Public Theater taps Willingham

Blue Man executive steps into top post

Patrick Willingham, a former exec at Blue Man Prods., has been named the new exec director of Off Broadway’s Public Theater.

Willingham will begin his stint at the Public on Nov. 28, replacing interim exec director Joey Parnes, who also served on the search committee for the new co-leader of the prominent downtown institution.

Willingham spent much of his career with Blue Man Group, serving as prexy and chief operating office as the company exapnded from an Off Broadway performance-art curio to a global franchise. He initially joined Blue Man in 1994 as company manager of the Gotham incarnation prior to being upped to general manager for a four-year tenure in that position. He’s also worked with Maria Prods. and Jujamcyn Theaters, most recently acting as consultant for Montreal’s Cirque Eloize.

At the Public, Willingham will work alongside Public a.d. Oskar Eustis in a top leadership post that includes the operational oversight of a multi-stage downtown venue — currently under renovation while programming there remains ongoing — as well as the annual Shakespeare in the Park program. Willingham would also spearhead efforts to get upcoming Public Theater fare onto Broadway, where Public shows including “Hair,” “The Merchant of Venice” and “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” have transferred in recent years.

Willingham is the permanent replacement for Andrew Hamingson, who early this year stepped down from the exec director post after a tenure of less than three years, citing personal reasons that were publicly left cloudy.

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