Manhattan Theatre Club Names Chris Jennings as Executive Director

A headshot of Chris Jennings

Manhattan Theatre Club (MTC) has selected Chris Jennings as Executive Director, following an executive search process led by Arts Consulting Group (ACG). He began his tenure on June 15, 2023.

An executive arts leader and theater producer with over 30 years of experience in the performing arts, Jennings arrives to MTC after closing off his 19th season at Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC). He achieved incredible feats in furthering the theater’s mission, including managing the development, construction, and opening of the Sidney Harman Hall, a $90 million performing arts center. Other notable programming he developed included a collaboration with The Nederlander Organization to premiere Once Upon a One More Time, which became the biggest-selling show in STC’s history, and District Shakespeare, a model accessibility program which partnered with 53 public and charter schools to provide 10th-grade students with the chance to experience live performances of Shakespeare and other classical works. He received the 2012 Regional Theatre Tony Award during his tenure at STC.

He has served on the Boards of the Theatre Washington, Theatre Communications Group / International Theatre Institute, ARC Community Center, D.C. Downtown BID, and the Penn Quarter Neighborhood Association, and is a member of the League of Resident Theatres (where he has served on AEA and SSDC Negotiating Committees).

Jennings has served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, Mid Atlantic Arts Council, Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, and the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Jennings received a bachelor of fine arts in theater & music at the University of Miami and master of fine arts in theater management at the Yale School of Drama.

In making the announcement, David C. Hodgson, Chairman of the MTC Board of Directors, said, “Chris Jennings brings a wealth of experience to his new role at MTC. After a broad national search, Chris stood out for his strong theater chops, the quality of his body of work at Shakespeare Theatre Company, and familiarity with MTC from his time with us as an Administrative Fellow here in 1996. The board is eager to begin our new partnership with him.”

“I’m thrilled to return home to MTC, where I began my career and was mentored by Barry Grove,” said Jennings. “I’m truly excited to partner with Lynne Meadow in building on her success and helping to continue to create an artistic home for the most talented artists working in the theatre today. It is thrilling that in the first few months alone, we’ll be working on new plays by Jocelyn Bioh, Qui Nguyen, John Patrick Shanley, and more. It is with mixed emotions that I take this next step after 19 seasons with STC. My time here has meant more to me than words can say. STC is well positioned for the future with dynamic artistic work and the most dedicated and talented staff.”

“The search included extensive and proactive recruitment of a wide range of diverse candidates from the theater field, Broadway, performing arts sector, and other creative industries,” said ACG President Bruce D. Thibodeau. “ACG presented 15 extremely experienced candidates to the MTC search committee, who then advanced seven to the finalist round of interviews with board, staff, and Artistic Director Lynne Meadow, before selecting Chris Jennings, who has deep experience in nonprofit, commercial, and Broadway theater sectors. ACG wishes the entire MTC team the very best during this exciting time in its history.”

July 2023

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