Ford's Theatre Snags Alley's Managing Director to Lead DC Institution

News   Ford's Theatre Snags Alley's Managing Director to Lead DC Institution
Paul Tetreault, the managing director of the acclaimed Alley Theatre in Houston, has been hired as producing director to take over artistic and managerial operations of Ford's Theatre in Washingtion, DC.
Paul Tetreault
Paul Tetreault

Tetreault will be responsible for programming the season's new productions in addition to overseeing the theatre's administration and enhancing its role as a national cultural treasure. He starts March 1 and will be putting together the 2004-05 season at the historic venue.

Tetreault succeeds Frankie Hewitt who for three decades was the driving force behind Ford's Theatre becoming a producing house, focusing on the broad theme of the American experience. Hewitt oversaw renovations of the working theatre and museum, expanded audiences, is widely credited for her consistent enrichment of Washington's downtown theatre scene and for developing new American theatre works. She died in February 2003 of cancer at the age of 71.

"Washington is a city that has a reputation for consistently supporting and appreciating live performance, and the credit goes to people like Frankie Hewitt for earning that support and patronage," said Tetreault, in a statement. "I am excited to build on Frankie Hewitt's impressive legacy and also to cultivate new audiences and a new appreciation for Ford's Theatre."

Tetreault spent 10 years at the Alley Theatre, which is known for its world premieres, collaborations and dedication to classic American and world drama. During Tetreault's tenure, the theatre produced the world premiere of Horton Foote's The Carpetbagger's Children, Keith Reddin's Synergy and Eve Ensler's Lemonade, and the American premiere of Edward Albee's The Play About the Baby. Additionally, the theatre produced world premieres of the Frank Wildhorn musicals Jekyll & Hyde and The Civil War during this time. In 1999, the world premiere of Tennessee Williams' Not About Nightingales, a collaboration between the Alley, the Moving Theatre and Royal National Theatre, debuted on Broadway, earning a Tony Award nomination for Best Play.

Under Tetreault's leadership, the Alley successfully undertook ambitious fundraising and development projects, including turning five vacant floors on top of its 18-story parking garage into a 75,000-square-foot "theatre-making laboratory in the sky." The structure is now the nation's largest professional production facility at a regional theatre. Tetreault also worked to reduce the Alley's debt to zero two-years ahead of schedule and lead the theatre's $6 million recovery after Tropical Storm Allison. The theatre is now is at its strongest financial position in its 58-year history.

Ford's Theatre is billed as "a live, working theatre located in downtown Washington, DC. As a living tribute to President Abraham Lincoln's love of the performing arts, Ford's Theatre produces musicals and plays that embody family values, underscore multiculturalism, and illuminate the eclectic character of American life."

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