Luna Stage Hires New Artistic Director
The Luna Stage Board of Directors announces the departure of Cheryl Katz, Luna’s Artistic Director. Cheryl Katz who has been a staff member for over 15 years and Artistic Director for the last 5 years has decided to step down at the end of the current 2017/18 season. To succeed Ms. Katz, the Board has chosen Ari Laura Kreith, who comes to Luna from Theater 167 in New York. She will become Artistic Director at the conclusion of the current season.
Rita Woodard, Luna Theater Board President says: “It’s difficult to succinctly describe the depth of what Cheryl has brought to Luna over the years. Her fierce commitment to the work and to the audiences has meant that when you see a play here, you will be ‘challenged and illuminated.’ We will deeply miss her.
Luna is rekindling its role as an engine for community and arts engagement in the Valley Arts District. Ari’s skills and experience will catalyze building theater that builds community. She will continue Luna’s tradition of producing work that inspires powerful conversations. I am beyond delighted about Luna’s evolution.”
As a director and artistic director, Ari Laura Kreith comes to Luna with a long history of creating new work through community engagement. Her experience will add new dimensions to Luna’s work as an anchor institution in the Valley. Her work as Artistic Director in theaters who work with original plays will continue Luna’s tradition of developing vital new works for the stage. Her work in community engagement will add new dimensions to Luna’s work as one of the anchors in the Valley Arts District.
Reflecting on her departure Cheryl says: “I have decided to step down as Artistic Director at the end of this season. I have not made this decision lightly. During my tenure here, I have been blessed to work with an amazing collection of artists and arts supporters, and I have been given the gift of being able to champion the work I felt was most deserving. All of this is rare and has been an honor.”
Ari Laura Kreith is a theatre director and the Artistic Director of Theatre 167, where she conceived and directed The Jackson Heights Trilogy: 167 TONGUES, YOU ARE NOW THE OWNER OF THIS SUITCASE, and JACKSON HEIGHTS 3AM (PBS Pick-of-the-Week) - three full-length plays collaboratively written by 18 playwrights featuring 37 actors in 93 roles in 14 languages, inspired by the world's most diverse neighborhood.
Other Theatre 167 projects include Antu Yacob's MOURNING SUN, which premiered at Theatre 167 and toured to the Kampala International Theatre Festival in Uganda, J.Stephen Brantley's PIRIRA, set simultaneously in Malawi and New York, which received the 2014 NYIT Award for Outstanding Premiere Production Of A Play and transferred Off-Broadway, and the multi-writer CHURCH OF WHY NOT, inspired by an interfaith activist community.
Commissions include three pieces for Queens Theatre's WORLDS FAIR PLAYS (NY Times Critics' Pick,) I LIKE TO BE HERE: JACKSON HEIGHTS REVISITED, or, THIS IS A MANGO at the New Ohio for the Obie-winning Theatre:Village Festival, and the National Geographic-sponsored HOW WE ARE CONNECTED at Brooklyn Museum and El Museo del Barrio. Musical theatre highlights include DREAMHOUSE, which she also co-created, and the European premiere of Adam Guettel's MYTHS AND HYMNS.
Ari has crafted immersive, site-specific projects for Queens Museum and the NY Transit Museum, and developed a site-specific version of Marina Budhos' novel WATCHED, which explores the impact of surveillance on Muslim-American communities. Other recent projects include the world premiere of Tina Howe's SINGING BEACH at HERE Arts Center, and RACHEL, a new musical about environment activist Rachel Carson.
With Theatre 167, Ari received the 2015 NYIT Caffe Cino Award for consistently producing outstanding innovative theatre. Ari also received the 2016 LPTW Lucille Lortel Award in recognition of her work as a director and the body of work Theatre 167 has created under her leadership. She is a current recipient of the NJ Women Playwrights Fellowship to expand her adaptation of WATCHED into a full-length play, which will be produced in Spring 2018. BA: Yale University. MFA: UC Davis.
Cheryl Katz’s Letter Announcing Departure from Luna Stage
A small company is like an organism. It experiences cycles of life similar to those of a person. There are seasons of change, making way for new possibilities and new directions.
Luna has been dear to my heart for over 15 years. But now, I find that we are both at a crossroads, and that it is time for us both to embark on a new chapter.
I have decided to step down as Artistic Director at the end of this season. I have not made this decision lightly. During my tenure here, I have been blessed to work with an amazing collection of artists and arts supporters, and I have been given the gift of being able to champion the work I felt was most deserving. All of this is rare and has been an honor.
But it is time for me to shake things up a bit: indulge in time with my children before they fly the coop and open myself to what other possibilities await me. And for Luna, it is time for the company to rediscover its role as an engine for community and arts engagement with a leader whose skills and experience best suit those goals.
It is my great pleasure to say that we have found just such a leader in Ari Laura Kreith, and it is my privilege to announce that she has been named as the next Artistic Director of Luna Stage.
As a director and artistic director, Ari comes to Luna with a long celebrated history of creating new work through community engagement. Her experience will add new dimensions to Luna's work as a cultural institution in the Valley. I look forward to watching her, and the truly extraordinary staff she will inherit, forge ahead toward the next incarnation of this incredible little theater company that could. Ari's full bio is included below.
I am extremely proud of the work Luna has produced over the past 15 years, both the plays themselves and the conversations they have inspired. I am immensely grateful to all the artists who have placed their faith in me and to all the patrons who have been uncompromising in their desire to be challenged and illuminated. I am a better person for my time with all of you. Thank you for the journey. It's been a wonderful ride.