One of my goals is for Arizona Theatre Company to become a national leader—one that other theatres look to emulate (or look at with envy).
And I think we do that by attracting the best in the business to come work here: Artists in high demand who consider Arizona Theatre Company one of their homes, so they come here first.
And as the most-produced playwright in the country, Lauren Gunderson is easily that.
She has emerged as the voice of her generation and been embraced by theatres around the world. This may be her first show at Arizona Theatre Company, but certainly not the last.
She just had a hit play in London starring Game of Thrones' Maise Williams (Arya Stark), and she's about to do a show Off-Broadway with Orange Is The New Black's Kate Mulgrew (Red).
Since May when I arrived back in the state, Lauren now considers Arizona one of her theatrical homes. She has a long relationship with me and Silent Sky lead actress—who also happens to be my wife—Veronika Duerr. Lauren was key in starting Veronika and me to date and even officiated at our wedding.
Most excitedly, she already is working on several plays for ATC to premiere. That means when those shows are produced everywhere, as they always are, people inside and outside of the theatre industry will know those shows started their runs here.
For those of you who want to know more about Silent Sky: If you loved Hidden Figures, this is a similar story. A woman, Henrietta Leavitt, generated one of the greatest astronomical breakthroughs of our time, figuring out where we are in the universe without using a telescope because the prevailing thinking was that having women near telescopes would make men uncomfortable.
And, she got none of the credit for her brilliance. Even today, people know Edwin Hubble, who based his work on hers and whose name is on the Hubble Telescope, but not hers.
I'm excited for this next chapter at ATC. See you at the theater.
Sean Daniels is artistic director of Arizona Theatre Company