George Ferencz

Stage Director


  • - Shortnin' Henduck -

     Has been active as a theater director, producer and teacher for four decades.  Ferencz was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, and attended the University of Detroit and Kent State University.  He moved to New York and studied directing with Gene Frankel and Carl Weber.  Ferencz was the co-founder of the Impossible Ragtime Theater, where his production of “The Hairy Ape” brought him to the attention of the New York critics.  As a CETA Artist he founded and directed the New Living Newspaper and later directed premieres at The American Place Theater, the New Federal Theater, Theater at St. Clements and INTAR .  Ferencz was a resident director of La MaMa  (1982 -2008) and directed over 30 La MaMa productions, including the award-winning “The Tooth of Crime” and “Shepard Sets” with music by Max Roach.

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     In addition, Ferencz directed at regional theatres including the Actors’ Theater of Louisville, Berkeley Rep, Cleveland Playhouse, Crossroads, Pittsburgh Public, San Diego Rep and Syracuse Stage.


     Ferencz has directed the premieres of over 30 writers including Amiri Baraka, Jimmy Breslin, Migdalia Cruz, Hanay Geigomah, Josh Greenfeld, Lu Hauser,  Aisha Rahman, Yasmine Rana, Caridad Svich, Pieter Dirk Uys, Jean-Claude van Itallie and Mac Wellman.


     Ferencz has taught directing at Yale School of Drama, Brooklyn College, N.Y.U., Columbia and Marymount as well as the Michael Howard Studio, the Lee Strasberg Studio and Playwrights Horizons Directing Lab. He conducted a Director-Writer Workshop at Columbia University for 15 years and was Producing Director of Columbia’s Summer Theater for 2 seasons.  At La MaMa, Ferencz was the founding Director and Curator of the Experiments Series for 16 seasons, which featured concert readings of new plays, as well as Project Director of Shadow, a yearly festival of new black history plays (6 seasons), and Project Director of FROM THE VAULT, a series celebrating La MaMa premieres from the 60's. He served as a guest resident director at New Dramatists and Program Director for INTAR’s Music-Theatre Lab. Ferencz has lectured on directing at Cornell, Ohio University, Southern Illinois University, Syracuse University, a TCG Conference and an international directors symposium at La MaMa Umbria in Italy.


     George Ferencz lives in Brooklyn with his wife designer Sally Lesser. Their son Jack is a musician living in Chicago.