STORRS. Connecticut Repertory Theatre (CRT) has announced that Vincent J. Cardinal, Connecticut Repertory Theatre Artistic Director and Head of the Department of Dramatic Arts at the University of Connecticut will step down from his position at the end of July. Cardinal, who is departing at the conclusion of the popular 2016 Nutmeg Summer Series, will become the Arthur and Martha Hearron Endowed Professor of Musical Theatre, Chair of the Department of Musical Theatre and Professor of Music, School of Music, Theatre and Dance at the University of Michigan.
Cardinal is currently directing the first two shows of the 2016 Nutmeg Summer Series. First up is a “How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” starring “The Love Boat’s” Fred Grandy and Broadway’s Riley Costello. This production marks the sixth season, in which Cardinal has partnered with music director John Pike and choreographer Cassie Abate.
“Working with Abate and our sumer musical directors, John Pike and NDavid Williams, for the past six years has allowed us to develop a process that results in complex professional productions that area audiences have embraced. It is our enthusiastic summer audience that keeps the theatre alive,” said Cardinal.
The final show that Cardinal will direct as the Artistic Director will be “Peter and the Starcatcher” by Rick Elice, based on the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. Cardinal will join long-time collaborator and music director NDavid Williams.
Cardinal adds, “I’m very excited about the team that we have put together for Starcatcher. I have enjoyed working with NDavid since our time together at the Jerry Herman Ring Theatre. Our design team is incredibly talented with Obie Award winning Lighting Designer and UConn professor Michael Chybowski and Live Design Award winning Scenic Designer and UConn professor Tim Brown, both summer veterans. New this summer is UConn Professor of Costume Design, Christina Bullard.”
Anne D’Alleva, Dean of UConn’s School of Fine Arts said, “Of course we’re sorry to see Vince leave UConn but thrilled that he has a wonderful opportunity at Michigan. We’re very grateful to Vince for all of his many contributions here, and will always regard him as part of the School of Fine Arts creative community. We’ll enjoy all the more this special opportunity to appreciate his work in two shows this summer, ‘How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying’ and ‘Peter and the Starcatcher.’”
The cast features UConn alum and Tony Award-nominee Forrest McClendon, Barrymore Award-winner Michael Doherty, and Split Knuckle Theatre ensemble members Gregory Webster and Jason Bohon.
“Starcatcher developed out of a devised rehearsal process – so it is great to have experts in devised theatre from Split Knuckle as a part of the ensemble. Forrest and I have wanted to work together for a long time, and I saw Michael perform last summer at Utah Shakespeare Festival – where he distinguished himself as a world class comic actor,” said Cardinal.
Under Cardinal’s leadership for the past six years, Connecticut Repertory Theatre grew in prominence on the regional and national stage. He directed three-time Tony Award-nominee Terrence Mann in My Fair Lady and Man of La Mancha and Tony Award-winner Leslie Uggams as Rose in Gypsy. Under Cardinal’s leadership, UConn added an MFA Arts Administration program, as well as online certificate programs for Puppet Arts and Arts Administration. He also lead the initiative that will result in the Department of Dramatic Art’s new state of the art Production Facility, which will break ground this summer. Cardinal will take over the leadership position as the Arthur and Martha Hearron Endowed Professor of Musical Theatre, Chair of the Department of Musical Theatre and Professor of Music, School of Music Theatre and Dance at the University of Michigan. The University of Michigan is a top musical-theatre program that has a long tradition of producing Broadway stars such as Celia and Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Gavin Creel, Hunter Foster, Andrew Lippa as well as Barret Foa and Courtney Balan, who led CRT’s The Music Man in 2013.
Connecticut Repertory Theatre is a resident professional company that serves as the professional producing arm of UConn’s Department of Dramatic Arts. The theatre is close to announcing a successor as the Artistic Director and Department Head to work alongside CRT Managing Director Matthew J. Pugliese.