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Tony-nominated actor Hunter Foster will be new artistic director at Syracuse theater

Blue Hat Photography
Hunter Foster (center) stands with Redhouse Executive Director Samara Hannah and Board President Bill Hider.

The Redhouse Arts Center in Syracuse has selected Tony-nominated actor Hunter Foster as its next artistic director. Foster said he wants to elevate the status of the theater to have more name recognition around the country.

“I’m hoping that we develop new work that makes its way to New York at some point," Foster said. "I’m hoping it’s a destination people want to come to."

Foster has lived in New York City for 25 years and he said having a connection there will help Redhouse.

“I foresee the future of Redhouse as supporting the local talent in Syracuse but also bringing in some Broadway experience so the two things can coexist,” Foster said.

As an actor, Foster has been in ten Broadway shows, receiving a Tony nomination in 2004 for playing Seymour in the revival of “Little Shop of Horrors.” He’s also a writer and director, but he said it’s been a dream of his to run a theater. The new Redhouse, which completed a $10 million renovation of an abandoned building in downtown Syracuse earlier this year, stood out.

Credit Redhouse Arts Center
Redhouse Arts Center
The lobby of the new Redhouse.

“When I took a tour of the theater and I saw what they had built there, and you sit there and go wow, this could be the beginning of something really great and special," Foster said. "A lot of theaters that I’ve worked at, are trying to get what Redhouse already has.”

Namely, its downtown location and its three theaters without fixed seating, which Foster said opens up possibilities.

“If we want to do a show in the round, we can do a show in the round," Foster said. "It gives us the capability of doing experimental theater. We can change the configuration of the seating. Things can be more immersive.”

The new Redhouse facility feature three theaters, offices, classroom and rehearsal space and a parking garage. Foster said he wants it to be the centerpiece of revitalization efforts in downtown Syracuse. He is planning some family-friendly and young adult shows for next season. He is currently directing a show in Connecticut and will start at Redhouse in December.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.