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January 17, 2003

Chicago Spotlight: Chicago's Northlight Theatre Names New Managing Director

Philip J. Santora

Michael Gennaro

Steppenwolf's Michael Gennaro Departs for Paper Mill Playhouse

Two prestigious Chicago theatres have announced management and artistic changes of interest to Equity members and the theatre community.

Following an extensive, six-month national search, Northlight Theatre has named Philip J. Santora as its new Managing Director. Santora, currently the Managing Director of the Georgia Shakespeare Festival, will officially begin at Northlight Theatre on March 3, 2003.

“We are thrilled to have found such a highly skilled and successful candidate to continue Northlight’s momentum,” said Joan Barr, President of the Board of Directors. "Santora's breadth of knowledge and experience in all areas of theatre will ensure that Northlight Theatre continues to fulfill its mission of enhancing the cultural life of the North Shore and Chicago.” Artistic Director BJ Jones added that “Santora's skills as an administrator, his track record in development and his background as a theatre artist make him uniquely qualified to guide Northlight into the next phase of its growth and success.”

For more information, visit Northlight Theatre's website: www.northlight.com.

Upcoming shows at Northlight Theatre include: the World Premiere of SKY GIRLS, Chicago playwright Jenny Laird's new historical drama about World War II female fliers; Charles Ludlam's comic farce THE MYSTERY OF IRMA VEP, a hilarious spoof of high camp and mock gothic mystery (March 19 - April 27, 2003.); and AT WIT’S END, the award-winning musical by Chicago lyricist and playwright Cheri Coons and composer Michael Duff about the founding of The New Yorker magazine (May 14 - June 22, 2003).

Concurrently, the Steppenwolf Theatre announced that Managing Director Michael Gennaro will depart on April 1, 2003 to head up the Paper Mill Playhouse. In his new position of as President and CEO of Paper Mill Playhouse, Gennaro will succeed Angelo Del Rossi , who will become president emeritus in July. The Playhouse has an annual budget of $20 million with 32,000 subscribers, compared with Steppenwolf’s budget of $10 million and 23,000 subscribers.

"These past seven years at Steppenwolf have been an extraordinary time for me and my family,” says Michael Gennaro. “In working with Martha Lavey , the ensemble, an incredible staff and an outstanding board of directors, Steppenwolf has been thriving artistically and financially. I will miss my friends and colleagues at Steppenwolf and in Chicago, but I look forward to returning with my wife to the east coast where much of our family resides." Gennaro was chosen after an extensive nationwide search and will join the NJ theatre this April.

Read more at the Chicago Tribune.

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