An award-winning director of new musical theater works and a member of Strathmore’s Who’s Who since 2005. Gerald has worked at numerous theater venues across New York City and the tri-state area, among them, Black Spectrum Theatre, York Theater, Henry Street Settlement’s Harry du Jur Theater and Greenwich Street Theater. He began his directing career in the late nineteen nineties after working as an actor in New York City during the late nineteen eighties, upon his obtaining his BFA in musical theater, from The Boston Conservatory in 1984.
What Kind of Promise? A new musical, was conceived and developed by Gerald at Thirteenth Street Repertory Company Theater during the early nineteen nineties, which was then followed by a successful collaboration with Frumi Cohen on A Show Of Hands, a new musical. After his work on A Show Of Hands, it was selected for presentation at the Festival For New Musicals, Ft. Collins, CO in 1999. Mr. vanHeerden was then invited to speak at and present selections from A Show Of Hands at the Intellectual Property Rights Conference in Rivine, Ukraine in 2001, funded by the United States Embassy-Ukraine, Dr. Marlene Thorn Taber-Organizer.
In early 2000, he began in New York City to expand his musical theater development credentials with Torched…an urban, musical theater play that was presented as part of the Downtown Urban Theater Festival at the Harry de Jur Theater in 2003. Before that he directed the national premiere of Boomers… Promises Made Not Kept, a new musical in New Hampshire. As quoted by Sandcastle Productions “The storyline is a compelling and powerful journey through many decades in the life of an American family.” For Off-Broadway’s Music In A Box productions he was director of Downtown Dysfunctionals development and directed the first episode, Little West Fifth Avenue-The Sublet, to wide acclaim.
During the period of early 2000 to 2004, Gerald vanHeerden was asked to be a part of the National Music Theatre Network, reading and evaluating hundreds of new works of musical theater, submitted from around the country and internationally. He subsequently, became administrative director of the evaluation program for NMTN in 2002, implementing effective systems of operations for the administrative side of the evaluation program. Upon the launching of the New York Musical Theater Festival (NYMF) by NMTN he was asked in 2005 to head up the planning and development of the TAM Award after it’s initial launch in 2004 by NYMF. During this time, he worked closely with TAM (Theater for the American Musical) founder, Mae Richard. In November 2006, NMTN presented the second, revitalized TAM Award under Gerald’s guidance and leadership. Among the esteemed committee and judges were: Mae Richard, Michael Montel, Rosalie Matskin, Ted Swindley and Howard Kissel.
Directing, traditional, established musicals was added to Mr. vanHeerden’s artistic endeavors in 2004 after directing both an adult and youth, community production of The Music Man for Applause Performing Arts Center in Paramus, NJ after being artistic director of their fall production of The Wizard of Oz, in the round, in Hackensack, NJ.
In the summer of 2004, Gerald was hired by Black Spectrum Theatre’s summer arts program to be the senior acting instructor and director of there summer youth production of Babes In Arms, the Rodgers and Hart classic. Using his knowledge and experience from new musical theater works he crafted a special production that utilized the unique talents of a community centered, multi-cultural, theater arts program.
Bugsy Malone, a musical comedy version of the hit 1970’s film about innocent and loveable gangsters and there girls marked Gerald’s third production with Black Spectrum Theatre Company, theater arts program, having completed MVP-Amy Crockett a new musical for young audiences in the spring of 2005 as director of the Children’s Theater Institute at BST.
In the fall of 2006 Gerald vanHeerden was appointed resident director of the Children’s Theater Institute for Black Spectrum Theatre after he directed the musical Once On This Island for the summer theater arts program and a brand new musical for young audiences that previous spring, MS-911: A Middle School Story. In January, 2007 he returned to BST after his work with adults in a community theater production of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None at the Pawling Theatre Company Pawling, NY.
As resident director of CTI in 2007, Gerald directed A Chief’s Bride on Black Spectrum Theatre’s main-stage and in June at P.S.136, St. Albans, Queens, he directed Disney’s 101 Dalmatians-Harlem Now, a musical theatre version of the beloved and world-renowned movie and book set in present day Harlem. He finished the year with a lush production of Disney’s Aladdin Jr. at Black Spectrum Theatre and the summer theater arts program actors, ages 7 to 15 years old.
Gerald vanHeerden returned to his work with professional actor’s and new musical theater works with The Adventures of Kid Zero, a new musical, for young, hip hop, attuned audiences, with book by Ifa Bayeza, which completed a week long, sold-out run in February 2008 on the main stage of Black Spectrum Theatre. It was followed in May by God’s Trombones based on the poetry of James Weldon Johnson with the actor’s of CTI and in August of 2008, the sensitive, musical play, Honk Jr. with the students of the summer theater arts program. The Magic Flute-Reloaded and The Wiz-The Broadway Musical are Gerald’s most recent directorial credits with Black Spectrum Summer Theater Arts Program.
In 2010, under his guidance : Hadleyburg, a new musical, with the off-Broadway creative team: Bob Griffiths (Book), Mae Richard (Lyrics), John Clifton (Music) was invited to the Midtown International Theater Festival 2010 as part of it’s new works program, which then received a best presentation nominee citation. Shortly after, in November 2010 he was appointed CoArtistic Director for the Midtown International Theatre Festival. One of his most recent directorial productions Boomers-The Musical of a Generation received it’s New York City debut at MITF in July 2011.
Mr. vanHeerden holds a BFA, in musical theater from The Boston Conservatory, 1984 and is a member of the professional Broadway theater union, SDC-The Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers.