All About Richland

Renaissance Artistic Director Honored In NYC

6 Dec , 2019  

Michael Thomas, the Renaissance Theatre’s Artistic Director, and his writing partner Jeff Richmond created Melancholy Baby more than 15 years; it was an inventive musical about Shakespeare’s Hamlet that, as part of the storyline, was purported to have been written over sixty years earlier by the legendary duo Jezba Heinsplatt and Arturo DeSelza. In 2002, it was also the first show produced on the stage at Ars Nova, a nonprofit theater in New York City.

Thomas and Richmond were honored guests at the Ars Nova Ball 2019, which took place on December 2nd in New York City. Ars Nova is a hub for theater in New York City; it has two stage locations and has become a champion for emerging writers, actors, directors, composers, musicians and designers.

Artists from Broadway, film and the recording industry paid tribute to Thomas and Richmond. Performers at the Ars Nova Ball 2019 included Tina Fey, Jonathan Groff, Audra McDonald, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Josh Groban, Jack McBrayer, and Bob Balahan, as well as Broadway stars, Kate Rockwell, Kyle Selig, Jennifer Simard, Greg Hildreth, Kerry Butler, and the cast of Mean Girls: The Musical.

Thomas is celebrating his 10th season as the Artistic Director of the Renaissance and his next original work, At Last: An Evening with Etta James, is set to premier in January. He has directed 75 productions for the Renaissance and Theatre 166 stages, including A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Sweeney Todd, Matilda, Sunday in the Park with
George, The Light in the Piazza, Mamma Mia, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, White Christmas, Les Miserables, Ain’t Misbehavin’;, and Avenue Q. His original productions that have premiered at the Renaissance include The Last Act, Hot Mess, Sentimental Journey, and Remember Me Always. He is the recipient of three of Chicago’s prestigious Joseph
Jefferson Awards for his work in the theatre, musical directed the Broadway national tours of Once on this Island and The Secret Garden and was a member of the famed Second City Company, Chicago's fabled improvisational institution.

Although the Renaissance Theatre calls downtown Mansfield home, Thomas lives in rural Butler.

Source, Photos: Renaissance Performing Arts Association

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