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January 13, 2021

Goodspeed names first woman to leadership team

Lynn Hilton is the new artistic director at Goodspeed Musicals.

Goodspeed Musicals, operator of the historic theater in East Haddam, named its first woman artistic director and a new managing director this week.

Artistic Director Donna Lynn Hilton and Managing Director David B. Byrd will form a leadership team that will take the place of  Michael Gennaro, Goodspeed’s executive director who retired last year. 

“We are thrilled to begin a fresh chapter in Goodspeed’s history with Donna Lynn Hilton and David Byrd as our new leaders,” said Hila Rosen, president of the Goodspeed Board of Trustees. “At a time when all theaters have been shocked to their core and are fighting to survive, they bring an exciting new vision for Goodspeed that will undoubtedly secure an even brighter future for our historic theater.”

David B. Byrd

Hilton has worked at Goodspeed since 1988 and has been the theater’s producer for the past 13 years. During her tenure, she led the expansion of Goodspeed’s Festival of New Musicals and the creation of the Johnny Mercer Foundation Writers Grove at Goodspeed Musicals. 

Byrd’s most recent position was managing director of Virginia Stage Company in Norfolk, Virginia. He has also held leadership positions at Yale Repertory Theater and Westport Country Playhouse and is a graduate of the Yale University School of Drama. 

Forced to close and cancel programming due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Goodspeed Opera House Foundation received a $532,100 grant last year from the state’s Coronavirus Relief Fund to help it survive.

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