Magellanica, photo by Russell J. Young
í Dámaso Rodr 's
relentlessly paced staging builds suspense with the visceral engagement of a
cinematic thriller" guez
- Los Angeles Times
Cuba Libre, Artists Repertory Theatre
Dámaso Rodríguez is the artistic director of Seattle Rep. He is a director and producer with more than 100 directing, producing, and script development credits. He has worked with theatres around the country including Actors Theatre of Louisville, American Conservatory Theater, Artists Rep, Furious Theatre, GableStage, Intiman Theatre, New Dramatists, The New Harmony Project, A Noise Within, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Pasadena Playhouse, Playwrights' Center, Portland Center Stage, Seattle Rep, South Coast Rep, and The Theatre at Boston Court, among others.
Rodríguez has produced, developed, or directed work by leading contemporary playwrights who are addressing the issues of our time through bold language and exhilarating theatricality. Playwrights include: Ayad Akhtar, Jocelyn Bioh, Diana Burbano, Jackie Sibblies Drury, Yussef El Guindi, Larissa FastHorse, Isaac Gómez, Lauren Gunderson, Stephen Adly Guirgis, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Kyle Jarrow, Hansol Jung, Carlos Lacámara, Mike Lew, E.M. Lewis, Tony Meneses, Dominique Morisseau, Lynn Nottage, Matt Pelfrey, Christopher Oscar Peña, Tlaloc Rivas, Elaine Romero, Charise Castro Smith, Susan Soon He Stanton, Andrea Stolowitz, Lloyd Suh, Caridad Svich, Craig Wright, and Lauren Yee. While specializing in world premieres and early productions of provocative new plays or musicals, his body of work includes classic revivals by Noël Coward, William Gibson, Lillian Hellman, Clifford Odets, Eugene O’Neill, William Shakespeare, Bernard Shaw, J.M. Synge, Thornton Wilder, and Tennessee Williams.
Recent Directing Projects: El Huracán Charise Castro Smith at Miami's GableStage (April-May 2023); Shanghai '37, a new musical by Nathan Wang, Jenny Lynn, and Matthew Leavitt for Pasadena's The Huntington (May 15-21 Workshop); Our Orange Sky by Christopher Oscar Peńa for Profile Theatre's National Playwrights Convening (April 29-May6 2023); The Great Divide by E.M. Lewis, an Oregon Shakespeare Festival/Artists Rep commission (ongoing developmental workshops); Latinx Theatre Commons Director-Designer "Colaboratorio" (June 2023).
In 2021, he concluded a nine-year tenure as Artistic Director of Artists Repertory Theatre, Portland, Oregon’s longest-running professional theatre, which became a member of the League of Resident Theaters (LORT) under his leadership. Plays developed during his tenure were produced throughout the country. Accolades for projects developed at Artists Rep included the Dramatists Guild Foundation Award, the Edgerton New Play Award, NEA Funding, American Theatre Magazine’s Most Produced Plays list, and coverage in the New Yorker and the New York Times. In 2021, the Oregon Media Production Association honored Artists Rep with the Creative Innovation Award for the company’s pivot to digital mediums in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including his production of the five-part podcast drama series, Magellanica. In the 2022-23 theatre season, three plays commissioned by Rodríguez were produced around the country: The Thanksgiving Play by Larissa FastHorse (Broadway 2023), Wolf Play by Hansol Jung (Off-Broadway 2023), and American Fast by Kareem Fahmy (National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere 2023).
Rodríguez began his career as an actor and improviser in Chicago, where he trained with Del Close at the Improv Olympic. He relocated to Los Angeles and acted in theatre, commercials, and television before shifting his focus to directing via a year-long apprenticeship at the classical repertory theatre, A Noise Within.
In 2001, he co-founded Furious Theatre, a company with an audacious aesthetic that drew steady praise for its dozen-year run (L.A. Stage Magazine dubbed the company “one of the fastest rising ensembles in L.A. stage history” while LA Weekly called Furious one of “the best companies of the decade”).
With Furious Theatre, he spent eight seasons in Residence at the Pasadena Playhouse (2004-2011; 2013-14). In 2007, he was appointed by Sheldon Epps as Associate Artistic Director of the Playhouse, where he directed main stage productions (The Heiress starring Richard Chamberlain, The Little Foxes starring Kelly McGillis, and Orson’s Shadow starring Sharon Lawrence) while leading the play development program.
His acclaimed credits as a producer-director led to a freelance career at some of the top regional theaters in the U.S., including work at South Coast Repertory, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, American Conservatory Theater, Seattle Rep, Portland Center Stage, Intiman Theatre, A Noise Within, The Playwrights' Center, New Dramatists, The New Harmony Project, and The Theatre at Boston Court, among others.
Rodríguez is a recipient of the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award, the BackStage Garland Award, the NAACP Theatre Award, and the Pasadena Arts Council’s Gold Crown Award. His productions have been nominated for and won dozens of awards, including the LA Stage Alliance Ovation Award, LA Stage Scene Award, and the LA Weekly Theatre Award. He was honored as a Finalist for the Zelda Fichandler Award by the Stage Directors & Choreographers Foundation and was named a Knowledge Universe Rising Star by Portland Monthly. He is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society and has been honored to serve three times as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, as a Theatre Communications Group Delegate to the Havana International Theatre Festival, and as a guest of Spain’s Ministry of Culture for the Ibero-American Theatre Forum. In 2022, he was appointed to serve on the Directors Council of the Drama League.
Rodríguez spent two years as a vice president of Arts Consulting Group, where he advised arts and culture organizations on strategic planning, program development, community engagement, and leadership transitions. Clients included: Berkeley Rep, the Central Oregon Center for the Arts, Diversionary Theatre, The Drama League, GableStage, Guthrie Theatre, KC Rep, KEXP-FM, Long Wharf Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre, Missoula Children's Theatre, Ojai Playwrights Conference, Pegasus Theatre, Soho Rep, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, and Virginia Rep.
Rodríguez is proud to be the Miami-born son of Cuban immigrants. He is developing multiple projects across mediums which strive to convey the complexities of the immigrant experience, especially the Cuban Exile story.
He lives in Seattle with his wife and frequent collaborator, actor-producer Sara Hennessy, and their two children.