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Charles Dillingham Joins Pasadena Playhouse

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The Board of Directors of The Pasadena Playhouse (Sheldon Epps, Artistic Director) announced today that Charles Dillingham will serve as interim Executive Director of the theatre during the transition period following Stephen Eich’s departure and as The Playhouse launches a national search for a new Executive Director.  Dillingham’s services are being provided by Arts Consulting Group (ACG), a national consulting firm where he is Vice President.  Until he joined ACG in June of 2011 he had been managing director of Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles for twenty years.


“It is an honor and privilege to welcome Charles Dillingham to our Playhouse family as interim Executive Director,” stated Playhouse Board Chair Michele Dedeaux Engemann.  “Charles has been a loyal friend and supporter of The Playhouse for many years.   With his respected expertise in theatre management and love of the performing arts, he is an incredible asset to the future and prominence of The Pasadena Playhouse.”

"Charles brings to us a wealth of experience, knowledge, theatrical savvy and influence that will be of tremendous value to the continuing growth and stability of The Playhouse,” said Artistic Director Sheldon Epps.  “He is a true gentleman of the theatre and I very much look forward to working with him, learning from him, and having the benefit of his enormous gifts in service to what will now be OUR theatre."

“The Pasadena Playhouse is my neighborhood theatre,” said Dillingham.  “I have long admired Sheldon’s work and it is an honor to be of assistance at this critical time while they are in the middle of their first full season since their financial crisis.”

Charles Dillingham brings to The Pasadena Playhouse over forty years of senior executive experience in performing arts management as well as teaching, executive coaching and consulting. He has led some of the largest performing arts institutions in the country and partnered with several leading artistic directors.  At Center Theater Group he supervised all development, marketing, administrative and financial operations for the company’s three theatres – the Mark Taper Forum, the Ahmanson Theatre and the Kirk Douglas Theatre.  Prior to CTG, he was CEO of the Entertainment Corporation USA, presenting commercially the Bolshoi Ballet and Opera, Kirov Ballet and Opera and the Royal Ballet at the Metropolitan Opera House and arranging American tours. He was Executive Director of American Ballet Theatre during Mikhail Baryshnikov’s tenure as Artistic Director, supervising ten television films, seventy-five new stage productions and tours to Paris and Japan.  He previously served as Managing Director of the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) Theatre Company and worked closely with Artistic Director William Ball at American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco.  He began his career at the Yale Repertory Theatre and the Williamstown Theatre Festival with their founders Robert Brustein and Nikos Psacharopoulos.  Mr. Dillingham holds a BA from Yale and a MFA from the Yale School of Drama.

He served on the Board of Directors of The California Theatre Council, Dance USA, LA Stage Alliance and Arts for LA and on advisory panels at the California Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.  He also was Vice President of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT) and as a member of the Board of Councilors of the USC School of Theater. He has taught arts administration at Columbia University, the Yale School of Drama and the USC School of theatre. He resides in Pasadena with his wife, Susan Clines, an executive at the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association.

The Pasadena Playhouse was established in 1917 and was designated the State Theatre of California for bringing national and international renown to the state as a center for dramatic art in 1937.  Built on a tradition of innovation and excellence, The Pasadena Playhouse is committed to continue to be the premiere theatrical experience in Southern California showcasing the most exciting theatrical entertainment in the state and being an amazing forum for launching new work onto the national stage.  Broadway productions that originated at The Pasadena Playhouse include: Sister Act, Baby It’s You!, Looped and Mail. Unchain My Heart, The Ray Charles Musical, which premiered at The Playhouse, is scheduled to open on Broadway in the 2012-13 Season.



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.”


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.