jakub | June 25, 2023

AMERICAN THEATRE | Kenn McLaughlin to Retire from Stages Houston


Kenn McLaughlin. (Photo by Stages Houston.)

HOUSTON: Stages Houston has announced that artistic director Kenn McLaughlin will retire from the company in June 2024. McLaughlin will have served 25 seasons at the theatre, including 18 as artistic director.

“Kenn has brought visionary artistic leadership, intense passion, and love of community to Stages and Houston for almost a quarter of a century,” Stages chair emeritus George C. Lancaster said in a statement. “He’s created a strong foundation and long-lasting legacy for Stages to continue to innovate, inspire, and create great art.”

McLaughlin has produced over 100 productions at Stages, including nine original pantomime productions, and has directed over 30 shows. He brought multiple world and American premieres to the theatre, including The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical, and is particularly proud of directing a production of John Weidman and Stephen Sondheim’s Road Show. As artistic director, McLaughlin oversaw the development of the theatre’s new home at the Gordy, a $35 million, three-stage complex which opened in January 2020. McLaughlin is the co-founder of the oral history performance program the Wallpaper Project and has taught creativity and directing at Rice University and Sam Houston State University. He studied nonprofit leadership at Stanford University and holds a BFA from the Theatre School at DePaul University.

In a statement, McLaughlin described the Stages staff as “the most amazing people, friends, and colleagues I can ever hope to have.” He added that he is confident that they will create “killer, engaging, expansive, inclusive art in a building bursting at the seams with excitement.”

Stages Houston strives to make plays and tell stories that invite audiences to live and love more boldly. The theatre works to strengthen the creative capacities of Houston theatre artists and technicians and to build equity, diversity, and inclusion in the Houston theatre community. As of 2022, the theatre had a budget of approximately $5.9 million.

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