Omaha, NE–The Omaha Community Playhouse (OCP) is excited to announce that Stephen Santa will be joining the organization as the new artistic director beginning on November 1, 2021. Susan Baer Collins, former OCP associate artistic director, has been acting as interim artistic director since January. Collins will work with Santa during the transition.
Santa, currently based out of Pittsburgh, PA, is a seasoned director, educator and arts advocate who has dedicated much of his career to creating accessible theatre experiences for neurodivergent youth. He founded, and currently serves as the artistic director of, Jumping Jack Theater, a children’s theater company that produces new works for audiences with developmental disabilities and sensory sensitivities. In 2019, Santa received the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC) Standout Moment Award for his work with Jumping Jack Theater, a national honor that recognizes outstanding contributions to the advancement of equity, diversity and inclusion in the theatre industry.
An alumni of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy of New York, Santa has directed over 50 musicals and numerous plays, including international festivals, off-Broadway, national tours, and regional theatre productions across the country. He was named one of Pittsburgh’s Top Directors by CBS Pittsburgh and has received awards and accolades for his productions of Avenue Q (Best Musical, BroadwayWorld Regional Awards; Best Local Stage Production, Pittsburgh City Paper), Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Best Local Stage Production, Pittsburgh City Paper) and Dani Girl (Five Stars, BroadwayBaby).
Santa’s international credits include work with Edinburgh Fringe. Off Broadway and New York City credits include work with Arts Nova and the New York Musical Theatre Festival. Regional credits include Pittsburgh Musical Theatre, Split Stage Productions, Sheboygan Theatre Company, Front Porch Theatricals, Park Productions, Throughline Theatre Company, The Gilbert Theatre, The Bald Theatre Company, The Cresson Lake Playhouse, Stage 62, South Park Theater, Mon River Arts, Little Lake Theatre, The Old Schoolhouse Players, and The Theatre Factory.
Santa served as assistant director for the national tour of Flashdance the Musical (directed by Sergio Trujillo), the North American premier of The Monster in the Hall (directed by Tracy Brigden), and Pop! (directed by Brad Rouse/choreographed by Billy Porter).
“We are so thrilled to have Stephen Santa joining our team,” said OCP Executive Director Katie Broman. “In addition to his exceptional resume, Stephen is incredibly passionate about serving his community through the arts.”
“I’m truly honored to join the Omaha Community Playhouse family as we blaze a new path into the future while honoring the exceptional legacy forged over the last century.” said Santa. “As the new artistic director, I am committed to a strong focus on DEIA progress, innovative educational pathways for all members of the community and producing entertaining, thought-provoking and memorable productions on our stages. We will continue to inspire all who step through the doors by immersing them in beautiful storytelling where every audience member can attend a production and see a reflection of themselves on stage.”