Ethan Heard and Anika Chapin Join Virginia's Signature Theatre Artistic Team | Playbill

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Regional News Ethan Heard and Anika Chapin Join Virginia's Signature Theatre Artistic Team

The two join Matthew Gardiner, Jorge Acevedo, Mark G. Meadows, and Chelsea Pace.

Ethan Heard and Anika Chapin Christopher Mueller

Ethan Heard and Anika Chapin have joined the artistic team at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia. Heard is Signature’s new associate artistic director, and Chapin is now the director of artistic development.

The two join previously appointed artistic staff Casting Director/Manager of Artistic Programs Jorge Acevedo, Director of Signature Cabarets Mark G. Meadows, and Resident Intimacy Consultant Chelsea Pace. Signature’s new artistic team, under the leadership of Artistic Director Matthew Gardiner, is now complete.

Chelsea Pace, Anika Chapin, Jorge Acevedo, Matthew Gardiner, Ethan Heard, and Mark G. Meadows

Christopher Mueller

“One of the first priorities I announced when I was appointed in July was to build a new artistic team for Signature, adding collaborators who will be vital parts of the theatre's artistic future,” says Gardiner. “I’m grateful and excited that with these final appointments I am surrounded by a strong team who will bring new ideas, introduce us to new artists, challenge assumptions, and bring their unique artistry and experiences to Signature.”

“I grew up in D.C. and saw my very first Sondheim show at Signature when I was 13, Sunday in the Park with George. Next up? A Little Night Music. I remember sitting in the fourth row, totally enrapt,”  adds Heard. “I’ve watched with awe and admiration as the company has flourished since then, becoming the leading interpreter of Sondheim’s canon and a vibrant home for cutting-edge musicals and plays. I’m honored to join Matthew, Maggie, Anika, and the whole team in forging Signature’s next chapter. As a leader who creates theatre to build community and foster love, I’m thrilled to bring my experiences as an innovator in opera, an advocate for inclusion, and a queer Chinese-American to this collaboration. To channel Mr. Sondheim: ‘More light!’”

“I couldn’t be happier to be joining the team at Signature Theatre,” says Chapin. “I have long admired Signature’s commitment to nurturing vibrant new musical talents and projects, and it’s a commitment that is needed now more than ever before. It is a challenging time for the American theatre, but there are so many exciting artists creating bold and wonderful new musicals right now, I am convinced that, to quote Sondheim, 'something is stirring.' With Matthew Gardiner at the helm and the rest of the stellar team at Signature, I look forward to shepherding the future of the American musical into the present.”

Heard is co-founder and departing artistic director of New York City’s Heartbeat Opera, where his adaptation of Beethoven’s Fidelio, re-envisioned through the lens of Black Lives Matter, featured more than 100 incarcerated singers from six prison choirs. He has also reimagined several classic musicals and plays and shepherded new works by Marisa Michelson, Mark Campbell, Rene Orth, Mel Marvin, Jonathan Levi, and Daniel Schlosberg. Heard is also co-founder and creative director of Mind’s Eye Producing, and teaches acting and directing at Yale, where he earned his BA and MFA.

Chapin was most recently the artistic associate and resident dramaturg at Goodspeed Musicals, where she developed new musicals for production, the Festival of New Musicals, and the Johnny Mercer Writers’ Grove residency program. She was previously the literary manager at New Jersey's Two River Theater and the producer of Encores! Unscripted, a discussion series about topics in theatre created by WNYC and City Center Encores! She is the co-creator and co-host of Know the Show, a podcast about musicals, and has been a guest professor Yale University, the University of Florida, and Berklee College of Music, and taught Script and Score Analysis at Pace University. Chapin was a frequent assistant director for Thomas Kail and John Rando and holds an MFA in Dramaturgy from Columbia University and a BA in Cultural Anthropology from Vassar College.

The Signature Theatre is currently presenting Quiara Alegría Hudes' Daphne's Dive through March 20 and the classic musical She Loves Me through April 24. Visit


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