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New York, NY (February 6, 2019) – New York Stage and Film announced today that, following a nationwide search, Christopher Burney will become its next Artistic Director. Additionally, New York Stage and Film’s longtime Associate Artistic Director, Liz Carlson, has been promoted to the newly created position of Artistic Producer.

Burney will be the creative leader behind NYSAF’s programs including the Powerhouse Season in partnership with Vassar College (which has helped to develop some of the most important theater events of the last few years, including Hamilton, The Humans, Taylor Mac’s A 24-Decade History of Popular Music and The Wolves), the NYC Reading Series, the Winter Season currently at the Lark Barebones Studio in New York, and the Filmmakers’ Workshop which provides early-career screen and television writers mentorship and creative development from industry leaders designed to bring each project closer to completion.

He was selected following an extensive process overseen by a search committee comprised of New York Stage and Film Board members and others. Beginning this spring, he will work alongside current artistic director Johanna Pfaelzer, who will program and oversee New York Stage and Film & Vassar’s 2019 Powerhouse Season prior to departing at the end of the summer to assume her new position as Artistic Director of Berkeley Repertory Theatre.

Burney joins New York Stage and Film following a distinguished career at New York’s Second Stage Theater, where he currently serves as Artistic Producer. Burney shepherded over 100 productions to its three stages, including such hits as Dear Evan Hansen; Next to Normal; Metamorphoses; By The Way, Meet Vera Stark; Notes From The Field; and the new musical Superhero, which is now in previews. Burney also was key in Second Stage’s move to the Hayes Theater, its new home on Broadway, which launched with the Broadway premiere of Lobby Hero, which received a Tony Award nomination for Best Revival of a Play.

Barbara Manocherian, President of New York Stage and Film’s Board of Directors said, “Chris’ experience developing the work of world-class artists, as well as his passion for discovering and nurturing diverse, powerful new voices, were an ideal match for New York Stage and Film. In a field of nearly 80 applicants from across the country and abroad, he stood out as the perfect person to lead the company into an exciting next chapter, and I’m delighted to welcome him on behalf of the entire Board.”

Christopher Burney said, “New York Stage and Film provides a unique home for emerging and established artists to create innovative, daring, and engaging stories for stage and screen. Through the Powerhouse Season, their commitment to film, and their other excellent work, they build vital communities for the creation of stories which impact the global arts community. I am thrilled to be joining this exceptional company and I look forward to supporting and expanding their legacy.”

Playwright Rajiv Joseph said, “Chris’s talents as a dramaturg and artistic mentor have inspired and bolstered the lives and careers of so many playwrights, myself included. He is one of a kind.”

“I am delighted to hand Chris the reins of this company that I love so much,” said Johanna Pfaelzer. “His taste is excellent, he is enormously respected by artists, and his appetite for supporting a diverse range of new work is vast.  I look forward to this new era for New York Stage and Film.”

For more information, please visit www.newyorkstageandfilm.org


Christopher Burney is the Tony nominated Artistic Producer of Second Stage. He has worked with Second Stage since 1996. Among the many notable productions at Second Stage, selected productions he has shepherded include Dear Evan Hansen (book by Steven Levenson, music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul); Bachelorette (Leslye Headland, playwright); Murder for Two (book and music by Joe Kinosian, book and lyrics by Kellen Blair); Animals Out of Paper (Rajiv Joseph, playwright); Lonely, I’m Not (Paul Weitz, playwright); the Pulitzer Prize-winning Next to Normal (music by Tom Kitt, book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey); Warrior Class (by Kenneth Lin); King Liz (by Fernanda Coppel); and Mala Hierba (Tanya Saracho, playwright). While at Second Stage he has worked with such writers as Anna Deavere Smith, Douglas Carter Beane, Gina Gionfriddo, Craig Lucas, Lanford Wilson, Theresa Rebeck, William Finn, Sam Shepard, David Ives, Kenneth Lonergan, Cheryl West, Martin Sherman, Jason Miller, Wendy Kesselman, August Wilson, Michael John LaChiusa, and Stephen Sondheim. He has worked with many leading directors such as Thomas Kail, Trip Cullman, Carolyn Cantor, Kenny Leon, Peter DuBois, Leigh Silverman, Mark Brokaw, Scott Ellis, Michael Greif, Garry Hynes, James Lapine, and Kathleen Marshall. As curator for 2ST Uptown, he has developed numerous emerging writers and directors including Rajiv Joseph, Bess Wohl, Erica Lipez, Marisa Wegrzyn, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Brooke Berman, Adam Bock, Carly Mensch, Michael Golamco, Trip Cullman, and Joe Calarco, among others. He has consulted for various organizations including the Philadelphia Theatre Initiative, the Kesselring Prize, the Kurt Weill Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Asian American Arts Alliance, and the Jerome Fellowship. Previously, he worked from 1991-1997 at Lincoln Center Theater as the Assistant to the Director of Musical Theatre. He teaches creative producing and New York theatre history at Columbia University in the Graduate School of the Arts. He has lectured at Barnard College, the Einhorn School for the Performing Arts at Primary Stages, the Juilliard School, Bard College, the Boston School of Music, Marymount Manhattan College, and the New England Theatre Conference. He is on the artistic advisory board of the Detroit Public Theatre, the first professional theatre in a reborn Detroit. He is a graduate of Brandeis University, B.A., and Columbia University, M.F.A.


New York Stage and Film (Johanna Pfaelzer, Artistic Director; Thomas Pearson, Executive Director; Mark Linn-Baker, Max Mayer, Leslie Urdang, Producing Directors) is a not-for-profit company dedicated to both emerging and established artists in the development of new works for theater and film. Since 1985 New York Stage and Film (NYSAF) has played a significant role in the development of new plays, provided a home for a diverse group of artists free from critical and commercial pressures, and established itself as a vital cultural institution for residents of the Hudson Valley and the New York metropolitan region. The signature programs include Powerhouse Theater Season, New York City Programming, Powerhouse Training Program, Filmmakers’ Workshop, Awards, Fellowships, and Residencies.

Dozens of notable works trace their developmental roots to NYSAF, including the 2016 Tony Award winners for Best Musical (Hamilton) and Best Play (The Humans), as well as the Tony Award-winning plays Side Man and Doubt, the Broadway musicals American Idiot and Bright Star, the recently acclaimed The Babylon Line, and the 2017 Pulitzer finalists The Wolves and Taylor Mac’s A 24-Decade History of Popular Music.


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