Regional taps director to be new leader

HARTFORD, CONN.

Rob Ruggiero, the director whose Broadway credits include Valerie Harper starrer “Looped” and Kathleen Turner topliner “High,” has been named the new producing artistic director at TheaterWorks in Hartford, Conn.

Ruggiero has been associated with the 191-seat theater that specializes in staging recent Broadway and Off Broadway hits for nearly 20 years. Most recently he was interim a.d. following the ankling of founding artistic director Steve Campo.

Ruggiero’s other Gothom credits include Off Broadway’s “All Under Heaven,” a Pearl Buck solo bio starring Harper, and musical revue “Make Me a Song: The Music of William Finn.”

Ruggiero, 51, will be in charge of both the artistic and business sides of the 27-year old theater, which owns a four-story Art Deco venue that is also home to 10 other small not-for-profit arts groups in Connecticut.

Ruggiero conceived, developed and helmed “Ella,” the musical bio of singer Ella Fitzgerald that has become a go-to show when theater’s need a B.O. boost at regionals and presenting houses across the country.

Director will fulfill 2013 obligations including the tour of “Looped” with the Tony-nommed Harper, which opens in January at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts; “Other Desert Cities” at Pittsburgh’s Public Theater; “South Pacific” at the MUNY in St. Louis and “The Most Happy Fellas” at the Goodspeed Opera House, where he has staged five other productions.

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