Broadway costume and fashion designer Emilio Sosa has been elected chair of the American Theatre Wing.
Sosa will succeed David Henry Hwang and Ted Chapin, who will continue to be active within the Wing as immediate past chairs. He is joined by newly appointed vice-chairs Dale Cendali, Patricia Crown, James Higgins, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Lee Perlman and Nadine Wong.
Pam Zilly will serve as treasurer and Natasha Katz will serve as secretary. The American Theatre Wing offers educational programming and support to emerging theater artists and acts as the co-presenter of the Tony Awards.
Sosa has been an American Theatre Wing board member since 2015 and will serve a four-year term as chair. He has designed costumes for Broadway shows including “Topdog/Underdog” “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess” and “On Your Feet!” and has toured with Celine Dion, the Alvin Ailey Dance Company and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis.
As chair, Sosa has set a goal of creating greater inclusivity within the arts community. Sosa, who grew up in New York City, did not see his first Broadway show, “A Chorus Line,” until age 21. He hopes to introduce others earlier, in pursuit of creating a more robust talent pipeline onstage and off.
“I want to make that introduction earlier for young people, around the country and the world,” Sosa said.
Sosa would also like to see greater advocacy for those who support the theater offstage, ranging from costume shops to hair and makeup personnel and zipper makers. Many members of these groups already struggled with low wages, Sosa said, and have not received the same level of financial support during the pandemic as other talent.
“I love theater, but I also see that it’s more of an ecosystem that’s a lot more than just performers or theater owners,” Sosa said.
The new board takes over as theaters across the country attempt to return after more than a year of closures.
Heather Hitchens, president and chief executive of the American Theatre Wing, said her biggest takeaway from the pandemic has been that plans must remain flexible. Upon reopening, she hopes to see a changed theater landscape.
“We need to tell different stories,” Hitchens said. “To go back to what it was would be a disservice, I think, to the industry.”