Renaissance Theaterworks: Welcomes back marketing director

[November 28, 2022 – MILWAUKEE]  Renaissance Theaterworks (RTW), “theater by women, for everyone,” is thrilled to welcome back Sarah Kriger Hwang as the company’s Marketing Director. 

Sarah came to RTW in 2003 as their first “official” Marketing Director (part-time).   During her nine-year tenure, Sarah developed RTW’s first subscription renewal program, retooled ticket pricing, helped move the company to the Broadway Theater Center, increased revenue by 100%, developed a new logo and branding campaign, created Play Club, and originated RTW’s signature “taste counts” tradition of giving each patron a chocolate as they exit the theater.  Most of these efforts are still in place and have contributed to Renaissance Theaterworks’ reputation for excellence and uninterrupted history of debt-free operation.

The company continued to grow and by 2012, the need for a full time Marketing Director became increasingly apparent.   Sarah and her husband, Milt, were raising their child and Sarah was living with Multiple Sclerosis, so she made the bittersweet decision to depart the staff but continue to volunteer and support.

Since 2012, Sarah has pursued greater involvement with the National MS Society. Her Walk MS Team, “Hwang’s Wok-ers” topped the fundraising charts in Wisconsin. Additionally, Sarah and her husband created “Wok Hard to Fight MS,” a Chinese pop-up restaurant that started as a small gathering of 60 in their home but grew to a fundraising event for over 350 people held at their synagogue.  All of the contributions went to the National MS Society, funding MS research, advocacy and programming. “Wok Hard” ended with the pandemic.

Sarah’s talents can also be seen as the lead vocalist in local band “Squirrel!”   

Sarah was pondering her next moves when she attended RTW’s fundraiser, “Raise a Glass to Renaissance” in September 2022.   “Being there and experiencing the art, love and community, suddenly the words “I want back in!” were escaping my mouth.   I  didn’t know what I meant exactly, but I meant it.”  “Too late for take-backs!” said Lisa Rasmussen, RTW’s Managing Director. And voila, two months later, Sarah became RTW’s Marketing Director! 

Currently, because of her progressive MS, Sarah travels by scooter and is always accompanied by Goblin the wonder service dog.    So how can she take on this role?   Easy, team work! Sarah proposed a structural change.  She will work part-time at the strategic level and RTW will hire a full-time Marketing Manager to work in tandem with her and run RTW’s day-to-day marketing operations.  

“Sarah has been an influential mentor to me since I started at Renaissance Theaterworks as the company’s first Development Director, 15 years ago. Moreover, she has been a stalwart friend and standard bearer for the company and our unique mission.  We could not be more honored that she wants to contribute to the next stage of Renaissance Theaterworks’ bright future.” – Lisa Rasmussen, Managing Director.

Sarah is a Milwaukee native and a Graduate of Nicolet High School. She then went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Telecommunications from Indiana University-Bloomington and a Master of Arts – Business from the Bolz Center for Arts Administration at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Sarah has spent her career in theater marketing and marketing research having worked at Skylight Opera Theatre (now Skylight Music Theatre), Court Theatre at the University of Chicago, C&R Research (Chicago) and, of course, Renaissance Theaterworks.  She is a board trustee of the Wisconsin Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and also serves on the Society’s CEO Advisory Committee for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.   She has been living with MS since her diagnosis in 1999.