The St. Paul company said on Friday that Richard D. Thompson will become the fourth creative director in the 44-year history of History Theatre.
With more than 30 years of experience, Thompson has worked extensively with History Theatre as a director, administrator, choreographer, educator, and performer. Ron Peluso, who has been at the theater for 27 years, will be succeeded by him on January 1.
According to a news release, Thompson said, “I am delighted and humbled to be chosen to lead History Theatre into its next chapter by building on the theater’s heritage of accomplishment to continue to make it a vital and celebrated part of the people of Minnesota.” The creation of theater that draws from our common history enables us to reflect our reality and highlight our present in ways that enlighten, educate, and delight our audiences. “History at its core is about our shared tales, thoughts, hopes, and dreams.”
His earlier directorial credits include “The Meeting” (1991–1992), “The Brotherhood” (1995–1996), “Summer in the Shadows” (2001–2002), “Joe” (2003–2004), “Nellie” (2012–2013), and “Not in Our Neighborhood.” Thompson has been the producing and directing associate for the last year (2021-22). Additionally, he has collaborated with the Virginia Opera, Playwrights Center, Children’s Theatre Company, Illusion Theatre, John Hassler Theater, Penumbra Theatre, and Mixed Blood Theatre Company.
Rick was the first director I ever hired, according to Peluso. “The Last Minstral Show, his piece, was one of the finest performances I’ve ever seen in the Twin Cities, and I saw it at Penumbra. He is a fantastic historian and adores the past.
To make the hiring, the board of directors assembled a search committee made up of board members, significant employees, and theatrical professionals from the Twin Cities. The board unanimously endorsed the recommendation of Thompson after the committee interviewed numerous applicants after conducting a worldwide search.
The “Raw Stages: New Works Festival” will be produced by Thompson beginning on January 10 and running through January 22. The Defeat of Jesse James, a new musical written by Jeffrey Hatcher and Chan Poling, the duo behind the theater’s popular musical “Glensheen,” will be his final performance of the 2022–23 season.