PASADENA – As the Pasadena Playhouse embarks on a nationwide search for a new executive director, the board of directors announced Tuesday that theater veteran Charles Dillingham will serve in the post on an interim basis.
Dillingham, a Pasadena resident, is former 20-year managing director of Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles, is now vice president of Arts Consulting Group, a national consulting firm. 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.
He will replace Stephen Eich, who is leaving after a three-year tenure.
Artistic director Sheldon Epps called Dillingham “a true gentleman of the theater,” who would bring to the Playhouse “a wealth of experience, knowledge, theatrical savvy and influence.”
Dillingham, a 40-year veteran in performing arts management, called it “an honor” to help the Playhouse in the its first full season following the financial crises of the past three years.
“The Pasadena Playhouse is my neighborhood theatre,” Dillingham said in a statement. “I have long admired Sheldon’s work and it is an honor to be of assistance at this critical time.”
Board Chairwoman Michele Dedeaux Engemann called Dillingham “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,” she said in a statement Tuesday.
Dillingham has led some of the largest performing arts institutions in the country and partnered with several leading artistic directors, Playhouse officials said.
Before 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; he previously was managing director of the Brooklyn Academy of Music 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. Dillingham graduated from Yale and also has 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 and as a member of the USC School of Theater board. He has taught arts administration at Columbia University, the Yale School of Drama and the USC School of Theatre.
He lives in Pasadena with his wife Susan Clines, an executive at the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association.
From staff reports