Press Releases

Hangar Theatre Announces Jen Waldman as the New Artistic Director

July 26, 2013

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 Ithaca, NY (07/26/13) – After a nationwide search, the Hangar Theatre announces the appointment of Jen Waldman as Artistic Director. Her tenure will begin in mid-August when the theatre concludes its summer season. Waldman brings extensive Broadway, Off-Broadway, and regional theatre experience to her new role, having worked as a director, choreographer, actor, teacher, and movement coach based in New York City.

Waldman’s first season as the Hangar’s Artistic Director will coincide with the theatre’s 40th anniversary. With an eye on the Hangar’s past accomplishments, Waldman looks forward to having a positive impact on its future. “I want to see the Hangar grow as a cultural destination,” she says. “We will continue to serve our loyal audiences in the Finger Lakes region who have loved and supported the Hangar for 40 years. Additionally, we will be pursuing new opportunities for the Hangar to make important contributions to the American theatre.”

A graduate of Ithaca College, Waldman looks forward to re-immersing herself in the local community and ensuring that the Hangar continues to offer outstanding and diverse theatrical programs. “I fell in love with this theatre 20 years ago when, as a college student, I bought my first ticket to a Hangar production,” Waldman recalls. “I knew immediately that it was a special place. I'm thrilled to join the Board, the staff, and the audience as we launch the Hangar into its next remarkable era of boundless creative possibility.”

The Hangar management and Board of Trustees are eager to begin their partnership with Waldman. “Jen brings extraordinary talents, skills, and leadership experience to this position,” says Board President Shelley Semmler. “Our supporters will love her enthusiasm and passion for the Hangar and for our community. We believe that Jen will help us to refine our artistic programs in ways that are both pragmatic and inspired, responding to the realities of running a nonprofit theatre company while keeping our focus squarely on creating the best possible environment for artists to work, learn, and grow.”

Hangar Managing Director Josh Friedman has collaborated with Waldman in the past, including on The Gershwins’ An American in Paris at the Alley Theatre in Houston, for which she served as Associate Director. “I’ve known Jen for years, and I look forward to the two of us forging a partnership that will be rewarding for the Hangar and our entire community,” Friedman says. “Jen is a great choice for many reasons. She is an artist, a leader, and an educator. Her heart is already tied to the Hangar and the Ithaca arts community, and at the same time she will help us continue to forge rewarding connections with the New York theatre scene.”

Waldman is the founder of Jen Waldman Studio, a training ground for professional actors in New York City. In 2013, her students appeared in 13 Broadway shows. She has worked as a director and choreographer at numerous theatres including the George Street Playhouse, Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, Cape Playhouse, and Depot Theatre. As an actor, Waldman appeared on Broadway in Wicked and Titanic. She toured the country as Nessa Rose in the first national tour of Wicked and served as the dance captain for the first national tour of Titanic. She has also performed at regional theatres including Bay Street Theatre, Pioneer Theatre, North Shore Music Theatre, and Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS). She has taught at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and at the Shanghai Theatre Academy in China. She currently serves as the Theatre Chair for the National YoungArts Foundation and is a Founding Member and Co-Artistic Director of Breaking Bread Theatre.

“My career has been shaped by a healthy balance of artistic creation, education, and leadership,” Waldman says. “It seems natural that the next step is to join forces with an organization that shares my passion for creating outstanding theatrical experiences and advocating for arts education.”

In addition to shaping programming for the Hangar’s summer performance season, which includes both Mainstage productions and KIDDSTUFF performances for young audiences, Waldman will oversee the organization’s diverse education programs. She will support Hangar staff in continuing to provide theatre arts training to area fourth graders through the lauded Project 4 program; guide the Hangar’s long-time Lab Company program, which offers unique professional training to emerging directors, actors, choreographers, and playwrights; and help to shape other educational opportunities such as school tours and the Next Generation School of Theatre summer camp program.

The Hangar began its search earlier this year after the departure of Peter Flynn, who had been the theatre’s Artistic Director for five seasons. Stephanie Yankwitt has been serving as the Acting Artistic Director and will continue that role through the conclusion of the 2013 Mainstage season in mid-August.

Hangar Theatre is committed to providing exceptional theatre experiences of high professional quality to enrich, enlighten, educate, and entertain the diverse audience in the Finger Lakes region and beyond. Strong education and training programs are central parts of our commitment to the local and national artistic communities.  Visit our website at www.HangarTheatre.org.

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