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New York, NY – New York Stage and Film announced today that Artistic Director Johanna Pfaelzer will be stepping down from her longtime leadership position with the organization to become the new Artistic Director of Berkeley Repertory Theatre beginning September 1, 2019. She will conclude her tenure with New York Stage and Film at the end of the company’s 2019 Powerhouse Summer Season. Pfaelzer will remain on the Board of Directors of New York Stage and Film, and will work closely with the Founders and the Board to identify her successor.


“I have been unbelievably lucky to have had a 20-year relationship to New York Stage and Film,” says Johanna Pfaelzer. “More than three decades ago, Mark Linn-Baker, Max Mayer and Leslie Urdang had the extraordinary vision to recognize a real and specific need in the American theater, and to meet that need in the creation of New York Stage and Film, a place where artists could have a protected, rigorous, vibrant environment in which to develop their work. Their generosity in allowing me to lead it for the last 11 years has been the greatest gift. I am grateful to the Board and staff of NYSAF for their collaboration, and especially proud of the work that we have created and the artists whose visions we have supported. I am delighted to continue to serve alongside the Founders on NYSAF’s Board, and look forward to creating future opportunities for the artists with whom I have been so fortunate to work, as I make a new home at Berkeley Rep.”


“We have been beyond fortunate that Johanna's passion, commitment and intelligence has been devoted to New York Stage and Film for the last 20 years. She has been the heart and soul of the company and developed it into a strong, flexible, diverse, meaningful, and hugely impactful institution. We look forward to Johanna's continuing involvement through her Board seat and her ongoing relationship with Stage and Film Producing Directors and we wish her the best of luck at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. We are certain her talents will continue to soar, and the west coast is about to get very lucky!” said Mark Linn-Baker, Max Mayer and Leslie Urdang.



New York Stage and Film will initiate a nation-wide search for its next Artistic Director later this fall.


Mark Linn-Baker, Johanna Pfaelzer, Leslie Urdang, Max Mayer



Johanna Pfaelzer’s relationship with New York Stage and Film began in 1998. She first worked with the company as Managing Producer, and subsequently joined founders Mark Linn-Baker, Max Mayer and Leslie Urdang as a Producing Director. In 2007 she was named the company’s first Artistic Director. With NYSAF, Johanna has developed and produced new works by John Patrick Shanley, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Stephen Karam, Steve Martin, Sarah DeLappe, The Debate Society, Beth Henley, Hamish Linklater, Theresa Rebeck, Duncan Sheik, Steven Sater, Marcus Gardley, Ngozi Anyanwu, Richard Greenberg, Taylor Mac, Pete Townshend, Joanna Murray-Smith, Stephen Belber, Christopher Durang, Ayad Akhtar, Eric Bogosian, Lucy Thurber, Nathan Englander, Jocelyn Bioh, Keith Bunin and Eve Ensler, among others, and has collaborated with directors including Michael Mayer, Tommy Kail, Leigh Silverman, Sheryl Kaller, Lila Neugebauer, Mark Brokaw, Trip Cullman, Michael Wilson, Maria Mileaf, Barry Edelstein, Zach Helm and Alex Timbers.


From 2003-2007, she served as Associate Artistic Director of American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, where she developed new works by such artists as José Rivera, Philip Kan Gotanda, Eve Ensler, Itamar Moses, Maria N’Diaye, Timberlake Wertenbaker, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Adam Bock, Karen Hartman, and Carey Perloff, and produced such large-scale works as the international co-production of Robert Wilson and Tom Waits’ Black Rider and Tina Landau’s production of Saroyan’s Time of Your Life.


Johanna is a graduate of Wesleyan University and the Actors Theater of Louisville Apprentice Program, and has served as an adjunct assistant professor in the MFA Theater Program in the Columbia University School of the Arts. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband Russell Champa, and son Jasper.



New York Stage and Film (Johanna Pfaelzer, Artistic Director; Thomas Pearson, Executive Director; Mark Linn-Baker, Max Mayer, Leslie Urdang, Producing Directors) is a not-for-profit company dedicated to both emerging and established artists in the development of new works for theater and film. Since 1985 New York Stage and Film (NYSAF) has played a significant role in the development of new plays, provided a home for a diverse group of artists free from critical and commercial pressures, and established itself as a vital cultural institution for residents of the Hudson Valley and the New York metropolitan region. The signature programs include Powerhouse Theater Season, New York City Programming, Powerhouse Training Program, Filmmakers’ Workshop, Awards, Fellowships, and Residencies.


Dozens of notable works trace their developmental roots to NYSAF, including the 2016 Tony Award winners for Best Musical (Hamilton) and Best Play (The Humans), as well as the Tony Award-winning plays Side Man and Doubt, the Broadway musicals American Idiot and Bright Star, the recently acclaimed The Babylon Line, and the 2017 Pulitzer finalists The Wolves and Taylor Mac's A 24-Decade History of Popular Music.

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