New York City Center has named Lear deBessonet the first resident director of the institution's Encores! series. In the newly formed position, she will be involved in repertoire selection, production artists, and casting while also further promoting Encores!' audience outreach initiatives. She will also occasionally direct Encores! productions.
The Obie-winning director and Public Works founder joins Artistic Director Jack Viertel and Music Director Rob Berman on the creative team, as well as Off-Center Artistic Director Anne Kauffman and Artistic Advisor Jeanine Tesori.
“I’m so proud to be part of the great cultural tradition of Encores! at City Center,” deBessonet said in a statement. “I have loved City Center from the moment I walked through the door and am invested in ensuring that as many New Yorkers as possible get to enjoy the splendor of dance, music, and theater it has to offer.”
“To have someone with her broad understanding of where musical theatre has been and where it is going—along with Rob Berman and myself—is going to help us take the program into its next phase armed with wider horizons, full of unexplored possibilities and delights yet undiscovered,” added Viertel. “And, of course, she’s a director of unique personal vision, which will again find its way to the City Center stage.”
DeBessonet has previously directed the Encores! presentation of Big River and the Off-Center production of Pump Boys and Dinettes at City Center. As a resident director at the Public Theatre and founder of the organization's Public Works program, she has helmed community-driven musical adaptations of The Tempest, The Winter's Tale, and The Odyssey. Additional credits include Good Person of Szechwan, Miss You Like Hell, and Venus.
The 2019 Encores! series, as part of City Center's 75th anniversary season, continues February 6 with Call Me Madam starring Carmen Cusack, with I Married an Angel and High Button Shoes on the horizon.