September 1, 2020

Theater Alumna Lileana Blain-Cruz named Resident director at Lincoln Center Theater

lileana smiling in black tee black background

Theater director Lileana Blain-Cruz ’06. Photo by Sarkis Delimelkon.

New York City’s Lincoln Center Theater has announced that Princeton alumna and Obie Award-winning theater director Lileana Blain-Cruz ’06 will serve as its new Resident Director.

Blain-Cruz frequently collaborates with Lincoln Center Theater, most recently on Jackie Sibblies Drury’s Marys Seacole, for which she received a 2019 Obie Award. As Lincoln Center Theater’s Resident Director, she will direct at least one production each year in either their Beaumont Theater (Broadway) or Newhouse Theater (Off-Broadway). Alongside fellow Resident Director Bartlett Sher and Producing Artistic Director André Bishop, she will also develop and choose the theaters’ programming.

“The productions she has directed for us over these past seasons have been visceral, powerful, stunning and always innovative. We especially cannot wait until she brings that same incredible vision and scope to the Beaumont.”
— André Bishop, Lincoln Center Theater

Blain-Cruz is a director from New York City and Miami. Her recent honors include a New York Theatre Workshop 2050 Fellowship, a Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award, a 2018 United States Artist Fellowship and the Josephine Abady Award from the League of Professional Theater Women. Her recent projects include Anatomy of a Suicide at The Atlantic Theater Company, Fefu and Her Friends at Theater For a New Audience, Girls at Yale Repertory Theater, Faust at Opera Omaha, and The House That Will Not Stand at New York Theater Workshop. In 2017, she won an Obie Award for her direction of The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World AKA The Negro Book of the Dead at Signature Theater. Other projects include Lucas Hnath’s Red Speedo at NYTW, Alice Birch’s Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again at Soho Rep, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ War at LCT3 and Yale Rep, Henry IV Part 1 and Much Ado About Nothing at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Bluest Eye at The Guthrie, Actually at MTC, SALOME at JACK, Christina Anderson’s Hollow Roots which premiered in the Under the Radar Festival at the Public Theater, Project Realms an electric pop opera performed at La Sala, a new translation of The Bakkhai at the Fisher Center of Performing Arts at Bard College, and A Guide to Kinship and Maybe Magic, a collaboration with choreographer Isabel Lewis and playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins at Dance New Amsterdam. Upcoming projects include Dreaming Zenzille at St. Louis Repertory Theater and McCarter Theatre Center, and The Listeners, a new opera by Missy Mazzoli which will premiere at Opera Norway and Opera Philadelphia.

She received her BA from Princeton and her MFA in directing from the Yale School of Drama, where she has taught directing since 2018. In August, she joined the ranks of the School of Drama’s full-time faculty as Lecturer in Directing and Resident Director at Yale Repertory Theatre. At Princeton, she has visited as a guest artist with the Program in Theater and has been guest director for Program productions, including the world premiere in 2017 of GURLS by fellow alumnus Branden Jacob-Jenkins ’06 for A Festival of the Arts at Princeton to celebrate the opening of the new Lewis Arts complex. In 2020, Blain-Cruz was selected among 10 emerging artists who received special grants from Princeton’s Mary MacKall Gwinn Hodder Fund in support of the particular challenges faced by artists in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lincoln Center Theater has been called “the pre-eminent theater in the country” by The New York Times. The organization produces dozens of plays and musicals, seen by millions of audience members across its several venues. LCT3, their programming initiative devoted to producing the work of new playwrights, directors and designers, aims to reach a new generation of artists and audiences through theater.

Read the announcement from Lincoln Center Theater »



Alumni POV: Branden Jacobs-Jenkins ’06 & Lileana Blain-Cruz ’06 from Lewis Center for the Arts on Vimeo.

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