Seattle Repertory Theatre and the greater theatre community suffered an enormous loss with the sudden passing of Artistic Director Jerry Manning on April 30. Complications arose after Jerry underwent a routine procedure in March. He was a beloved leader, artist, mentor, and friend.
Mr. Manning was an advocate for new work, emerging artists, and the Seattle community. His tenure as Artistic Director was defined by his passion for new play development. During his four seasons at the helm, the Rep commissioned 13 new works (nine by Seattle writers) and world premiered four plays. Three more will make their stage debut next season.
Mr. Manning joined Seattle Rep in 2000 as Associate Artistic Director overseeing casting and artist relations; in 2008, he was named Producing Artistic Director. Seattle directing credits include included I Am My Own Wife by Doug Wright, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, boom by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb; Thom Pain (based on nothing) by Will Eno; Autobahn by Neil LaBute; Drunken Stallion by Chris Haddad; Swine Maiden and Jump Start by Tina La Plant; Critical Mass by Scott Augustson; works in the 365 Days/365 Plays project by Suzan-Lori Parks; Stone in His Pockets by Marie Jones; Another Day in Baghdad by David A. Tucker II; Waiting by Jenny Mercein; John Lennon's Gargoyle, Bliss and Washington My Home by Bryan Willis; and Past/Perfect by Jenny Mercein, Kelly Conway, and Glenn Allen.
Other directing credits include work at New Dramatists, New York Theatre Workshop, The Kennedy Center, The Studio Theatre, Source, Adirondack Theatre, Washington Stage Guild, and Signature Theatre. Jerry has directed perhaps four-dozen readings and workshops of new plays around the country. As a producer, Mr. Manning has been on staff at Seattle Rep for 13 seasons, at New York Theatre Workshop for seven seasons, and at Arena Stage for 11 seasons.
From 1995 through 2000 Jerry served as an Artistic Associate for New York Theatre Workshop (NYTW) where he functioned as the company's Literary Manager and Casting Director. Jerry started his career in theatre at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. and over the span of 11 seasons there he worked in fundraising, literary management, and casting.
Jerry also did extensive casting work in film and television including Ken Burn's The Civil War, Forrest Gump, The Pelican Brief and many others. He conducted workshops at graduate theater departments (UW, University of Montana, Yale, et al) and had an ongoing relationship with the National Endowment for the Arts where he served as a reader, site reporter and peer panelist.
An all-around theatre practitioner, Mr. Manning’s loss will be felt by many in the field. A Celebration of Life to honor Jerry and his incredible legacy was held June 2, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. at Seattle Repertory Theatre. In lieu of flowers, the Manning family encourages donations to the Rep to help sustain the art that made Jerry so very happy.