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Bill Fennelly
Bill Fennelly
Associate Professor

Contact:

Location:

MacAlister Hall, 2015

Bill Fennelly is an award winning stage director whose work has been seen on Broadway, Off Broadway regionally, and Internationally in theatre and on television.

His work has been seen in NYC at The Roundabout Theatre Company, Manhattan Theatre Club, Playwrights Horizons; and regionally at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Dallas Theatre Center, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Syracuse Stage, Portland Center Stage, Hartford Stage Company, Goodspeed Opera House, LaJolla Playhouse, Maltz Jupiter Theatre, TheatreWorks in Palo Alto California, TheaterWorks in Hartford Connecticut, Arizona Theatre Company, Actors Express, Ford’s Theatre, People’s Light, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Walnut Street Theatre, PlayPenn, Guild Hall of East Hampton, The 2006 Cultural Olympic Festival at The Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, New York City Opera at Lincoln Center, Glimmerglass Opera, and Chicago Opera Theatre.

He recently collaborated with CNN political commentator and Sirius Satellite Radio POTUS talk show host Michael Smerconish on the creation of his one-man political and journalistic retrospective: Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Talking which aired internationally on CNN.

He was recently invited by the Taipei Performing Arts Center to collaborate on the creation of TPAC Director’s Lab, in Taipei Taiwan; a professional directing laboratory with a focus on directing musical theatre.

Bill was the original Assistant Director on the creation of the TONY Award winning Jersey Boys directed by Des McAnuff, he was the Resident Director for the Broadway First National Tour of Disney’s award winning The Lion King directed by Julie Taymour, he was the Associate Director for the world premiere and Broadway production of The Gershwins' Fascinating Rhythm directed by Mark Lamos; he was also the Assistant Director to Sir Alan Ayckbourn on the U.S. premiere of Sir Ayckbourn’s and Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical By Jeeves. Bill spent four seasons as a staff director with New York City Opera at Lincoln Center where he worked on over thirteen new productions including the Glimmerglass World Premiere, the NYC Premiere and the EMMY nominated PBS Great Performances Telecast of Central Park by Terrence McNally, Robert Beaser, Wendy Wasserstein, Deborah Drattell, Michael Torke and A.R. Gurney. Additionally, Bill directed the world premiere and Off Broadway production of Frankenstein the musical.

He served as an Assistant Artistic Director at Cirque du Soleil in Montreal, Chicago and New York City, Producing Artistic Director at Actor's Express in Atlanta Georgia, and Associate Producing Artistic Director of the TONY honored The Acting Company in NYC.

Bill’s work has received regional awards and nominations around the country. He earned a Bay Area Critics Award nomination for Outstanding Direction of a Musical for the world premiere of the new musical Fly By Night at TheatreWorks in Palo Alto, he won the Dallas Column Award for Outstanding Direction of a musical for Fly By Night at Dallas Theatre Center, he earned a Barrymore nomination for Outstanding Direction of a Musical for Herringbone at Flashpoint Theatre, he won the New York S.A.L.T. Award for Director of the Year and Production of the Year for his production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Syracuse Stage, and again the following season he won the New York S.A.L.T. Award for Director of the Year and Production of the Year for his production of the musical Hairspray at Syracuse Stage, he was awarded the California K.P.B.S. Patte Award and the San Diego Playbill Award for Outstanding Direction of Brecht’s Edward II, his production of Bird Boy at Hartford Children’s Theatre won the Moss Hart Award by the New England Theatre Conference, and Bill was also awarded the Phil Killian Directing Fellowship at Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

Bill is a proud member of the Drexel Theatre program. Bill has also taught at The Juilliard School, NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, University of California San Diego, Dartmouth College, Syracuse University, Emerson College, The University of the Arts, The Hartt School at the University of Hartford, The Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, Indiana State University, and Philadelphia’s Directors Gathering.

He earned a contracted B.M. in Music Theatre Performance, Directing, and Dramatic Writing from the Hartt School at The University of Hartford and his M.F.A. in directing from University of California San Diego.

Read Bill's full CV here.

MFA, Directing, University of California, San Diego
BM, Music Theatre Performance, Directing and Dramatic Writing, The Hartt School, University of Hartford
2011, Director’s Note, TheatreWorks Palo Alto Playbill, Fly By Night (world premiere)

2012, Directors Note, Portland Center Stage Playbill, Black Pearl Sings!

2013, Director's Note, Syracuse Stage Playbill, A Midsummer Night's Dream

2013, Director’s Note, Dallas Theatre Center Playbill, Fly By Night

2014, Director’s Note, Flashpoint Theatre Playbill, Herringbone

2014, Director’s Note, Syracuse Stage Playbill, Hairspray

2015, Director’s Note, Syracuse Stage Playbill, The Underpants

2016, Director’s Note, Guild Hall Playbill, The Underpants

2016, Director’s Note, Portland Center Stage Playbill, Little Shop of Horrors

2017, Director’s Note, Actor’s Theatre of Louisville Playbill, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill

2018, Director’s Note, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park Playbill, Little Shop of Horrors

2018, Director’s Note, Portland Center Stage Playbill, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill

2019, Director’s Note, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park Playbill, You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown (world premiere actor-musician version)

2019, Director’s Note, People’s Light Playbill, Little Red Robin Hood (world premiere panto)
My creative research primarily focuses on exploring American Dream Mythology, an ongoing examination of who we are as a people.

My work in the classroom focuses on developing an individual’s singular creative potential. In my twenty-first century approach to artist training, students mine various technical methods to shape their unique creative practice. Students learn to cultivate a menu of creative tools and choices. The training aims to approach a student’s unique imagination as a muscle that gets stronger and more flexible with experience and practice.

Students marry a technique of emotional truth based on the principles of Konstantin Stanislavski, Sanford Meisner, and Uta Hagen combined with a rigorous physical practice that draws upon Laban principals, Viewpoints, and Linklater technique.


At the core of all instruction and creative practice is a rigorous technical approach to language called Exacting.
Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Talking

CNN (2020)
Things I Wish I knew Before I Started Talking
Written and Starring: Michael Smerconish
Bill Fennelly - Stage Director
Chris Strand - Television Director

Little Red Robin Hood

Peoples Light (2019)

Little Red Robin Hood
World Premiere Panto
Music: Michael Ogborn
Lyrics: Michael Ogborn
Book: Kathryn Petersen
Bill Fennelly - Director
John Daniels - Music Director
Stephen Casey - Choreographer
Michael Schweikardt - Set Design
Richard St. Clair - Costume Design
Mike Inwood - Lighting Design
Jorge Cousineau - Video Design
Brent Hoyer - Sound Design

Fully Committed

TheaterWorks, Hartford (2019)

Fully Committed
By: Becky Mode

Starring: Jamison Stern
Bill Fennelly - Director
Brian Prather - Set Design
John Lasiter - Lighting Design
Fredrick Kennedy - Sound Design

You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown

Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park (2019)


You're A Good Man Charlie Brown
World Premiere Actor-Musician Version
Conceived by: Nick Cearley and Lauren Molina
Music: Clark Gesner
Lyrics: Clark Gesner
Book: John Gordon and Charles M. Schulz
Bill Fennelly - Director
Michael Holland - Music Director and Arranger
Jenn Rose - Choreographer
Michael Schweikardt - Set Design
Kathleen Geldard - Costume Design
Kenton Yeager - Lighting Design
Nick Kourtides - Sound Design

Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill

Portland Center Stage (2018)

Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill
By: Lanie Robertson

Starring: Deidrie Henry
Bill Fennelly- Director
Abdul Hamid Royal - Music Director
Michael Schweikardt - Set Design
Raquel Barreto - Costume Design
Paul Toben - Lighting Design
Nick Kourtides - Sound Design

Hairspray - Maltz Jupiter Theatre

Maltz Jupiter Theatre (2018)


Hairspray
Bill Fennelly - Director
Helen Gregory - Music Director
David Wanstreet - Choreographer
Michael Schweikardt - Set Design
Kathleen Geldard - Costume Design
Kirk Bookman - Lighting Design

Little Shop of Horrors- Cincinnati

Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park (2017)

Little Shop of Horrors
Music: Alan Menken
Lyrics: Howard Ashman
Book: Howard Ashman
Bill Fennelly - Director
Steve Goers - Music Director
Kent Zimmerman - Choreographer
Michael Schweikardt - Set Design
Kathleen Geldard - Costume Design
William Kirkham - Lighting Design

Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill

Actors Theatre of Louisville (2017)


Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill
By: Lanie Robertson

Starring: Deidrie Henry
Bill Fennelly- Director
Abdul Hamid Royal - Music Director
Michael Schweikardt - Set Design
Raquel Barreto - Costume Design
Paul Toben - Lighting Design
Nick Kourtides - Sound Design

Little Shop of Horrors- Portland

Portland Center Stage (2016)

Little Shop of Horrors
Music: Alan Menken
Lyrics: Howard Ashman
Book: Howard Ashman

Bill Fennelly - Director
Rick Lewis - Music Director
Kent Zimmerman - Choreographer
Michael Schweikardt - Set Design
Kathleen Geldard - Costume Design
William Kirkham - Lighting Design

The Underpants

Guild Hall, East Hampton (2016) and Syracuse Stage (2015)

The Underpants
By: Steve Martin

Bill Fennelly - Director
William Bloodgood - Set Design
Raquel Barreto - Costume Design
Thom Weaver - Lighting Design
Sarah Pickett - Sound Design

Hairspray - Syracuse

Syracuse Stage, co-production with Syracuse Drama (2014)

Hairspray
Music by: Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman
Lyrics: Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman
Book: Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan
Bill Fennelly - Director
Brian Cimmet - Music Director
David Wanstreet - Choreographer
Adam Koch - Set Design
Aaron P Mastin - Costume Design
Thom Weaver - Lighting Design
photo credit - Adam Koch

S.A.L.T. Award Outstanding Director of a Musical
S.A.L.T. Award Outstanding Production of Musical

Herringbone

Flashpoint Theatre Company (2014)

Herringbone
Music by: Skip Kennon
Lyrics by: Ellen Fitzhugh
Book by: Tom Cone
Starring: Ben Dibble
Bill Fennelly - Director
Dan Kazemi - Music Director
Jenn Rose - Choreographer
Thom Weaver - Set and Light Design
Kathleen Geldard - Costume Design
Rob Kaplowitz - Sound Design

Barrymore Award nomination, Outstanding Direction of a Musical

Fly By Night

Dallas Theater Center (2013)


Fly By Night
By: Will Connolly, Michael Mitnick, and Kim Rosenstock
Conceived by: Kim Rosenstock
Bill Fennelly - Director
Zak Sander - Music Director
Joel Farrell - Choreographer
Dane Laffrey - Set Design
Paloma Young -Costume Design
Paul Toben - Lighting Design

Dallas Column Award Outstanding Director of a Musical
Dallas Column Award Outstanding Production of a Musical

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Syracuse Stage, a co-production with Syracuse Drama (2013)

A Midsummer Night's Dream
by: William Shakespeare

Bill Fennelly - Director
Andrew Boyce - Set Design
Jessica Ford - Costume Design
Thom Weaver - Lighting Design
Fitz Patton - Composer and Sound Design

S.A.L.T. Award Outstanding Director of a Play
S.A.L.T Award Outstanding Production of a Play

Black Pearl Sings!

Portland Center Stage Company (2012)


Black Pearl Sings!
by: Frank Higgins

Bill Fennelly - Director
Andrew Boyce - Scenic Design
Jeff Cone - Costume Design
Thom Weaver - Lighting Design
Photo Credit: Patrick Weishampel

Fly By Night- World Premiere

TheatreWorks, Palo Alto (2011)

Fly By Night
World Premiere
By: Will Connolly, Michael Mitnick, and Kim Rosenstock
Conceived by: Kim Rosenstock

Bill Fennelly - Director
Michael Pettry - Music Director
Kikau Alvaro - Choreographer
Dane Laffrey - Set Design
Paul Toben - Lighting Design
Tanya Finkelstein - Costume Design

Bay Area Critics Award nomination, Outstanding Director of a Musical