Michael J. Bobbitt

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Michael J. Bobbitt is an American playwright, director, choreographer, and performing arts leader based in Washington, D.C. He is the artistic director of Adventure Theatre-MTC, the longest-running children's theater in the Washington metropolitan area. His work has been recognized frequently as both a nominee and a recipient of the annual Helen Hayes Awards for excellence in theater.

Career[edit]

Since joining Adventure Theatre as artistic director in 2007, Bobbitt has transitioned the organization from a volunteer-run community theater to a nationally recognized leading children’s theater and training academy, ATMTC Academy. Under his direction, the company has grown from 15,000 patrons to more than 100,000 and has received more than 50 Helen Hayes Award nominations and eight awards.[1] He guided Adventure Theatre through its 2012 merger with Musical Theatre Center, which created the new entity, Adventure Theatre-MTC.[2]

Bobbitt has commissioned and premiered more than 50 new plays for young audiences. He has co-authored or adapted several stories for the stage, including Mirandy and Brother Wind,[3] Bob Marley's Three Little Birds, Caps for Sale, Garfield the Musical with Cattitude, and Jumanji.[4][5] He has also overseen the development of ATMTC Academy, the theater's conservatory and pre-professional training program for young people.[6]

In addition to his work at Adventure Theatre-MTC,Bobbitt has directed or choreographed productions at Arena Stage, Ford’s Theatre, The Shakespeare Theatre, Studio Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Center Stage, Roundhouse Theatre, Rorshach Theatre Company, Strathmore, The Kennedy Center, Helen Hayes Awards and Washington National Opera.[7] His national and international credits include the NY Musical Theatre Festival, Mel Tillis 2001, La Jolla Playhouse, Jefferson Performing Arts Center, and 1996 Olympics.

A focus of Bobbitt's work has been to reach out to underserved populations and increase cultural diversity in theater for young children. He has been an innovator in offering sensory-friendly performances for children with autism. He mounted Adventure Theatre's first sensory-friendly performance—a production of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie—in 2008.[8][9]

Bobbitt, a Helen Hayes Awards nominee and recipient, co-hosted the Helen Hayes Award ceremony in 2018.[10]

In August, 2019, Bobbitt will join the New Repertory Theatre in Watertown, MA as their new Artistic Director.[11]

Early life and training[edit]

Bobbitt is a native of Washington, D.C., one of five sons of an auto mechanic and a financial manager. He was educated in D.C. public schools through eighth grade, and then attended Gonzaga College High School, graduating in the class of 1990. He attended Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania on an academic and trumpet scholarship, and moved to New York after one year to study at the Dance Theatre of Harlem. He also trained at Washington Ballet, American Musical and Dramatic Academy, and Cap21.[12][13]

Honors and civic activities[edit]

2015: Excel Leadership Award from the Center for Nonprofit Advancement

2015: Maryland Theatre Guide Person of the Year Award

2010: County Executive’s Excellence in the Arts and Humanities – Emerging Leader Award

Board member, Rockville (Maryland) Chamber of Commerce

Board member, The Nonprofit Village

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Adventure Theatre's Michael Bobbitt named Excel Award winner," Montgomery County Media, October 21, 2015. Found at: http://www.mymcmedia.org/adventure-theatres-michael-bobbitt-named-excel-award-winner/
  2. ^ "Adventure Theatre and Musical Theater Center Merge and Become ‘Adventure Theatre MTC’," Joel Markowitz, DC Metro Theater Arts, April 16, 2012. Found at: https://dcmetrotheaterarts.com/2012/04/16/adventure-theatre-and-musical-theater-center-merge-and-become-adventure-theatre-mtc-by-joel-markowitz/
  3. ^ "At children's musical 'Mirandy and Brother Wind,' exuberance in the air," Cecilia Wren, Washington Post, Jan.27, 2011. Found at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/27/AR2011012707001.html
  4. ^ Rodgers and Hammerstein Publishing biography, found at: https://www.rnh.com/bio/2926/Bobbitt-Michael-J.
  5. ^ Plays for Young Audiences biography, found at: http://playsforyoungaudiences.org/playwrights/michael-j-bobbitt/
  6. ^ "ATMTC Launches DC Area's First Musical Theatre Conservatory For Students Grades 4 - 12," Adventure Theatre-MTC news release, July 11, 2017
  7. ^ "Imagination is seeing things differently," Jacqueline Lawton interview with Michael Bobbitt, TCG Circle blog, July 2014. Found at: http://www.tcgcircle.org/2014/07/imagination-is-seeing-things-differently/
  8. ^ "The Sound Minus the Fury," Tessa Berenson, Bethesda Magazine, September–October 2012. Found at: http://www.bethesdamagazine.com/Bethesda-Magazine/September-October-2012/Autism/index.php?cparticle=2&siarticle=1
  9. ^ "Entertainment for All Kinds of Kids," Barbara Carney, Washington Parent, November 2009. Found at: https://www.washingtonparent.com/articles/0911/entertainment.php
  10. ^ "Adventure Theatre-MTC's Michael Bobbitt: Hosting the Helen Hayes Awards is a 'Huge Honor,'" Doug Rule, Metro Weekly, May 10, 2018. Found at: https://www.metroweekly.com/2018/05/adventure-mtcs-michael-bobbitt-hosting-the-helen-hayes-awards-is-a-huge-honor/
  11. ^ Reporter, Don Aucoin-. "Reflecting a vision of diversity, New Rep names a new artistic director - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved 2019-03-21.
  12. ^ "The Good News," Gonzaga College High School annual fundraising report, 2016, pages 14 and 40. Found at: https://issuu.com/gonzagacollegehighschooladvancement/docs/honor-roll-2016-final
  13. ^ "For Michael Bobbitt, all the world is a stage for children's theater," DeNeen Brown, Washington Post, April 29, 2011. Found at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/for-michael-bobbitt-all-the-world-is-a-stage-for-childrens-theater/2011/04/25/AFpWUIFF_story.html