Jerry Manning, the artistic leader of Seattle Repertory Theatre, died suddenly on Wednesday following complications from a routine surgery in March, according to a news release from the theater. He was 58.
Manning was hired in 2000 as the associate artistic director overseeing casting and artistic relations. After former Artistic Director David Esbjornson abruptly quit his job in 2008, Manning was tapped to step in on an interim basis.
In an interview before Manning's death, Seattle Rep Managing Director Ben Moore said he was proud of moving Manning into the job of artistic director.
"I didn't have some sort of vision that Jerry should be artistic director," Moore said. But he said he's glad the theater company could give Manning time to grow into the job.
Manning was a vocal advocate for local actors and playwrights, as well as for new plays. Under his leadership, the Rep launched an initiative that helped writers craft new work and, in some cases, bring those plays to the stage.
In a statement released Thursday, Moore said Manning's colleagues at the Rep were "in a state of shock." The company plans a memorial event at a later date.
Manning's family asked that, in lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory be made to Seattle Repertory Theater to foster the art he loved.