Hands company’s leadership to Elizabeth Van Dyke
NEW YORK — Woodie King, Jr., Founder and Producing Director of New Federal Theatre (NFT), will retire from leadership of the famed theater company on June 30, 2021, handing the baton to NFT’s newly appointed Artistic Director, Elizabeth Van Dyke.
Mr. King will remain on NFT’s board of directors, but his creative projects will change tracks. He is writing a book on Black Theater in New York and is associate producer of an animated film for Netflix, “Bud, not Buddy,” an adaptation of the historical fiction novel by Christopher Paul Curtis about a ten-year-old boy’s journey through Michigan during the Great Depression seeking a father whom he has never met.
On May 19, 2020 the Off-Broadway Alliance named Woodie King, Jr. a “Legend of Off Broadway,” recognizing sustained achievement in Off Broadway theater. In recent years, he has been the subject of biographical documentaries including “The King of Stage: the Woodie King, Jr. Story” directed by Juney Smith and TCG’s “Legacy Leaders of Color” video project. His numerous awards include an Obie Award for Sustained Achievement, TCG’s Peter Zeisler Award, AEA’s Paul Robeson Award, AEA’s Rosetta LeNoire Award, an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Wayne State University, a Doctorate of Fine Arts from the College of Wooster and Honorary Doctorates from Lehman College and John Jay College of Criminal Justice. In 2012 he was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame and received the Innovative Theatre Award’s Sustained Excellence in Theatre.
NFT turned 50 last year. It will continue to be known as “Woodie King Jr.’s New Federal Theatre.”
Mr. King’s theater and its workshops have helped bring to national attention such playwrights as Ed Bullins, Amiri Baraka, J.e Franklin, Ntozake Shange, David Henry Hwang, Ron Milner, Joseph Lazardi, Damien Leake, Genny Lim, Laurence Holder, Alexis DeVeaux, and others. Actor veterans include Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, Debbie Allen, Samuel L. Jackson, Laurence Fishburne, Chadwick Boseman, Robert Downey, Jr., Ruby Dee, Leslie Uggams, Jackée Harry, Phylicia Rashad, Dick Anthony Williams, Glynn Turman, Taurean Blacque, Garrett Morris, Sam MacMurray, Debbie Morgan, Lynn Whitfield, Reginald Vel-Johnson, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Ella Joyce, Starletta DuPois, S. Epatha Merkson, Oz Scott, Trazana Beverley, Morgan Freeman, Anna Maria Horsford, Ruby Dee and many more.