PRESS RELEASE: Dan Shay, former MRT leader, dies at 63

DATE: APRIL 8, 2016
CONTACT: Kate Brandt,
PR CONTACT PHONE: 978-654-7595
BOX OFFICE: 978-654-4678

Former MRT Producing Director Daniel Schay Dies at 63

Production of “Home of the Brave” Dedicated to Schay

Lowell, MA – Former artistic leader of Merrimack Repertory Theatre Daniel Schay, 63, passed away yesterday, April 7. Schay was the Producing Director of MRT from 1982 through 1989. At the time of his death, Schay was the Executive Director of Theater Works in Peoria, AZ. In honor of Schay’s work with MRT, the company will be dedicating their production of “Home of the Brave” to Schay.

Schay’s tenure leading MRT, which had been founded in 1979, was marked by a period of great growth and change. During this period, the company moved from its original location in Mahoney Hall at the University of Lowell (now University of Massachusetts Lowell) to his current home in Liberty Hall and changed its name from Merrimack Regional Theatre to Merrimack Repertory Theatre. MRT saw significant growth in both its subscriber base and total budget.

MRT Board Chair and founding Board President Nancy L. Donahue remarked, “Dan’s big presence came into Lowell where he was soon endeared to many. He changed the face of MRT and Lowell by bringing the theater to downtown Lowell and lighting up the area. He brought many wonderful hours of professional theater to people who would otherwise not have had the opportunity to enrich their lives. He will be missed by not only us in Lowell who knew him but by the larger national theater community.”

Schay was active in arts administration for his entire career. Following his time at MRT, he moved to Arizona and in 1995 became the founding executive director of the Sedona Cultural Park and Sedona International Film Festival. In 2004, he became managing director at Phoenix Theatre, In 2012, he left Phoenix for his position in Peoria. He is survived by his wife, Barbara, and son, Adam.

MRT produced its first world premiere, “First Night” by Jack Neary, under Schay’s leadership and won its first Boston Drama Critics Award for “The Importance of Being Earnest.”

Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) has been the Merrimack Valley’s professional theatre company since 1979, and is an integral part of Lowell’s identity as the cultural heart of the region. The company is known for its high production standards and for creating compelling new plays and regional premieres that reflect the lives and emotions of its audiences. MRT is one of just three theatres in Massachusetts that is a member of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT), which has 72 members nationwide.