Geva Theatre Center today announced Christopher Mannelli will be the next Executive Director and co-CEO with Artistic Director Mark Cuddy. Following Geva's national search, Mannelli comes to Geva from Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago -- a 41-year-old, Tony Award-winning institution dedicated to new plays and playwrights, where he served as managing director for five years.
Mannelli will start full-time at Geva Theatre Center at the end of February.
During his tenure, Mannelli led the reorganization of the Chicago institution and was responsible for the strategic planning, fundraising, and audience development initiatives that created the theater's new business model. Under his leadership, Victory Gardens has seen numerous award-winning productions, increased contributed income, and launched innovative membership and audience engagement initiatives.
Prior to his work with Victory Gardens, Mannelli served as deputy director at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, one of the largest nonprofit theaters in Chicago. Before moving to Chicago, he was the managing director for HotCity Theatre in St. Louis, Missouri. He grew up on Long Island and began his career as an actor and a musician, touring nationally and internationally. He holds a B.A. in opera performance from the SUNY Geneseo School of Performing Arts, an M.F.A. in Arts Leadership from DePaul University.
Manelli has more than 20 years of experience in the theatre industry, says Joanna Grosodonia, Chair of the Board of Trustees for Geva Theatre Center. "He has a proven track record of strategic thinking, leadership, and marketing that will benefit and promote Geva as this area's premier regional theatre."
"I am thrilled to be joining the team at Geva Theatre Center and honored to have the opportunity to serve as Executive Director," Mannelli says. "When I began my career as a performer, it was at Geva where I had my first professional role. It's incredibly special to come back, nearly 20 years later, and have the privilege to partner with an inspiring leader such as Mark Cuddy."