Managing Director Libman Will Exit La Jolla Playhouse

News   Managing Director Libman Will Exit La Jolla Playhouse Steven Libman, managing director of La Jolla Playhouse, is stepping down to pursue an expanding consulting practice, the theatre's board chair Ralph Bryan announced Sept. 16.

Libman was appointed managing director in June 2005. The organization will initiate a nationwide search for Libman's successor immediately. Joan Cumming, director of communications, will serve as interim managing director. Playhouse artistic director Christopher Ashley will continue with his current responsibilities.

Bryan stated, "During Steven's three and a half years with the Playhouse, he helped the organization grow at a critical time in its history. Specifically he worked with the organization to professionalize our financial underpinnings and fund-raising systems. He was instrumental in securing a major gift from the Irvine Foundation for our Edge project, and he ensured a smooth transition in artistic leadership from Des McAnuff to the arrival of artistic director Christopher Ashley."

"I am happy to leave the Playhouse in strong stead for the future," Libman stated, "and I am especially proud of the many accomplishments made during my tenure. Our strategic planning process has been open to all staff and trustees, and we opened Jai, our new Wolfgang Puck restaurant. We also completely upgraded our entire employee benefits program. I am especially pleased with the great theatre we have produced, including our two recent Broadway transfers — Cry-Baby and The Farnsworth Invention. All of these accomplishments would not have been possible without a very talented staff and a passionate and generous board of trustees. La Jolla Playhouse is very fortunate to have a board that sincerely embraces new and exciting theatre."

Artistic director Christopher Ashley stated, "We wish Steven the very best success in the future. He helped usher in a new era for the Playhouse and has left the organization in strong financial shape. We are truly grateful to him for his accomplishments and tireless efforts."

As managing director and in partnership with artistic director Ashley, Libman was responsible for directing the strategic planning, financial management, marketing, development, production management and labor relations for the organization. His career in the performing arts spans more than 25 years of executive leadership in the theatre, dance and presenting disciplines. From 1987-2004 he served first as development director, and for 14 years, as managing director of the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. In 2004 he formed an arts consulting practice, The Libman Group. Libman teaches in the Graduate Theatre Program for The University of California, San Diego and serves on the national advisory board for the Graduate Arts Management Program at Carnegie Mellon University. He holds a BA in Performing Arts Management from Rhode Island College and currently serves as a trustee of La Jolla Country Day School, and sits on the advisory board for City National Bank.

The nationally acclaimed, Tony Award-winning La Jolla Playhouse was founded in 1947 by Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire and Mel Ferrer.

Numerous Playhouse productions have moved to Broadway, including The Farnsworth Invention, Big River, The Who's Tommy, How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying, A Walk in the Woods, Dracula, Billy Crystal's 700 Sundays, the Pulitzer-Prize winning I Am My Own Wife, and the currently running Jersey Boys.

The new musical Memphis (through Sept. 28) and the new Charles Busch play The Third Story (though Oct. 19) are its current tenants.

Visit www.lajollaplayhouse.org.