Brooklyn Academy of Music has named David Binder as its creative director. The Tony Award-winning theater and festival producer’s credits include Hedwig and the Angry Inch, De La Guarda, and A Raisin in the Sun, starring Sean Combs, Phylicia Rashad.
Binder got his start in 1991, when he was a production assistant on The Secret Garden and one of the actors, John Cameron Mitchell, slipped him the script of Hedwig; Binder raised money for an early staging at the Westbeth Theater in 1997 and then went on to produce the revival starring Neil Patrick Harris. In between, he brought Argentine immersive theater production De La Guarda to the United States.
His other productions, per his bio, include Of Mice and Men, starring James Franco and Chris O’Dowd; A Raisin in the Sun, starring Sean Combs, Phylicia Rashad; and the Australian production of This Is Our Youth, starring Michael Cera and Kieran Culkin.
Binder is also a festival and corporate events producer. In 2007, he and Josh Wood put on the High Line Festival, an 11-day arts festival curated by David Bowie and featuring Laurie Anderson, TV on the Radio, Ricky Gervais and others. He’s currently the Guest Artistic Director of the London International Festival of Theatre, happening in June.
In a letter announcing that Binder would replace longtime BAM executive producer Joseph V. Mellilo next year, BAM president Katy Clark called Binder “a cultural omnivore in the truest sense, with a broad artistic sensibility and curiosity.” She went on to say that “David’s arrival signals a major step forward in realizing BAM’s plan for a more holistic artistic vision. The new title of Artistic Director reflects a complete alignment of all of our programming areas—live performance, cinema, education, community, humanities, digital, visual art, and the archives—under one curatorial team.”
Mellilo, who joined BAM in 1983 as the founding director of the Next Wave Festival, announced in 2017 that he would step down as executive director at the end of this year. Binder will work alongside him until he officially takes over in January of next year.