Brandt Blocker, the longtime Atlanta Lyric Theatre managing artistic director, has resigned his position and plans to move to Hong Kong in January.
Mary Nye Bennett, the company’s director of education and development, will take over as artistic director.
Blocker, who joined the company in 2007, helped bring artistic credibility to Atlanta Lyric Theatre with such musicals as Little Shop of Horrors, Spamalot and last year’s Young Frankenstein, and also brought financial stability to the troupe. Before coming to Atlanta, Blocker owned his own production company in Louisiana and worked at the Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre in New Orleans.
His wife works for Ernst & Young, and is set to be transferred to China. “It has been an absolute privilege to serve as managing artistic director of Atlanta Lyric Theatre,” Blocker said in a statement. “The work and growth of the Lyric is vital to the artistic scene of metro Atlanta, and I look forward to seeing the company expand to even greater heights. While I will miss working with the extraordinarily talented artists here in Atlanta, I look forward to this new and exciting opportunity for my family.”
Atlanta Lyric Theatre, the city’s only professional musical theater company, is in its 37th season. Under Blocker’s leadership, the troupe received its first Suzi Bass Awards, including Outstanding Musical Production in 2010 for Hairspray. The company began a five-year run at the Strand Theatre on the square in Marietta in 2008, and is now headquartered at the Jennie T. Anderson Theatre in Cobb County.
Since 2007, the Lyric’s annual budget has grown from $600,000 to $1.4 million.
“Atlanta Lyric Theatre is viewed as one of the metropolitan area’s leading arts organizations, due in large part to Brandt’s guidance,” David Persson, the company’s board chair, said in a statement. “We are grateful for his years of exemplary service to the Lyric.”
Bennett worked as an actress with the Lyric and other area theaters, and was nominated in 2014 for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical for her performance in Spamalot. She joined the staff that same year. “I am thankful to have had the opportunity to work with Brandt as an actress, a director and an administrator,” Bennett said in a statement. “We hope to expand upon the growth and excellence we’ve achieved under his leadership.”