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Meet La Jolla Playhouse’s Michael S. Rosenberg

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michael S. Rosenberg.

Michael, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
La Jolla Playhouse was founded in 1947 by Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire and Mel Ferrer. It thrived as a summer stock retreat for Hollywood luminaries until 1959. From 1959 to 1982, the Playhouse was on hiatus, during which time a handful of dedicated supporters fought to keep the Playhouse alive, eventually working to revive it on the campus of UC San Diego in 1983.

Over the next three decades, the Playhouse rose to prominence as one of the most celebrated regional theatres in the country, sending more than 30 productions to Broadway, earning 38 Tony Awards, including the 1993 Tony for Outstanding Regional Theatre. This season alone will feature six Playhouse-launched productions running on or off-Broadway, including the Tony Award-nominated musical COME FROM AWAY, Ayad Akhtar’s JUNK, John Leguizamo’s LATIN HISTORY FOR MORONS, MISS YOU LIKE HELL, JERSEY BOYS and ESCAPE TO MARGARITAVILLE, featuring the music of Jimmy Buffett.

La Jolla Playhouse – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
La Jolla Playhouse has become the place to see what’s next on the American theatre landscape through its signature play development initiatives, such as the Page To Stage program and the DNA New Work Series. The Playhouse is also known for its Without Walls (WOW) series of site-based and immersive theatre, spearheaded by current Artistic Director and 2017 Tony Award winner Christopher Ashley. In addition to producing several individual WOW productions over the last eight years, the Playhouse has mounted three biennial WOW Festivals that have become one of city’s most highly-anticipated arts events.

The institution maintains a deep commitment to the development of new work and new theatrical forms. Additionally, the Playhouse seeks to advance theatre as an art form and as a vital social, moral and political platform by providing unfettered creative opportunities for the leading artists of today and tomorrow. The Playhouse’s innovative productions of new plays and musicals — including 95 world premieres, 50 commissions and 40+ American or West Coast premieres — have merited over 300 major honors.

The Playhouse is also extremely proud of its award-winning Education programs, such as the Performance Outreach Program (POP) Tour, an annual Playhouse-commissioned play for young audiences that tours local elementary schools, as well as its in-school residency programs, where Playhouse teaching artists work with teachers to integrate theatre into the curriculum. These programs reach nearly 20,000 students each year.

The Playhouse serves as an official partner with both the San Diego Unified and Chula Vista School Districts, collaborating to bring arts programming into classrooms throughout each district. Additionally, the Playhouse is the only arts institution in Southern California to be selected for The Kennedy Center’s prestigious Partners in Education program.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
One of my proudest moments at La Jolla Playhouse was seeing Christopher Ashley, my partner in leading this institution, win the Tony Award last June for directing the Playhouse-born, world-premiere musical COME FROM AWAY. I am also extremely proud of the Playhouse’s track record of developing new work and having that work go on to have a future life on Broadway and on stages around the world.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Christopher Ashley
Lauren Redack
Matthew Murphy
Jim Carmody

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