In Wednesday’s (5/13) New York Times, Robin Pogrebin reports, “Rocco Landesman, the colorful theatrical producer and race-track aficionado who brought hits like ‘Big River,’ ‘Angels in America’ and ‘The Producers’ to Broadway, has been nominated as the next chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, the White House said on Tuesday. The appointment, which is expected to be announced on Wednesday, surprised many in the arts world. It ends months of speculation about who would be selected to lead the nation’s largest and most important arts organization. The White House declined to discuss the appointment before the announcement. Mr. Landesman, whose appointment must be confirmed by Congress, also declined to comment. … Choosing Mr. Landesman, 61, signals that Mr. Obama plans to shake things up at the endowment. … Mr. Landesman, who would fill the post vacated by Dana Gioia, is expected to lobby hard for more arts money. …he is known for his energy, intellect and irreverent—and occasionally sharp-elbowed—candor. … His directness may prove refreshing to official Washington, and his affinity for country music, horse racing and baseball may help grease the wheels in his conversations with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle.”

Posted May 13, 2009