Arkansas Repertory Theatre announced today that John Miller-Stephany has been named the theatre’s new Producing Artistic Director. He assumes his new role in mid-October. The announcement by Board Chair Brian Bush ends an extensive national search.
“John Miller-Stephany has worked at some of the most significant theatres in the country,” said Bush. “He is without a doubt the right leader for our organization at this point in our history. His leadership ensures a bright future for The Rep.”
“I’m tremendously excited and deeply honored to be appointed Arkansas Repertory Theatre’s next Producing Artistic Director,” said Miller-Stephany. “By all accounts – and from my personal observations over the past few months – The Rep is one of the most vibrant cultural organizations in Arkansas. I’m thrilled to join the greater Little Rock community and to work alongside my new neighbors and colleagues as together we write the next chapter in the life of this remarkable theatre.”
Miller-Stephany has enjoyed a distinguished career as a director, administrator, educator and non-profit theatre producer. From 1996 to 2015, he was Artistic Administrator and Associate Artistic Director of The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, Minn. From 1989 to 1996, he was Associate Producer of The Acting Company in New York City.
“Because of the vital role non-profit, professional theatres play in the life of their communities, I have proudly dedicated my career to serving them,” said Miller-Stephany.
At the Guthrie, he held a key leadership position during several major transitions and over a period of unprecedented growth. From 1997 to 2015, the theatre more than doubled its budget, going from $11 million in 1997 to $27 million in 2015. He was instrumental in the artistic development of the company, helping to guide more than 200 productions from their inception through their final performances.
Founded in 1963, The Guthrie Theater has been recognized as one of the most successful resident theatres in the country, receiving the 1982 Tony Award for Best Regional Theatre. With an annual audience of 400,000, the theatre focuses largely on classic productions. Miller-Stephany’s productions of The Music Man, Jane Eyre and 1776 are three of the top ten highest grossing productions in the history of the Guthrie.
“While I have loved living in the Twin Cities, and am deeply grateful for all of the opportunities I’ve enjoyed at the Guthrie, I’m very eager to make a new home in Little Rock and to provide leadership for The Rep,” said Miller-Stephany. “I believe that my experiences working with one of America’s largest resident theatres have given me insights about programming, education and community engagement that will serve The Rep well.”
As an educator, Miller-Stephany has conducted classes and workshops with students at many levels including professional, college, conservatory, high school and avocational.
Miller-Stephany’s directing credits at the Guthrie include To Kill A Mockingbird, The Music Man, Born Yesterday, Roman Holiday, Charley’s Aunt, God of Carnage, A Streetcar Named Desire, When We Are Married, Jane Eyre, 1776, The Constant Wife, She Loves Me, The Night of the Iguana, Wintertime, Merrily We Roll Along, To Fool the Eye, and Sweeney Todd. He has also directed 10X10 (Barrington Stage Company), The Odd Couple (Geva Theatre/Cape Playhouse), Little Shop of Horrors (St. Louis MUNY), Queens of Burlesque (History Theater), The Poetry of Pizza (Mixed Blood Theatre), Biloxi Blues (Theatre L’Homme Dieu), Farm Boys (History Theater), and Murder by Poe (The Acting Company). He was the Associate Producer of the 1995 Broadway revival of The School of Scandal, directed by Gerald Freedman, co-produced by the National Actors Theatre and The Acting Company.
Miller-Stephany’s appointment follows a national search conducted by David Mallette of Management Consultants for the Arts. The search committee included members of The Rep’s Board of Directors, community representatives, and The Rep’s managing director Michael McCurdy.
Miller-Stephany will become the third artistic leader in The Rep’s 40-year history. He assumes his new role in October, succeeding Bob Hupp (1999-2016) and Founding Artistic Director Cliff Baker (1976-1999), who is currently serving as Interim Producing Artistic Director.