Ethan McSweeny’s work as a theatre director includes the Broadway premiere of John Grisham’s A Time to Kill and the 2000 revival of Gore Vidal’s The Best Man (Tony Award nomination, Drama Desk & Outer Critics Circle Awards); the New York premieres of John Logan’s Never the Sinner (Drama Desk & Outer Critics Circle Awards), Kate Fodor’s Rx at Primary Stages, her 100 Saints You Should Know at Playwrights Horizons, and Jason Grote’s time-bending 1001 for Page 73 (both named “Top Ten” in TimeOut and Entertainment Weekly magazines), as well as Willy Holtzman’s Sabina at Primary Stages, and a landmark revival of Aeschylus’ The Persians in a new translation by Ellen McLaughlin for Tony Randall’s National Actors Theatre.
In addition to staging classics by Aeschylus, Albee, Euripides, Miller, Williams, Chekhov, Pinter, Shakespeare, and Shaw, Mr. McSweeny is fortunate to have collaborated on the development of new work by many leading writers in America, including Courtney Baron, Carol Carpenter, Anthony Clarvoe, Cusi Cram, Zayd Dorn, Steven Drukman, Kate Fodor, Richard Greenberg, Paul Grellong, Rinne Groff, Jason Grote, Adam Gwon, Noah Haidle, Julia Jordan, Tony Kushner, Alex Lewin, Ken Lin, Quincy Long, Michael Mitnick, Peter Morris, Octavio Solis, Lloyd Suh, Regina Taylor, and Anna Ziegler, among others.
Committed to new work, McSweeny has proved equally adept at musicals and classics creating acclaimed productions in all three genres on many of the United States’ most prestigious stages including the Guthrie, the Goodman, the Old Globe, the Arena, the Alley, the Denver Center, the South Coast Rep, the Pittsburgh Public, George Street Playhouse and the Shakespeare Theatre (among many others), as well as the internationally celebrated Stratford Festival in Canada and Gate Theatre in Dublin where his 2013 Streetcar Named Desire starring Lia Williams was recognized with six Irish Times Award nominations including the award for Best Director.
His work has been recognized with multiple Helen Hayes, Jefferson, Barrymore, San Diego Critics Circle, Ovation, OCIE, Star-Tribune, and “Best Of” nominations and citations. From 2004-2011, McSweeny was the co-artistic director of the Chautauqua Theatre Company, a summer theatre on the grounds of the renowned Chautauqua Institution that under his leadership built a national reputation for the cultivation of the finest emerging theatre artists in the country and the development of exciting and relevant new work for the stage. Originally from Washington, DC, McSweeny received the first degree in Theatre and Dramatic Arts ever conferred by Columbia University. He is an Affiliated Artist at The Shakespeare Theatre, a member of the Wingspace Design Collective, Resident Director at Chautauqua Theatre Company, and serves as Treasurer on the Executive Board of SDC, the national labor union representing stage directors and choreographers.