THE HUNTINGTON ANNOUNCES CHRISTOPHER MANNELLI AS NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
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THE HUNTINGTON ANNOUNCES CHRISTOPHER MANNELLI AS NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Seasoned theatre professional with track record of strategic thinking and embracing community joins Artistic Director Loretta Greco to usher in new era of transformational leadership
(BOSTON) – Chairman Randy Peeler and President Neal Balkowitsch, on behalf of The Huntington’s Board of Trustees and Advisors, announced today the appointment of nationally recognized theatre executive and producer Christopher Mannelli as The Huntington’s new Executive Director. He joins the company on a full-time basis starting on November 6, 2023, becoming only the second top administrative leader in the company’s 41-year history.
Recognized as a leader in his community and in the national theatre industry, Mannelli is an esteemed theatre executive with over 20 years of broad experience and continuous success in leading theatres through diverse, complex challenges, and transformational change.
Mannelli comes to The Huntington from Rochester’s Geva Theatre Center where he has served as executive director and co-CEO since 2016. During his 7-year tenure, he oversaw the successful completion of their $10 million capital campaign, increasing their endowment and exceeding campaign goals. He managed the renovation and modernization of Geva’s 150-year-old historic theatre complex, while also raising the company’s local and national profile and producing some of their most successful productions, including nine world premiere plays and musicals. He has been a leader in the Geva’s anti-racism efforts, and successfully led the theatre through the global pandemic shutdown as well as an artistic director search and transition in 2022.
Prior to Rochester, he held key leadership positions in theatres across the country, serving as deputy director of the Tony Award-winning Chicago Shakespeare Theater, managing director of Chicago’s renowned Victory Gardens Theater, and managing director of HotCity Theatre in St. Louis.
“With his deep and varied experience as a leader in the theatre industry, Chris Mannelli is the right person at the right time to lead The Huntington into its next chapter,” says Huntington Chairman Randy Peeler. “He is a strategic thinker and theatre lover with business and financial expertise, and a track record of leading companies through complex challenges and growth.”
Mannelli joins The Huntington at an exciting time of transformational growth for the company, as well as a challenging moment for the national performing arts industry as audience attendance patterns shift and recovery from the pandemic continues. In partnership with Artistic Director Loretta Greco, he will lead an organization of 120 full-time staff members with an annual budget of $20 million, producing 7-8 shows and serving 200,000 audience members in multiple venues each season.
Greco joined The Huntington on July 1, 2022, and just completed the 22/23 season by programming a hugely successful production of The Lehman Trilogy – making The Huntington the first American theatre company to do so. The upcoming 23/24 season marks her first full season of artistic programming.
Together, Greco and Mannelli will shepherd The Huntington into a new era, expanding the reach of The Huntington’s artistic programming and education initiatives, developing new partnerships and opportunities for going out into the community, and continuing the transformational renovation of the Huntington Theatre to include a new entrance and a 14,000-square-foot lobby in the residential tower under construction next door to the theatre, slated to open in 2026.
“I am thrilled to welcome Chris and his family to Boston and to have the opportunity to have such a mindful partner in mapping out The Huntington’s extraordinary plans for the future,” says Greco. “With his deep commitment to building an equitable organizational culture, I am certain he will inspire our wonderful staff and board, while also engaging and strengthening our impact through the work on our stages, in classrooms, and throughout our community.”
“I am honored and delighted to become The Huntington’s Executive Director at this pivotal moment for the company, and am excited to partner with Loretta, to work with the outstanding Huntington staff and board, and am eager to become part of the Boston community,” says Mannelli. “The Huntington’s artistic vision and strong institutional values are an inspiration. Michael Maso has been a tremendous steward of the theatre for the last 40 years, and I am grateful for the opportunity to build on The Huntington’s incredible legacy in Boston. I cannot wait to get to work.”
Mannelli’s appointment is the culmination of a six-month, national search, led by a 14-person search committee made up of Huntington board members and staff representatives, chaired by Huntington Chairman Randy Peeler and President Neal Balkowitsch, and working with consultant Tom Hall of AlbertHall & Associates.
“We are very pleased to welcome Chris to The Huntington,” says Balkowitsch. “The board was very impressed with his accomplishments and financial and fundraising experience while leading other theatres across the US and by his passion for theatre as an artform. We are incredibly excited for his vision for The Huntington’s future.”
Committee member Director of Human Resources Hortensia Hinds says, “Chris quickly developed a rapport with Huntington staff during the interview process, genuinely listening and responding to their ideas and concerns. In addition to his experience and business acumen, I believe he will lead our team in finding work-life balance and ensuring an equitable environment.”
Mannelli will participate in key Huntington events this fall, then will relocate to Boston and join the company full time on November 6, 2023. The Huntington’s previous and founding managing director Michael Maso stepped down from the role on June 30, 2023 after leading the company for 41 seasons.
ABOUT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR CHRISTOPHER MANNELLI
Christopher (Chris) Mannelli is a seasoned theatre executive with a track record of strategic thinking and sound organizational leadership during periods of transition and growth. He has forged deep and meaningful connections with various local communities, and been responsible for innovative and successful fundraising and audience engagement initiatives.
As the Executive Director and Co-CEO of Geva Theatre Center in Rochester, NY since 2016, he oversaw the successful completion of the $10 million Front and Center Campaign, increasing their endowment and exceeding campaign goals. He managed the renovation and modernization of Geva’s theatre lobby, kitchen, bar, and audience seating, while also raising the company’s local and national profile and producing some of their most successful productions, including nine world premiere plays and musicals.
He has been a leader in the Geva Theatre Center’s anti-racism efforts, and successfully led the theatre through the global pandemic shutdown as well as their artistic director search and transition in 2022.
Prior to his seven years in Rochester, Chris held several key leadership positions in Chicago: first as deputy director of the esteemed Chicago Shakespeare Theater where he oversaw operations and helped to produce the theatre’s “World Stage” international programming, including their first-ever tour to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe; and then as managing director of Chicago’s Victory Gardens Theater, leading the renowned company for five years during a period of reorganization and strategic planning. He was also the managing director of HotCity Theatre in St. Louis, Missouri before moving to Chicago.
He has served on the board of directors for the national League of Resident Theatres (LORT). In Chicago, he served on the boards of the League of Chicago Theatres, Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce, and Emerald City Theatre, and as a steering committee member for Enrich Chicago (a group of arts organizations in Chicago working collectively to address racial equity).
In New York, he has served on the New York State Council on the Arts’ Theatre advisory panel, the corporate board for the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center, and the board of Rochester Downtown Development Corporation (RDDC) as a member of the executive and nominating committees.
Chris grew up on Long Island and began his career as an actor and a musician, touring nationally and internationally. He holds a BA in opera performance from the SUNY Geneseo School of Performing Arts, an MFA in arts leadership from DePaul University, and an Executive Scholars Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
ABOUT THE HUNTINGTON
Celebrating over 40 years of outstanding theatre, The Huntington is Boston’s theatrical commons and leading professional theatre company. On our stages and throughout our city, we share enduring and untold stories that spark the imagination of audiences and artists and amplify the wide range of voices in our community. Under the leadership of Norma Jean Calderwood Artistic Director Loretta Greco and Executive Director Christopher Mannelli, The Huntington is committed to welcoming broad and diverse audiences, provides life-changing opportunities for students through its robust education and community programs, is a national leader in the development of playwrights and new plays, acts as the host organization for a multi-year residency of The Front Porch Arts Collective, a Black theatre company based in Boston, and serves the local arts community through our operation of The Huntington Calderwood/BCA.
The Huntington reopened the historic Huntington Theatre in fall of 2022 after its transformational renovation, and is currently in phase two of the project; a storied venue with a bold vision for the future, the renovation and building project will allow us to innovatively expand our services to audiences, artists, and the community for generations to come. For more information, visit huntingtontheatre.org.
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