Theater Latté Da invests in growth and new work development with two new leadership positions

MINNEAPOLIS, MN December 11, 2017Theater Latté Da (TLD) announces Michelle Woster will be joining the company as Managing Director. As Latté Da continues to expand its commitment to developing new musical theater works, re-imagining work from the canon, touring its original work across the country, and managing the Ritz Theater (the company’s new home in northeast Minneapolis), increased staff capacity was needed to support the efforts.

Woster was hired as the first managing director of Ten Thousand Things in 2003, where she worked for ten years with the company’s small staff and board to grow this locally-recognized treasure into a leader on the national theater scene. For the past four years she held senior development positions at the Center for Victims of Torture and The Family Partnership. Woster holds a B.A. in English from The University of St. Thomas and a M.P.A. from The University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill. Michelle lives in Northeast Minneapolis with her husband Peter Quale and their three children. Woster will oversee all business aspects of TLD with a primary focus on development and operations.

“I am excited to start meeting many of Latté Da’s donors and patrons who have carried the company to its 20th season, and to build new relationships with theater enthusiasts looking to invest in the creation of new work and the artists who will bring those stories to life,” said Woster.

In an effort to seek out new projects and writers, maintain a presence at new work festivals, and support the future development and production of Theater Latté Da’s NEXT Festival, the company’s new works festival, TLD has created the new position of Associate Artistic Director, which will be filled by Elissa Adams.

Adams has spent her career developing new work. In her 19 seasons as Director of New Play development at Children's Theatre Company, she commissioned and developed more than 45 new plays and musicals that premiered at CTC and went on to productions across the country. She was Literary Manager/Dramaturg at La Jolla Playhouse and Director of Playwright Services at The Playwrights' Center, where she oversaw the Center's Jerome and McKnight Fellowships and served as Artistic Director of PlayLabs. She is a frequent dramaturg at the Sundance Theatre Lab, an Adjunct Professor at MCAD, a recipient of the McKnight Theatre Artist Fellowship and a former Board Member at Open Eye Figure Theatre and TYA/USA. She holds an MFA in Dramaturgy from UC San Diego.

Adams has worked with Latté Da’s NEXT Festival before, where she has served as a dramaturg from the beginning and has facilitated the curatorial process of the Festival for the past two years. “It is such an exciting time to be joining Theatre Latté Da, says Adams. Thanks to the strong foundation of excellent new work that Peter and a host of wonderful artists have created over the past 20 years, the company’s reputation as an incubator of and launching pad for new musicals is really taking flight. Latté Da is earning a reputation nationally I look forward to helping spread the word so the organization and its artists can soar.”

“Michelle and Elissa bring with them a wealth of experience, but more importantly a bold vision for the future of the American Theater. We are thrilled to have them at the helm of Theater Latté Da's next chapter.”

Theater Latté Da Board Chair Jaime Roman says, “After our recent strategic planning, the board felt strongly that now was the time to “lean in” to our ambitions to become a nationally recognized center for the creation of the new canon of American musical theater, while establishing our new home at the Ritz Theater as a community hub in Northeast Minneapolis. These two additions to our staff will help bring our ambitions to life.”

Theater Latté Da is currently presenting A Christmas Carole Petersen at the Ritz Theater, running through Dec 30, and will open Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins on February 10, 2018, and the world premiere of Five Points opening on April 6. 

About the NEXT Festival

In 2013, TLD launched the NEXT Festival, inviting audiences to participate in the generative creative process of creating a new work. Each year three new musicals or plays with music receive a two-week workshop and two to three public readings. In 2015, TLD expanded on our commitment to playwrights, composers, and lyricists, and launched a robust new works initiative called NEXT 20/20. The initiative will develop 20 new musicals, or plays with music, over a five-year period, and will shepherd many of them to full production.  The goal of the endeavor is for the artists to receive the resources, time, and space needed to think big, to explore new ideas, and to discover the best course of action to move their work forward.

About Theater Latté Da

Founded in 1998, Theater Latté Da (TLD) is in its 20th season of presenting original and re-imagined musical theater. Theater Latté Da seeks to create new connections between story, music, artist, and audience by exploring and expanding the art of musical theater. TLD is dedicated to expanding the American Musical Theater with work that speaks to a contemporary audience. Theater Latté Da has fostered innovation and diversity since its conception. We believe in work that is bold and collaborative; we act with integrity and gratitude. These values are integral to the organization’s health and drives the discussion at every stage of decision-making. Through productions that transcend the conventional, the organization helps solidify the Twin Cities’ reputation as a place where progressive art plays a vital role.

Theater Latté Da is the only nonprofit professional theater in the Twin Cities that exclusively produces musical theater. Since its inception, TLD has presented 70 Mainstage productions, including ten world premieres, and ten area premieres. Each has garnered critical acclaim and earned its artists and TLD a host of awards, including: seven IVEY Awards for overall excellence, National Endowment for the Arts, the Gabriel Award for Broadcast Excellence, and the American Theater Wing National Theater Company Award. In addition to our Twin Cities presence, TLD’s original production All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 is celebrating its 11th anniversary with a national tour to 16 cities, ranging from New Jersey to California and Wisconsin to Florida. TLD’s provocative staging of Ragtime was remounted at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle, Washington in October 2017, and will be remounted at Asolo Repertory Theater in Florida in May 2018.

Since 1998, TLD has performed in venues throughout the Twin Cities, ranging from the intimate 120-seat Loring Playhouse to the Pantages Theater in downtown Minneapolis. To deepen our relationship with Twin Cities audiences and to better reach the communities we serve, Latté Da decided to make a permanent home in northeast Minneapolis. In 2016, TLD became the proud owner of the historic Ritz Theater, a 234-seat theater with administrative offices, rehearsal space, dressing rooms, and box office.