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Stafford Arima (born March 14, 1969) is a Canadian-born theatre director living in Calgary, Alberta. Arima studied at York University in Toronto, where he was the recipient of the Dean's Prize for Excellence in Creative Work. He is a member of SDC (Stage Directors and Choreographers Society). In April 2017 he became the artistic director of Theatre Calgary.
He directed the "revisal" of the infamous Broadway musical, Carrie (book by Lawrence D. Cohen, music by Michael Gore, lyrics by Dean Pitchford) for MCC Theater (The production opened Off-Broadway, March 2012 and was nominated for a Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Revival of a Musical). Arima also directed the critically acclaimed Off-Broadway musical Altar Boyz, which received the 2005 Best Musical Outer Critics Circle Award and was nominated for a Drama Desk Award as Outstanding Musical. Music and lyrics are by Gary Adler and Michael Patrick Walker, and book is by Kevin Del Aguila.
Other work includes the West End premiere of the Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens musical Ragtime, which was recognized in 2004 with eight Olivier Award nominations including Best Director and Best Musical; concert-productions of The Secret Garden and Ragtime which were presented at Lincoln Center in 2016 and 2013; Two Class Acts by A.R. Gurney (The Flea Theater); Bare: A Pop Opera (by Jon Hartmere and Damon Intrabartolo); Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris (Stratford Shakespeare Festival); Roundabout Theatre Company's production of The Tin Pan Alley Rag; The Princess and the Black-Eyed Pea (San Diego Rep.); Bowfire (PBS television special/world tour); Leonard Bernstein’s Candide (San Francisco Symphony); Ace (The Old Globe, CA); The Secret Garden (World AIDS Day concert, New York City); "A Tribute to Stephen Sondheim" (Boston Pops); Paul Scott Goodman's Bright Lights, Big City (Prince Music Theater); Guys and Dolls (Paper Mill Playhouse); Abyssinia (Goodspeed Musicals); Chef’s Theater (The Supper Club, New York City); Rags - In Concert (Nokia Theatre Times Square, New York City); Christopher Hampton’s Total Eclipse (Toronto); and Children's Letters to God (Off-Broadway).
In addition to Arima’s directing work, he is an Artistic Advisor for the Broadway Dreams Foundation (BDF) and an adjunct professor at UC Davis where he was awarded the 2013 “Granada Artists-in-Residence.” Arima studied at York University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada where he received the Dean's Prize for Excellence in Creative Work.