Underscore Appoints New Artistic Director

Underscore Appoints New Artistic Director

Underscore Theatre Company has announced the appointment of Whitney Rhodes as its new Artistic Director. Rhodes succeeds Laura Stratford, who co-founded the company in 2011 and has since served as Executive Director, Co-Artistic Director, and most recently, Artistic Director.

“For the majority of my career as a creative artist and administrator, my heartbeat has been new work and specifically new musical theater; it’s the room I am energized by and always want to be in,” said Rhodes. “I continue to be fascinated by the theatrical writing process and how stories are developed, shaped and eventually shared with an audience. It’s truly impactful work that happens in the discovery of how a story wants to be told. There’s nothing like it. I am incredibly impressed by the space Underscore has created for itself in this community. For such a young company, the quality of their work is outstanding and their dedication to writers and artists is truly powerful. This company is something really special and I am honored to be a part of it.”

Rhodes recently made her way to the Chicago by way of Nebraska, Iowa, New York and Minneapolis. A graduate of Drake University with degrees in acting and advertising, she has served as a performer, producer, director, educator, writer and arts administrator. In Minneapolis, she was the Chief Operating Officer of Mixed Blood Theatre. As the Director of Strategic Operations at Arts Ink, she worked on marketing and organizational strategy for performing arts organizations in the Twin Cities area.

As an artist, she wrote the book for “For Tonight,” a musical that has seen development at NYMF, Goodspeed Festival of New Musicals, New York Theatre Barn and is currently playing its world premiere at the Queensbury Theatre in Houston, Texas.

Since its founding in 2011, Underscore has produced or co-produced 65 new mainstage and workshop musicals in Chicago.

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