Warner Theatre Executive Director Resigns

John Bonanni will leave his post March 10

Torrington, CT - Effective March 10, 2013, John Bonanni will conclude his tenure as Executive Director of the Warner Theatre. In leaving, John plans to pursue his long-time professional goals as an executive producer via his company Big Fish, Big Pond, but has volunteered his services as an artistic consultant to the Warner Theatre, specifically its Stage Company.

As part of this move, the Warner is also working to revise its operational model to better serve a changing performing arts market in an environment where there are increasing limits on financial resources.

Bonanni stated, “I have volunteered my experience in producing shows to enhance the Warner Stage Company, and to help it to grow in prominence and revenue production. I believe there are opportunities here to create the best possible efficiencies while providing value to Warner patrons and members, and to further grow long term brand loyalty.”

Mr. Bonanni added, “This move will also provide an opportunity to pursue the production of new works which have been on my shelf for over a year.”

Immediate plans include mounting a first class production of “The Gefilte Fish Chronicles”, opening here at the Warner on March 2nd, and, via his company Big Fish Big Pond, developing the production schedule for another musical, “Steeplechase”, an original work inspired by Shakespeare’s “ Midsummer Night’s Dream” , and “Lawdy Miss Clawdy”, the story of R&B legend Lloyd Price, who recorded such hits as “Stagger Lee”, “Personality”, and “Lawdy Miss Clawdy”.

Warner Board President Ken Merz offered these words about Mr. Bonanni’s time at the Warner.

“During his time as Executive Director, John reestablished the Warner’s commitment to being an active part of a thriving arts community. He reopened opportunities for individuals of all ages and all levels of talent to be involved in the Warner in many ways. John established a ‘Comfort and Joy’ initiative for the purpose of collaboration with and helping other non-profits fulfill their missions.”

John changed the direction of the Warner’s programming by presenting many new works and older works as Warner “premiers.” These productions introduced many new patrons to the theater. As the Warner moves back to more traditional programming that has formed the basis of our historical success, a place will be retained in our schedule for these newer works and initiatives.

We hope to retain the revitalized commitment of the Warner to being a place where people in the region can be involved as part of the Warner family and enjoy excellent entertainment appealing to many different audiences.”

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Nancy Sasso Janis February 23, 2013 at 08:50 PM
I was shocked to read this press release. In my limited contact with Mr. Bonanni, I always found him to be a true gentleman. I have to agree with Stage Crafter about the scheduling of 'Curtains' and 'Joseph.' I was disappointed that I was unable to even get a ticket to see 'Curtains' so I could review it. Thank you to Mr. B for everything he did for the Warner during his tenure, and what he will continue to do as a volunteer.
Jared Tailor February 24, 2013 at 03:55 AM
I and several other people tried desperately to contact Mr. Bonnani ver several years for various projects and never received calls back. An associate of mine left 5 messages and never recieved calls back. He was unprofessional, unresponsive and summarily out-of-touch with bringing new and quality acts to this beautiful theater. Good riddance!
Petit Muse February 24, 2013 at 08:33 PM
Sad news. He brought a touch of class and an understanding of community to an organization in need of it.
End cancer now February 25, 2013 at 04:51 PM
The Warner needs new ideas and no shows. I heard they were bringing in The very popular Brian Spectre's cancer based Atlantian films to teach kids film and make movies out of small the theater.Having a Warner movie division would energize the town and give it Klout! I saw on Better CT that they are a cancer based company and do wonderful work. Maybe with them coming in people will get back into the creative spirit and the theater will finally shed it nasty mean image. I know kids are talking about wanting to learn film more then doing theater these days. Does anyone know when this program starts? My son and his friends are eager to sign up and learn how to make movies!
Emmy Vaughn February 26, 2013 at 12:47 PM
Wow... what a loss for The Warner. Time to step into the 21st Century folks! Mr. Merz, you really need a reality check, as to what is going to bring in the audiences to the theatre. It is quite evident, that you and your supporters (monetary funders) are out of touch.. and all you wish to do is 'protect' your prized possession. What a waste of the polished gem... which could be the catalyst for downtown revitalization. What a disappointment... you (Mr. Merz) and your supporters are simply greedy. There are many other old theaters, which are being put to good use and are receiving what they deserve most... diversity of shows and changing audiences. Once again.. returning to old programming... what a waste! That is your idea for the 'new' future of The Warner. Good luck! And thanks for nothing.


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