Be Our GuESt: Bill Fennelly

By Tyler York

The production team of NINE is led by guest director, Bill Fennelly, who has been called “one of the nation’s hottest young stage directors.”

When someone carries a label as impressive as that, I tend to want to know more about them. So I set off on a Google search and started chatting with Emerson students and staff to do just that with Bill. I found out that he has worked extensively as a director on productions in New York City, across the country on National Tours, and in regional theaters and opera houses.

His work in opera includes three seasons as the staff director at New York City Opera. As a former employee of Boston Lyric Opera and a new opera-devotee, I was particularly excited about his work there…

On Broadway, Bill was the Assistant Director to Des McAnuff on JERSEY BOYS (2006 Tony Award Winner!). Coincidentally, the tour of JERSEY BOYS will be stopping in Boston [again] from December 16 to January 30, just a few days after the performances of NINE, which performs December 9-12.

I also discovered an interesting tie Bill has to our production of LIGHT UP THE SKY. He received the Moss Hart Award from the New England Theatre Conference for his direction of BIRD BOY at Hartford Children’s Theatre. The award is, of course, named in honor of Moss Hart, the playwright of LIGHT UP THE SKY, the inaugural production of our 2010-2011 Season and the first Emerson Stage production in the newly reopened Paramount Theatre.

Clearly, Bill has much to offer Emerson’s students. His directing, paired with the musical direction of the most talented Jon Goldberg and choreography of the illustrious Stephen Terrell, is sure to result in an unbelievable performance. The Greene Theater won’t know what hit it!


Tyler York is the Assistant to the General Manager of Emerson Stage and an alum of Emerson’s BFA Stage/Production Management program.

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