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Theater Boss Tapped for NEA

By Ed O'Keefe

Nathan Lane, (left), and Matthew Broderick, (right), star in "The Producers," a Broadway production once backed by Obama's nominee to lead the National Endowment for the Arts. (Photo by WNET- Paul Kolnik)

By The Post's Jacqueline Trescott:

The White House is expected to announce later today that President Obama will nominate Rocco Landesman, a major player in the commercial theater world, to head the National Endowment for the Arts, a White House official confirmed.

Landesman, a theater owner and producer, has brought many of the last decade's biggest hits to Broadway, including the Tony Award winners "Jersey Boys," "Into the Woods" "The Producers" and "Proof." He produced Tony Kushner's landmark "Angels in America." And he is backing the current revivial of "Hair," nominated for a Tony.

A native of St. Louis, Landesman, 61, is president of Jujamcyn Theaters, owner of five Broadway theaters.

The appointment, first reported in today's New York Times, was immediately read as a way to re-energize the agency, founded in 1965 and the largest supporter of arts in the country. Last week the White House asked Congress to give the NEA $161.3 million in 2010, the highest request in recent years. The agency funnels grant money to almost every corner of the country and is credited with stabilizing the infrastructure of many arts organizations, though the economic turmoil has hit the nonprofit arts world extremely hard.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | May 13, 2009; 4:30 PM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Revolving Door  
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