In late 2013, it was announced that Managing Director Ben Moore would retire from his post at Seattle Rep after nearly 30 years. In May 2014, Jeffrey Herrmann was appointed as the fifth Managing Director in Seattle Rep’s history. In this role, Jeff oversees all the administrative functions at Seattle Rep, including development, finance, marketing, operations, and Board relations.
New Play Festival
Seattle Rep launched a New Play Festival for its 50th anniversary season. In 2013, the New Play Festival featured a number of northwest writers, including Kit Bakke, Elizabeth Heffron, Justin Huertas, Samuel D. Hunter, and Robert Schenkkan.
Pictured: Justin Huertas and William A. Williams in an early workshop of Lizard Boy. Photo by Alan Alabastro.
Artistic Director Jerry Manning passed away unexpectedly in May 2014. In the words of Ben Moore, "Jerry was a force to be reckoned with at the Rep, equal parts collaborator and fearless leader. His biting sense of humor, irascible spirit, and sharp mind will be sorely missed by all who knew him.” Associate Artistic Director Braden Abraham was appointed Acting Artistic Director.
Jinkx Monsoon and Major Scales Come to Seattle Rep
The Vaudevillians (2014) brought the first production from world-renowned artists Jinkx Monsoon and Major Scales to the Leo K. stage. The duo would return in 2015 with a brand-new holiday show, Jinkx Monsoon and Major Scales: Unwrapped.
Pictured: Major Scales and Jinkx Monsoon in The Vaudevillians. Photo by Nate Watters.
Highlight: All the Way and The Great Society
Seattle Rep produced Robert Schenkkan's smash-hit All the Way in repertory with the Seattle Rep commissioned sequel, The Great Society, on the Bagley Wright stage. All the Way went on to a Tony Award-winning Broadway run in 2014, and The Great Society hit the Broadway stage in October 2019.
Pictured: The cast of The Great Society (2014). Photo by Chris Bennion.
Highlight: Lizard Boy World Premiere
Local actor, musician, and creator Justin Huertas' fan-favorite, Seattle Rep-commissioned production of Lizard Boy (2015) was brought to life on the Leo K. stage for its world premiere.
Pictured: Kirsten deLohr Helland, Justin Huertas, and William A. Williams in Lizard Boy. Photo by Alan Alabastro.
‘It’s a really thrilling time to be making theater in this community.’
The Other Season New Play Development Program Relaunched
Seattle Rep relaunched its new play development program, The Other Season, in 2015. The Other Season is devoted to developing new work from some of the most exciting local, national, and international artistic voices who are shaping the contemporary theater landscape.
Pictured: Steven Tran's The Sonata Years (2019) in a workshop through The Other Season. Photo by Angela Nickerson.
‘Our goal is to make Seattle a destination place for new plays’
Highlight: Broadway-Bound Come From Away Co-World Premiere
Seattle Rep and La Jolla Playhouse's smash-hit, co-world premiere musical Come From Away by Irene Sankoff and David Hein opened on the Bagley Wright stage in November 2015. This extended, patron-favorite production brought national attention to Seattle Rep, and continues to be one of the best-selling productions in Seattle Rep's history.
After its run at Seattle Rep and a few more productions across North America, Come From Away made its Broadway debut in October 2017 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, where it continues to play today. The show has had multiple sit-down productions open around the world, as well as national Broadway tours.
Pictured: The cast of Come From Away at Seattle Rep (2015). Photo by Chris Bennion.
Seattle Rep's Public Works Program Launches
After years of creating a foundation for a larger program, Seattle Rep's Public Works publicly launched in September 2016. Adapted from the nationally recognized model built by New York City's prestigious The Public Theater, Seattle Rep's Public Works partners with community-based organizations to invite folks from all walks of life to take classes, attend performances and events, and join in the creation of ambitious works of participatory theater. Through this process, strangers become neighbors, creating a region that is welcoming for all.
Pictured: Seattle Rep's Public Works participants at a community potluck at the theater (2016). Photo by Angela Nickerson.
‘Public Works is rooted in the values of Equity, Imagination, and Joy’
Highlight: Here Lies Loves Becomes Highest-Grossing Show in Seattle Rep History
Seattle Rep entirely reconfigured the Bagley Wright Theater to produce David Byrne's groundbreaking, immersive musical Here Lies Love. The musical quickly became a patron-favorite production and the highest-grossing show in Seattle Rep's history.
‘One of Seattle Rep’s most ambitious theatrical undertakings’
Seattle Rep's Public Works' First Production Opens: The Odyssey
Over 100 community ensemble members joined Equity actors and regional performance groups on the Bagley Wright stage to create the beautiful and dangerous world of The Odyssey (2017), Seattle Rep's Public Works' inaugural production.
Pictured: The cast of Seattle Rep's Public Works' The Odyssey (2017). Photo by Jim Bennett.
Renovation of the PONCHO Forum
The 2018 renovation of the PONCHO Forum allowed for the installation of state-of-the-art new theatrical sound and lighting systems, and audiovisual capabilities to ensure artists have the tools that they need to create theater of the highest caliber. For audiences and patrons, a new seating unit allows for more flexible and comfortable seating options, and a gorgeous window was installed that opens up our artistic process to observers outside.
Arts Engagement Department Created
In March 2019, Seattle Rep announced its revitalized commitment to community engagement with the onboarding of Nabra Nelson in the newly established, leadership position of Director of Arts Engagement. Dedicated wholeheartedly to its vision to put theater at the heart of public life, Seattle Rep created this new role specifically to more widely engage our diverse community by increasing access and connection to the artistic work that the organization is creating and championing.
Pictured: Director of Arts Engagement Nabra Nelson leading an Actor Talk with the cast of Nina Simone: Four Women (2019), including Shontina Vernon, Shaunyce Omar, and Britney Nicole Simpson. Photo by Angela Nickerson.
‘Throughout our seasons, we curate a variety of engagement events that deepen your experience’
Theater at the Heart of Public Life
Seattle Rep's 2019/20 season was announced in tandem with the theater's new visual brand, and mission, vision, and values.
‘Seattle Rep is a theater for everyone and we wanted our brand to reflect that.’
Highlight: Shout Sister Shout!
Cheryl L. West, Seattle Rep's most-produced living playwright, brought her new musical Shout Sister Shout! to the Bagley Wright stage, the story of the "Godmother of Rock 'n' Roll" Sister Rosetta Tharpe. After an initial run in California, the script was fully revamped and given life by a stellar cast and creative team at Seattle Rep in November 2019.
Pictured: Carrie Compere and the cast of Shout Sister Shout! at Seattle Rep (2019). Photo by Bronwen Houck.
‘The Seattle program continues to reach over 800 students each year from 18 different schools...’
Seattle Rep Goes Online
Seattle Rep, like all theaters and public venues, was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, Seattle Rep produced virtual workshops, panels, performances, podcast episodes, and more with the local community (and beyond, with the help of the further reach of virtual programming).
Pictured: The cast of Seattle Rep's Public Works' virtual production of the musical adaptation of Twelfth Night.
The Return to Live Theater
Seattle Rep returned to live theater with its 2021/22 Season, featuring Seattle Rep's first feature film production of the Public Works musical adaptation of The Winter's Tale, the co-commissioned production Fannie: The Life and Music of Fannie Lou Hamer, and the world-premiere musical Bruce, based on The Jaws Log.
‘Investing in local Native voices with the Native Artist-in-Residence Program’
A New Monologue Competition for a New Era
Seattle Rep and its theatrical partners across the country joined Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company in their launch of the Next Narrative Monologue Competition (NNMC). The NNMC features new works commissioned from fifty of America’s leading contemporary Black playwrights that engage students of all backgrounds in artful exploration of 21st century themes.
Renovation of the Bagley Wright Theater
Seattle Rep announced the first part of a three-year plan to remodel the Bagley Wright Theater to create a more welcoming and accessible theater experience for all. New seats were installed in the orchestra/main floor, followed by new seats in the balcony the following year. Renovations and upgrades will continue into 2024 and beyond.
A Season of Premieres and Raves
Seattle Rep's 2022/23 Season brought two world-premiere commissions (Mr. Dickens and His Carol and Lydia and the Troll), two Seattle-favorite artists (August Wilson's How I Learned What I Learned and Justin Huertas' Lydia and the Troll), and three highly popular productions (What the Constitution Means to Me, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, and Between Two Knees) to our stages.
Braden Abraham announced in October 2022 that he would be departing Seattle Rep to lead Writers Theatre in Chicago. After an in-depth search, on July 25, 2023, Seattle Rep proudly announced its eleventh Artistic Director, Dámaso Rodríguez.