Center Theatre Group Artistic Director Michael Ritchie will retire at the end of this year, bringing to a close a decades-long career in the industry. A search for the next artistic director is expected to begin this summer, with more details to come.
Ritchie stepped into the role in January 2005, leading the Los Angeles institution through a total of 266 productions that included 49 world premieres, such as The Drowsy Chaperone, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, and 9 to 5: The Musical, all of which all ended up on Broadway.
“It has been an honor working at Center Theatre Group over the past 16 years and I’m extremely proud of what our organization has accomplished during that time,” said Ritchie. “After some reflection, I feel it best that I retire... I want to give the organization an opportunity to seek out a future vision and make space for new leadership to be successful. When our industry fully reopens, it will certainly be time for a rebirth as arts leaders dream up a new era of American theatre. Those responsible to carry out that new vision should be in position as soon as possible. With so much vital attention and focus being placed on the future of theatre leadership across our field, I recognize the need for new and diverse voices.”
Prior to his move to the West Coast, Ritchie worked as the producer of Williamstown Theatre Festival. He was a stage manager for productions at Lincoln Center Theater, Circle in the Square, Circle Rep, the New York Shakespeare Festival, Playwrights Horizons, City Center, and the National Actors’ Theatre.
Center Theatre Group recently announced that the organization’s Ahmanson Theatre will resume in-person productions on November 30, 2021, with Jack Thorne and Matthew Warchus’ A Christmas Carol. The North American premiere of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Hadestown, The Lehman Trilogy, and more also on the docket.
Ritchie is also working with the artistic team to complete programming for his final seasons at the Mark Taper Forum and Kirk Douglas Theatre, which will be announced in the coming months.