The announcement was made March 30 by the organization's founding artistic director Jim Simpson, producing director Carol Ostrow and the Flea's board of directors. Simpson helped found the Flea in 1996.
“Everyone in The Flea’s extended family is excited and pleased that Niegel will lead our artistic efforts going forward," said Ostrow in a press statement. "He stands out for his enormous generosity of spirit, his taste for bold and adventurous works, and his regard and inclusiveness of artists in all phases of their careers."
Smith was the associate director of the Tony Award winning musical Fela! as well as assistant director on the Off-Broadway The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and both the Broadway and Off-Broadway productions of Caroline, or Change. In addition to his work at the Public Theater, he has served on the artistic staffs of Trinity Repertory Company in Rhode Island and Providence Black Rep. He is a 35th Anniversary Artist-in Residence at Second Stage Theater, and serves as Associate Artistic Director of Elastic City.
“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to lead The Flea in collaboration with Carol Ostrow, and to build upon Jim Simpson’s legacy," said Smith. "We’ll continue to support artists who create bold, innovative work that tests the bounds of theater. I hope to expand that tradition in our gorgeous new home by programming compelling new plays and presenting even more resident companies, performance artists, music-theater makers and immersive performances.”
For more information on the Flea's current season, please visit theflea.org.