American Stage Announces New Producing Artistic Director
St. Petersburg, FL – Following a national search, American Stage Theatre Company and its Board of Trustees are pleased to announce that Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj will be its next Producing Artistic Director, succeeding Stephanie Gularte in the position.
“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we are thrilled to welcome Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj as American Stage’s next leader,” said Robyn Rusignuolo, Chair of American Stage’s Board of Trustees. “Rajendra is a powerful artistic leader who will inspire the theatre’s next era.” Annie Hiotis, American Stage’s Vice-Chair, added, “We are confident that Rajendra will thrive in our rapidly growing and evolving community, continuing American Stage’s commitment to excellence while expanding the theatre’s regional and national footprint.”
“I am humbled and honored to become the next Producing Artistic Director of American Stage,” said Maharaj. “I am excited to bring ambitious, innovative new works to the Tampa Bay Region that will feature transformative, diverse artists and theatre-makers, as well as find continued opportunities for theatre-practitioners from across the country to develop their work at American Stage. I look forward to meeting and working with the artists and audiences who already love this great theatre while also attracting new patrons and collaborators.”
Maharaj continued, “I am committed to ensuring American Stage upholds its mission and values as it enters a dynamic new chapter. During a time when there has been significant loss and pain for the theatre industry and the world, I look forward to charting a course for the future that positions American Stage as an institution that inspires meaningful civic change in its community and across the nation.”
Maharaj brings an impressive multi-disciplinary career and award-winning body of work to American Stage that bridges a wide range of exciting creative skills and notable experience as an administrator. He recently served as the Associate Artistic Producer of Milwaukee Repertory Theater, a highly respected nationally-known LORT regional theatre. Maharaj previously served as the Artistic Director of New Freedom Theatre in Philadelphia and Rebel Theatre in Brooklyn. He is the former Third Vice-President for the NAACP for the Borough of Brooklyn and its Founding Chairman for the Equity in the Arts and Culture Committee.
In addition to his work as an arts leader and advocate, Maharaj is a notable Playwright and Director. He has been honored with numerous awards for his work, including the Woodie King Jr. Award for Outstanding Direction, four Vivian Robinson AUDELCO Awards, a Barrymore Award, Stage Directors and Choreographers Society Theatrical Moment of the Year, and the New York International Fringe Festival Overall Excellence Award. Mr. Maharaj was hailed in The New York Times for his award-winning play Little Rock, which was selected as a New York Times Critics Pick. Mr. Maharaj is currently a finalist for the 2021 Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference.
As a storyteller, Mr. Maharaj has worked on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and at many of our nation’s top Regional Theatres including the Bernard B. Jacobs, The Theater at Madison Square Garden, The Sheen Center for Thought & Culture, Classical Theater of Harlem, New Federal Theater, Portland Stage, Actors Theater of Louisville, Alabama Shakespeare, Signature Theater, Theater Works, Goodman Theater, The Kennedy Center, Arkansas Repertory Theater, and Perseverance.
In an eight month search for a new Producing Artistic Director led by Management Consultants for the Arts, American Stage had thoughtful discussions with a number of dynamic applicants from across the country. “Ultimately, the Search Committee and the Board enthusiastically agreed that Rajendra is the ideal leader to build upon the organization’s strong foundation and expand its impact,” said Robyn Rusignuolo, Chair of American Stage’s Board of Trustees.
"As soon as I had the opportunity to meet with and get to know Rajendra, I knew he was the right leader for this next chapter of American Stage. Knowing that the leadership of the organization that I care so deeply about will rest in such highly capable, innovative, and compassionate hands makes my departure a little easier. I am confident that this is the beginning of a thrilling new era for American Stage and the Tampa Bay community," said Gularte, American Stage’s former CEO/Producing Artistic Director.
Maharaj will join American Stage this month. He will reside in St. Petersburg full-time at the start of American Stage’s 2021-2022 season, after serving as Assistant Director for Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up In My Bones at the internationally-renowned Metropolitan Opera House in New York City.