Top Directors In The Local Theater Scene In Connecticut

March 25, 2013 8:00 AM

Connecticut is fortunate to have many fine thespians overseeing its vibrant and ever-growing theatrical culture. Whether they work at the community, educational and not-for-profit level or in professional companies, this crop of outstanding artistic directors is keeping the local theater scene not merely alive but vibrant, and the state and its citizens are all the richer for their contributions to the arts.

Rob Ruggiero

233 Pearl St.
Hartford, CT 06103
(860) 527-7838

After reviewing over 130 applicants seeking to succeed the legendary Steve Campo as artistic director, the board of Hartford’s TheaterWorks realized that the best candidate was already in the theater. Rob Ruggiero, who has spent 20 years with TheaterWorks and has been involved in 40 productions, had been interim artistic director since coming on board in March 2012, taking over as artistic director with the New Year. TheaterWorks board president Michael G. Albano says Ruggiero has brought and will continue to bring to the Hartford company his unique “combination of directorial excellence on a national level, his management and fundraising skills and instincts, his knowledge of the community and his exciting vision for the theater’s future.” With the production of “Almost Maine” concluding on March 25, Ruggiero will stage “The Mountaintop” from April 4 to May 12, followed by “Dr. Ruth, All The Way” in May and “Times Stands Still” in August.

Vincent J. Cardinal

Connecticut Repertory Theater
802 Bolton Road, Unit 1127
Storrs, CT 06269
(860) 486-1629

Vincent J. Cardinal is unique in that he is not only the artistic director of a repertory theater, but also is a professor and head of the Department of Dramatic Arts for the University of Connecticut’s School of Fine Arts. He has brought many classic as well as avant-garde productions to the Connecticut Repertory Theater stage (which includes the Nafe Katter Theatre, the Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre and the Studio Theatre), including most recently “His Girl Friday,” John Guare’s adaptation of Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur’s well-known newspaper comedy, “The Front Page.” The contemporary British comedy-drama “Punk Rock” will run from March 28 through April 7, and then the musical “Hairspray,” with popular standup comedian Kevin Meaney as Edna Turnblad, from April 25 through May 5.

Sean Harris and Darlene Zoller

Playhouse on Park
244 Park Road
West Hartford, CT 06119
(860) 523-5900

Playhouse on Park in West Hartford is a professional theater run by professionals, among them Sean Harris and Darlene Zoller, each of whom is listed as artistic director. Harris is a Shakespearean actor with many years of stage experience both in New York City and in regional theaters. For the last 10 years, he has also been the director of theater at HallHigh School in West Hartford as well as artistic director of the West Hartford Summer Arts Festival. Ms. Zoller’s strengths are in dance, ballet and choreography, and she has served as director of numerous companies and programs throughout the state. Fresh from her triumph directing “Chicago,” from April 24 through May 3, she will present her own original work, “Ten and Counting.”

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Sally and Thomas Camm

The Gary – The Olivia Theater
273 Flanders Road
Bethlehem, CT 06751
(203) 273-5669

A decade ago, Sally and Thomas Camm took over as artistic directors of The Gary-The Olivia, an open-sided red barn summer theater on the grounds of the Abbey of Regina Laudis, a Benedictine cloister in Bethlehem. They have brought many classic Broadway musicals to their stage, including “Guys and Dolls” in 2010 (in which Thomas also took on the role of Nicely Nicely Johnson) and both “South Pacific” (where Mr. Camm played the French planter, Emile) and “The Solid Gold Cadillac” in 2012. They are currently casting the Depression-era drama, “The Pitman Painters,” which they will stage from June 14 to 23. Later in the summer, from August 1 through 11, the Camms will put on the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning musical “Fiorello,” based on the life story of one of New York City’s most colorful mayors.

John Reid

Fairfield Theatre Company
70 Stanford St.
Fairfield, CT 06824
(203) 259-1036

The Fairfield Theatre Company bid adieu to founder and producing director Miles Marek in November of 2011, but his shoes have been ably filled since by Jon Reid, who took over as artistic director in January 2012. Although a singer, songwriter and guitarist, Reid’s principal background is not in theater, but in public administration and humanitarian foundation work. He has, however, a long list of acting credentials ranging from the stage to the television screen, and was a producer for New York’s Roundabout Theater’s Conservatory and Ensemble Company. Hailed for his “broad not-for-profit expertise” by board Chairman Brad Purcell, Reid has been instrumental in filling the bill for Stage One with a variety of theatrical and musical performances, among them appearances in April by Joe Sample, Declan O’Rourke and Poco Trio, and the performance of “Play With Your Food” on April 9.

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Mark G. McLaughlin is a professional and prolific writer with a proven publishing record in a wide variety of fields. An historian, novelist, freelance journalist, ghost-writer, book reviewer, magazine editor, web and magazine columnist, Mark has more than 30 years of experience. His work can be found at

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