theatreWashington’s Veteran Board Chair Victor Shargai Passes the Gavel to Kurt Crowl by Jennifer Clements

theatreWashington’s Veteran Board Chair Victor Shargai Passes the Gavel to Kurt Crowl.

Victor Shargai. Photo by Todd Franson/MetroWeekly.

Victor Shargai. Photo by Todd Franson/MetroWeekly.

theatreWashington President & CEO Linda Levy announced today that longtime Board Chair Victor Shargai, after the election of the Board of Directors, has passed the gavel to Kurt Crowl, Senior Vice President of Connoisseur Travel, Ltd, to fill his formidable shoes as theatreWashington’s next Chairman of the Board.

“As everyone knows, theatreWashington has been – and continues to be – an integral part of my life.” Shargai stated. “The organization has now reached an extraordinary threshold and I am so very proud that I have helped bring it to this point. I am confident that Kurt Crowl, along with Myra Gossens as his Vice Chair, will provide the strategic stewardship that theatreWashington needs at this point in its evolution.”

Shargai joined the Board in 1986 (then, the Helen Hayes Awards), and has served as Chairman since 1998. Levy commented “After years of unparalleled leadership, Victor can now focus his work with theatreWashington to ensure the organization’s long term viability so it can continue to serve this theatre community that he loves so much”. Levy continued “Thankfully, Victor’s decades of service, enthusiasm, and encouragement will continue unabated. His ubiquitous presence in Washington area theatres will continue as will his service on the theatreWashington Board of Directors.”

Kurt Crowl has served on the Helen Hayes Awards and theatreWashington Board since 2001, and has been its Treasurer since 2003. As Senior Vice President of Connoisseur Travel, Ltd, Crowl helped lead the company through growth that saw it triple in size over three short years. Levy remarked “Kurt’s vast business experience, including his tenure with Ernst & Young and American Airlines, was a key asset in his role as Treasurer and makes him an ideal successor as Chairman of the Board”.

“I am thrilled and honored to be following a vibrant leader like Victor who has given such dedication to theatreWashington and has staunchly advocated on behalf of the Washington theatre community.” Crowl remarked. “I am very excited to be leading this dynamic organization especially as we celebrate our 30th anniversary. Victor put theatreWashington on a trajectory for success, and I look forward to continuing that path.”

Crowl added, “My love of theatre began early in life. Before I moved to Washington, I served on the board of Kitchen Dog Theater in Dallas; what an incredible experience to help build a theatre company and see it thrive.”

Of his successor, Shargai said, “When Kurt first addressed the board as its new Chairman his eloquence and dedication to our theatre community was exhilarating and inspiring. The future of theatreWashington is in excellent hands.”

Joining Crowl on the Executive Committee are newly elected officers: Vice Chair Myra Peabody Gossens (Founder, MPG Advisors); Secretary Mara Walker (Chief Operating Officer, Americans for the Arts); Treasurer John Hager (Chief Operating Officer, The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation); Audit Committee Chair Larry Hough (Managing Director of Stuart Mill Venture Partners, L.P.); Fundraising Committee Chair Barbara Hall;(former VP of Development at the Woodrow Wilson Center); Chairman of the Helen Hayes Awards Board of Governors Abel Lopez (Associate Producing Director of GALA Hispanic Theatre); and Executive Committee Member-at-Large Glen Howard (Board Chair, The Cultural Data Project).

During his tenure, Shargai helped establish the Helen Hayes Award as an internationally recognized standard for theatre excellence. Most recently, he guided the organization’s transition from the Helen Hayes Awards to theatreWashington, collaborating to develop a wide range of services provided to theatres, artists, and audiences. In 2007, Shargai helped establish the John Aniello Award for Outstanding Emerging Theatre Company, presented annually in honor of his late partner.

“His tireless leadership, dedication, and love for Washington theatre has been a source of matchless energy that has fueled our organization’s growth” Levy said. “Without question, theatreWashington and the Washington theatre community would look very different if it were not for the efforts of Victor Shargai.”

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