The Arizona Theatre Company Board of Trustees has named Billy Russo as full-time Managing Director to complete the executive management team following the announcement that David Ivers will assume responsibilities as Artistic Director beginning July 1.
Russo, who has served as Acting Managing Director since 2015, collaborated with current Artistic Director David Ira Goldstein, staff and the Board of Trustees to help ATC navigate through a period of serious financial challenges in 2016 and helped plan and executive the critically and financially successful 50th anniversary season.
The 50th anniversary season comes to a close on May 28 with the final performance of the world premiere of Holmes and Watson, now on stage at the Herberger Theater Center.
“Billy not only brings an incredible depth of theater company and artistic management experience to ATC, he already knows the Arizona cultural landscape and community and has a first-hand understanding of Arizona Theatre Company. He doesn’t need to hit the ground running because he’s already covered so much ground,” said Lynne Wood Dusenberry, chair of the ATC Board of Trustees. “We head into our next half century extremely confident and excited about the future of Arizona Theatre Company, buoyed by a highly experienced and motivated management team, a tremendously dedicated staff and committed board, and a solid financial base.”
Russo assumed executive management duties in October 2015, according to a news release. He came to ATC as part of a consulting team from Albert Hall & Associates, a full-service consulting and executive recruiting firm that assisted the company in conducting the national search resulting in Ivers’ hiring. Previously, Russo had been Managing Director of the award-winning American Repertory Theater, Managing Director of New York Theatre Workshop and General Manager of Playwrights Horizons, a major off-Broadway company.
While Russo was with American Repertory Theater, the company produced a 50 percent increase in contributed income. At New York Theatre Workshop, he developed and implemented a strategy toward achieving organizational stability that included restructuring staff, administration and programmatic costs, retiring a $1.3 million deficit and rebuilding cash reserves. The company also produced the world premieres of Once and Peter and the Starcatcher, both of which transferred to Broadway, garnering 13 of the 26 competitive Tony Awards in 2012.
He joins ATC as it heads into the 51st season with a lineup chosen by David Ira Goldstein and on the heels of the nearly-completed 2016-17 season which broke box office records for single ticket tales, saw a 16 percent increase in subscription sales over the previous year and a 25 percent increase in contributed income above the past ten-year average.
“Our 50th anniversary season has been an overwhelming success on every level,” Dusenberry said. “We expect to close the season with a six-figure operating surplus, improve our balance sheet by nearly $1 million and be in a strong financial position.”
The lineup for the 2017-18 Arizona Theatre Company season includes Neil Simon’s Chapter Two, directed by Marsha Mason (Tucson: Sept. 9-30; Phoenix: October 5-22); The River Bride by Marisela Treviño Orta and directed by Kinan Valdez (Tucson: Oct. 21 to Nov. 11; Phoenix: Nov. 16 to Dec. 3); Man of La Mancha, book by Dale Wasserman, lyrics by Joe Darion, music by Mitch Leigh, directed by David Bennett (Tucson: Dec. 2-31; Phoenix: Jan. 5-28, 2018);Outside Mullingar by John Patrick Shanley, directed by David Ivers (Tucson: Jan. 20 to Feb. 10; Phoenix: Feb. 15 to March 4); Low Down Dirty Blues, by Randal Myler and Dan Wheetman, directed by Randal Myler (Tucson: March 10-31; Phoenix: April 5-22); and The Diary of Anne Frank, dramatized by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, adapted by Wendy Kesselman, directed by David Ira Goldstein, a co-production with Geva Theatre Center of Rochester, NY (Tucson: April 21 to May 12; Phoenix: May 17 to June 3).
Season ticket packages are now available. Build-your-own subscriptions for 3, 4 or 5 play packages and Flex Passes also are on sale. Season-packages in Tucson range from $135 to $345 and in Phoenix from $135 to $435.
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