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Evan Cabnet Named Artistic Director of Second Stage Theater

Evan Cabnet Named Artistic Director of Second Stage Theater

Evan Cabnet will take over as artistic director of Second Stage Theater, one of Broadway‘s major nonprofit theater companies.

Cabnet, currently artistic director of Lincoln Center Theater’s LCT3, will join the organization in September 2024 and will launch his first season of programming in fall 2025. He takes over from Carole Rothman, founder of Second Stage Theater, who will continue in her position through August 2024. Interim Artistic Director Bennett Leak will oversee the Company’s upcoming season.

Rothman, who founded the nonprofit theater company in 1979, had previously announced she would be stepping down. The upcoming season includes Leslye Headland’s Cult of Love and Donald Margulies’ play, Lunar Eclipse, which will premiere Off-Broadway and star Reed Birney and Lisa Emery.

Cabnet has served as the artistic director of LCT3, Lincoln Center Theater’s initiative to produce new works, since 2016. During his tenure, LCT3 produced 20 productions, including Antoinette Nwandu’s Pass Over, which later transferred to Broadway, Jackie Sibblies Drury’s Marys Seacole and the original musicals In The Green, by Grace McLean, and The Keep Going Songs, by The Bengsons. 

“I am excited and humbled to bring my passion for developing, nurturing, and championing new work to Second Stage, one of New York’s most vital and influential homes for contemporary theater,” Cabnet said. “As my mentor Andre Bishop says, we are living in a golden age of American playwriting, and Second Stage’s incredible history, and the home Carole Rothman has created for artists, sits firmly at the center of this inspiring and culturally rich moment. I hope to honor her legacy as one of the truly great leaders of the American theater, and am looking forward to helping write the next chapter for such an extraordinary organization.”

His appointment comes amidst a broader shake-up of nonprofit leadership on Broadway. Bishop, the producing artistic director of Lincoln Center Theater, is set to step down in the 2024-2025 season. Roundabout Theatre Company’s Artistic Director Todd Haimes died in April 2023, with Scott Ellis assuming the role as interim artistic director through the 2025-2026 season.

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Manhattan Theatre Club executive producer Barry Grove announced his departure in January 2023 after 48 years with the organization. Chris Jennings, who had previously been the executive director of the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C., succeeded Grove.

Cabnet also takes over as Second Stage gives up its lease on its Off-Broadway Tony Kiser Theater. While Lunar Eclipse will play that theater, its spring Off-Broadway productions will be performed at the Irene Diamond Stage at The Pershing Square Signature Center.

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