Alexander Gemignani, who is currently playing King George III in the Chicago company of Hamilton, has been named the artistic director of The Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center's National Music Theater Conference.
Gemignani will succeed founding Artistic Director Paulette Haupt, who will step down in August after 40 seasons at the helm. Gemignani, who will begin his tenure in the fall, will become the second artistic director in the Conference’s history. Since its founding in 1978, the National Music Theater Conference has developed more than 132 new musicals, including early versions of Nine, Violet, Avenue Q, In Transit, and In the Heights.
“I am deeply honored that Preston Whiteway and the board of the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center have selected me to help shape the next generation of groundbreaking musicals,” said Gemignani in a statement. “The O’Neill’s stellar reputation of cultivating work that challenges, stimulates, and inspires is one I'm thrilled to continue. I have enormous respect for my predecessor, Paulette Haupt, whose passion and insight have helped make the O'Neill a safe haven for creation for the last 40 years. I'm invigorated by the challenge of honoring the foundation and legacy of the American musical, while looking ahead to include new theater makers with bold approaches to storytelling. In short, I cannot wait to get started.”
O’Neill Executive Director Preston Whiteway added, “The future of the American musical is bright, especially with Alexander Gemignani leading the National Music Theater Conference. His breadth of artistry across disciplines—as a composer, actor, director, music director, and teacher—give him a unique understanding of the demands of the form, and its infinite possibilities. I’m very excited to welcome him to the O’Neill, and by doing so, support and launch the next wave of American musical theater artists.”
Current Artistic Director Haupt stated, “It gives me great pleasure to pass the baton on to Alexander Gemignani as the new leader of the National Music Theater Conference. Of course it is bittersweet to leave, but timely for me and for the O’Neill to gain new perspectives and rise to new challenges. With such a multi-talented artist at the helm I have no doubt of the Conference’s continued strong legacy. I wish him well and look forward to returning to the O’Neill time and time again as a visitor. They say the time to leave a position and a place is when you still love it, and that is certainly the case for me. There is no place like the O’Neill.”
Gemignani's Broadway acting credits include Violet, Chicago, Les Misérables, Sweeney Todd, Assassins, The People In The Picture, and Sunday in the Park With George. As a composer/lyricist, he is currently developing four new musicals and has composed the incidental music for several plays. As a musical director, he is in development for productions with The Public Theater and Roundabout Theatre Company. He has served on the faculty of the National Theater Institute and NYU. He is a member of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop and a graduate of the University of Michigan.
Selections for the 2017 summer season have just been announced: Home Street Home by Soma Snakeoil, Fat Mike, and Jeff Marx with David Goldsmith; iLLA! A Hip Hop Musical by Ronvé O'Daniel, Jevares C. Myrick, and J Kyle Manzay; and Superhero by John Logan and Tom Kitt. Selected from 211 submissions, each musical will undergo a development process, employing professional creative and support staff, including directors, music directors, dramaturgs, performers, and orchestrators to bring this interdisciplinary form of storytelling to life.
Check out photos from the Chicago production of Hamilton below: