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What a new class of artistic directors could mean for Broadway and beyond

Roundabout Theatre Company, Second Stage and Lincoln Center Theater will experience significant leadership changes by 2025.

(L-R) Todd Haimes of Roundabout Theatre Company, Carole Rothman of Second Stage and André Bishop of Lincoln Center Theater

Artistic directorships at Broadway’s nonprofit theaters open up maybe twice a century. Now, three of the four are seeking top brass in what could be an epochal turnover.

The passing of Roundabout Theatre Company’s artistic director Todd Haimes in April 2023 concluded his 40-year tenure with the institution; in September, Second Stage announced that co-founder and artistic director Carole Rothman would step down in spring 2024 after 45 years; and Lincoln Center Theater’s (LCT) producing artistic director André Bishop will depart in 2025, after more than 30. (Lynne Meadow remains atop Manhattan Theater Club (MTC), where Chris Jennings succeeded longtime executive director Barry Grove after his departure earlier this year.)

All four institutions are hugely influential, not just in determining what’s produced in their Main Stem venues, and consequently throughout the regions, but in shaping the trajectory of the form. Each one has its distinct means of operations — LCT’s lavish musical revivals pitched at subscribers, and Roundabout’s leasing some of its theaters to supplement revenue, for example. But industry insiders agree that the companies’ collective role in consistently presenting new plays and incubating future theatermakers have profound reverberations in the industry.  A new class of artistic directors will face immense challenges and opportunities.  

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