Announcing City Theatre’s Next Artistic Director

May 24th, 2018 / Posted in 2017-2018 Season, Home Page Latest News, News & Press, Press Releases

New Play Pioneer
Named City Theatre Artistic Director

Nationally recognized arts leader and director
returns to Pittsburgh’s home for new plays

Pittsburgh, PA. (May 24, 2018) Under the leadership of Board President Beth Newbold and Managing Director James McNeel, the City Theatre Board of Directors has concluded an extensive national search, naming Marc Masterson the new Artistic Director of the region’s largest theater dedicated solely to new plays. Masterson brings decades of experience and an award-winning national presence as a champion of new works, having served as the artistic director of South Coast Repertory Theatre (2011-2018) and Actors Theatre of Louisville, home of the internationally acclaimed Humana Festival of New American Plays (2000-2011), two of the most distinguished arts institutions in the nation. He was City Theatre’s producing artistic director from 1981-2000.

Masterson’s field-wide contributions to the contemporary theater landscape reflect City Theatre’s core values: his body of work exemplifies a career-long commitment to diverse programming, robust community engagement and education initiatives, and gender parity across production teams. He will begin his new role at City Theatre on July 1, 2018.

“For decades City Theatre has built a reputation as one of the finest mid-sized theatres in America. I love the audiences in Pittsburgh, the friends and colleagues I have there, as well as the strong sense of community in the city itself,” said Masterson. “I couldn’t be more thrilled about the future.

“Coming into a season that has already been planned by the excellent City Theatre staff, my first task will be to get to know the current organization, the changes that have occurred in Pittsburgh since I left, and to work with James McNeel and the Board on planning for the future. We will continue to build on City’s engagement in the community, working with local artists as well as some of the finest theatre-makers in the country for a vibrantly diverse repertoire,” he concluded.

“Marc has an exemplary track record of artistic excellence, fundraising, community engagement and commitment to new plays,” said City Theatre Board President, Beth Newbold. “We are fortunate that he has chosen to bring his experience and expertise to City Theatre, to lead our organization into a new era. On behalf of the board, I am very excited to welcome Marc to the team, and cannot wait to see the work that emerges from the company with James and him at the helm. It will propel us forward to increased local and national recognition as a leader in new play development.”

“The appointment of Marc Masterson at City Theatre is tremendous news for the arts and for the city as a whole. It’s partly a homecoming to celebrate: during Marc’s first stint at City, he was an artistic force—not only a champion of the theatre, but an important leader in our cultural community,” said Janet Sarbaugh, Vice President, Creativity Programs, The Heinz Endowments. “But this is more than a homecoming; given the breadth of Marc’s career since Pittsburgh, his national profile, and his knowledge of American theatre, we are lucky indeed to have attracted him back to Pittsburgh.”

“I think City Theatre has made an inspired choice to have Marc back to the organization. He has consistently been an adventurous artistic leader, programming successful seasons at some of our nation’s most high profile theatres; seasons that have been truly diverse and exciting in the rich array of artists represented in making groundbreaking, important work,” said Michael John Garcés, Artistic Director of LA’s Cornerstone Theater Company and Vice President of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC).

“When I say diverse, I mean it in every sense of the word: aesthetically diverse work that challenges audiences to see a wide range of plays that bridge disciplines and subvert expectations, and that represents the work of all Americans, reflecting the true richness of our nation,” continued Garcés. “And he’s a terrific artist himself, willing to take real risks, and succeeding in those risks far more often than not.  I count him as a mentor and a friend, and look forward to seeing what City does in this new chapter!”

As artistic director at South Coast Repertory, Masterson has produced dozens of world premieres, including A Doll’s House, Part 2 by Lucas Hnath, Vietgone by Qui Nguyen, Mr. Wolf by Rajiv Joseph, and Office Hour by Julia Cho. As artistic director at Actors Theatre of Louisville, he produced the world premieres of Elemeno Pea by Molly Smith Metzler, Maple and Vine by Jordan Harrison, and Becky Shaw by Gina Gionfriddo, and many others. Masterson has developed hundreds of new works, many of which have transferred to some of the leading theatres in the country, including the Public Theater (New York), Manhattan Theatre Club, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and The Goodman, as well as Off-Broadway and Broadway. Recent directing credits include Shakespeare in Love, All the Way, Going to a Place Where You Already Are, Zealot, Death of a Salesman, Eurydice, and Elemeno Pea at South Coast Rep; Hand to God at the Alliance Theatre; Byhalia, Mississippi by Evan Linder at the Contemporary American Theater Festival; As You Like It for the Houston Shakespeare Festival; and The Kite Runner at Actors Theatre of Louisville and the Cleveland Play House.

Marc’s community-focused new play development initiatives include the creation of the DIALOGUE/DIÁLOGOS project at South Coast Rep, a two-year bilingual theatre project to gather and tell the stories of the Santa Ana Latino community, as well as the ongoing CrossRoads Commissioning Project, which brings playwrights to Orange County to engage with the area’s diverse communities through exploratory residencies. City Theatre’s current world premiere production of Nomad Motel by Carla Ching was originally a CrossRoads Commission issued by Masterson.

In 2017, Masterson was honored with the 2017 Asian Pacific American Friends of the Theater Outstanding Leadership Award, for his commitment to creating a programming stream that reflected the diverse populations of Southern California.

He served as producing artistic director of City Theatre in Pittsburgh for 20 years and was co-founder of the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Alliance (now known as the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, or GPAC).

City Theatre’s search for a new artistic director was conducted over six months, with a seven member committee comprised of board members, community leaders, McNeel, and led by Newbold. Stephen Richard of Management Consultants for the Arts provided counsel.

Now completing its 43rd season, City Theatre is Pittsburgh’s home for bold new plays. Located in the historic South Side, the company produces a season of regional and world premieres, including, this year, Citizens Market by Cori Thomas and an NNPN rolling World Premiere Nomad Motel by Carla Ching. City Theatre’s mission is to provide an artistic home for the development and production of contemporary plays of substance and ideas that engage and challenge a diverse audience. Operating with an annual budget of $2.8 million, City is a constituent member of Theatre Communications Groups (TCG) and the League of Resident Theatres (LORT).

The 2018-19 season was curated by Artistic Producer Reginald L. Douglas and Director of New Play Development Clare Drobot. It begins on September 8, 2018 with The Revolutionists by Lauren Gunderson.