Darko Tresnjak will step down as Hartford Stage's Artistic Director at the conclusion of the 2018-19 season. Tresnjak has served as the Tony Award-winning theatre’s artistic leader since 2011. A national search will be conducted to find his replacement.
“I want to thank our staff, our board, our audiences, and all the wonderful artists whose work has graced our stage over the past seven seasons. And I look forward to our spectacular 2018-2019 season, which will be announced shortly,” Tresnjak said. “Serving as the Artistic Director of Hartford Stage has been the greatest honor and privilege of my career. I look forward to welcoming the next Artistic Director who – working alongside our indomitable Managing Director, Mike Stotts – will lead this great American theater company.”
“Darko leaves Hartford Stage with a lasting legacy. As he promised when he arrived, under his direction we laughed, we had our hearts broken, we were reminded of the power of love, we empathized, we took a few walks on the wild side and we saw great shows,” said Board President Sue Ann Collins. “His work at Hartford Stage will live on as his productions of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murderand Anastasia become worldwide successes. We are forever thankful for the great artistic gifts he brought to the stage and will continue to follow his awe-inspiring career.”
“Darko has built on the legacies of the artistic directors who proceeded him and taken the theatre’s artistry and acclaim to a new level,” said Hartford Stage Managing Director Michael Stotts. “It has been an enormous privilege to work alongside him these past seven years to enhance Hartford Stage’s reputation as a preeminent regional theatre.”
In 2011, Tresnjak became the fifth Artistic Director to lead Hartford Stage. In 2012, he directed A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder at Hartford Stage. The musical opened on Broadway at the Walter Kerr Theatre in November 2013 and earned four Tony Awards in 2014, including Best Musical, Costume Design, Book and Direction by Tresnjak. He also won the Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Los Angeles Critics Circle, and San Diego Critics Circle awards for his direction of A Gentleman’s Guide. In 2016, Tresnjak directed Anastasia at Hartford Stage. The musical opened on Broadway at the Broadhurst Theatre in 2017, and it will open in Spain, Germany, and commence a national tour by the end of 2018.
Tresnjak’s directing credits at Hartford Stage also include the world premieres of Breath and Imagination by Daniel Beaty and Rear Window, adapted by Keith Reddin and starring Kevin Bacon; the revivals of Bell, Book and Candle, La Dispute, Private Lives, Kiss Me, Kate and Heartbreak House; and seven productions of Shakespeare plays: The Tempest, Twelfth Night, Macbeth, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, A Comedy of Errors and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Tresnjak also designed the sets for his productions of Macbeth, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet and A Comedy of Errors. For his work at Hartford Stage, Tresnjak received four Connecticut Critics Circle Awards for the direction of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Hamlet and Anastasia and for the set design for A Comedy of Errors.
Further highlights of Tresnjak’s tenure at Hartford Stage include the world premieres of Quiara Alegría Hudes’ Water by the Spoonful, winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama; Reverberation by Matthew Lopez; Big Dance Theatre’s Man in a Case with Mikhail Baryshnikov; and the upcoming The Age of Innocence, adapted by Douglas McGrath.
Hartford Stage's subscriber base has risen from 6,000 to over 8,000 during Tresnjak's tenure. For the 2015-16 season, Tresnjak’s productions of Rear Window, Romeo and Juliet, and Anastasia shattered all box office records in the company’s 54-year history. In addition, Hartford Stage’s Education Department now reaches over 21,000 students across the state of Connecticut.
Tresnjak will make his Metropolitan Opera directorial debut in September with Saint-Saëns’ Samson et Dalila, starring Elīna Garanča and Roberto Alagna. Recent productions at Los Angeles Opera include Macbeth with Plácido Domingo, The Ghosts of Versailles with Patricia Racette and Patti LuPone, Die Vögel, Der Zwerg, and Der zerbrochene Krug - all conducted by James Conlon.
Prior to his tenure at Hartford Stage, Tresnjak was the Artistic Director of the Old Globe Shakespeare Festival in San Diego from 2004 to 2009. His directing credits there included Cyrano de Bergerac, Coriolanus, The Women, The Pleasure of His Company, All's Well That Ends Well, Bell, Book and Candle, Hamlet, Titus Andronicus, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Winter's Tale, A Comedy of Errors, Antony and Cleopatra, The Two Noble Kinsmen, Pericles and co-productions (with Hartford Stage) of Kiss Me, Kate and A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder. For his work at the Old Globe, Tresnjak received five awards from the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle, including a special honor for Excellence in Artistic Direction.
Tresnjak's directing career began at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in 1996, where – for over eight seasons – he directed The Skin of Our Teeth with Marian Seldes, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead with Jefferson Mays, Under Milk Wood with Dana Ivey, The Blue Demon with Ty Burrell, The Winter's Tale with Kate Burton, Princess Turandot, Moving Picture and The Love of Three Orange. From 2002 to 2004, he was a Director-in-Residence at Boston's Huntington Theatre Company, where his productions included What the Butler Saw, Heartbreak House, Blue Demon and Amphitryon. Other career highlights include The Merchant of Venice with F. Murray Abraham at Theatre for a New Audience and the Royal Shakespeare Company; Titus Andronicus at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival; The Two Noble Kinsmen at the Joseph Papp Public Theater and Chicago Shakespeare Theater; and Twelfth Night at Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Tresnjak has also directed at Goodspeed Musicals, Long Wharf Theatre Company, Westport Country Playhouse, Pittsburgh City Theatre, Blue Light Theater Company, and Vineyard Theatre Company.
Tresnjak grew up in Yugoslavia, the United States and Poland. He was educated at Edmund Burke School, Swarthmore College and Columbia University. For the 2018-19 season at Hartford Stage, Tresnjak will direct the world premieres of a new play by Samuel Baum and a new musical by Robert L. Freedman and Scott Frankel.