wealth of experience to his new role at MTC. After a broad national search, Chris stood out for his strong theatre chops, the quality of his body of work at Shakespeare Theatre Company, and familiarity with MTC from his time with us as an Administrative Fellow here in 1996. The board is eager to begin our new partnership with him.”

The hiring of Jennings, who is currently completing his 19th season with Shakespeare Theatre Company, concludes a comprehensive national search process, guided by Arts Consulting Group. 

During his time with STC, the D.C. company constructed and opened Sidney Harman Hall, a $90 million theatre in downtown Washington and received the 2012 Regional Theatre Tony Award. Jennings also led the artistic transition from founder Michael Kahn to Artistic Director Simon Godwin and guided the company through the 2008 recession and the COVID-19 pandemic, tripling the company’s financial reserves. He also developed a collaboration with the Nederlander Organization to premiere Once Upon a One More Time, which became the biggest-selling show in STC history and is now in previews on Broadway. 

MTC’s 2023- 2024 season will include the world premiere of Jaja’s African Hair Braiding, written by Jocelyn Bioh and directed by Whitney White, at Broadway's Friedman Theatre; the New York premiere of Poor Yella Rednecks, written by Qui Nguyen and directed by May Adrales; and the world premiere of Brooklyn Laundry, written and directed by John Patrick Shanley, on Stage I at New York City Center; with more to be announced. 

MTC also recently announced that Kwame Kwei-Armah will join MTC as artistic advisor starting in the upcoming season.

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