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Drama League renames emerging director program in honor of Tony Award winner Irene Gandy

The new name honors Gandy, whose Broadway career has spanned five decades.

Irene Gandy (Credit: Catalin Media)

The Drama League has renamed their program for emerging directors. The Irene Gandy Directing Assistantship honors Irene Gandy, whose Broadway career as a press agent and producer extends back to the early 1970s. The name change was announced on Dec. 4 at the Museum of Broadway.

The mentorship program offers early career BIPOC directors the opportunity to work on the productions of veteran BIPOC stage directors. The nationwide program offers access and opportunity to early- and mid-career directors from historically marginalized communities. Directors currently in the program are working at Manhattan Theatre Club in New York City; Trinity Rep in Providence, Rhode Island; and New Jersey Repertory in Long Branch, New Jersey.

Gandy served as a press agent on “August: Osage County,” “Spring Awakening,” “Blithe Spirit,” “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” “Gemini” and “Your Arms Too Short to Box With God,” among numerous others. She has long held the distinction as the sole Black female press agent of the Association of Theatrical Press Agents and Managers (ATPAM). As a producer, she won a Tony Award for the 2012 revival of “The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess.” She is currently a producer on “Purlie Victorious.” A member of the Drama League’s board of directors, she received the 2020 Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theatre. 

“Irene literally crafted a path in our industry when there was no path,” remarked Gabriel Stelian-Shanks, artistic director of the Drama League. “Since joining the Drama League’s Board, Irene has spiritedly offered mentoring, education and expertise to the Directors Project recipients. She teaches things they couldn’t learn any other way — in the exact same way the assistantships will provide them knowledge, skills and experience from working alongside respected directors around the country. This is how we build the next generation of theatrical leadership and ensure a future for our field.”

The next recipients of the assistantship will be announced on May 17, 2024, at the Ziegfeld Ballroom. They will be matched with directors Timothy Douglas, Candis C. Jones , Rebecca Martinez and Valerie Curtis-Newton.

In addition to Stelian-Shanks, the Drama League is led by executive director Bevin Ross.