"I am delighted to tell you that Patrick Healy is joining our outstanding presidential campaign team as a national political correspondent," the Washington Bureau Chief and Political Editor Carolyn Ryan wrote in an e-mail that Healy shared on his Facebook page.
"Patrick is an uncommonly gifted reporter, supple writer and journalistic innovator whose career has taken him from Dover, N.H., to Afghanistan, Iraq, two presidential campaigns and the star-crossed production of Spider-Man on Broadway.
"His groundbreaking coverage of theater has perceptively examined Broadway through the lens of culture and business, and he has traveled the globe capturing theater trends, personalities and emerging talents."
Ryan wrote that Healy will collaborate with national political correspondent Jonathan Martin, who is leading their election coverage.
"I really loved the theatre beat," Healy told Playbill.com. "I’d been doing it for six years. It’s been great for me personally as well as professionally. Another challenge might be exciting. And I love covering the theatre of politics – the issues and the characters." Healy shared some of his memories of reporting for the Times, saying two of his favorite stories were an article charting the musical Next to Normal's journey to Broadway and reporting on the investment scandals involving the musical Rebecca.
"I began asking questions about why it was delayed that August. I wasn’t satisfied with the answers I was getting," he said of reporting on Rebecca. "I kept pushing and pushing. I finally got to the point where we were going to write a front page story declaring that there was no evidence that the investors existed. It’s kind of scary as a reporter to put that story under your byline that these people are phantoms. You never know – someone could come out of the woodwork!"
Healy also recalled reporting on the long-delayed, famously troubled musical Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark, saying, "[They were] just such great colorful, smart, talented characters who got caught in a very human story about trying to put on a show that they could be proud of... all of the machinations that happened with it. It was such an incredible breakthrough story in the culture. It became a talking point on 'Saturday Night Live' and the late shows and the New Yorker cover."
Healy said some of his favorite performances from the six years he spent reporting on theatre include Next to Normal, American Idiot and Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and his most exciting interviews include Tom Stoppard and John Cameron Mitchell.
Healy previously covered Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign and served as the New York political correspondent. He wrote for the Boston Globe, reporting on Sen. John Kerry's presidential campaign, wars and higher education, before moving to the New York Times. Healy's coverage of higher education was a finalist for the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Beat Reporting.
"I’ve loved theatre so much," Healy said. "Being able to write about it from a news and business and feature perspective and write about it dispassionately, yet still be so thrilled to be watching shows... I'd would love to write freelance theatre stories [for the Times] from time to time, if they’ll have me.
"If Rebecca ever comes to Broadway, I will definitely be there," he added.