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American Stage announces new Producing Artistic Director

Bill DeYoung



Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj has joined the administrative staff of American Stage. Photo: American Stage.

American Stage’s new Producing Artistic Director is Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj, whose list of professional credentials includes stints as Associate Artistic Producer of Milwaukee Repertory Theatre and as Artistic Director of Philadelphia’s New Freedom Theatre.

Maharaj succeeds Stephanie Gularte, who resigned for health reasons.

“Rajendra is a powerful artistic leader who will inspire the theatre’s next era,” American Stage board chair Robyn Rusignuolo said in a statement announcing the appointment.

Said Maharaj: “I am humbled and honored to become the next Producing Artistic Director of American Stage. 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.”

His list of accolades includes the Woodie King Jr. Award, four Vivian Robinson AUDELCO Awards, Barrymore Award, Stage Directors and Choreographers Society Theatrical Moment of the Year, The New York International Fringe Festival Overall Excellence Award, Theater Communications Group Directors Grant and Playwriting Grant, and the 2020 National Alliance for Musical Theater Fifteen-Minute Musical Theater Challenge Award. In addition, Maharaj was a semi-finalist for the 2021 Blue Ink Playwriting Award Competition presented by American Blues Theater.

Maharaj is a playwright, director, producer, scholar, administrator and self-described activist. He started Rebel Theater Company in 2003 in New York City, and served as Producing Artistic Director.

His play Little Rock, an historical drama about an ugly period in the history of segregated Arkansas, was well-reviewed by the New York Times:

“If, by chance, you should happen to miss the echoes of present-day racism in the play, listen to the spectators around you. In their murmurs of recognition, they’ll set you straight.”

Maharaj was recently awarded the 2021 Trinidad and Tobago United Community Association Inc. Award for his outstanding contributions to the Trinidad and Tobago Diaspora as an Artist, Advocate, and Educator in the United States of America.

In a recent interview with the Catalyst, Gularte said she intends to stay on in a consulting role through the transition.


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