Following a national search, American Stage Theatre Company and its Board of Trustees are pleased to announce that Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj will be its next Producing Artistic Director, succeeding Stephanie Gularte in the position. 

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we are thrilled to welcome Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj as American Stage’s next leader,” said Robyn Rusignuolo, Chair of American Stage’s Board of Trustees. “Rajendra is a powerful artistic leader who will inspire the theatre’s next era.” Annie Hiotis, American Stage’s Vice-Chair, added, “We are confident that Rajendra will thrive in our rapidly growing and evolving community, continuing American Stage’s commitment to excellence while expanding the theatre’s regional and national footprint.”

“I am humbled and honored to become the next Producing Artistic Director of American Stage,” said Maharaj. “I am excited to bring ambitious, innovative new works to the Tampa Bay Region that will feature transformative, diverse artists and theatre-makers, as well as find continued opportunities for theatre-practitioners from across the country to develop their work at American Stage. I look forward to meeting and working with the artists and audiences who already love this great theatre while also attracting new patrons and collaborators.” 

Maharaj continued, “I am committed to ensuring American Stage upholds its mission and values as it enters a dynamic new chapter. During a time when there has been significant loss and pain for the theatre industry and the world, I look forward to charting a course for the future that positions American Stage as an institution that inspires meaningful civic change in its community and across the nation.”

Maharaj brings an impressive multi-disciplinary career and award-winning body of work to American Stage that bridges a wide range of exciting creative skills and notable experience as an administrator. He recently served as the Associate Artistic Producer of Milwaukee Repertory Theater, a highly respected nationally-known LORT regional theatre. Maharaj previously served as the Artistic Director of New Freedom Theatre in Philadelphia and Rebel Theatre in Brooklyn. He is the former Third Vice-President for the NAACP for the Borough of Brooklyn and its Founding Chairman for the Equity in the Arts and Culture Committee.

In addition to his work as an arts leader and advocate, Maharaj is a notable Playwright and Director. He has been honored with numerous awards for his work, including the Woodie King Jr. Award for Outstanding Direction, four Vivian Robinson AUDELCO Awards, a Barrymore Award, Stage Directors and Choreographers Society Theatrical Moment of the Year, and the New York International Fringe Festival Overall Excellence Award. Mr. Maharaj was hailed in The New York Times for his award-winning play Little Rock, which was selected as a New York Times Critics Pick. Mr. Maharaj is currently a finalist for the 2021 Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference.

As a storyteller, Mr. Maharaj has worked on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and at many of our nation’s top Regional Theatres including the Bernard B. Jacobs, The Theater at Madison Square Garden, The Sheen Center for Thought & Culture, Classical Theater of Harlem, New Federal Theater, Portland Stage, Actors Theater of Louisville, Alabama Shakespeare, Signature Theater, Theater Works, Goodman Theater, The Kennedy Center, Arkansas Repertory Theater, and Perseverance.

In an eight month search for a new Producing Artistic Director led by Management Consultants for the Arts, American Stage had thoughtful discussions with a number of dynamic applicants from across the country. “Ultimately, the Search Committee and the Board enthusiastically agreed that Rajendra is the ideal leader to build upon the organization’s strong foundation and expand its impact,” said Robyn Rusignuolo, Chair of American Stage’s Board of Trustees.

“As soon as I had the opportunity to meet with and get to know Rajendra, I knew he was the right leader for this next chapter of American Stage.  Knowing that the leadership of the organization that I care so deeply about will rest in such highly capable, innovative, and compassionate hands makes my departure a little easier.  I am confident that this is the beginning of a thrilling new era for American Stage and the Tampa Bay community,” said Gularte, American Stage’s former CEO/Producing Artistic Director.

Maharaj will join American Stage this month. He will reside in St. Petersburg full-time at the start of American Stage’s 2021-2022 season, after serving as Assistant Director for Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up In My Bones at the internationally-renowned Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. 

ABOUT RAJENDRA RAMOON MAHARAJ

Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj is a multi-disciplinary American Theatre Artist, Administrator, and Activist. Maharaj is a proud alumnus of the Actors Studio Playwrights and Directors Unit, Lincoln Center’s Directors Lab, and Theatre Communication Group’s Rising Leaders of Color in the American Theatre. Maharaj was recently the Associate Artistic Producer at Milwaukee Repertory Theater. He has served as the Artistic Director of New Freedom Theatre in Philadelphia as well as the Artistic Director of Rebel Theatre, a multi-cultural, Brooklyn-based non-profit Theatre company, for several years.  Maharaj founded the Voices at the River, an African and Latin(x) American Playwrights New Works Festival hosted at Arkansas Repertory Theatre. Maharaj served as the Artistic Director for WeFest, an annual festival of new works for emerging playwrights in the Borough of Brooklyn. He is also the former Third Vice-President for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for the Borough of Brooklyn and the founding Chairman for the Equity in the Arts and Culture Committee of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for the Borough of Brooklyn.  Maharaj has been recognized with the Time Warner Diverse Voices Grant, New York City Council Citation for Outstanding Community Service Leadership, New York State Senate Citation for Outstanding Community Service and Mentoring Leadership, The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania House of Representatives Citation for Excellence in the Performing Arts, Philadelphia Mayoral Proclamation from Hon. Michael Anthony Nutter, and a Proclamation from Brooklyn Borough President, Eric L. Adams. 

He has been featured in numerous articles and interviews in notable industry publications such as The American Theatre Magazine, The New York Times, The Yale School of Drama / Repertory Theatre Review, The Dramatist, The Uptown Magazine, Playbill, Broadway World, The Daily News, The New York Post, The New York Beacon, The Philadelphia Sun, Time-Out New York, Harlem News, Amsterdam News, and The Stage Directors and Choreographers Journal for his work as a Theatre practitioner and leader. 

Maharaj was recently awarded the 2021 Trinidad and Tobago United Community Association Inc. Award for his outstanding contributions to the Trinidad and Tobago Diaspora as an Artist, Advocate, and Educator in the United States of America. As a scholar and artist, he has lectured at Yale University, Columbia University, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, The Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, Howard University, George Washington University, Catholic University, St. John’s University, St. Joseph’s College, and Brooklyn College. Mr. Maharaj has been honored with many awards for his body of work in the American Theater including the prestigious Woodie King Jr. Award, four Vivian Robinson AUDELCO Awards, Barrymore Award, Stage Directors and Choreographers Society Theatrical Moment of the Year, The New York International Fringe Festival Overall Excellence Award, Theater Communications Group Directors Grant and Playwriting Grant, Recipient of the 2020 National Alliance for Musical Theater Fifteen-Minute Musical Theater Challenge Award, he was a semi- finalist for the 2021 Blue Ink Playwriting Award Competition presented by American Blues Theater and a finalist for the 2021 Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference.

Press Release

American Stage Announces New Producing Artistic Director

Media Coverage

American Stage Announces New Producing Artistic Director, Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj – Stephi Wild, Broadway World

St. Petersburg’s American Stage theater names new director – Maggie Duffy, Tampa Bay Times

American Stage announces new Producing Artistic Director – Bill DeYoung, St. Pete Catalyst

American Stage Theatre Company Names New Artistic Director –Dan Shalin, Patch Media

‘An exciting challenge’: Meet American Stage’s Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj – Bill DeYoung, St. Pete Catalyst

First leader of color plans to represent America at American Stage – Jay Handelman, Sarasota Herald-Tribune