Schoenfeld to serve as Tennessee Repertory Theatre board chair

Michael J. Schoenfeld will serve as Tennessee Repertory Theatre (TRT)'s board chair during the 2005-2006 season, according to David Alford, TRT Executive Artistic Director.  He is vice chancellor for public affairs at Vanderbilt University, where he serves as the chief public, community and government relations officer and spokesman.

"I am honored to serve as the chair of the Tennessee Repertory Theater. Tennessee Rep has a distinguished history, and an even more exciting future under David Alford's leadership," said Schoenfeld.  "The upcoming Americana season will set a new standard for theater in Nashville, and we are grateful for the strong support of the community."

Schoenfeld is beginning his third year of service on TRT's board of directors which includes Vincent W. Durnan, Jr., Martha Ingram, Craig E. Philip, Joyce Rothenberg, Joe Steakley, Deborah M. Tannenbaum, and Judy Turner, among others..  He succeeds Alan Yuspeh, HCA Senior Vice President, who chaired the board from 2002-2005.  Both Schoenfeld and Yuspeh worked closely with TRT and the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) during the three-year administrative consolidation of the two groups which ended July 1, 2005.  TRT has returned to its independent resident group status at TPAC where its 2005-06 season will be staged.  

"It's an invaluable asset to have someone like Michael on your team," TRT Producing Director Rene Copeland said.  "He's already proven himself to be great spokesman for the mission of Tennessee Rep and for the work we do, and works tirelessly on our behalf.  He's going to be a strong and compelling leader for us at a time when vision and strength can really make a difference, and we're grateful to have him."

Tennessee Rep's new season opens Oct. 20-Nov. 5 with a timely and timeless version of 1776, a musical version of the events leading up to the signing of the Declaration of Independence; "The Santaland Dairies" by David Sedaris, Nov. 25-Dec. 17,a witty and cynical take on the commercialization of the holiday season; "Recent Tragic Events," Jan. 26-Feb. 18,a comedy-drama about fate that takes place the day after 9/11; "Oleanna" by David Mamet, March 2-25, an intense drama about sexual harassment and political correctness, and "Dearly Departed," May 4-20, a comedy about how a dysfunctional Southern family handles the death of Uncle Bud.  The company is also involved in two additional projects.  It is providing artistic leadership for Nashville Shakespeare Festival's production of Shakespeare's "The Winter's Tale," Aug. 11-Sept. 4, and co-producing a live transatlantic satellite production with Theater Magdeburg in Nashville's Sister City in Germany, Sept. 30 and Oct. 1.

Since Schoenfeld's arrival at Vanderbilt in 1997, the university's public affairs efforts have been recognized as among the most creative and innovative in higher education and health care, earning numerous honors from professional associations and extensive local and national attention for Vanderbilt.

Before moving to Nashville, Schoenfeld was senior vice president for policy and public affairs at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) in Washington, DC, 1993-1997.  He served as CPB's chief spokesman and senior corporate officer for media relations, community relations, research, public policy and technology, as well as a principal participant in the corporation's Congressional lobbying efforts.  

From 1986-1993, Schoenfeld held a number of senior positions at the Voice of America (VOA), (the U.S. Government's international radio and television network), including director of television programming, congressional and public liaison officer, and chief of staff/executive assistant to the Director.  He began his career at VOA in 1986 as a reporter and news anchor.

Schoenfeld is active in community and national issues, and is a frequent public speaker and talk show guest.  He is a graduate of Leadership Nashville and Leadership Music, and currently serves chairman of Metro Nashville's Cable TV Commission, president of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and vice president/president-elect of the University School of Nashville.  

TRT Audience Development Director Bennett Tarleton said, "We are especially grateful Michael is our chair during this exciting and challenging period.  His board responsibilities are significant with groups like WPLN, University School of Nashville, Family and Children's Services, Center for Nonprofit Management,  and Belcourt Theater, so his willingness to serve speaks well of him, Vanderbilt's commitment to the community, and for Tennessee Rep."

In addition, Schoenfeld currently serves on the boards of National Association of College and University Business Officers, Vanderbilt Hillel, Sister Cities of Nashville, Leadership Music, Summer Institute for the Gifted, and the Public Relations Society of America's Counselors to Higher Education.

A graduate of Duke University, Schoenfeld earned a master's degree in public policy from the Harriman School at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.  

Schoenfeld and his wife Elizabeth, a writer, editor and community volunteer, have one daughter, Abby, a student at the University School of Nashville.

Photo courtesy of Joe Eats World

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