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ICTC founder O'Neill passes the baton to new artistic director

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Mike Desmond
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WBFO News
Kate LoConti Alcocer is expected to become the full-time artistic director of the Irich Classical Theatre Company July 1.

The passing of the baton is continuing in our local theater community. The Irish Classical Theatre Company has announced its transition to a new artistic director, succeeding co-founder Vincent O'Neill.
A University at Buffalo graduate with an MFA from Columbia University, Kate LoConti Alcocer will be the new ICTC artistic director. She worked with two of Chicago's most-storied acting companies, Steppenwolf and Goodman theatres, before returning here to local theaters.

She has been a familiar figure on local stages and especially at the ICTC. In January, she acted in "Sense and Sensibility" on stage and is starting rehearsals to direct "Hamlet."

"I am proud to say ICTC has become my artistic home," LoConti Alcocer said, "20 years and 14 productions later, Vincent and Fortune are still taking a chance on me. I look back on these steps with gratitude and to the forward path with excitement."

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Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News
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WBFO News
Vincent O'Neill co-founded the ICTC nearly three decades ago.

The plan is for her to move full-time to the company June 1 and gradually learn its internal workings to become executive artistic director July 1 of next year. LoConti Alcocer outlined her goals.

"To continue to collaborate with so many friends and colleagues that I see in this room," she said. "We've worked together in so many different aspects and I really look forward to working with you in new aspects, my beloved theater community friends. To explore new forms and to engage new theater-goers, to work on and create our new artistic vision of this company."

The ICTC started with its first production in the basement of a hotel near Buffalo Niagara International Airport and has been in its Theatre District home for 20 years. O'Neill said next year will be the celebration of 30 years for the company and it was time to step back.

"It's time for the next phase of Irish Classical. It's time to pass the baton on to a new generation," O'Neill said, "but always with one goal in mind: it's here for a mission, which is to do classical plays and Irish plays, but to do them with integrity and to do them with a high level of artistic excellence."

O'Neill said he may be retiring from the theater's top job, but he's not "retiring-retiring." He is hoping to concentrate on acting and directing, while leaving management to LoConti Alcocer.

This the second transition in a major local theatre company. Loraine O'Donnell replaced Kavinoky Theatre founder David Lamb and across the street, the Alleyway Theatre is looking for a successor for founder Neal Radice.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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