Rick Lombardo, award-winning stage director, artistic director, and adapter, has been appointed director of the Penn State School of Theatre, effective July 1, 2018. He is currently the chair of the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies at Kennesaw State University in Metro Atlanta, where he recently led the initiative to create a summer professional Shakespeare company called Shakespeare Kennesaw, which launches this summer.
Lombardo has been a leader of two notable not-for-profit regional theatres, serving as the producing artistic director of New Repertory Theatre in Boston, and as artistic director of San Jose Repertory Theatre in northern California. He was previously co-director of the Theatre Program at Fordham University's College at Lincoln Center. He has also taught and/or guest-directed at Yale University, the City College of New York, Boston University, Brandeis University, and Fairleigh Dickinson University.
“I am thrilled to be joining the distinguished faculty and staff of the School of Theatre, and eager to begin collaborating with them to chart the further success of the program and our students,” said Lombardo. “Penn State School of Theatre is nationally recognized for its excellence in preparing students to succeed in the profession, and it is an honor to be entrusted with the leadership of this vital school and its programs.”
According to Barbara Korner, dean of the College of Arts and Architecture, Lombardo brings the perfect mix of academic and professional experience to his new role. “Rick is a skilled administrator and teacher with a diverse and impressive range of experience in the theatre profession. Armed with first-hand knowledge of what students need to succeed in a competitive industry, he is uniquely qualified to lead the School of Theatre and we are excited to welcome him to Penn State.”
In 2017 Lombardo was represented with two new plays running concurrently at prestigious Off-Broadway theatres. His production of Albatross, an adaptation of the “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” for solo actor in an immersive multimedia landscape, played in its New York premiere at 59E59 Theatres, while his world premiere production of Ring Twice for Miranda, a dystopian absurdist comedy, played at New York City Center in an extended run.
Lombardo was the artistic director at San Jose Repertory Theatre (LORT B) from 2008 to 2014, where his work included world premieres of both plays and musicals, as well as significant revivals. He was a four-time nominee for Outstanding Director – Large Theatre by the Bay Area Theatre Critics Association for his San Jose Rep productions.
Lombardo previously spent 13 years as the producing artistic director of Greater Boston’s New Repertory Theatre, overseeing its rise to becoming one of New England’s leading mid-size theaters. He was awarded the Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence from the Boston Theatre Critics Association for his body of work there. During this time he also created a collaborative program with Brandeis University where exceptional third-year graduate students in acting interned at New Rep and had the opportunity to earn Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) membership.
His work has also been seen at the Kennedy Center, Arena Stage, Arizona Theatre Company, New York City’s Town Hall, Opera Boston, Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater, Actors Shakespeare Project, Porthouse Theater, Actors Express, Atlanta Lyric, Dad’s Garage, New Amsterdam Theatre Company, and Berkshire Theatre Festival, among others.
He has co-produced with many of America’s leading regional theatres, including the Cleveland Playhouse, Arizona Theatre Company, Trinity Repertory Theatre, Alliance Theatre, Asolo Repertory Theatre, and A Contemporary Theatre.
Lombardo has served on the executive boards of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers (SDC), the National New Play Network (NNPN), ArtsBoston, and Stagesource, and was honored to serve for ten years as the president of the Association of New England Area Theatres (NEAT). He is also a Senior Fellow with the American Leadership Forum Silicon Valley. He holds an M.F.A. in Stage Direction from the Boston University School for the Arts and a B.S. in Psychology from Georgetown University, and completed an Executive Certificate Program at the Harvard Business School and Kennedy School of Government in not-for-profit program evaluation.