STORRS. Connecticut Repertory Theatre (CRT) has named Michael Bradford the new Artistic Director beginning in August. Bradford will succeed Vincent J. Cardinal, who is departing at the conclusion of the Nutmeg Summer Series to become the 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. Bradford will also serve as the Department Head of Dramatic Arts at UConn.
Anne D’Alleva, Dean of the School of Fine Arts said, “I’m delighted to welcome Michael Bradford in a new role at UConn, as Department Head and CRT Artistic Director. Michael has been an outstanding interdisciplinary collaborator and has developed wonderful new initiatives, like the Open Doors play reading series. His focus on new play development will open up exciting opportunities for Connecticut Repertory Theatre.”
Michael Bradford is a playwright and has served on the faculty at UConn since 2001. His play Living in the Wind premiered in 2000 at The American Place Theatre with Chad L. Coleman (TV’s The Wire, The Walking Dead), and received 10 AUDELCO Theatre nominations. Bradford’s play Olives and Blood was produced at Connecticut Repertory Theatre in October 2014. The play premiered in New York City in 2012 and was produced at Brixton East in London in 2013.
Michael Bradford has developed several plays through the Lark Play Development Center in New York City. His play Father and Sons received its world premiere at ACT in Seattle in 2008. His latest play, Migration, received its world premiere in April at eta Creative Arts Theatre in Chicago, IL. He has received the Manhattan Theatre Club Playwright fellowship, the LARK Theatre Writers Residency and the New York Stage and Film Residency. His plays received readings and workshops at the Manhattan Theatre Club, LARK Theatre, the Ensemble Studio Theatre, Connecticut Repertory Theatre, the Steppenwolf Theatre and the Actors Theatre of Louisville.
Chad L. Coleman offered, “Michael Bradford is one of the most gifted writers of our times. With two tour de force plays in which I starred, Living in the Wind and Willie’s Cut and Shine. Ensemble storytelling at it’s best as he comprehensively tells the universal story of African American life in two distinct eras. His talent is rivaled only by his parental skills and his humanity. You’ve got a gem!”
Martín Solá, who currently in On Your Feet! The Musical on Broadway, and played the lead in Bradford’s Olives and Blood in 2014 added, “I had the good fortune of working on Michael Bradford’s play Olives and Blood at CRT. We quickly developed a friendship and a mutual admiration for each other. He is passionate about his work and he provides an important and diverse voice to the American Theater. As both an accomplished professor and playwright with his finger on the pulse of contemporary theater, I cannot think of a better person to become the Department Head and Artistic Director of CRT.”
Connecticut Repertory Theatre is a resident professional company that serves as the professional producing arm of UConn’s Department of Dramatic Arts. Bradford’s duties will include administrative leadership of the department as well as artistic leadership of the theatre company. He will work alongside the theatre’s managing director, Matthew J. Pugliese.
“I am honored to have worked under the leadership and experience of Vincent Cardinal through his tenure. I can’t thank him enough for the open and creative environment he provided and certainly fair winds follow him to his next position. Looking forward, I am extremely excited to be working closely with the talented and passionate faculty and staff at the Connecticut Repertory Theatre and the Department of Dramatic Arts as we continue to focus on educating and training the next generation of artists to make their mark on stage and film,” said Bradford.
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.
Departing Artistic Director Vincent Cardinal says, “I am so appreciative of the supportive CRT community and the talented students, faculty, administration and staff with whom I’ve been honored to work. Michael Bradford is one of our most exciting teachers and an active playwright who will, no doubt, carry forward the Department’s mission to produce exciting theatre while developing the next generation of theatre artists and scholars.”
CRT is the professional producing arm of the Department of Dramatic Arts at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. CRT productions are directed, designed by, and cast with visiting professional artists, including Equity actors, faculty members, and the department’s most advanced student artists. The synergy between professional and advanced student artists creates extraordinary theatre and a unique learning environment.