Jerry Manning, artistic director of the Seattle Repertory Theatre since 2010, died in Seattle on Wednesday night while recovering from surgery for a congenital heart defect. Mr. Manning was 58.
The death came as a shock to Mr. Manning’s wide circle of friends and colleagues in Seattle and beyond. In late March, he told the Times he expected to recover fully from the operation, and he announced a line-up of plays for the 2014-15 season.
Mr. Manning was hired as casting director at the Rep in 2001 by then-artistic director Sharon Ott, and carried out the Rep’s new agenda of hiring more Seattle area actors for the theater’s productions.
Mr. Manning later served as associate artistic director after Ott left the Rep and was succeeded by David Esbjornson, who was at the artistic helm from 2005 to 2008. After Esbjornson’s departure, Manning was appointed interim producing artistic director and later artistic director.
In recent years Mr. Manning focused on reviving Seattle Rep’s new plays program. He produced such world premieres as “An Iliad,” “A Great Wilderness,” and “Pullman Porter Blues,” and he created a residency program at the Rep for Pacific Northwest writers.”
Mr. Manning came to the Rep with substantial experience at major East Coast theaters. He began his career with an 11-year stint as a staffer at Arena Stage in Washington D.C., and from 1995 through 2000 was a key artistic associate at the prominent Off Broadway company, New York Theatre Workshop.
He also did casting work for such films as “Forrest Gump,” “The Pelican Brief” and many others.
Other directing credits include work at New Dramatists, New York Theatre Workshop, the Kennedy Center, The Studio Theatre, Source, Adirondack Theatre, Washington Stage Guild, and Signature Theatre. He has directed perhaps four dozen readings and workshops of new plays around the country.
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