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  • Hellman vs. McCarthy

    In 1979, talk show host Dick Cavett interviewed noted author Mary McCarthy. Her inflammatory comments about writer Lillian Hellman on the air prompted Hellman to institute a libel suit for $2.5 million dollars against McCarthy. The result of that confro...
  • Anna Christie

    Written in 1921 by Eugene O'Neill, Anna Christie earned a Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and, in 1993, some three generations after its Broadway premiere, it won a Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play.  Again, in 2011, it was honored with an Olivier Award ...
  • Shen Yun

      From glowing artistic reviews to political concerns, Shen Yun provides audiences with a provocative evening of gorgeous color and spectacle. Announcing at the outset that this is a show that could not be seen in China today, 5000 years or so of hist...
  • Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin

    Always, White Christmas, and God Bless America are but a few of the unforgettable additions to the American Songbook made by one of the country's, and the world's, greatest composers of popular music, Irving Berlin. And who better to relay the great mus...
  • LADCC AWARD NOMINEES FOR QUALIFYING YEAR 2014 (12/1/13 – 11/30-14)

    Production Firemen, The Echo Theater. Floyd Collins, La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts. One in the Chamber, 6140 Productions in association with Theatre Planners, Racquel Lehrman, Victoria Watson, Lynne Peck, Joe Cirincione, Ed Ryan and Robin G...
  • Billy Elliot the Musical

    After the success of the 2000 film Billy Elliot, it wasn't a stretch to imagine making the story into a musical. Lee Hall, who wrote the screenplay, created book and lyrics, and with the help of Elton John's music and Stephen Daldry's direction, turned ...
  • La Boheme

    Just in time for the holidays, Pacific Opera Project (POP) has revived their unique take on Puccini’s La Boheme, which they subtitle, The Hipsters. As you can probably guess, the production has been updated. Updating Boheme is hardly innovative. Baz L...
  • Flare Path

    Terence Rattigan is a notable, but now largely forgotten, British dramatist whose heyday was in the mid-twentieth century. Author of such celebrated scripts as The Browning Version (1948) and Separate Tables (1954), one of Rattigan's lesser known plays ...
  • What the Butler Saw

    In the 60s and 70s, wonderfully daring theatrical productions chock-a-block full of overt sex, drugs, and anti-authoritarianism emerged in America, Western Europe, and, finally, globally. Audiences were shocked and even offended, but many were appreciat...
  • Dirty

      Pornography and philanthropy make for deliberately uneasy bedfellows in the West Coast premiere of Andrew Hinderaker's compelling play, Dirty. Witty, adult, and slightly dangerous, Hinderaker seems to have mastered the Shavian art of making ideas and ...
  • FDR

    Our thirty-second president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was elected to serve as the country's chief executive four times (the only one to serve more than two terms in that office). During his twelve-year tenure, Roosevelt guided the nation through the G...
  • Plan 9 From Outer Space

    Scripted and directed in1959 by the notoriously bad film maker Ed Wood, Plan 9 from Outer Space was originally titled Grave Robbers from Outer Space. Now the hammy conceit of Plan 9 is being sublimated into a wacky satire, live and onstage, at Fullerton...
  • Handle with Care

    Up until the mid-60's small cast comedies were an important part of the Broadway economy. These shows could run for a season and make a tidy profit for the investors. As the cost of producing on Broadway rose and multi-year runs became necessary to retu...
  • Dido/Bluebeard

    Combining Henry Purcell's miniature baroque gem, Dido and Aeneas with Bela Bartok's 20th Century primal scream, Bluebeard's Castle seems rather incongruous. Despite their musical importance, neither is frequently seen on operatic stages because their le...
  • Doctor Faustus

    In spite of, or perhaps because of, his short life, Christopher Marlowe lives on as a particularly intriguing Elizabethan enigma. The verifiable facts are few. The speculation surrounding his life and violent death is legion. Was he a godless atheist? A...
  • Zealot

    Acts of diplomacy are more difficult and complicated than the uttered word might suggest. At the international level, protocols and promises are colored and contoured via language barriers, cultural differences, and the interpersonal politics of petty e...
  • Le Nozze di Figaro

    Walking up for the opening night of Dallas Opera's 58th Season, the audience was greeted with an outdoor diorama featuring models costumed to represent each of the operas in the Season. Apparently one could bid on the outfits. I talked myself out of try...
  • The Golden Apple

    Every musical theater zealot has two or three Holy Grail Shows. These are usually Broadway flops which continue to tantalize long after their closing nights. Poring over their original cast albums, devotees ponder how such a terrific aural experience co...
  • Ragtime: The Musical

    One of the most powerful emotional experiences this critic has had in the theater was during the United States premiere production of Ragtime: The Musical, at Los Angeles' now demolished Shubert Theatre. That was 1997, and the stirring staging – based...
  • Venus in Fur

    The tango is a dance which is at once elegant, playful, sensual and filled with power plays. It also has a  unique power to capture an audience. It's true that any two-character play can easily be described as some type of dance. But the tango is a par...

Spotlight

Laguna Playhouse Announces Ellen Richard as its Interim Executive Director

May 3, 2016…Laguna Beach, Calif…Laguna Playhouse Board of Directors announced today that, later this month, Ellen Richard will be joining Laguna Playhouse as its Interim Executive Director. The Playhouse announced late last year that it was undertaking a national search guided by Arts Consulting Group (ACG) for an Executive Director to succeed Karen Wood who had held this position for the past eight years.

Commenting on the appointment Joe Hanauer and Paul Singarella, Co-Chairmens of the Board of Directors, said “In the midst of our search we encountered this wonderful opportunity to engage Ellen while we continue to seek appropriate long-term leadership. To have found someone with the extraordinary qualifications that Ellen has is thrilling. She is the recipient of six Tony Awards as producer at New York’s Roundabout Theatre Company where she was Managing Director. Ellen also has strong successes in supervising the construction of theatres in New York and also in San Francisco at the American Conservatory Theater, a rare and valuable skill set considering the contemplated major remodel and expansion of the Laguna Playhouse.” Laguna Playhouse Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham adds, “We are pleased and proud to have Ellen Richard, truly a rock-star in our field, join us as our interim Executive Director who will help guide the Playhouse during this transition.” Comments Ellen Richard, “I have quickly grown fond of Laguna Beach and the Playhouse. I embrace this extraordinary opportunity to join one of the country’s top regional theatres at this time in its remarkable 95-year history. I look forward to helping the Playhouse and working with their incredible Board of Trustees and Ann E. Wareham.”

ABOUT ELLEN RICHARD

Ellen Richard served as Executive Director of the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco from 2010 through 2015.  During her tenure, Ms. Richard negotiated a deal to buy the Strand Theater in tech corridor of Mid-Market San Francisco, helped raise the $34,000 million to renovate and operate it and steered the design and construction for the project which opened in May of 2015. The complex featured two performance spaces and has won multiple awards.  She opened the 50 seat Costume Shop Theater, a 49-seat “black box” venue used for the company’s Master of Fine Arts students and for shows by other local companies.  Ms. Richard was also credited with expanding the company’s educational efforts, coming up with programs like the San Francisco Semester, which brings undergraduate acting students to ACT from around the world, and Stage Coach, a community theater mobile unit that reaches into diverse neighborhoods

She was also Executive Director of The Second Stage Theatre in New York City. During her tenure at Second Stage, which began in 2006 (through 2009), she was responsible for the purchase contract of the Helen Hayes Theatre, growth in subscription income of 48 percent, and growth in individual giving of 75 percent, as well as conceptualization of a highly successful gala format and “Second Generation,” a giving program through which donors enable deserving New York City youth to experience live theater. Under Ms. Richard’s leadership, Second Stage provided the initial home for the Broadway productions Everyday Rapture, Next to Normal, and The Little Dog Laughed.

From 1983 to 2005, Ms. Richard enjoyed a rich and varied career with Roundabout Theatre Company. The Roundabout that Ms. Richard joined was a small nonprofit theater company in bankruptcy. By the time she departed as Managing Director, Roundabout had become one of the country’s largest and most successful theater companies of its kind, with net assets in excess of $67 million dollars. Ms. Richard is the recipient of six Tony Awards as producer, for Roundabout productions of Cabaret (1998), A View from the Bridge (1998), Side Man (1999), Nine (2003), Assassins (2004), and Glengarry Glen Ross (2005). As producer of more than 125 shows at Roundabout, she had direct supervision of all management and marketing functions. She created Roundabout’s “Theatre-PLUS” programs, which include singles, teachers, family, gay and lesbian, wine tasting, and the 7 p.m. “Early Curtain” series, all of which grew to represent more than 10 percent of Roundabout’s 40,000 subscribers.

As director of design and construction at Roundabout, Ms. Richard was responsible for more than $50 million of theater construction for 11 projects. She conceptualized the three permanent Roundabout stages — The Broadway venues of Studio 54 and the American Airlines Theatre, and the Off-Broadway venue The Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre She directed the location search for Cabaret and oversaw the creation of the production’s environmental Kit Kat Klub. Prior to her tenure at Roundabout, Ms. Richard served as business manager of Westport Country Playhouse, theater manager for Stamford Center for the Arts, and business manager for Atlas Scenic Studio. She began her career working as a stagehand, sound designer, and scenic artist assistant.