Judy Fitzgerald, one of three founders of the Actors Theatre of Indiana.

Actors Theatre of Indiana Closes in on 20-Year Mark

Approaching its 20th year, Actors Theatre of Indiana (ATI) is celebrating its rich history of almost two decades, in conjunction with the vision of where the organization is headed.

Founded in 2005 by a trio of professional performers, Judy Fitzgerald, Cynthia Collins and Don Farrell, the ATI team is bringing its 2023-2024 season to a wrap this spring as it embarks on a new horizon with incoming Executive Director Brian Frost.

The group has performed on famous New York stages, off-Broadway, alongside symphony orchestras, in intimate settings of dinner theater, and on national and international tours. In the early years of ATI, this small team handled all facets of the business, from marketing the shows to booking, selling tickets, performing, managing the talent, choreographing and directing. The group grew from small, intimate settings to large stages across the area. In 2004 a shared vision for the community of theater aligned the City of Carmel officials with ATI. Fitzgerald recalls how quickly her life changed in that year. “In one year we bought a house, had a baby and started a company,” she says.

Fitzgerald started singing in talent shows at the age of 5. Having grown up with a music teacher and singer as a mother who shared her love, she was inclined to begin performing early in life. She continued on into theater performance and show choir in her high school years and into college. It became her life when she majored in musical theater at Millikin University, before going on to work professionally in Chicago. She then moved east to New York where she remained for 16 years, before returning to Carmel, her hometown.

The Actors Theatre of Indiana performing Sweeney Todd at the Palladium.

Fitzgerald returned with a passion to create in her hometown what she had experienced in other areas – a destination for the arts. Recalling what she had built through the first half of her career, she and with her team sought the chance to provide these exceptional performances to the local community.

As new opportunities presented themselves, the group was able to lean on the large breadth of knowledge they’d compiled. When The Studio Theater, located in the James Building, was presented to the group as a “black box” design in 2011, Fitzgerald and the team found a rare space to build an intimate stage setting.

Upon finding their new home, ATI continued to develop the vision for the company into what you know today. As the now resident professional company, ATI hires talent for all positions within each production. Talent is sourced locally and beyond. Governed by a Board of Trustees, ATI has grown as a nonprofit through the generous donations and support from the community.

Fitzgerald expresses her gratitude for Christel DeHaan and the recent endowment from the Christel DeHaan foundation in 2023. She speaks of how impactful DeHaan was on her life and how the gift has greatly emboldened the company. Reflecting on her experience within the works of theater, Fitzgerald attributes some of the most meaningful relationships in her life to the connections made on the stage.

Moving forward into the 2024-2025 season, the ATI Board of Trustees is working together with Fitzgerald, Associate Artistic Director Darrin Murrell, and Frost to finalize the upcoming schedule of performances. A variety of four shows and a special performance at the Palladium are slated for this season. In addition to the exciting new opportunities for collaboration on the stage, ATI is planning the announcement of a new board president. A resounding presence of “new breath” is flowing through the spaces of Actors Theatre of Indiana.

Find your tickets to the performance of “Forbidden Broadway,” scheduled for April 26 through May 12, at atistage.org.

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