Big news in local theater: This afternoon the Jungle announced that artistic director Sarah Rasmussen is leaving Minneapolis for the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, New Jersey.
Over her five-year tenure, Rasmussen transformed the theater from a consistent Lyn-Lake mainstay to a venue offering world premiere, must-see productions. That includes commissioning two plays, which was a first for the Jungle: a subversive remake of Little Women and a world-premiere co-commission, The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley.
“I’m so inspired by Sarah,” Little Women playwright Kate Hamill told us in 2018. “We’re in this really new, exciting stage of much-overdue female leadership in the American theater, and Sarah is really one of the most exciting young leadership faces.”
“Sarah transformed the Jungle over the past five years, bringing inclusive and bold stories, diverse talent, and gender parity to our stage,” says Craig Ashby, president of the board, via announcement release. “Under her leadership, we took smart risks that paid off with critical acclaim and growing audiences.”
McCarter Theatre Center is a Tony Award-winning theater whose world premieres include Christopher Durang’s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (which won a 2013 Tony for Best Play), Tarell Alvin McCraney’s The Brother/Sister Plays, and Danai Gurira’s The Convert.
Meanwhile, at the Jungle, Christina Baldwin has been named interim artistic director. Baldwin has worked with Rasmussen the past two years as Jungle’s artistic associate. Folks may recognize her as Marmee from Little Women; she also directed the theater’s Jane Austen-fueled mega-hits, Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley and The Wickhams.
“She is beloved in our theater and music communities, and I’m truly excited about the ideas she has for the future of the Jungle,” says Rasmussen. “She is more than ready to take on this position.”