Chicago Theatre Names Interim Successor for Director Who Died in Car Crash | Playbill

News Chicago Theatre Names Interim Successor for Director Who Died in Car Crash The Chicago-based American Theater Company has named Bonnie Metzgar as interim artistic director, effective immediately. She succeeds P.J. Paparelli, director of the innovative company, who died May 21 of injuries suffered in a car crash in Scotland, where he was vacationing.

P.J. Paparelli
P.J. Paparelli

Paparelli was 40. During Paparelli's seven-year tenure, ATC took risks with documentary-style plays including Columbinus (about the Columbine High School shootings) and “The Project(s)," along with the world premiere of Ayad Akhtar's controversial Disgraced, which won the Pulitzer Prize and moved to Broadway where it was nominated for a 2015 Tony Award as Best Play.

Metzgar, a playwright, director, producer and former artistic director of About Face Theatre, had an ongoing relationship with ATC. Earlier this season she directed ATC's Let Me Down Easy by Anna Deavere Smith. The ATC Board announced it will conduct a national search for new permanent leadership for the theatre. Details on a Chicago memorial service for Paparelli will be announced shortly.

“We are pleased to welcome Bonnie back to ATC, where her artistic leadership will be invaluable during this transition," said ATC Board President Nancy Shields. “Bonnie will help us identify the right leader to carry on PJ's legacy of developing new work in Chicago and telling vital stories about what it means to be an American.” Paparelli’s final production, the world premiere "The Project(s)," a documentary play on Chicago’s public housing, will continue at ATC as scheduled through June 21.

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