EXCLUSIVE: Broadway producer Debbie Bisno, whose credits include the current Forest Whitaker-led revival of Eugene O’Neill’s Hughie, will add the title of Resident Producer at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, NJ, to her CV. The move formalizes an arrangement that has become familiar throughout the resident theater world, in which commercial producers work closely with subsidized companies in ways they assert is beneficial to both: Commercial producers seek alternatives to conventional, costly out-of-town tryouts, while the subsidized theaters actively develop work that will fill depleted coffers in times of government penury regarding support for the arts and culture.
Bisno, who has deep roots in both the commercial and nonprofit worlds, will be based in Princeton as a key member of the artistic team at the McCarter, where her brief will be to maintain and expand the nonprofit’s relationships in New York, regionally and abroad. Her appointment also adds one more name to the slowly expanding ranks of women in executive positions in the theater community. Her company, Bisno Productions, will continue operations in Manhattan.
The McCarter, under the leadership of artistic director and resident playwright Emily Mann and managing director Timothy J. Shields, already ranks as one of the country’s leading nonprofit theaters and has sent such works as the Tony-winning Best Play Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike and nominees Anna in the Tropics and Having Our Say to Broadway.
“The McCarter’s sophisticated approach to the artistic process — and product — is second to none,” Bisno told Deadline. “A passionate commitment to nurturing new plays, ambitious world premieres and classical adaptations has established the theater as a premiere destination for first-class talent and strategic partnerships. Emily Mann, Tim Shields and the exceptional McCarter team have built a formidable platform for serious theater artists. I am honored to call this prestigious institution my new artistic home.”
Bisno will begin her new role immediately. “I am very excited about Debbie joining us as our Resident Producer,” said Mann, who also has an extraordinary reputation beyond the McCarter as both playwright and director. “She brings extraordinary expertise and experience in producing from both the profit and nonprofit sectors and promises to be an inspiring colleague for me and the entire McCarter staff. “
As Resident Producer, Bisno will help oversee the McCarter’s pipeline of world premieres, co-productions, and new work, as well as identify strategic producing alliances among other resident theaters as well as with commercial partners. Before moving to New York, she was a well-known presence in Chicago’s active resident theaters. Her Broadway producing and co-producing credits include Terrence McNally’s Mothers & Sons, Craig Wright’s Grace, a revival of Annie, War Horse, Hair, The Merchant of Venice and a revival of Speed-the-Plow.