Jonathan Moscone

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Jonathan Moscone
Jonathan Moscone at SF Arts Advocacy Day 20170321-2838 (cropped).jpg
Born (1964-10-05) October 5, 1964 (age 52)
San Francisco, California, United States
Occupation Theatre director, producer and arts leader
Parent(s) George Moscone
Gina Bodanza Moscone

Jonathan Moscone (born October 5, 1964) is an American theater director, and currently the Chief of Civic Engagement for Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, California. Formerly the artistic director of California Shakespeare Theater (Cal Shakes) in Berkeley and Orinda, California for 16 years, Moscone received the inaugural Zelda Fichandler Award, given by the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation for his transformative work in theater in 2009.

Early life[edit]

Moscone was born in San Francisco, the youngest child of George Moscone and Gina Bodanza; his father was a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors at the time of his birth, and later became a state senator and Mayor of San Francisco. His siblings are Jenifer (born in 1957), Rebecca (born in 1960), and Christopher (born in 1962).[1] When he was 14 years old, his father was murdered by former Supervisor Dan White.[2] Jonathan's mother fell into a deep, multi-year depression and Jonathan did not speak about his father's death publicly for 20 years.[2]

Moscone attended junior and senior high school at Saint Ignatius College Preparatory in San Francisco's Sunset district, graduating in 1982.[3] He attended Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, where he majored in Theater and English, graduating in 1986.[4] Moscone credits his father, who took him to the Civic Light Opera, for sparking his love of theater. As a youth, he also often went to matinees at the American Conservatory Theater.[5]

After college, Moscone worked for producer Carole Shorenstein Hays, and then moved to New York where he worked as an assistant to Joseph Papp, producer of the New York Shakespeare Festival, from 1986 to 1989.[5] In 1989, Moscone became a directing intern at Berkeley Repertory Theatre in Berkeley, California. That year he was accepted into the Yale School of Drama, where he received his Masters of Fine Arts in Directing in 1993.[2]


Upon graduation from Yale, Moscone moved to Dallas where he worked at the Dallas Theater Center, serving as DTC's associate director from 1993 to 1999. While at DTC, Moscone began his freelance directing career.[5] In 1995, he directed his first play at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco.[5] Moscone cites as influences Joseph Papp, JoAnne Akalaitis (particularly her 1989 production of Cymbeline), Stan Wojewodski (former Dean of the Yale School of Drama and now a theater director), and Richard Hamburger at the Dallas Theatre Center.[5]

I believe we have to let other voices into what we think of as the classics. Everyone has the right to touch and feel and own the classics. They belong to all of us.[6]

In 2000, Moscone became the artistic director of California Shakespeare Theater (Cal Shakes), which operates in Berkeley, California, and performs at the Bruns Memorial Amphitheater in Orinda, California.[2][6] In addition to providing artistic leadership at California Shakespeare Theater, Moscone continues to work as a freelance director throughout the United States, is an adjunct faculty member at American Conservatory Theater's Masters of Fine Arts Program,[7] and since 2012 has served on the board of directors of the Theatre Communications Group, the national service organization for the American theater.[8]

In 2009, Moscone received the inaugural Zelda Fichandler Award, given by the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation for "transforming the American theatre through his unique and creative work."[9]

Moscone directed a wide range of plays at CalShakes and other theaters around the country. Among the more notable of his efforts was his co-direction (with Sean Daniels) in 2005 of the The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby. The play, which was performed in two parts, ran more than six hours and an enormous cast of 24 players. The San Francisco Chronicle said it was CalShakes' "most ambitious and successful productions ever".[10] In 2010, Moscone directed the world premiere of Octavio Solis' John Steinbeck's 'The Pastures of Heaven', which was also the recipient of the inaugural NEA New Play Development Award.[10][11] Moscone directed Bruce Norris' Clybourne Park in 2011 for the American Conservatory Theater, a play which later won the Pulitzer Prize.[12] That same year, he directed Candida, for which he won the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle award as Best Director of the year.[13]

Moscone made his debut as a playwright in 2012 with the world premiere of Ghost Light, which he co-created and developed with playwright Tony Taccone for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. The play, which draws heavily on Moscone's experiences in the wake of his father's murder, concerns a man directing a production of William Shakespeare's Hamlet, who is tormented by dreams involved a sadistic prison guard and whose love life is falling apart. In both flashback and contemporaneous action, a 14-year-old version of the director tries to sicken himself so that his father won't be murdered. The play is set against the electoral fight against California's Proposition 8, the making of Gus Van Sant's film Milk, and repeated intercessions for help by the ghost of Hamlet's father.[14]

Personal life[edit]

Moscone came out of the closet as a gay man at a 1998 memorial service for his father and Milk.[2] He married clean energy executive Darryl Carbonaro in November 2013. They make their home in San Francisco.[15]


  • Zelda Fichandler Award (2009)[9]
  • Best Director, San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award (2011)[13]


  1. ^ Sward, Susan (November 23, 1998). "Moscone Kids, 20 Years Later". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved July 11, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e LaGanga, Maria L. (July 30, 2011). "A Slain Mayor Is Back in the Spotlight". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 11, 2014. 
  3. ^ Cullinan, Deborah (October 12, 2011). "Interview with Jonathan Moscone". Howl Around. Retrieved July 11, 2014. 
  4. ^ Vara, Vauhini (January 5, 2012). "Play Spotlights Killing of Moscone". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 11, 2014 ; "Class Notes" (PDF). Williams People: 81. December 2011. Retrieved July 11, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Schiffman, Jean (February 21, 2001). "Shaking Up Cal Shakes: New Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone Brings a Populist Bent and a Musical Approach to the Renowned Bay Area Festival". backstage. Retrieved July 11, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b D'Souza, Karen (July 13, 2012). "Jonathan Moscone: A Man With a Famous Name Who Carved His Own Path". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved July 11, 2014. 
  7. ^ Coakley, Jacob (December 6, 2009). "CalShakes A.D. Moscone Wins Inaugural Zelda Fichandler Award". Stage Directions. Retrieved July 11, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Theatre Communications Group Announces New Appointments to Board of Directors". Broadway World. October 2, 2012. Retrieved July 11, 2014. 
  9. ^ a b Jones, Kenneth (December 4, 2009). "Director Moscone Is Winner of First Fichandler Award". Playbill. Retrieved July 11, 2014. 
  10. ^ a b Jones, Chad (May 11, 2014). "Timeline Traces Key Periods in Cal Shakes History, Growth". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved July 11, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Nina Raine's 'Tribes' Comes to Berkeley Rep This April" (PDF). Berkeley Repertory Theatre. March 10, 2014. Retrieved July 11, 2014. 
  12. ^ Hurwitt, Robert (January 29, 2011). "'Clybourne Park' Review: To the Hood and Back". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved August 19, 2013. 
  13. ^ a b Rickwald, Bethany (April 10, 2012). "Rita Moreno, Jonathan Moscone, Jeff Whitty Among SFBATCC Award Winners". Theater Mania. Retrieved July 11, 2014. 
  14. ^ Heymont, George (January 30, 2012). "The Ghost Walks at Midnight". Huffington Post. Retrieved August 19, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Jonathan Moscone and Darryl Carbonaro". The New York Times. November 10, 2013. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 

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