Charles Dillingham to Join the Pasadena Playhouse as Interim Executive Director

The Board of Directors of The Pasadena Playhouse (Sheldon Epps, Artistic Director) announced today that Charles Dillingham will serve as interim Executive Director of the theatre during the transition period following Stephen Eich’s departure and as The Playhouse launches a national search for a new Executive Director. Dillingham’s services are being provided by Arts Consulting Group (ACG), a national consulting firm where he is Vice President. Until he joined ACG in June of 2011 he had been managing director of Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles for twenty years.

“It is an honor and privilege to welcome Charles Dillingham to our Playhouse family as interim Executive Director,” stated Playhouse Board Chair Michele Dedeaux Engemann. “Charles has been a loyal friend and supporter of The Playhouse for many years. With his respected expertise in theatre management and love of the performing arts, he is an incredible asset to the future and prominence of The Pasadena Playhouse.”

“Charles brings to us a wealth of experience, knowledge, theatrical savvy and influence that will be of tremendous value to the continuing growth and stability of The Playhouse,” said Artistic Director Sheldon Epps. “He is a true gentleman of the theatre and I very much look forward to working with him, learning from him, and having the benefit of his enormous gifts in service to what will now be OUR theatre.”

“The Pasadena Playhouse is my neighborhood theatre,” said Dillingham. “I have long admired Sheldon’s work and it is an honor to be of assistance at this critical time while they are in the middle of their first full season since their financial crisis.”

Charles Dillingham brings to The Pasadena Playhouse over forty years of senior executive experience in performing arts management as well as teaching, executive coaching and consulting. He has led some of the largest performing arts institutions in the country and partnered with several leading artistic directors. At Center Theater Group he supervised all development, marketing, administrative and financial operations for the company’s three theatres – the Mark Taper Forum, the Ahmanson Theatre and the Kirk Douglas Theatre. Prior to CTG, he was CEO of the Entertainment Corporation USA, presenting commercially the Bolshoi Ballet and Opera, Kirov Ballet and Opera and the Royal Ballet at the Metropolitan Opera House and arranging American tours. He was Executive Director of American Ballet Theatre during Mikhail Baryshnikov’s tenure as Artistic Director, supervising ten television films, seventy-five new stage productions and tours to Paris and Japan. He previously served as Managing Director of the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) Theatre Company and worked closely with Artistic Director William Ball at American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. He began his career at the Yale Repertory Theatre and the Williamstown Theatre Festival with their founders Robert Brustein and Nikos Psacharopoulos. Mr. Dillingham holds a BA from Yale and a MFA from the Yale School of Drama.

He served on the Board of Directors of The California Theatre Council, Dance USA, LA Stage Alliance and Arts for LA and on advisory panels at the California Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. He also was Vice President of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT) and as a member of the Board of Councilors of the USC School of Theater. He has taught arts administration at Columbia University, the Yale School of Drama and the USC School of theatre. He resides in Pasadena with his wife, Susan Clines, an executive at the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association.

The Pasadena Playhouse was established in 1917 and was designated the State Theatre of California for bringing national and international renown to the state as a center for dramatic art in 1937. Built on a tradition of innovation and excellence, The Pasadena Playhouse is committed to continue to be the premiere theatrical experience in Southern California showcasing the most exciting theatrical entertainment in the state and being an amazing forum for launching new work onto the national stage. Broadway productions that originated at The Pasadena Playhouse include: Sister Act, Baby It’s You!, Looped and Mail. Unchain My Heart, The Ray Charles Musical, which premiered at The Playhouse, is scheduled to open on Broadway in the 2012-13 Season.

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