While the roster of shows for the 2019–2020 season are locked in at most theatre companies around America, there have been some big changes in leadership. Read on to see who got a new job during the summer hiring months.
Looking for a job in the performing arts yourself? Visit Playbill Jobs or subscribe to the new newsletter for opportunities suited for the full spectrum of theatre professionals—from actors and musicians to technical and administrative fields.
David J. Kitto
Executive Director at The National Theatre Corporation (Washington, D.C.)
Kitto brings experience from The Kennedy Center in D.C. and The Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center in La Jolla to the non-profit entity responsible for The National Theatre in Washington, D.C. "I am very excited to become part of this storied place in American theatrical history and to play a role in its restoration and advancement," said Kitto. "This institution is important to our cultural heritage and it is an honor to be chosen to lead it." The 2019–2020 season includes Rent –The 20th Anniversary Tour, Latin History for Morons, Fiddler on the Roof, The King's Speech, and The Last Ship, starring Sting.
Melissa Vartanian-Mikaelian, May Andrales, and Laura Braza
Managing Director, Associate Artistic Director, and Artistic Producer, respectively, at Milwaukee Repertory Theater (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
With 17 years at the theatre company, Vartanian-Mikaelian was promoted to her new role. "She knows this theatre inside and out and continues to prove herself an influential leader," said executive director Chad Bauman. Adrales has directed productions across America, including Qui Nguyen's Vietgone. Braza comes from the Attic Theater Company and has already directed four shows at Milwaukee Rep. West Side Story, The Niceties, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and Danai Gurira’s Eclipsed are all a part of the 2019–2020 season.
Leah C. Johnson
Chief Communications and Marketing Manager at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (New York City, NY)
Johnson comes to Lincoln Center after founding her own communications group, LCJ Solutions, and time at Citigroup. "Throughout her extraordinary career, Leah has shown tremendous insight, creativity, and commitment to civic responsibility and the spirit of community," said President and CEO Henry Timms. "All of these are core to who we are at Lincoln Center. Leah will be a phenomenal asset as we seek to highlight the vitally important role of the arts."
Senior Vice President, Creative Development and Strategy at Madison Square Garden Company (New York, New York)
Academy Award-winning producer Reed (Paperman, Feast) will drive the development of creative content for the company’s venues, reporting to recent addition Jennifer Vogt. "The opportunity to create ground-breaking visuals and tell stories on such a powerful platform is irresistible," said Reed. "I'm excited to join this team of passionate creative colleagues and bring the visionary potential of MSG Sphere to life."
Artistic Director at Skylight Music Theatre (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
Unger has worked with The York Theatre in New York City and helped found NewArts after the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. "Michael has the rare combination of experience directing both musicals and operas, as well as a passion for education, as evidenced by his amazing work," said Skylight Executive Director Jack R. Lemmon. Skylight's upcoming 60th anniversary season includes Oklahoma!, Newsies, The Gospel at Colonus, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Evita, and Candide.
Co-VP of Programming for the League of Professional Theater Women
Balardini recently received a 2019 Social Impact & Arts Innovator award at the Essence of a Boss conference. Additionally, the philanthropist received an official proclamation from The National Council of Women of the United States for her humanitarian work dedicated to the empowerment of women. She'll continue this mission with LPTW, which presents public programming, advocacy projects, and more in the strive for gender parity.