Judith E. Daykin, the current president and executive director of New York's City Center, announced today that she will retire from that position at the end of the 2002-2003 season.
Daykin, who initiated City Center's acclaimed Encores! series, which presents "great American musicals in concert," announced her intentions June 11. In a statement Daykin said, "I am devoted to City Center and always will be. But I've been an arts administrator for four decades, and it's time for me to do the things I've always wanted to do, to tour the country, to spend time in my home in Key West, to write about my secret passion — the circus. I feel confident that I will be leaving City Center in great shape. Financially, we're sound; artistically, we remain committed to our resident companies and our Encores! series; plus we have a Board of Directors dedicated to the organization's vision."
The Chairman of the City Center Board of Directors, Raymond A. Lamontagne, announced that a special committee will be formed with the goal of filling Daykin's position by the spring of 2003. Lamontagne added, "Judith will leave behind a vibrant, healthy organization. By resuscitating City Center, she has made a very special contribution to the New York cultural scene. We are eternally grateful to her."
When Daykin took the helm of City Center in 1992 — after a career that included 15 years as executive vice-president and managing director of BAM — she inherited a $424,000 operating deficit with a budget of only $3.3 million. During her leadership, the deficit was paid off, and the annual budget was increased to $10 million. The Center is now programmed 41 weeks a year and is home to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, Paul Taylor Dance Company and the hit Encores! series. Daykin turned City Center from a rental hall into a producing organization.
Daykin is the recipient of Arts Management Magazine's Career Service Award, the Outstanding Service Award from the League of Historic American Theatres and the 1998 City Center/Leonard Harris Award. —By Andrew Gans