Directing is a natural progression for Nan, who has been working in Los Angeles theatre for over twenty years. After graduation from St. Cloud State University with a Cum Laude degree in theatre, she has worked as an actress, and as Producing Director of Actors Co-op (a professional theatre company in Hollywood operating two theatres under Equity’s 99-seat contract) from 1999 to 2002, where she was responsible for overseeing all elements of theatre production.
Nan’s directing credits include the Actors Co-op 20th Anniversary Season-Opener, THE 1940’s RADIO HOUR, a musical by Walton Jones. The production garnered acclaim from critics and audiences alike for its “Unabashed exercise in nostalgia . . . engaging production . . . rousing ensemble numbers.” (Backstage) The production also received four NAACP Theatre Award nominations.
Nan also directed two of the three plays which comprise THE NIBROC TRILOGY at Actors Co-op. THE TRILOGY amassed “Critic’s Choice” from the Los Angeles Times, “Critic’s Pick” from Backstage and was “Recommended” by the LA Weekly adding in their review that “McNamara’s excellent staging visually accentuates layer after layer of subtext, taking us far beneath the skin of stereotypes to a complexly woven emotional world, spun by the twin engines of character and history.” THE NIBROC TRILOGY garnered 6 LA Weekly nominations (2 wins) and a Garland Award Honorable Mention for Nan’s direction (shared with Marianne Savell).
Previously, Nan directed the critically-acclaimed production of THE BOYS NEXT DOOR by Tom Griffin for Actors Co-op. “BOYS” is a 1986 character study about a burned-out social worked and the four mentally disabled men he supervises. The Los Angeles Times named the production “Critic’s Choice” calling it a “beautifully handled revival,” adding “Director Nan McNamara knowingly avoids schmaltz . . . making us howl with laughter as we fight back tears of recognition.” Backstage said the production “illuminates with ferocious humor” and gave the show “Critic’s Pick.”
Prior, she directed THE LAST TRAIN TO NIBROC also at Actors Co-op, the first Co-op Too production to ever return for an encore. The Los Angeles Times named the production “Critic’s Choice” saying “Hutton’s romantic WWII two-hander receives a spare, beautifully judged revival, as quietly enthralling as it is unassuming. McNamara cagily locates the delicate tone and astringent humor.” The LA Weekly “Recommended” the production calling it an “absorbing and bittersweet character study . . . under director Nan McNamara’s deft staging.”
McNamara’s excellent staging visually accentuates layer after layer of subtext, taking us far beneath the skin of stereotypes to a complexly woven emotional world, spun by the twin engines of character and history.