When Eric Rosen took over the artistic leadership of Kansas City Repertory Theatre in 2008,he had two broad goals:Elevate the theater company’s national profile and build bridges to the Kansas City theater community according to a resent article in the Kansas City Star.
He has succeeded on both counts. During his tenure theater critics for Time and the Wall Street Journal — both former Kansas City residents — wrote glowing reviews for Rep productions of “The Glass Menagerie,” “Into the Woods” and “Venice,” the original hip-hop musical Rosen co-wrote. It was the first time the New York press had taken notice of the Rep. And the company expects an announcement within days of an off-Broadway production for “Venice.”
On the other hand,Rosen has tapped Kansas City talent in big and small ways. His production of “August:Osage County” last fall featured an all-Kansas City cast delivering superb performances. And his associate artistic director,Kyle Hatley,has repeatedly waded into the local theater scene,writing and directing work with local actors in independent productions that didn’t carry the Rep’s explicit endorsement.
One result:On the Rep’s 2012-13 season theatergoers will see a lot more actors who are based in Kansas City.