ASTORIA —After a five-month search, the Liberty Theater has hired Jennifer Crockett, a professional musician, as the venue’s new director.
The board of directors hired Crockett, 39, for the full-time position at an August meeting. She began work in mid-September.
The interim director, Carol Shepherd, plans to move back to Eugene after Saturday’s Storm Large concert.
As director, Crockett will handle bookings for the theater and its McTavish Room and Paulson Pavilion. She will also oversee the building’s retail properties.
Crockett replaces Rosemary Baker-Monaghan, the Liberty’s longtime executive director who resigned in April.
“We are very fortunate to have Jennifer Crockett as our new director,” Christine Lolich, president of the Liberty board, said in a release. “She brings new energy, creative ideas and a rebirth of the Liberty Theater.”
Crockett was chosen because of her background in arts and management. She graduated from the DePaul University School of Music in Chicago with a performance degree in clarinet and bass clarinet.
“She also came very prepared with what she wanted to do, so that was very attractive,” Lolich said.
Crockett, who has performed in the Astoria Music Festival, plays with a variety of organizations, including symphony orchestras, chamber groups and pit orchestras.
“After playing clarinet professionally for a number of years and also having business experience, I’m excited to merge the two together into arts administration,” Crockett said in a release. “I’ve realized as I’ve gotten older that music needs champions both on the stage and behind it, and the Liberty is the perfect place to make a measurable difference.
“Like the arts in general, the theater took a beating over the years and has survived. I’m excited for the opportunity to help it continue to thrive,” she continued.
Crockett lives just blocks from the theater with her husband, Nathan Crockett, the fiddle player from the band Horsefeathers.
Last summer, Horsefeathers was the opening act for the theater’s inaugural Sunset Series, an indie folk concert series intended to attract theatergoers from a wider age range, particularly younger ones.
Asked what she’s most looking forward to, Jennifer Crockett said, “I’m excited to just throw open the doors and get as many people in as we can.”