Kevin Heckman has been appointed managing director at Next Theatre in Evanston–just in time to help with the transition as the company’s current artistic director, Jason Loewith, prepares to leave.

Heckman, 38, hails from Monmouth, Maine, and started acting at the age of 9 when, he says, a local theater “needed a prince to get murdered in the Tower” in Shakespeare’s Richard III. “Two years later they had me back because they needed me to get murdered again as Macduff’s son.” He double-majored in theater and mathematics (good training for an artist-administrator) at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. Since arriving in Chicago in 1994, he’s worked steadily as a director, lighting designer, actor, and even journalist. He’ll continue to compile his Performink “Review Roundup” column, though he’s stepping down as the trade paper’s listings editor.

A Stage Left ensemble member since 2000, Heckman most recently served as the Wrigleyville troupe’s producing artistic director. He’ll continue to be involved artistically at Stage Left, particularly in the area of literary management, after he starts at Next on August 5. His wife, Christine Gatto, is a Stage Left ensemble member.