Harold Wolpert, a longtime exec in the not-for-profit theater sector, has been appointed the new executive director of Signature Theater, one of Off Broadway’s most prominent companies.
He’ll lead the organization — which won a Regional Theater Tony Award in 2014 — alongside artistic director Paige Evans, who took the reins in 2016. Wolpert has a resume that includes 11 years as the managing director at Roundabout Theater Company and two stints at Manhattan Theatre Club, including five years as the general manager there. Since he left Roundabout in 2016, he’s served as the interim managing director at the McCarter Theater in Princeton, N.J.
He steps into a company that was founded in 1991 with a mission of producing full seasons dedicated to the work of a single writer. In recent years, the Residency One program has been joined by Residency Five, which develops multiple new plays by several writers who are guaranteed three productions at Signature over a five year period. The Legacy initiative produces new or existing plays by writers who have participated in either residency program in the past.
Since 2005, a long-term ticket subsidy has increased accessibility by keeping ticket prices down. In 2012, the company moved to a new midtown space with three stages and a cafe.
“Maybe there’s a perception that Signature has expanded, and it has, in that it moved down the block into this beautiful center,” Wolpert said. “But at its core, the theater’s commitment to playwrights is no different than it’s ever been, through the arc of a playwright’s work as opposed to commitments to just individual plays. That is a huge distinction.”
The Signature is currently presenting a well-reviewed revival of Edward Albee’s “At Home at the Zoo,” with plays by Dominique Morisseau and Stephen Adly Guirgis on the way. Wolpert joins the organization full-time April 2.