Engemann is New Board Chair of Pasadena Playhouse

News   Engemann is New Board Chair of Pasadena Playhouse Michele Dedeaux Engemann has been appointed the new chair of Pasadena Playhouse's board of directors, the theatre announced Oct. 6.

Engemann will take over the position previously held by Kerry McCluggage. The board also appointed Sheila Grether-Marion as vice-chair.

Additionally, managing director Brian Colburn is stepping down from his post to take up a new position at Seattle's Intiman Theatre. Director of external affairs, Ken Novice, will take on the role of interim managing director, and a national search will commence this fall.

"It is wonderfully fitting that in our celebration of our series 'Women: The Heart and Soul of Theatre' that the board has appointed Michele Dedeaux Engemann as our new board chair and Sheila Grether-Marion as our vice-chair," said artistic director Sheldon Epps in a statement. "This is a dynamic, passionate, and wonderfully capable duo that will serve our theatre incredibly well over the next few years. I look forward to continuing and deepening my collaboration with them, and I know that they will both bring terrific things to the growth of our theatre as we face both the challenges and the opportunities that are on the road ahead."

Engemann stated, "Serving on the board of Pasadena Playhouse has always been an important part of my life in the theatre and serving with outgoing chair Kerry McCluggage has been a wonderful experience. I am honored to follow in his footsteps."

She added, "The Playhouse has established itself as a leader among American regional theatres. The artistic vision that artistic director Sheldon Epps brings to the company has been an inspiration to board members and audiences alike. The Playhouse's current series, celebrates female playwrights, directors and stories about women and I am excited to be playing my part in supporting the great work to come." Prior to being named chair of Pasadena Playhouse's board of directors, Engemann served as vice-chair. She graduated as a drama major from USC. Her late father, Rod Dedeaux, coached the Trojan baseball team for 45 years, won 11 national championships and USC's Dedeaux Field is named in his honor. Engemann and her husband, Roger, established the USC Baseball Hall of Fame at the facility and continue to support all USC Athletics. An accomplished actress, she has performed with the Nine O'clock Players Theatre for Children in Los Angeles for three decades, where hundreds of thousands of disadvantaged and physically/mentally impaired children of Los Angeles have had the opportunity to experience live theatre for the first time free of charge. As a business woman, she helped her husband build his money-management firm, Roger Engemann and Associates, which was sold to Phoenix Investment Partners in 1997 as Engemann Asset Management. She serves on the board of directors of Dart Entities, a family-run transportation and warehousing corporation established by her father in 1938, and is CEO of The Engemann Family Foundation.

Newly appointed vice-chair Sheila Grether-Marion was born and raised in Pasadena and was an usher at the Playhouse in 1969-1970. She is now serving as first vice president, Investments at Merrill Lynch, Inc. Her first career was as a professional fund-raiser for theatres such as Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Brooklyn Academy of Music and the National Repertory Theatre. She has served on the Playhouse board since 1997 and is also a board member of artists-in-residence Furious Theatre Company.

Outgoing board chair Kerry McCluggage will be the honoree at Pasadena Playhouse's 11th Annual Gala on Oct. 12 at the Langham Huntington Hotel & Spa. Board member Carol Burnett will host the event.

"McCluggage's leadership has provided Pasadena Playhouse's strong artistic product with an enhanced industry profile. He has helped to reach new audiences and connected the theatre to untapped resources," Epps said in a statement. "Kerry has masterfully led the way as we all built Pasadena Playhouse into nothing short of a leader in its field."

Since 2002, McCluggage served as chair of Pasadena Playhouse's board of directors. According to a Playhouse statement, "He spurred a financial turnaround after the economic downturn of 2001 and 2002 threatened the very existence of the theatre. His leadership led the Playhouse through the successful completion of a strategic plan focused on stability, and has helped launch a new strategic plan which is focused on creativity and artistic innovation. He oversaw the theatre's first capital campaign of $8.5 million which will establish the first Playhouse endowment of $5 million; provide funds for a coming renovation of the Carrie Hamilton Theatre, a renovation and restoration of the historic facade, and upgrade of patron amenities; provide seed money to increase outreach and education programs — embryonic in 2002 and now flourishing and serving over 15,000 area youth each year; championed Sheldon Epps' ambitious and eclectic scope of productions, encouraging risk-taking on stage in a tough economic climate; supported Epps and the Playhouse staff in efforts to make the theatre one of the most diverse large theatre companies in America."

For more information, visit pasadenaplayhouse.org.