Ashley to Succeed McAnuff at La Jolla Playhouse

News   Ashley to Succeed McAnuff at La Jolla Playhouse
Director Christopher Ashley, who will soon be represented on Broadway with the new musical Xanadu, has been named the new artistic director of San Diego's La Jolla Playhouse.

Christopher Ashley
Christopher Ashley Photo by Aubrey Reuben

The New York Times reports that Ashley will succeed Tony Award winner Des McAnuff (Jersey Boys, The Who's Tommy), who is departing the famed theatre to become an artistic director at the Stratford Festival in Ontario. McAnuff will assume the newly created position as La Jolla Playhouse Director Emeritus.

Ashley told the Times that he hopes to assemble seasons at La Jolla that are a mix between "shows that are popular enough to have an ongoing life and shows that are provocative." Ashley, who was informed of his appointment last week, will commence work in October.

In a press statement Ashley added, "I am honored and completely delighted to be taking over artistic leadership of La Jolla Playhouse. Under Des McAnuff, the Playhouse has had an impressive commitment to adventurous programming with extraordinary artists, making a truly national impact. And with the recent addition of the Potiker Theatre, new rehearsal/performance studios and soon, a cabaret, the Playhouse is poised for an explosion of new theatrical activity. I intend to expand our new play and musical development programs, and create residencies for area theatre groups to produce in our spaces. I want the Playhouse to excite, provoke and entertain. My goal is to create laughter, and argument. Anything but a yawn."

On Broadway Christopher Ashley has directed Voices in the Dark, The Rocky Horror Show (Tony nomination), The Smell of the Kill and All Shook Up. He was production consultant for the Broadway play Jackie, and his production of Xanadu is scheduled to begin previews May 23 at the Helen Hayes Theatre. Off-Broadway Ashley has helmed Regrets Only, As Thousands Cheers, The Country Club, Rude Entertainment, The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, Jeffrey, Blown Sideways Through Life, Bunny Bunny and Das Barbecu.

The La Jolla Playhouse is located on the corner of La Jolla Village Drive and Torrey Pines Road in La Jolla, CA. For more information on the company visit

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