Michael Gennaro to Lead Goodspeed Musicals

by Jacob Coakley

Michael Gennaro will replace Michael Price as the executive director of Goodspeed Musicals at the end of the year. Gennaro comes to the Goodspeed after serving as executive director of the Trinity Repertory Theatre in Providence, Rhode Island since 2007.


EAST HADDAM, CONN., November 18 2014:  After an extensive national search, Goodspeed Musicals’ Board of Trustees announced today that they have selected Michael Gennaro as the new Executive Director of the two-time Tony Award-winning theater.  Mr. Gennaro succeeds Michael Price, who will retire at the end of this year after concluding his 46th season at Goodspeed.

Michael Gennaro is well known as a highly successful leader of several of the most prominent theatrical institutions in America including the Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey, Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago and Trinity Repertory Theatre in Providence, Rhode Island, where he has served as the Executive Director since 2007.  He brings a unique personal story to Goodspeed Musicals and a lifetime of involvement in musical theatre. He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and Fordham University Law School.  After graduating from college, he was a professional actor having appeared in the Broadway company of Godspell and then went on to practice entertainment law in New York for several years. His father, Peter, had a long career on Broadway as a dancer and choreographer and his sister, Liza is an assistant professor in the Department of Theatre Drama and Contemporary Dance at Indiana University. Michael has a long personal history with Goodspeed as his father choreographed the original Broadway production of Annie and Annie II at Goodspeed’s Norma Terris Theatre and his sister has choreographed several Goodspeed productions, including The Most Happy Fella, which transferred to Broadway in 1991.

“We are thrilled to welcome Michael and his wife, Donna Lee, to Goodspeed” said John F. (Jef) Wolter, President of the Goodspeed Board of Trustees. “He is a worthy successor to Michael Price and, more importantly, the right choice for Goodspeed at this point in its history.  He has completed a founder transition at a major regional theatre, he has produced numerous Broadway transfers and festivals, he has practiced entertainment law, he has led major capital campaigns, he has implemented respected educational programs and provided extraordinary executive, financial and artistic leadership.  Finally, he has a unique perspective on the musical theatre industry – literally having been born in the business.  This perspective gives him a special appreciation of Goodspeed and its mission to give new life to long-standing classics, develop new works and introduce new talent both on and off the stage to the industry,” added Wolter.

“It is a great honor that Goodspeed's Board of Trustees has chosen me to lead this remarkable institution at this specific moment in its acclaimed history and an even greater honor to follow Michael Price who has had such an enduring influence on musical theatre,” said Michael Gennaro. “As I have followed Goodspeed's evolution over the years I have always been struck by its singular commitment to fostering creativity across the bridge between established and emerging forms of musical theatre. It is my hope that in the years to come Goodspeed will continue to be an unparalleled resource for the development and inspiration of future artists who will define the American Musical Theatre in the 21st century,” he added.

The search for Goodspeed’s new leader was conducted by a committee comprised of Goodspeed Trustees with assistance from Thomas Hall of Albert Hall & Associates.   Francis G. Adams, Chairman of the Goodspeed Board of Trustees, chaired the search committee and is pleased with the results. “Our search committee has worked very hard and we are excited about the outcome. Michael Gennaro will be a great new leader for the organization. The future looks bright for Goodspeed,” said Adams.

Michael Gennaro will assume leadership of Goodspeed Musicals in February 2015.  “The Board of Trustees and our staff have been preparing for this transition and are extremely confident that Goodspeed’s future is bright and secure,” said Wolter.  The 2015 season at the Goodspeed Opera House was selected by Price and the Goodspeed producing team.  It includes Guys and Dolls, La Cage aux Folles and the world premiere of The Honeymooners.  The 2015 season at Goodspeed’s Norma Terris Theatre will be announced at a later date.  “Goodspeed will continue to provide the world-class musical theatre experience that our audiences expect at the Goodspeed Opera House and The Norma Terris Theatre,” added Wolter.


About Michael Gennaro

Michael Gennaro joined Trinity Repertory Theatre as Executive Director in 2007. Prior to assuming his current position, he served as Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Ballet, Managing Director at Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC, Producing Director at Paper Mill Playhouse, and, for eight years, as Executive Director at the prestigious Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago.

During his tenure at Trinity Rep, Michael has been instrumental in leading its $18 million capital campaign, which will conclude in December 2014. While Gennaro was at Steppenwolf, the theatre received the National Medal of Arts from President Clinton and transferred numerous productions to such internationally renowned venues as London’s Barbican Centre, the Dublin and Galway Festivals and Broadway. Michael has enjoyed similar success at the other organizations he has led, having taken on everything from organizational reorganizations and refinement of business practices to major fundraising initiatives with equal success. In addition to his day-to-day responsibilities for Trinity Rep, Michael is active in the national theatre community, serving on grant panels for the National Endowment for the Arts, Theatre Communications Group, the Rhode Island Foundation and the Doris Duke Foundation and has been a Rhode Island Foundation Fellow and Mentor. He has represented theatres nationally as a member of the League of Resident Theatres’ negotiating committee and is licensed in New York as an attorney. Michael’s wife Donna Lee is a special operations coordinator with WaterFire Providence and his son Brendan is a musician in Chicago.

Dedicated to the preservation and advancement of musical theatre, Goodspeed Musicals produces three musicals each season at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, Conn., and additional works at The Norma Terris Theatre in Chester, Conn., which was opened in 1984 for the development of new musicals. The first regional theatre to receive two Tony Awards (for outstanding achievement,) Goodspeed also maintains The Scherer Library of Musical Theatre and The Max Showalter Center for Education in Musical Theatre.