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Promoter I.M.P. Names GM of DC’s Lincoln Theatre & Co-Leads in Booking Department

Independent concert promoter I.M.P. has announced the appointment of Cherise Rhyns to general manager of DC’s Lincoln Theatre and that Jen Hass and Zhubin Aghamolla will co-lead I.M.P.’s booking department. The Washington, D.C.-based company owns local venues the 9:30 Club and The Anthem and operates Merriweather Post Pavilion and the Lincoln Theatre.  

Rhyns will take over the theater that is approaching its centennial seven years after I.M.P. began operating the venue. She will be responsible for operations with direct oversight of facilities and show management, while highlighting the venue’s illustrious history and connection to the District.

"The Lincoln Theatre is a venue that has played such a significant role in the history of this city and its culture, originally forming the center of Black Broadway," said Rhyns in a release. "People today probably don’t know that this theatre hosted performances from legends like Ella Fitzgerald, Cab Calloway, and of course Duke Ellington."

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Rhyns added: "I’m truly honored and humbled to be in a position to help foster Lincoln Theatre’s legacy for years to come."

Rhyns is a 10-year veteran of I.M.P., rising through the ranks of the 9:30 Club, most recently serving as one of the club’s night managers.

Cherise Rhyns
Cherise Rhyns Jordan Grobe

“Cherise has been with the company part time for 10 years and is truly a rock star,” said COO of I.M.P. Donna Westmoreland in a release. “We’ve been trying to figure out a way to bring her further into the fold for a while now and are thrilled to have her at the helm of the ‘Jewel of U Street.'”

In her new position, Rhyns will work closely with Rosanna Ruscetti, the Lincoln Theatre’s director of cultural programming. Since 2014, Ruscetti has expanded programming in theatre, dance, book and lecture events, and musical genres such as classical, opera, jazz, international and traditional.

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I.M.P. has also announced the promotion of Hass and Aghamolla, who are now co-leading I.M.P.’s booking department. Hass, who has been with the company for two years, will continue to be responsible for booking the 9:30 Club and Lincoln Theatre. After five years with I.M.P., Aghamolla will be responsible for booking Merriweather Post Pavilion, The Anthem and shows that I.M.P. presents at U Street Music Hall.

The duo will take over for Melanie Cantwell, whose been with I.M.P. for more than a decade and most recently served as head booker.

“I’ve decided to leave my position with I.M.P,” said Cantwell in a release. “I am grateful for all of the years I spent working with I.M.P. and colleagues in the music industry, and while music has always been a priority in my life, my children come first. I have learned a lot and will forever be humbled for the opportunity to book shows in the greatest venues on the planet and work with the most amazing and talented team.”

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"Melanie has been a huge piece of the fabric of I.M.P. for years," said Westmoreland. "While we hate to see her go, we certainly understand and support her decision to put her family first. We wish her the very best and are grateful for the time she spent with us. Jen and Zhubin represent the future of the company and we couldn’t be prouder of them or more confident in their ability to step up and masterfully program our venues."