Bill O'Brien is an actor who played Kenny Thurman on The West Wing.

He has been appointed the NEA's Director of Theater and Musical Theater. He develops partnerships to advance the theater field, recommends panelists, and manages the review process for theater and musical theater applications.

Prior to his appointment, he served for seven years as producing director and managing director for Deaf West Theater (DWT) where he received a Tony and a Drama Desk nomination for producing the Broadway sign language production of Big River and received three Ovation Award nominations for his work on the production of Big River at Deaf West (as producer, sound designer and lead actor).

His advocacy efforts on behalf of the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act of the U.S. Department of Education helped garner Deaf West Theatre the Secretary of Health and Human Services Highest Recognition Award for “bridging the gap between the deaf and hearing worlds through theatre.”

He is fluent in sign language.

(Reference: The National Endowment for the Arts website)