Matt Shakman Named Geffen Playhouse Artistic Director

The Black Dahlia Theatre founder and prolific TV director will replace Randall Arney.

Matt Shakman.

LOS ANGELES: Theatre, film, and television director Matt Shakman has been named artistic director of the Geffen Playhouse, the nonprofit theatre’s board of directors announced today. He will replace Randall Arney, who announced his departure in February.

Shakman, whose work spans stages on both coasts and the screen, will take his post alongside the Geffen’s executive director Gil Cates Jr. on Sept. 20.

“We are thrilled to welcome Matt Shakman to the Geffen Playhouse as our new artistic director,” board co-chairs Martha Henderson and Pamela Robinson said in a statement. “His unique artistic vision, coupled with his directorial and entertainment business experience, makes him an outstanding cultural fit for our theatre. He and Gil Cates Jr. make an incredibly powerful team to lead the Geffen into the future.”

In a statement, Cates added, “I am delighted to welcome Matt to the Geffen. His passion for extraordinary storytelling, his strong relationships with artists in theatre, film and television, and his commitment to fostering community will be immensely valuable as we continue to advance the mission of the theatre.”

Shakman’s relationship with the Geffen Playhouse began in 2012 when he directed the West Coast premiere of David Lindsay-Abaire’s Good People, followed by Jeffrey Hatcher’s adaptation of Frederick Knott’s Wait Until Dark in 2013. Most recently he helmed the Geffen’s production of Joshua Harmon’s Off-Broadway comedy Bad Jews during its 2014-15 season.

“As a long-standing admirer of the Geffen, both for the high-quality work that it produces and for the amazing community it has cultivated with audiences and artists alike, I am thrilled to take on the exciting opportunity of growing the reach of the theater and nurturing the inclusive values that are so essential to its success,” said Shakman in a statement. “It’s a dream come true to join such a vibrant cultural institution.”

Shakman founded L.A.’s Black Dahlia Theatre in 2001 and served as its artistic director from its inception. Under his leadership, the theatre was named one of “a dozen young American companies you need to know” by this magazine, and “Best Small Theatre” by Los Angeles magazine. Productions such as Hey, Morgan, Theatre District, Nocturne, and Orson’s Shadow garnered numerous Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle and LA Stage Alliance nominations and awards. In 2011 the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle awarded Shakman the Milton Katselas Award for Career Achievement in Direction.

Shakman will continue to direct for television and film while serving in his new role. He recently helmed two episodes of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and is a director and producer for FX’s long-running “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia series.”

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