Director Anne Kauffman and Tony-winning composer Jeanine Tesori have been named co-artistic directors for the 2018 Encores! Off-Center season.
Tesori was the founding artistic director of Encores! Off-Center, leading the series for four seasons. The late Michael Friedman took over the position last summer.
Encores! Off-Center was founded in 2013 with the mission of presenting Off-Broadway musicals that “pushed creative boundaries when they were first produced.” Filtered through the lens of today’s artists, these shows are presented not as historical documents but as “living, vital works that speak to audiences both new and old.”
Notable past productions include Violet with Sutton Foster (which transferred to Broadway); tick, tick…BOOM! with Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom, Jr., and Karen Olivo; A New Brain with Jonathan Groff; Little Shop of Horrors with original stage and screen star Ellen Greene and Jake Gyllenhaal; Elizabeth Swados’ Runaways; and The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin with Nikki M. James.
In keeping with City Center’s founding mission to make the arts accessible to all, many Off-Center tickets are $25.
“Encores! Off-Center began a new phase last summer under the direction of Michael Friedman, which was tragically cut short,” said New York City Center President and CEO Arlene Shuler in a statement. “We are fortunate to welcome two of his good friends and colleagues as guest co-artistic directors to lead us through this transitional year. Both Jeanine and Anne have connections to the Off-Center series. As founding artistic director, Jeanine served as a champion for the work of other artists for four seasons and we were delighted to welcome Anne to the Off-Center family last summer as the director of Assassins. It is always difficult to move on from such a loss, but as an institution it is essential that we continue the mission of Off-Center and bring these important works to a new audience.”
Kauffman’s recent credits include Mary Jane and Hundred Days (NYTW); Marvin’s Room (Roundabout); Assassins (City Center Encores! Off-Center); A Life (Lortel and Drama Desk nominations); Marjorie Prime (Lucille Lortel and Drama League Award nominations); Detroit, Your Mother’s Copy of the Kama Sutra, and Maple and Vine (Playwrights Horizons); Sundown Yellow Moon (Ars Nova, WP); The Nether and Smokefall (MCC); Buzzer (The Public); Belleville (Lucille Lortel Award nomination, NYTW, and Yale Rep); You Got Older (Drama Desk Award nomination, P73 Productions); The Muscles in Our Toes (Labyrinth Theater Company); Somewhere Fun and God’s Ear (New Georges and Vineyard Theater); and Stunning and Slowgirl (LCT3).
Tesori won the Tony Award for Best Original Score with Lisa Kron for the musical Fun Home, and has also written Tony-nominated scores for Twelfth Night at Lincoln Center; Thoroughly Modern Millie (lyrics, Dick Scanlan); Caroline, or Change (lyrics, Tony Kushner); and Shrek The Musical (lyrics, David Lindsay-Abaire). The production of Caroline, or Change at the National Theatre in London received the Olivier Award for Best New Musical. Her 1997 Off-Broadway musical Violet (lyrics, Brian Crawley) opened on Broadway in 2014 and garnered four Tony nominations, including Best Musical Revival.
The lineup of productions for the summer season will be announced at a later date.