News of Russo's new position was mentioned in an April 24 announcement of his departure as general manager at Playwrights Horizons — his Off-Broadway post since spring of 2000. Former Second Stage managing director Carol Fishman assumes Russo's job at Playwrights Horizons.
Russo has previously served as associate general manager for Manhattan Theatre Club and, before that, was an associate producer with London West End impresario David Pugh. Russo, the current vice-president of the League of Off-Broadway Theatres and Producers, also works as an Adjunct Assistant Professor of the Theatre Division for Columbia University's School of the Arts.
"As we face what are promising to be challenging times ahead," said NYTW artistic director James C. Nicola in an official announcement, "I can think of no better person to collaborate with than Billy Russo, helping to steer NYTW into an abundant—and stable—future. He brings a native ingenuity and creativity that have been burnished by years of experience in several outstanding theatre companies, and all of us at NYTW eagerly await his arrival."
Nicola alludes to the recent news that NYTW cut its budget by $1 million, which led to the layoff of its production staff. Previous reports noted that the decrease in budget was partly due to the impending closing of Broadway's Rent. The musical, developed at NYTW, has provided the Off-Broadway company with royalties for more than a decade.
The upcoming season will see only three mainstage productions and the previously announced Encores!-like series featuring scaled-down revival concert versions of Off-Broadway musicals. The company can be found on the web at nytw.org..