Executive and Senior Staff

Founder

  • Joseph Papp Bio
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    Joseph Papp

    Founder and Artistic Director, 1954-1991

    Joseph Papp (1921-1991), called by Newsweek “the single most creative and controversial figure in American theater,” founded the New York Shakespeare Festival in 1954—the first company in the United States to offer free productions of Shakespeare, with an emphasis on an American style of performance.  The Festival performed in New York City’s parks and, in 1962, opened its permanent, open-air home in Central Park, the Delacorte Theater. In 1967, Papp’s New York Shakespeare Festival expanded as The Public Theater opening a second home in the landmark Astor Library building in the East Village.  The company renovated the building to house five theaters dedicated to the production of new works by American playwrights, becoming one of the pioneers of the nonprofit theater movement in New York City and across the U.S.   

    During his 37-year tenure, Papp launched over 900 productions which changed the face of American theater, both nonprofit and commercial, by producing groundbreaking works by American playwrights from a range of backgrounds, among them No Place To Be Somebody (the first Pulitzer awarded to an African-American playwright), Sticks and Bones, for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf, The Normal Heart, and A Chorus Line, which ran on Broadway for 16 years.

    Known for his interest in works engaging contemporary social issues and his pioneering commitment to non-traditional casting, Papp extended the influence and audiences of contemporary theater by transferring groundbreaking plays to Broadway and nonprofit theaters across the U.S., initiating tours and foreign productions, as well as television and film adaptations, and instituting the International Latino Festival.  For four years he also served as the producer of Lincoln Center Theater.

    Papp fostered the talent of many great American actors (George C. Scott, Colleen Dewhurst, James Earl Jones, Raúl Juliá, Kevin Kline, Meryl Streep, Morgan Freeman, Christopher Walken, Gloria Foster, Estelle Parsons, Sam Waterston, Martin Sheen, and Al Pacino), playwrights (David Rabe, Charles Gordone, Ntozake Shange, David Henry Hwang, Elizabeth Swados, Wallace Shawn, Tony Kushner, and Larry Kramer) and directors (Richard Foreman, Andre Serban, George C. Wolfe, Mike Nichols, James Lapine, Michael Greif, JoAnne Akalaitis, Gerald Freedman, and Wilford Leach). He championed experimental theater, providing performance space for Mabou Mines and the Ontological-Hysteric at The Public.

    Born Joseph Papirofsky in Brooklyn, he was the son of immigrant parents, Shmuel and Yetta, from Poland and Lithuania. After graduating from high school, he entered the U.S. Navy during World War II, subsequently studying at and becoming managing director of the Actor’s Lab in Los Angeles from 1945 to 1950. He also directed 34 plays, taught at Yale and Long Island University, and received honorary doctorates from several universities, including NYU and Brandeis. An activist and tireless defender of artistic freedom, he battled against the National Endowment for the Arts’ attempts to impose restrictions on artists. He married Gail Merrifield Papp, creator and director of The Public’s Department of Play and Musical Development from 1965-1991, in 1976.

Artistic Director

  • Oskar Eustis Bio
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    Oskar Eustis

    Artistic Director

    Oskar Eustis has served as the Artistic Director of The Public Theater since 2005.  He came to The Public from Trinity Repertory Company in Providence, RI where he served as Artistic Director from 1994 to 2005.  Eustis served as Associate Artistic Director at Los Angeles’ Mark Taper Forum from 1989-1994; and prior to that he was with the Eureka Theatre Company in San Francisco, serving as Resident Director and Dramaturg from 1981-1986 and Artistic Director from 1986-1989.

    Eustis is currently a Professor of Dramatic Writing and Arts and Public Policy at New York University and has held professorships at UCLA, Middlebury College and Brown University, where he founded and chaired the Trinity Rep/Brown University Consortium for professional theater training.  

    Throughout his career, Eustis has been dedicated to the development of new plays as a director, dramaturg and producer.  At The Public, Eustis directed the New York premieres of Rinne Groff’s Compulsion and The Ruby Sunrise;and Larry Wright’s The Human Scale.  At Trinity Rep, he directed the world premiere of Paula Vogel’s The Long Christmas Ride Home and Tony Kushner’s Homebody/Kabul, both recipients of the Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Production.  While at the Eureka Theatre, he commissioned Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, and directed its world premiere at the Mark Taper Forum.  Eustis has also directed the world premieres of plays by Philip Kan Gotanda, David Henry Hwang, Emily Mann, Suzan-Lori Parks, Ellen McLaughlin, and Eduardo Machado, among many others.

    His production of Julius Caesar won a Bay Area Critics Circle Award in 1988, and in the quarter century since then he has directed and produced Shakespeare across the United States, in venues ranging from prisons to Broadway.

    Eustis received honorary doctorates from Rhode Island College in 1999 and Brown University in 2001.

Executive Director

  • Patrick Willingham Bio
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    Patrick Willingham

    Executive Director

    Patrick Willingham was named Executive Director of The Public Theater in November 2011 and has more than 20 years of management experience in the theatrical industry. 

    Prior to joining The Public, Willingham served as the President and Chief Operating Officer of Blue Man Productions where he worked with the founders to nurture the off-Broadway performance art sensation into an international phenomenon.  During his tenure Willingham guided the significant expansion of the company, working with the senior management team to grow the company from a single production in New York City to a world-wide enterprise employing over 700 people with eight permanent productions in the U.S. and abroad, multiple touring productions, two albums of recorded music, hundreds of television appearances, and numerous partnerships with major corporations, including Intel and Pepsi.  In 2008, he successfully managed the difficult economic downturn to restore the company to fiscal health and expansion.  Willingham started his career at Blue Man as the Company Manager of Astor Show Productions in 1994 and was promoted to General Manager of Blue Man Productions in 1996. During his four years as General Manager, he oversaw operations of the New York, Boston and Chicago productions of Blue Man Group as well as the installations of the multi-million dollar Chicago and Las Vegas shows. 

    Before joining Blue Man Productions, Willingham worked with the off-Broadway producer and general manager Maria di Dia at her firm, Maria Productions, as well as with Jujamcyn Theaters, the owners and operators of five Broadway venues. Most recently, he served as an independent consultant for the Cirque du Soleil partner Cirque Eloize in Montreal, advising the company on its efforts to expand into the U.S. commercial theatrical market.  Willingham began his career managing costume shops for Players Theatre in Columbus, Ohio and for the New Jersey Shakespeare Festival.   

    Willingham holds an MFA in Performing Arts Management from Brooklyn College and a BFA in Theatre Design and Technology from the University of Wyoming.

     

Associate Artistic Director

  • Mandy Hackett
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    Mandy Hackett

    Associate Artistic Director

Associate Producer

  • Maria Goyanes
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    Maria Goyanes

    Associate Producer

Casting

  • Heidi Griffiths
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    Heidi Griffiths

    Casting

Casting

  • Jordan Thaler
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    Jordan Thaler

    Casting

Production Executive

  • Ruth E. Sternberg
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    Ruth E. Sternberg

    Production Executive

Director of Joe's Pub

  • Shanta Thake
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    Shanta Thake

    Director of Joe's Pub

Under The Radar Festival

  • Mark Russell
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    Mark Russell

    Co-Director of Under The Radar Festival

Under The Radar Festival

  • Meiyin Wang
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    Meiyin Wang

    Co-Director Under The Radar Festival

Director of Public Works

  • Lear deBessonet
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    Lear deBessonet

    Director of Public Works

Director of Operations

  • Ishmael (Izee) Figueroa
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    Ishmael (Izee) Figueroa

    Director of Operations

Director of Individual and Major Gifts

  • Sandra Klass Hueskes
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    Sandra Klass Hueskes

    Director of Individual and Major Gifts

Director of Special Projects

  • Kristina Hoge
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    Kristina Hoge

    Director of Special Projects

Sr. Director of Marketing

  • Tom McCann
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    Tom McCann

    Senior Director of Marketing

Director of Communications

  • Candi Adams
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    Candi Adams

    Director of Communications

Director of Ticket Services

  • Jimmy Godsey
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    Jimmy Godsey

    Director of Ticket Services

Chief Financial Officer

  • Rachel Pivnick
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    Rachel Pivnick

    Chief Financial Officer

Director of Finance

  • Danny Williams
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    Danny Williams

    Director of Finance

Director of Human Resources

  • Liz Sharp
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    Liz Sharp

    Director of Human Resources

General Manager

  • Jeremy Adams
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    Jeremy Adams

    General Manager