Director Darko Tresnjak '88 Continues to Take Risks with Latest Production

Darko Tresnjak '88

Darko Tresnjak '88 accepts the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical. (Photo by Theo Wargo / Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Times: Darko Tresnjak ['88] Seals His Passion for Risk with "Kiss Me, Kate"

Darko Tresnjak ['88] arrived in this country from the former Yugoslavia at age 10, during the many 1976 bicentennial celebrations. He and his mother, Maria, saw the festivities and fireworks first on the mall in Washington, D.C., and then pretty much every place they stopped on a cross-country trip to Disneyland that summer.

"There were fireworks everywhere," says Tresnjak, a busy theater director, nearly four decades later. "I thought to myself, 'These people really know how to party.'"

That festive spirit infects two of Tresnjak's recent productions: A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, which won four Tony Awards in 2014, including best musical and director, and a revival of the 1948 Cole Porter musical Kiss Me, Kate, a co-production between the Hartford Stage, where Tresnjak has been artistic director since 2011, and San Diego's Old Globe.

After Swarthmore College, he studied with the Martha Graham Dance Company. In the five years between Swarthmore and Columbia, Tresnjak performed with dance and theater companies in Philadelphia and toured the United States and Japan in puppet theater. These disparate disciplines were all part, he says, of his "Crayola box with as many different shades as possible."

Believing in "range and risk," the prolific director says he loves to apply those colors to as many varied projects as possible. He first gained a reputation for tackling difficult and imperfect classics — what he calls "bruised beauties," like The Skin of Our Teeth — so the opportunity to direct Gentleman's Guide, which marked his Broadway debut, came as a brisk new challenge.

Read the full article at The Los Angeles Times.

At Swarthmore, Darko Tresjnak '88 majored in English literature and fine arts. In 2014, he won the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical for his work on A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.