A memorial service has been set for Seattle Repertory Theatre artistic director Jerry Manning, who died on April 30, 2014, at age 58, due to complications from surgery for a congenital heart defect. It will take place June 2, 2014, at 6:30 p.m. at Seattle Rep (155 Mercer St.).
Mr. Manning had led the theater since 2009 and served on the artistic staff since 2000. His tenure as artistic director was defined by his passion for new play development. During his four seasons at the helm, Seattle Rep commissioned 13 new works and world-premiered eight plays. Three more will make their stage debut in the 2014-2015 season, which will be dedicated to Mr. Manning’s memory.
A lifelong avid reader and political junkie, Mr. Manning started his career in theater at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., and worked there for 11 seasons. He joined Arena first in the fundraising department, but he soon started reading scripts. He went on to casting, production management, assistant directing, directing and, finally, artistic leadership.
From 1995 to 2000, Mr. Manning served as an artistic associate for New York Theatre Workshop.
Mr. Manning joined Seattle Rep in 2000 as associate artistic director, overseeing casting and artist relations. In 2008, he was named producing artistic director, and in 2010, he was named artistic director.
He also did extensive casting work in film and television, including “Ken Burns: The Civil War,” “Forrest Gump,” and “The Pelican Brief.” He conducted workshops at graduate theater departments (University of Washington, University of Montana and Yale, to name a few) and had an ongoing relationship with the National Endowment for the Arts, where he served as a reader, site reporter and peer panelist.
Mr. Manning is survived by his sister Lory of Arlington, Va.; brothers Mark (Kate) of Menomonie, Wisc., and Timothy (Bernadette) of Leesburg, Va.; and 10 nieces and nephews.
He was preceded by his parents and his brother Edward.
In lieu of flowers, the Manning family encourages donations to Seattle Rep to help sustain the theater’s many artistic projects.