Late Friday (8/7) on the New York Times blog ArtsBeat, Robin Pogrebin reports, “The Broadway producer Rocco Landesman was confirmed by the Senate on Friday as the new chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. Mr. Landesman, 62, produced award-winning productions like ‘Angels in America,’ ‘Big River’ and ‘The Producers’ and has for more than 20 years been president of Jujamcyn Theaters, New York’s third largest theater owner. Jim Leach, 66, a former Republican congressman from Iowa who is now a professor at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, was also confirmed as the next chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Both are expected to be sworn in sometime in the next few days. … In a telephone interview on Friday, Mr. Landesman said he was eager to get to work, which he planned to do on Tuesday. … ‘The N.E.A. is way behind the 1992 levels of funding,’ Mr. Landesman said, referring to the year the agency’s funding reached a high of $176 million. ‘The funding level is almost invisible.’ Mr. Landesman’s predecessors, Dana Gioia and Bill Ivey, were known largely for repairing the N.E.A.’s image on Capitol Hill. Mr. Landesman said he hopes to continue good relationships with members of Congress, but he also has a reputation for shaking things up.”

Posted August 10, 2009