By Abigail Trabue
Kansas City Repertory Theatre has announced that Artistic Director Eric Rosen will be leaving the company, and is moving with his family to New York. The Board has named Associate Artistic Director Jason Chanos as Interim Artistic Director who will run the Rep with Executive Director Angela Lee Gieras while a search for a replacement is conducted.
The statement was careful to say that Rosen is “departing the organization,” but sources close to the matter tell PerformInk that Rosen was given the option to resign by UMKC (University of Missouri – Kansas City), relating to numerous incidents of workplace malfeasance which had been causing a rift between the school and the theater. KCRep is in residence at the university, which has purview over Rep employees, and theater department student actors perform in many KCRep shows.
Vice Chair Scott Hall said that the KCRep Board is “grateful for Eric’s many contributions during his ten years of leadership. His artistic mastery has been instrumental in moving KCRep into its preeminent position as a producer of innovative classic plays and musicals and developer of new plays.”
“Being at the helm of KCRep is among the greatest professional adventures of my life, and I am immensely proud of the work we have done together,” said Rosen. “We’ve grown the company’s national profile, expanded our impact in the region, created facilities that are able to support the next generation of theater artists, and produced artistic work of the highest level of innovation and excellence,” he continued. “With the birth of our son, my husband and I decided to move closer to East Coast family and continue our careers there. I know KCRep is well positioned to continue its dynamic growth.”
Chanos joined KCRep in 2015, having been a local actor and instructor at Pepperdine University. He holds a bachelor’s degree in theater from the University of Northern Colorado and a master’s from UMKC’s graduate actor training program. “I appreciate the opportunity to lead KCRep during this pivotal time,” said Chanos. “Eric has set a standard for pioneering great new works, as well as bold and challenging pieces, and that will not change. With the health and stability of the organization, we’re in a great place to spread our wings and fly in new and exciting directions.”
Rosen was appointed as KCRep’s artistic director in 2007. In that period, KCRep has grown from an annual budget of under $6M to nearly $9M.