Dear Friends and Colleagues,
First, I’d like to thank you for all your good wishes on my selection to lead Los Angeles Stage Alliance as its new Executive Director, taking over from the inestimable Terence McFarland. Naturally, I have some Big Ideas, which I’m not going to dwell on here. The first order of business is to meet with LASA’s excellent staff, and to call a series of meetings throughout the theater community in order to discern the actual needs of the theaters throughout L.A., in order create new plans and policies based on those needs as expressed by the community, rather than from my fantasies.
I’m not going to use this note to expound on policy and plans, but merely to say how grateful I am to the LASA staff and Board for entrusting me with this responsibility, and to say how humbled I am to work with an organization such as LASA to serve a community I’ve been observing with interest and with passion for 30 years.
We’ve been seeing climate change in the cultural environment as well as in the physical one. Non-profit activities such as the performing arts have been devalued and subject to funding cuts in a steady erosion of focus and resources in an increasingly commercial culture, despite theater’s measurably proven benefits of literacy, and of propping up local economies.
We’ve fallen short in articulating beyond our own community the value of what we do. We haven’t yet forged the alliances of chambers of commerce, city officials and tourist bureaus that are strong enough to put us on the map – not just the map of the United States, but even the map of Los Angeles. This has to change. The work we do on the stages is simply too worthy, of too great a value to be ignored. We’re not talking about global domination, here, but the ability to put on plays. This need not be such a struggle.
The recent challenges with AEA have demonstrated what our community can do when it’s cornered. I saw first-hand the brains and organization behind the scenes. It was, and is, inspiring. That’s who we are.
For me, this opportunity opens a new chapter. My deepest hope is that it’s also a new chapter for our theater. For this to happen, I need your help and continued support. We need to stand side-by-side with both resolve and open hearts. That’s who we are. We’ve already proven that.
In the few weeks, I’ll be working on a transition team for Stage Raw, which will continue to thrive and serve. I won’t be working on the day-to-day operations, but I’ll be watching from a distance, and lending a guiding hand from that distance.
My thanks again to the staff and Board of LASA, and to the staff and Board of Stage Raw. But mostly, my thanks to the L.A. stage community. I look greatly, dearly forward to seeing you all as players in this new chapter.