McCraney, who succeeds Matt Shakman, begins his tenure with the non-profit immediately to build the 2024–2025 season.
McCraney made his Broadway debut in 2019 with his Tony-nominated play Choir Boy, which made its West Coast premiere at the Geffen in 2014. In February 2020, he was part of the new Geffen Playhouse artist residency announced with Cast Iron Entertainment, a cohort also including Sterling K. Brown, Glenn Davis, Brian Tyree Henry, Jon Michael Hill, and André Holland.
“I am delighted to welcome and partner with Tarell,” says Geffen Playhouse Executive Director and CEO Gil Cates, Jr. “From Choir Boy to the Cast Iron residency, and now as our new artistic director, Tarell has come full circle with the Geffen and we couldn’t be more excited. First and foremost, he is an exceptional artist and storyteller, and a true visionary with extraordinary ideas for where we can go as a theatre, as a home for artists and as part of the cultural landscape in Los Angeles.”
McCraney adds, “It’s an honor to take on the mantle of artistic leadership at Geffen Playhouse. My connection to the Geffen began with an introduction via Lower Depths Theater Ensemble in 2012 and continued through a production of Choir Boy, and into a residency with Cast Iron Entertainment. I see my role as continuing a legacy of exceptional artistry, reinvesting in the Geffen's unique capability to nurture and support artists, build upon collaborative partnerships including with UCLA, and reach audiences that we share a community with across Los Angeles. I am excited to foster intimate innovation in performance, digging deep into our collective need for live connection here at Geffen Playhouse.”
McCraney's play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue is the basis for the Oscar–winning film Moonlight, for which he also won a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar along with director Barry Jenkins. McCraney is an ensemble member at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre.