"It is largely due to Gil that this theatre has become one of the most respected regional theatres in the country and the board wanted to recognize that," said chairman of the board Frank Mancuso, in a statement. "Too often our friends and leaders are recognized on the heels of their retirement, but we wanted to make the decision to honor Gil now when he would be able to walk through the lobby and enjoy this for years to come."
Cates founded the playhouse in 1994 "and worked tirelessly and to turn it into the professional, world-class theater he had been advocating for as the founder and then dean of UCLA's School of Theater, Film and Television."
Cates tapped his friends from the film and television industry for donations, put together a board, hired a managing director and ultimately secured a generous gift from philanthropist David Geffen to name to the playhouse, according to the announcement.
Under Cates' leadership, the Geffen Playhouse has been honored with more than 35 regional theatre awards and received national recognition for its presentation of new works and commissioned plays, including Donald Margulies' Time Stands Still, which is currently on Broadway. Cates is the former president and current treasurer of the Directors Guild of America (DGA) and is also an Emmy Award winning producer who has helmed 14 Academy Award broadcasts over the past two decades. Currently Cates is directing the world premiere production of the new musical Nightmare Alley, which will open in the Gil Cates Theater at the Geffen Playhouse on April 21.
For more information, please visit geffenplayhouse.com.