RI PowerPlayer: Trinity Rep’s Michael Gennaro

Monday, April 08, 2013


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At the helm of the Rhode Island arts institution as it turns 50 this year--Trinity Rep Executive Director Michael Gennaro.

Every Monday, GoLocal shines the spotlight on one individual who is making a large impact on Rhode Island. This week, we sat down with Michael Gennaro, Executive Director at Rhode Island's Trinity Repertory Company, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

You’ve been the Executive Director for Trinity Rep for the past six years. Tell us a little bit about your experience so far and what you’ve learned since assuming the role.

I was fortunate that when I joined Trinity Rep I had previously worked with our artistic director Curt Columbus at Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago. Because of this we were able to hit the ground running and move quickly. What I have learned that I think is different than other cities I have worked in is that everyone knows everyone which has been both a positive and negative. Many times it helps you to get things done quickly and other times it prolongs the process. The small geographic area of the state offers great opportunities for innovation and collaboration.

At a time when many Rhode Islanders have less money to spend on arts and entertainment, why you believe Trinity Rep continues to thrive and attract audiences?

I believe Trinity continues to attract audiences because it is home grown and because there has been a consistent level of quality in what is produced on the stage. I believe Rhode Islanders are proud of having a nationally recognized theatre that is one of only a handful that has been around for 50 years and that has one of the last resident acting companies in the country.

This year marks the 50th anniversary for Trinity Rep. What special plans does your organization have to celebrate this milestone?

We are kicking off the 50th anniversary with a block party on August 17th when we will open the entire theatre to the public in celebration of all theatre companies in the State. It will be a family event and we hope to have performances indoors and outdoors by all of the local theatre companies and provide tours and backstage access to the Lederer Theatre. At the end of the season we will celebrate with our annual Pell Awards that will no doubt have surprise guests and incredible honorees.

Take us through a day in your life.

My day usually begins with checking my emails and reading the NY Times and other news sites followed by some kind of workout depending on if there is time. From there and once at the theatre I have meetings focusing on finance, fundraising and marketing and there are always several phone conversations with members of my Board. I always check in with the box office on ticket sales and with my general manager and production manager to make sure everything is going smoothly in their areas. And then aside from any Board committee meetings I will try and make it over to Providence Crossfit to clear my mind.

Tell us something nobody knows about you.

I played Binky Rudich in the New York production of David Mamet’s Revenge of the Space Pandas.

Quick Hitters

Role Model: My father and mother because of the values and ethics they instilled in me

Favorite Restaurant: Bacaro

Favorite Part of Living/Working in RI: The beauty of the city and state and easy access to rural areas, the ocean and lakes

Best Book You’ve Read in the Last Year: 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

Advice for the Next Michael Gennaro: Have patience, stay true to your ideals and keep trying no matter what. 


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