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Arts / Performing Arts

Tony-Nominated Favorite Named the New Artistic Director of Houston’s TUTS

Theater Company Comes Back from Turmoil with Smart Hire

BY // 08.14.17

Following a national search that began early this year, Theatre Under the Stars just revealed the appointment of Tony-nominated director and choreographer Dan Knechtges as its new artistic director. Audiences will recall that Knechtges served as guest director for TUTS’ well-received 2016 production of How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

In February, TUTS interim artistic advisor Sheldon Epps announced his impending departure, tied to the hiring of a permanent artistic director. Epps was brought on board in in the spring of 2016, replacing controversial artistic director Bruce Lumpkin. Epps was responsible for brining Knechtges to Houston for the guest director stint.

“My time directing for TUTS this last year was incredibly fulfilling both creatively and personally,” Knechtges said in a statement. “So much so, that  I was drawn to becoming a permanent part of the community in Houston. I look forward to forging new creative alliances within the Houston community and introducing them to a larger, national theatre community.”

With a career spanning Broadway, Off Broadway and regional theaters, Knechtges brings a broad repertoire to the company. His work includes theater, opera, concert dance, television, film and music videos. His Broadway credits include Lysistrata Jones (direction and choreography), Xanadu for which his choreography received a Tony nomination, Sondheim on Sondheim and 110 in the Shade.

Under direction of TUTS chair-elect and search committee chair Randy Stilley, Albert Hall & Associates headed the effort to find a talented artistic director who would bring an artistic vision to the company that reinforces TUTS’ “core values of equity, diversity and inclusion.”

TUTS board chair Amy Pierce noted in a statement, “His enthusiastic personality, passion for education, and fresh artistic vision are perfectly geared for our ambitious future.  Dan compliments our new leadership perfectly and will add to the positive momentum TUTS has enjoyed this past year as we prepare to celebrate our 50th anniversary.”

Dan Knechtges should bring further stability to the theater company which had been in turmoil after Lumpkin made headlines in 2014 for the unauthorized rearranging of Hands on a Hardbody, which resulted in an embarrassing cease-and-desist letter and the canceling of the show.

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