Patrick Willingham was named Executive Director of The Public Theater in November 2011 and has more than 20 years of management experience in the theatrical industry.
Prior to joining The Public, Willingham served as the President and Chief Operating Officer of Blue Man Productions where he worked with the founders to nurture the off-Broadway performance art sensation into an international phenomenon. During his tenure Willingham guided the significant expansion of the company, working with the senior management team to grow the company from a single production in New York City to a world-wide enterprise employing over 700 people with eight permanent productions in the U.S. and abroad, multiple touring productions, two albums of recorded music, hundreds of television appearances, and numerous partnerships with major corporations, including Intel and Pepsi. In 2008, he successfully managed the difficult economic downturn to restore the company to fiscal health and expansion. Willingham started his career at Blue Man as the Company Manager of Astor Show Productions in 1994 and was promoted to General Manager of Blue Man Productions in 1996. During his four years as General Manager, he oversaw operations of the New York, Boston and Chicago productions of Blue Man Group as well as the installations of the multi-million dollar Chicago and Las Vegas shows.
Before joining Blue Man Productions, Willingham worked with the off-Broadway producer and general manager Maria di Dia at her firm, Maria Productions, as well as with Jujamcyn Theaters, the owners and operators of five Broadway venues. Most recently, he served as an independent consultant for the Cirque du Soleil partner Cirque Eloize in Montreal, advising the company on its efforts to expand into the U.S. commercial theatrical market. Willingham began his career managing costume shops for Players Theatre in Columbus, Ohio and for the New Jersey Shakespeare Festival.
Willingham holds an MFA in Performing Arts Management from Brooklyn College and a BFA in Theatre Design and Technology from the University of Wyoming.