Wednesday, February 16, 2011

SCR Hires Marc Masterson as New Artistic Director

Marc Masterson
Marc Masterson, who for 11 years has served as the artistic leader of Actors Theatre of Louisville, will join South Coast Repertory in April as its new Artistic Director.

Masterson will work alongside Managing Director Paula Tomei as Co-CEO of the theatre,
while David Emmes and Martin Benson will become Founding Directors, working part-time to ensure a smooth leadership transition.

“Martin and I are very happy that Marc has agreed to assume artistic leadership of SCR,” said Producing Artistic Director David Emmes. “Marc has more than 30 years’ experience running a theatre—11 of those at Actors Theatre, which, like SCR, is a complex organization with multiple stages, an influential new-play festival and a bustling education department. All of this makes him an ideal successor.”

“Marc’s passion for new plays matches our own,” said Artistic Director Martin Benson. “Half of the 200 plays he’s produced in Louisville have been world premieres. And he’s a very good director, too. We can’t wait to see what he does at SCR.”

Martin Benson and David Emmes
Masterson said he feels privileged to have been chosen to head an institution with such a storied reputation.

“I am honored to be given the opportunity to build the next generation of excellence for South Coast Repertory,” he said. “The theatre is already recognized for producing works of extraordinary caliber across a broad range of styles, and I am interested in bringing new artists into the repertoire, deepening the connections with the community and extending SCR's reach to other parts of the world.”

SCR’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously to appoint Masterson during a special meeting late Wednesday afternoon. He will begin working at SCR part-time April 1 and move to full-time September 1.

Paula Tomei, who has been with SCR since 1979 and has been its managing director for the last 17 years, said she is excited about working with Masterson.

“When we started this search process a year ago, we said we would take as long as was necessary to find the right person for the job,” she said. “I think we’ve done exactly that. I look forward to working with Marc and continuing to bring the finest theatre to Orange County and beyond.”

Tom Phelps, president of SCR’s Board of Trustees, also predicted a bright future: “SCR has long been one of the country’s most successful and stable arts organizations, and that’s not going to change. Marc Masterson is an exceptional leader with a track record that put him at the top of an incredibly talented pool of finalists—all of whom were worthy and capable of the job. And he will have an additional advantage nearly unprecedented in a leadership transition: the chance to consult and work with the men who actually founded this theatre and ran it for 47 years.

“SCR is in the midst of an incredibly successful season—artistically and financially—and Marc’s arrival only adds to that. The board is eagerly awaiting SCR’s next chapter.”

For more on Masterson, and additional details on the transition, please see the bio and Q&A.

Parking Rate Increase

Central Parking, the company that operates the parking structures closest to South Coast Repertory, has notified us that it will increase event parking rates to $10 beginning March 1.

Rates have been $8 for the last several years.

On a related note, in the past some of you may have taken advantage of The Spa’s valet services, but The Spa shut down in January, and valets are no longer on site.

Shakespeare Can Be So Cruel Sometimes

Nick Gabriel, Kathleen Early, Dana Green and
Tobie Windham in A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Photo by Henry DiRocco/SCR.
During a fight, anyone can throw out overused insults like “jerk,” “ugly” and “stupid.” Why not add a little intellect to your dispute with Shakespeare’s wit and humor? Aside from sounding smart, you might even diffuse the confrontation. Here are some of our favorites from A Midsummer Night’s Dream:

“You juggler! You canker-blossom! You thief of love!”
  • Juggler: A person who is having relations with more than one person.
  • Canker-Blossom: In this context it is a reference to the canker-type blight on a plant that steals away the beauty of the blossom.
  • Thief of Love: Exactly as it sounds—someone who has stolen the heart of another person’s significant other.

“How low am I, thou painted maypole?”

  • Painted Maypole: A tall woman who wears a lot of make-up to cover up their unattractive looks.

“You minimus, of hindering knot-grass made; You bead, you acorn.”

  • All of the above can refer to someone who is short or small.

“I am sick when I do look on thee.”

  • Erm…this one is self-explanatory.

Hear these and other Shakespearean insults for yourself during the final performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, closing Feb. 20.

Find show info and tickets here.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

SCR Launches Studio Series

South Coast Repertory is expanding horizons with our new Studio Series, which will showcase the work of six local performers and companies—as well as a popular play from last year’s Pacific Playwrights Festival—this spring.

The series, which takes place over eight weekends between March and June, features an eclectic array that includes dance, spoken word, burlesque, puppetry and more, all in SCR’s 94-seat Nicholas Studio. Participating performers are:

  • Spoken-word artist and actor Steven Connell
  • Arpana Dance Company
  • Orange County Underground Burlesque Society
  • Breath of Fire Latina Theater Ensemble
  • Backhausdance
  • Rogue Artists Ensemble

SCR’s Studio Series is part of a pilot program designed to create stronger ties between arts organizations and expose audiences to the rich diversity of the local arts scene. It also gives SCR the chance to extend our artistic boundaries and produce works that might not otherwise find a home here, in this case Sofia Alvarez’s Between Us Chickens, the story of two small-town twentysomethings—one a party girl, the other a homebody—who find their roles reversing after they move to L.A. and meet a smooth-talking local. The play was first read at last year’s Pacific Playwrights Festival.

Orange County Underground
Burlesque Society
“We’re looking forward to bringing a diverse group of performers and companies into the building and introducing them to our audiences and to theatre-goers who are new to SCR,” said Associate Artistic Director John Glore. “There will be a little something for everyone in the mix, and we’re excited about contributing a production of our own to the series.”

Leading the project is Oanh Nguyen, SCR’s producing associate and the artistic director of the Chance Theater, whose production of Jesus Hates Me in the Nicholas Studio last February kicked off the pilot program.

“The Nicholas studio offers a captivating, intimate theatre experience,” said Nguyen. “It will be exciting to see what these amazing local artists do with it.”

Tickets are now on sale. For all the details on the performances—including dates, times and prices—click here.

Breath of Fire Latina Theater Ensemble

Monday, February 7, 2011

Dream On...

(clockwise from bottom left) Dylan DoVale, Ryan Jones, Jaycob Hunter, Jordan
Bellow, Rudy Martinez, Emmett Lee Stang, Susannah Schulman, Jennifer Stang
and Patrick Kerr in A Midsummer Night's Dream.
On Friday, January 28, First Night of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the Segerstrom Stage was packed with subscribers and their guests, who watched in awe as Director Mark Rucker’s inventive production unfolded with song, dance, romance and a unbridled spirit of playfulness.

After the show, Honorary Producer Laurie Smits Staude couldn’t contain her enthusiasm.  “This is theater history,” she said, “and I urge everyone to come see this production, not once but several times.  You won’t be disappointed!"

Joining Laurie were her two sons and members of their families, who made the trek to California from North Carolina and Canada just to see the show she had raved so about.

Doug McCrea, Managing Director, Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, the play’s Corporate Honorary Producer, said, “Opening night of A Midsummer Night’s Dream was thoroughly enjoyed by our employees and clients alike.  The performance was first-rate!”

And soon the critics had joined in the praise:

“Director Mark Rucker propels the Bard’s play into a wild and woolly world of its own … A big, bright, daffy rainbow to brag about … Provokes seismic laughter.”
Los Angeles Times

“Seduces, rocks and amuses … Infectious … Mark Rucker brings his usual inventiveness and coy sense of humor to ‘Dream.’
Orange County Register

See photos and read more about the Cast Party (with additional enthusiastic quotes from Doug McCrea and Laurie Smits Staude.