Theater director David Cromer, who won raves for his long-running off-Broadway production of Thornton Wilder's Our Town, has been named one of 23 MacArthur Fellows for 2010. As a winners of the MacArthur Foundation’s so-called “genius” award, Cromer will receive $500,000 in “no strings attached” support over the next five years.
A statement on the MacArthur Foundation website praised the 45-year-old director for “reinvigorating classic American plays with a spirit and urgency that eschews nostalgia and provides audiences with unexpectedly fresh and compelling theatrical experiences.” Cromer is part of a group of MacArthur Fellows that includes a sculptor, an economist, a biomedical animator, a population geneticist and screenwriter David Simon, who produced and wrote TV series including Homicide: Life on the Streets and Treme.
Cromer began his career in Chicago, where he won raves for his re-imagined productions of Picnic, Come Back Little Sheba, Our Town and A Streetcar Named Decire, among others. He made his New York directing debut in 2005 with Orson’s Shadow and has since directed the musical adaptation of Elmer Rice’s Adding Machine, Our Town (originating the role of the Stage Manager in his own production), the short-lived Broadway revival of Brighton Beach Memoirs and When the Rain Stops Falling. He had been announced as the director of the Broadway transfer of Yank!, but that production has been postponed.